Readers Choice 2012: Raise a glass to this years winners, old and new

Welcome, j. peeps, to the 2012 Readers’ Choice issue. At eight years and counting, this annual supplement has become quite the institution.

Think of it: The history of this endeavor is a mere 75 years behind the Oscars and only 103 years behind the Nobel Prize. So let’s roll out the virtual red carpet and celebrate all the wonders of the Jewish Bay Area.

As always, we’ve crunched the numbers and done the analysis, so you don’t have to. Just read and take note.

For starters, congrats to first-time winners, such as Rabbi Rebecca Joseph’s 12 Tribes (kosher caterer in S.F.), Millers East Coast Deli in San Rafael (Jewish-style deli in the North Bay), Evo Spa in Mill Valley (spa in Marin) and the Jerusalem Grill & Bar in Campbell, which tied for kosher restaurant in the South Bay. It’s always nice to see newbies break through.

And then there are the veterans who return year after year to the winners’ circle. They include Oakland’s Grand Bakery (bagels, East Bay), Shangri-La (kosher restaurant, S.F.) and the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco (JCC in the city, duh!).

Some categories are new this year (plumber, electrician, furniture store), while others made a return after a few seasons on the shelf (plastic surgeon and shoe store; apparently, we can afford makeovers and strappy sandals again).

One stat stuck out for us. This year we had far more ties than ever before. More than 20, in fact, in such categories as adult education, Jewish day school, toy store, kosher restaurant, pizzeria, winery, dentist, accountant, lawyer, travel agent, real estate agent and hospital.

What do the ties signify? We aren’t sure, but apparently there is some seriously evenhanded bipartisanship out there.

Another conclusion drawn from the data: The fact that readers chose Jewish Family and Children’s Services (both the S.F.-based agency and the one in the East Bay) and Jewish Family Services of Silicon Valley in all four voting regions says a lot about the fine work of these social service organizations, as well as the tzedakah-filled spirit of our readers.

The latter doesn’t surprise us at all. We’re part of one of the world’s most vibrant Jewish communities, so naturally we hoist on our collective shoulders our favorite communal institutions. They deserve a victory lap.

But let’s not get too high-minded. We still have plenty of Readers’ Choice love for party planners, burger joints, wineries and the like.

So raise a glass to our 2012 Readers’ Choice winners. We salute you all.

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