The Gay Gene: Shopping and Dining Out

Where do we spend our money? Who's got the goods? For Between The Lines readers, the buck definitely stops here.

Favorite MICHIGAN city/suburb/town for shopping and dining

Winner: Ferndale

Runners-up: Royal Oak, Ann Arbor

For the second year in a row, this survey item received more responses than any other. It also saw Fabulous Ferndale bump Royal Oak from the top spot by a mere two votes!

Favorite gay-owned store for cards, books and gifts

Winner: Just 4 Us, Ferndale

Runners-up: A Woman's Prerogative, Ferndale

Michael Lary got a fabulous going away present: His store won this survey item for the second year in a row! And who knew there were so many ways to spell A Woman's Prerogative?

Favorite mainstream book store

Winner: Barnes & Noble, multiple locations

Runners-up: Borders Books, multiple locations

We buy lots of books! Our community stores can get any book we want, but no surprise that we spend money at these big chains. Why not instead support the stores that support us, we'd ask?

Favorite gay-owned restaurant

Winner: Pronto!, Royal Oak

Runner-up: Starving Artist, Ferndale

Long-time favorite Pronto! once again topped the list of favorite gay-owned restaurants by receiving exactly twice the votes as its nearest competitor!

Favorite restaurant for a first date

Winner: La Dolce Vita, Detroit

Runner-up: Pronto!, Royal Oak

The neighborhood might not be the most romantic, but the ambiance (and the food) at La Dolce Vita can't be beat!

Favorite pizza place

Winner: Amici's Pizza, Berkley

Runner-up: Como's Restaurant, Ferndale

Friendly atmosphere matters almost as much as the sauce, and readers like George at Amici's and all the staff at Como's. Hold the anchovies!

Favorite restaurant - Italian/(non-pizza)

Winner: Larco's, West Bloomfield & Troy

Runner-up: La Dolce Vita, Detroit

Special scallopini, chicken piccatta, tiramasu - we're getting hungry just writing about it. The winners beat out over a dozen nominees in the very popular category - Mange!

Favorite restaurant - Steak & Chop House

Winner: Big Rock Chop House, Birmingham

Runner-up: Carl's Chop House, Detroit

Many LGBT's are carnivores - that's clear from the results of this survey. Pass the steak sauce!

Favorite restaurant - Chinese

Winner: Hong Hua, Farmington Hills

Runner-up: Peking House, Royal Oak

Anybody can do sweet and sour chicken, but no one can do it like Hong Hua (and no we don't mean it that way!).

Favorite restaurant - Middle Eastern Cuisine

Winner: Pita Cafe, Southfield and Novi

Runner-up: The Blue Nile, Ann Arbor & Ferndale

The Pita CafŽ is where most of our readers go when they crave baba ghanough. The Blue Nile's Ethiopian cuisine is not really Middle Eastern, but our appreciative diners are better at finding great food than geography. Our readers had lots of strong opinions about their favorite places to eat out - something we do more than most!

Favorite caterer

Winner: Effortless Entertaining, Ann Arbor

Runner-up: Pronto! Catering, Royal Oak

For that special party, commitment ceremony and maybe even wedding, we need the best food for our special day. We know who to call - after all, we're the queer ones and should know who the best caterers are!

Favorite florist

Winner: Blossoms, Birmingham

Runner-up: Ashley's Flowers, Detroit

Say it with flowers takes on a special meaning here. There were lots of nominees but these two winners were way ahead of the also-rans.

Favorite store to buy clothing and accessories

Winner: Marshall Field's

Runner-up: Gap

Marshall Field's bumped up to the number one spot this year, beating out more than 54 nominated stores! Even St. Vincent DePaul and the Salvation Army got votes!

Favorite store to buy jewelry

Winner: Miner's Den, Royal Oak

Runner-up: Metals In time, Royal Oak

We are buying wedding rings and gifts in record numbers, and Royal Oak's jewelers have cornered the market for LGBT romantics. The sparkling merchandise is showing up on our hands, ears and necks - so beautiful!

Favorite store to buy a watch

Winner: Metals In Time, Royal Oak

Runner-up: Universal Watch, Birmingham

Tick, tick, tick... watches are beautiful, collectible and are the perfect gift, especially for the time-dizzy that have a hard time keeping track of it all!

Favorite men's specialty clothing store

Winner: Caruso, Caruso, Birmingham

Runner-up: Noir Leather, Royal Oak

Gay guys know how to dress - for that there is no doubt. Congrats to the winners in this category, because winning here means the best dressers in town like your store - that's saying a lot!

Favorite women's specialty clothing store

Winner: The Magic Bus, Dearborn & Plymouth

Runner-up: Caruso, Caruso, Birmingham

Style is what we are all about, whether it's the stylish lesbians, or their gay male shopping buddies. Get cool by checking out the winners in this hotly contested category.

Favorite store to buy entertainment systems, CDs, DVDs, etc.

Winner: Best Buy

Runner-up: Circuit City

Two-time winner Best Buy received more than four times the votes than its closest rival - and seven times more than third place Media Play. Do we like that store, or what?

Favorite place to meet friends for a quick drink or cup of coffee

Winner: Pronto!, Royal Oak

Runner-up: Java Hut, Ferndale & Birmingham

Thirty-five nominations were received, but the results proved what most of us already knew: Pronto! has always been a handy gathering place for a quickie, so to speak!

Favorite specialty store for foods or groceries

Winner: Trader Joe's, Royal Oak & Farmington Hills

Runner-up: Whole Foods Market, multiple locations

Can't find that exotic fruit or vegetable? Look no farther than Trader Joe's, and Whole Foods can't be beat for the freshest foods.

Favorite bakery

Winner: Avalon International Breads, Detroit

Runner-up: Elite Sweets, Livonia

Avalon is famous for wholesome, organic baked goods and breads, and their business is sparking a renaissance in their immediate neighborhood. Cool cities are led by the LGBT community, and kudos to Ann and Jackie, owners of Avalon. If you need the best possible cake for your special party, everyone goes to Elite Sweets for those amazing cakes, although many other bakers were nominated. We sure have sweet teeth!

Favorite wine/liquor shop

Winner: Holiday Market, Royal Oak

Runner-up: Cost Plus, Eastern Market, Detroit

Shopping at Holiday Market is almost as good as heading to those other meat markets - the bars! You'll almost always run into someone you know there!

Favorite auto dealer

Winner: (tie) McLaughlin Ford, Royal Oak & Phillips Automotive Group, Milan

Runner-up: Saturn of Troy

As the only gay-owned auto dealer in Michigan, Phillips Automotive Group has long been a favorite amongst the LGBT community. But will that continue under new (str8) owners, Victory Chevrolet, Buick & Pontiac? We'll see...

Favorite shop to have your car maintained or repaired

Winner: 4th St. Auto, Royal Oak

Runners-up: B&B Collision, Royal Oak & Drayton Auto Care, Ferndale

You never know whom you can trust when it comes to auto repairs, but these winners come highly recommended by our readers!

The dream car you'd buy if you hit the lottery

Winner: Hummer

Runner-up: BMW

It was tough to pick a specific winner, as dozens upon dozens of different models and types received nominations. We sure know how to dream...and dream BIG! But are we really that eco-unfriendly to favor an assault vehicle?

Favorite hair salon or barber shop

Winner: Upstares Salon, Royal Oak

Runners-up: Fantastic Sams & Ciasi, Ferndale

Who knew there were so many places to style your hair? It was a tight race: More than 50 different shops received nominations!

Favorite tattoo parlor

Winner: Royal Oak Tattoo, Royal Oak

Runners-up: Splash of Color, East Lansing

We are decorating ourselves more than ever - self-expression is all about us!

Favorite place to work out

Winner: Bally's - multiple locations

Runners-up: Madison Athletic Club, Madison Hts.

It's all about the bod! As "Queer Eye" has taught the nation, we know what it takes to look good, and we do it - at least we talk about it and join. Actually doing the reps - that's another story! But don't we look fabulous anyway?

Favorite place to get those unsightly hairs removed

Winner: Koger Dermatology, Royal Oak

Runners-up: Drs. Kreil & Rochfort, Dearborn

Some of us who have fur in all the wrong places will do anything to get rid of it - including plucking, burning, lasing and waxing. Lots of places were nominated, but two were the favorites - they actually made readers comfortable while pulling their hair out!

Favorite chiropractor

Winner: Triangle Chiropractic, Dr. John Tsakos, Grosse Pointe

Runners-up: Chiropractic Wellness Center, Dr. Marc Terebelo, Southfield

Snap, crackle and pop those tired bones back into shape! Holistic health remedies are especially popular in our "alternative" lifestyle environment. We were surprised by the number of choices you submitted, but these two clearly were the ones that come in the most, combined taking in well over 70 percent of the vote.

Favorite place to buy eyeglasses or contacts

Winner: Optik Optical, Birmingham

Runners-up: Bennett Optometry, Ann Arbor

If we can't see, we want to at least look good trying to! It seems that cleanliness and fashion were the most important factors in this category.

Favorite place for a romantic getaway weekend

Winner: Casino Windsor, Canada

Runners-up: Woodbridge Star, Detroit

Romance is alive and well. Take your sweetheart away for that special weekend that neither of you will ever forget be it across the border or in the heart of Detroit.

Favorite video store

Winner: Blockbuster, multiple locations

Runners-up: Liberty Street Video, Ann Arbor

Movies, movies, movies! We watch them constantly, and rent them by the thousands. We had dozens of nominees in this category, but Blockbuster with its ubiquitous locations took the cake, er, popcorn.

Favorite shopping mall

Winner: Somerset/Somerset Collection, Troy

Runners-up: Oakland Mall, Troy & Great Lakes Crossing, Auburn Hills

Let's be honest here...did you really expect any other mall would take the top spot? Somerset blasted past its neatest competition with 51 percent of the votes!


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