Post and photo by the Hawthorne Hawkman.
Here are the Best of 2011 City Pages winners with connections to NoMi:
Best Undiscovered Neighborhood: Victory Neighborhood, Minneapolis
Best Local Blog: The Adventures of Johnny Northside (Two years running!)
Best Burger: Victory 44 (not really, in my opinion, but we'll get to that in a moment)
Best Neighborhood Bar (Minneapolis): Tootie's on Lowry
Honorable mention for something that SHOULD be in NoMi, Best Bike Trail: Grand Rounds, along the Mississippi River.
Various other downtown spots with North in their street address garnered top honors as well, but they are not technically in NoMi. Out of all of those, however, the best bike shop jumped out at me because we need a bike shop here. (And a REAL one, mind you, not some taxpayer/non-profit funded program-based notion that will dry up with future budget cuts.)
Now, about that burger (and the best blog)...
...The photo above is of the Bacon Cheeseburger at Good Sports Bar & Grill in Hawthorne, and both that hamburger and the Mushroom & Swiss are superior to Victory 44's "Perfect Burger." V44 is impressive, no doubt, but when you have the audacity to call your burger perfect then it better be an amazing epicurean experience on a level one has never reached before. Their burger just doesn't live up to its name.
On the other hand, at the less hoity-toity Good Sports (for the record, I'm glad we have the upscale Victory 44 in NoMi) we have not one but two burgers that surpass Victory 44's perfection. My preference is the Mushroom & Swiss, prepared rare or medium-rare. Each time I've ordered that sandwich, the aroma of freshly prepared beef and shrooms fills the room to the point where other patrons have asked for the same thing. I prefer to hold the burger directly over the fries so that the drippings are captured and not a molecule of deliciousness is wasted.
I'll give Victory 44 this much, however: their French fries are far better than any I've tasted at other establishments.
As far as Johnny Northside winning the best blog two years in a row, I was as surprised as anyone else (including John himself). John had other personal commitments throughout 2010 and the content dropped to a trickle at times. But when the incongruous ruling came down that the following phrase:
"Repeated and specific evidence in Hennepin County District Court shows Jerry Moore was involved with a high-profile fraudulent mortgage at 1564 Hillside Ave. N."
was found to NOT be defamatory, but yet Hoff still owed damages, that caught the attention of free speech advocates nationwide. Whether one likes Johnny Northside or not, whether one agrees with the ruling in the Jerry Moore case or not, one would be hard-pressed to name another local blog that has brought such a national spotlight to a local community. Congratulations to John; he deserves this award.
Let's hope for more NoMi winners (and a bike shop, please) next year.