Announcing the Top Knox Awards, the Knoxville Mercury Readers’ Poll

In Editor's Notes by Coury Turczynleave a COMMENT

KM_topknox_A1So what’s the point of declaring what’s best about Knoxville?

Ever since Metro Pulse launched its annual readers’ poll in 1994, there has been no shortage of “best of” surveys conducted in Knoxville. It’s become a crowded field of awesomeness as TV stations, radio stations, magazines, and newspapers have all jumped in with their own declarations of the very bestest our city has to offer. But how can there be so many different winners? How were they actually selected? What does it mean when Papa John’s is reported to be the best pizza in Knoxville? Really?

The original concept for such polls became increasingly diluted over the years as it was adapted to suit the needs of different organizations. But the most trusted, go-to survey always remained the original Metro Pulse guide and its coveted awards, which were truly selected by thousands of discriminating readers.

And that’s why it was so valuable: The people who voted in it really knew and appreciated Knoxville. What they—you—thought mattered. While there may have been recurring winners in some categories, every year also yielded surprises. We always learned something new about Knoxville.

That mission to determine what savvy Knoxvillians really love about Knoxville’s businesses, institutions, and people returns with the Top Knox awards, the Knoxville Mercury’s new annual readers’ poll that we’re launching on Thursday, Aug. 13.

Sponsored by Visit Knoxville, the Top Knox poll will cover all the facets of Knoxville life that both residents and visitors want to fully explore: food & drink, arts & entertainment, shopping, health & beauty, home & garden, and more. It will once again become the ultimate guide to living well in the Knoxville area.

We’ve chosen categories that we think will be genuinely helpful or insightful about Knoxville—it won’t be just another endless, boring list intended primarily to sell ads. No doubt, we hope to make this a successful issue for the Mercury, but our first goal is to celebrate the places and people that truly make the Knoxville area unique.

That’s why we’re instituting Rule #1 for Top Knox voters: Votes for national chains will not be counted.

That’s right: no Walmart, no Olive Garden, no Starbucks. Top Knox will focus purely on institutions with local or regional roots—the places and things that you won’t find in every other city in the country.

We aim to make this an indispensable user’s guide to Knoxville, and we’ll need your expert help to do it. And the hard-working entrepreneurs, craftspeople, and brilliant minds that make Knoxville unique deserve your support.

The first Top Knox ballot will be published in the Aug. 13 edition of the Knoxville Mercury, with online voting commencing that same day. Voting will run through Thursday, Sept. 10. Results will be published in the Thursday, Oct. 15, issue.

Please join us!

Editor Coury Turczyn guided Knoxville's alt weekly, Metro Pulse, through two eras, first as managing editor (and later executive editor) from 1992 to 2000, then as editor-in-chief from 2007 to 2014. He's also worked as a Web editor at CNET, the erstwhile G4 cable network, and HGTV.

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