It is hard to believe that 12 years have passed since our first Best of Westchester issue in 2001. Back then, we had only 66 staff picks and 67 readers’ picks. The issue itself was only 100 pages. Boy, have we grown. This year, we have a total of 350 winners and the issue has nearly doubled in size.
We’ve discovered some interesting trends in this year’s selections, one being that our readers are becoming increasingly health-conscious. Green drinks have become so popular that we chose two—one from North County and one from South County—for Best of Westchester status. Great new yoga studios and fitness centers offering innovative classes and inspiring trainers have opened, along with spas we can retreat to as a reward for all those workouts.
Westchester has always been more of a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir kind of county compared to the rest of New York State, but that is changing as more and more residents are becoming interested in craft brews and restaurants that carry a wide range of choices for the beer connoisseur. And we are blessed in the sheer number of high-quality eating establishments in the County: four brand-new ones made our list this year, along with five others that made a good thing better by expanding, remodeling, or renovating their spaces.
The Hudson Valley Food and Beverage Movement has arrived and is thriving. Just a few weeks ago, Westchester Magazine celebrated its third annual Wine & Food Weekend. More than 5,000 guests attended various events over a four-day extended weekend in early June. We had the largest gathering of restaurants in Westchester—more than 100 of them—and world-class wines—more than 250 selections—as well as locally grown and locally produced products. It always amazes me just how much Westchester has to offer! You really don’t need to go to New York City anymore for that fantastic dining experience—it’s all right here in our own back yard.
We love to throw parties, and one of our biggest and most popular is right around the corner. We hope that, after you read this issue, you’ll want to join us on July 24 at the Glen Island Harbour Club in New Rochelle to celebrate the winners, and to sample from the best food, drinks, salons, spas, shops, and services the County has to offer. I have to say that each year is better than the one before. Order your tickets now—this event is always a sell-out.
I look forward to seeing you there!
Ralph A. Martinelli