Editor’s note: Simply the best

row of best of Madison covers at Imperial Garden
Photo by Andrea Behling

It never gets old for me. When I walk into a Madison business, I get excited when I see a Best of Madison certificate hanging on the wall. Sure, there’s some obvious bias at play here, but I honestly enjoy seeing a business proud of its awards.

I can’t be certain, but Imperial Garden might have the largest Best of Madison display in town. Thirty-six Best of Madison certificates fill the foyer of the west side Chinese restaurant — one for each of the 36 years it’s been open. The business can add another certificate for its 37th win in 2020.

I linger in that foyer every time I go. That display makes me so proud to be a part of the magazine that has hosted a readers poll for 39 years. Winning a Best of Madison title is a big deal. It’s a motivator and a source of pride for a growing number of people and businesses every year.

The 2020 Best of Madison poll is marked by the highest number of votes ever cast in the poll’s history — 340,145 final votes. Those votes, preceded by 120,417 nominations, determined this year’s 572 awards. That may seem like a lot of winners, but each year it proves more difficult to keep the categories at a reasonable number.

“Best local magazine” isn’t one of our categories, for obvious reasons having to do with modesty. I know as a journalist I’m supposed to remain impartial, but let the record show that I’d vote this magazine Best of Madison for so many reasons. I have some of the most creative and dedicated coworkers around, and it’s incredible what our small team is able to accomplish month after month.

I think we should all allow ourselves to soak in the recognition and celebrate our successes from time to time. I’m always eager for the release of the Best of Madison issue because I know the businesses and people who made the list are as excited as we are to share the news.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners, and a special shoutout to my Madison Magazine coworkers — while you might not have a category of your own, you are all truly the best.