CRYSTAL LAKE – The best of the best in McHenry County gathered Thursday to celebrate the annual Best of the Fox awards at the Park Place banquet facility in Crystal Lake.
The annual contest is sponsored by the Northwest Herald and allows McHenry County residents to vote for their favorite local businesses in more than 150 categories.
Different industries – including food service, health and wellness, personal services, house services, pet care, professional services, retail, automotive, sports and entertainment – are represented.
Voters turned out in force in 2017 and favored the favorite food category. More than 22,000 votes were logged in this category for individual winners in categories such as favorite burger, ice cream/frozen custard, pizza, breakfast, doughnut shop and place to watch the game.
For the second year in a row, Crystal Lake’s Pablo’s Mexican Restaurant, 230 W. Virginia St., took home the title of “Best Mexican Restaurant.” Readers also chose the restaurant for “Best Kids Menu,” “Best Place for a First Date” and “Best Margarita.”
“It feels fantastic to be recognized by the community,” Sarah Sobel of Pablo’s said. “We’ve had people get engaged in our restaurant, so to win ‘Best First Date’ is pretty awesome, because you will remember that for the rest of your life, and that’s us in your memory.”
A growing business also was honored Thursday. The Bike Haven – which opened in 2011 in McHenry and expanded in March with a storefront on the Woodstock Square – won “Best Bike Shop.” The company won the same award last year.
“It’s one of the more nervous times of the year for us,” said Jessica Arnow, who owns The Bike Haven with her husband, Josh Arnow. “It’s important to us to feel like we are giving quality to the service. … We are excited to bring that to the table for another year.”
A full list of the 2017 Best of the Fox winners will be included in a special insert in Sunday’s copy of the Northwest Herald.