Vote for your local favorites in the Top Shelf Awards here.

What do you think of the coffee shop in your neighborhood? Did you see the new show at Giving Tree Theater? What was your favorite meal during Cedar Rapids’ Restaurant Week?

It seems like everywhere I go my conversations with friends, colleagues and business acquaintances start with a similar questions. Maybe it’s because of my job, but I believe everyone talks about food, drink and entertainment because that’s what they enjoy doing. I’m the same way. I want to know how the food was at the new place downtown. I also love good beer and coffee. If someone has excellent espresso, I’m telling my fellow coffee fanatics. Same goes for beer, I might not be Marc Morehouse, but I think I can recognize a good tasting local brew.

My team and I do our best to tell you about top restaurants, top local events and top breweries. But it’s that time of year when we need your help. Voting for Hoopla’s Top Shelf awards begins March 16 and ends March 30. This is your chance to vote for your top places in the corridor.

This year we’ve divided Top Shelf into three divisions: Eat, Drink and Play. We also added some new categories including Top Ice Cream, Top Food Truck, Top Specialty Coffee Drink and Top Beer List.

Local businesses don’t have to nominate themselves. We’ve populated the categories with previous winners, old favorites and newcomers. There’s a chance we may have overlooked someone. If you don’t see your favorite place, you can write them in and that will allow other readers to vote for your favorite. If you want to make sure your top spots are included, email me and we’ll add them before voting starts.

Winners will be announced in a special section inserted in The Gazette on May 25.

Vote for your local favorites in the Top Shelf Awards here.