Apparently "best" is the best word we could come up with for "best." The term—defined in the Oxford Dictionary as "[being] of the most excellent or outstanding or desirable kind"—has remained unchanged in the English language since at least 1200 and is rendered as "best" in Middle Dutch, as well. Its earlier incarnations didn't have to change much to arrive at the current form. Old High German: bezist. Old Norse: beztr. Gothic: batists. Old English: betst.

If ain't broke, don't fix it.

Every year since 1994, Boise Weekly polls readers on how they would define "best." As in, who or what are the best local public people and institutions? The best facets of the local arts and entertainment scene, best in local sports and recreation, best in goods and services, best in food and dining, and best in bars and nightlife?

The result is an ever-expanding galaxy of people, places and things that are nominated then voted on by (this year) more than 200,000 visitors to We narrow the list to the top three highest vote-getters and present them in our annual, aptly named Best of Boise special edition.

Inside you'll find the answers to questions like, "Where's the best soup in Boise?"; "Who's the best local chiropractor?"; and "Where can I get the best service in a restaurant?" Some of the winners have been on top for more than a decade, while others have unseated longtime favorites. Look back at an archive of BoB and you'll see a portrait of the constantly changing tastes and opinions of our fair city and its surrounds.

To that end, we should point out a simple fact: This is a popularity contest. Boise Weekly didn't select any of the nominees, didn't pick the winners and didn't influence the vote in any way. What you'll find inside this edition of BW is a bona fide reader-driven compilation of preferences based on personal experience, word-of-mouth, self-interest, guilt trips, random clicking on the ballot, who knows?

There will assuredly be complaints, protests and the inevitable emails demanding to know how "so-and-so" could have possibly won "such-and-such." But hey, that's democracy.

So it is with the best of intentions that we tender this 22nd annual Best of Boise to you, the best (as in most excellent, outstanding or desireable) readers we could ask for.