What’s best in Chicago’s Southland

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What do you do when you want to find a reliable car mechanic or hear about who makes the best deep-dish pizza in the area? If you’re like most people, you ask neighbors or others you know from the Southland region. Well, here’s a chance to find out what others throughout the south suburban region think is top-notch in a slew of categories ranging across five major topics: Best of Service & Shopping; Best Place to Buy; Best Place to Have; People, Places, Pleasures; and Best Dining & Entertainment.

Welcome once again to the SouthtownStar Best of Chicago’s Southland, a listing that will answer all you need to know about what’s considered the best products and services, encompassing more than 60 categories, in Chicago’s Southland.

The SouthtownStar has put it all together by prompting readers to let us know their favorite places to enjoy an ice cream cone, peruse antiques, chow down on the tastiest ribs, learn a new dance step, or pick up a spare at a popular bowling alley — along with dozens of other categories. Readers once again have responded in a big way. Ballots cut out from the SouthtownStar or done online have kept the SouthtownStar staff busy figuring out the winners. Now it’s time for readers to find out who they and their neighbors like best.

This popular contest has been going on for more than 15 years and continues to be of great interest to SouthtownStar readers, according to the SouthtownStar’s advertising manager Rita Walker, who added there’s a bonus for readers participating in the contest beyond just discovering the most popular places to frequent.

“This year we have even added a sweepstakes for readers who vote for their favorites,” Walker said.

“Two lucky voters were chosen to win gift certificates from the Blue Heron Inn in LaPorte, Indiana.”

Walker sees the promotional contest as a win-win situation for SouthtownStar readers as well as for the businesses in the newspaper’s region.

“Businesses and readers alike look forward to the results,” she said.

“When winning businesses are contacted, many ask which business won in other categories. The winners section gives companies the opportunity to thank their loyal patrons for shopping with them and voting for them.”

Several businesses have been the choice of readers for nearly as long as the contest has been around, while some others got the taste of victory for the first time this year.

In addition to being listed in this special section, those named in the contest receive a framed certificate and a window cling proclaiming them winners in the “SouthtownStar Best of Chicago’s Southland - 2013” to place at their business location.

Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to all the SouthtownStar readers who participated by casting their votes.