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Editor's Note: The Best Is Here And It's Epic
An outtake by Anna from Geoff’s cover shoot at The Grey, with Leslie, Tony, Maggie & Jose. The art on the wall behind them is by another great Savannah artist and past ‘Best of Savannah’ winner, Marcus Kenney. - photo by Anna Chandler

AND SO WE COME to another edition of the Best of Savannah, that time of year when it's all about you and your votes.

The Best of Savannah is always a huge deal, but this year it’s particularly epic: You hold in your hands the single largest issue of Connect Savannah ever published, clocking in at a whopping 112 pages.

(Who said print is dead? Not around here.)

This year we got Photographer Extraordinaire and this year’s “Best Photographer” winner Geoff L. Johnson to shoot our cover.

Also as is usually the case, we chose a setting reflective of one of the year’s signature wins. This year the no-brainer choice for a cover location was the interior of The Grey.

Not only did you choose The Grey on MLK Jr. Boulevard as Savannah’s “Best New Restaurant,” the James Beard Awards felt the same way, choosing them as a short-list finalist for the same category in their prestigious competition this year.

Many thanks to John O. Morisano of The Grey for basically giving us the run of the place to play around after hours to get the right shot.

Our cover models – Leslie Adele of Nickel Bag of Funk, actress Maggie Lee Hart of The Collective Face theatre ensemble, artist/author Jose Ray, and genius bartender Tony Beasley of The Jinx – are all winners in their own rights as well, and we thought they represented a nice cross-section of the people who make Savannah so awesome.

Our print cover.
Our print cover. - photo by Geoff L. Johnson

For those of you new to all this, here’s the drill: We posted an online ballot for several weeks inviting everyone to respond.

All the winners are chosen through that ballot, and the decisions represent no editorial input from us other than tabulating the votes and presenting the results.

Many readers often comment on the extraordinary volume of categories in our Best of Savannah. Indeed, “complain” is probably the more appropriate word.

It can get a bit daunting, as we ourselves are abundantly aware as we put together this vast effort.

But in my mind that might be the most significant contribution of our annual Best of Savannah issue– it provides probably the most comprehensive snapshot of what’s going on at the ground level in Savannah, in great scope and in a large sample size.

(If you want to look at it as market research, be my guest. In particular, a look at the runners-up can provide a sneak peek of future trends and future winners.)

Every year we choose some of the winners to be the subject of extended profiles. This is usually done on the basis of the newsworthiness of the win – in other words, usually when someone is a first-time winner, the category itself is new, or there is some other buzzworthy component of the win.

The shorter blurbs are sort of a community effort, but the staff authors of the extended profiles are identified in a tagline at the end.

As always, huge thanks and appreciation go to our staff for this herculean effort:

Writers Jessica Leigh Lebos, Anna Chandler, and Rachael Flora.....

On the design side, Brandon Blatcher and Britt Scott.....

Contributing a ton of great commissioned photos for this issue was the amazing Jon Waits...

And on the sales and administrative side, Jay Lane, Matt Twining, and our fearless leader Chris Griffin.

In next week’s issue we’ll post some pics from our big Best of Savannah Winner’s Party at the Charles H. Morris Center.

Until then, enjoy!