The South's Best Winners 2019

Fairhope Alabama Dock at Sunset
Photo: Robbie Caponetto

"Have a favorite?" It's a simple question, but that's how this all began. Three years ago, we decided to launch our annual crowd-sourced awards to celebrate the people and places you love across the South. As we pored over 65,000 surveys, it became clear that Southerners are passionate about their picks. Join us in toasting this year's winners, from the soulful small town to the three-time-winning city to the chef who is a true hometown hero, all chosen by our readers. Without further ado, here are the winners of the South's Best of 2019.

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The South's Best Small Town: Beaufort, North Carolina

North Carolina: Beaufort

Planted on the outermost reach of North Carolina's southern coast, Beaufort feels like a step back in time. It's a community full of hospitality that bands together when the going gets tough: Just weeks after Hurricane Florence walloped Beaufort last September, it had all but bounced back to its old self.

See why this second-act town stands out from the rest: Read more.

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The South's Best City: Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina
Peter Frank Edwards

Even people who have never set foot in this dreamy Lowcountry city have romantic notions about it.

See why Charleston is a three-time-winning city in our readers' eyes, and ours too: Read more.

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The South's Best Restaurant: Commander's Palace

Commander’s Palace (New Orleans, LA)
Cedric Angeles

From the 25-cent martini lunches to the Bananas Foster Flambé, the hallmarks of Commander's Palace are known around the world.

See why this 12,000-square-foot cathedral to Creole and Cajun terroir took home this year's top spot: Read more.

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The South's Best BBQ Joint: Southern Soul Barbeque

Southern Soul Barbeque in St. Simons Island, GA
Wynn Myers

Southern Soul Barbeque is a repeat winner for good reason: Georgia-style pulled pork and tangy Brunswick stew, ribs, and smoked chicken wings, cooked on hardwood-fired pits.

See why this converted 1940s-era gas station BBQ joint took the top spot: Read more.

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The South's Best Chef: Vivian Howard

Chef Vivian Howard
Baxter Miller

There is no one way to be a great Southern chef. However, using good food and cooking to convey shared passion and pride for disparate things in the service of our familes and communities is as Southern as can be. Howard knows and does just that.

In your book–and ours too–she's the best. See why: Read more.

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The South's Best Bar: Sloppy Joe's

Sloppy Joe’s Bar
Rob O'Neal

This salty bar opened in 1933, on the very day that Prohibition was repealed. Like a rare Cuban rum, this dive just gets better with age.

Open until 4 a.m. 365 days a year, see why it's not a trip to Key West without a stop by Sloppy Joe's: Read more.

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The South's Best Food City: Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston Restaurants: 167 Raw Lobster Roll
Peter Frank Edwards

A city that will open its award-cradling arms to anyone who's hungry and looking for a little hospitality, Charleston's culinary riches are interwined with its history.

This food-rich city is filled with history, not to mention the best seafood around: Read more.

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The South's Best Food Town: St. Augustine, Florida

St. Augustine, Florida

It might be the Ancient City, but it's not a forgotten one. Grab a bite at Casa Maya, Preserved Restaurant, and Gaufre's & Goods in town, or try Cap's on the Water and Beachers across the Vilano Caseway.

Don't miss Ice Plant Bar, either: Read more.

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The South's Best Beach Town: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

The South’s Best Beach Town: Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
Peter Frank Edwards

A magical mix of mild climate, small-town charms, and cosmopolitan pleasures awaits on the shores of Hilton Head Island.

See why this grown-up beach village has won the hearts of vacationers and residents alike: Read more.

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The South's Best Inn: Stonehurst Place

Stonehurst Place in Atlanta, GA
Robbie Caponetto

Historic character meets modern design at this beautifully renovated bed-and-breakfast in Midtown Atlanta.

Learn why couples and business travelers alike love this B&B: Read more.

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The South's Best Resort: The Omni Grove Park Inn

Omni Grove Park Inn and Resort Courtyard in Asheville, NC
Courtesy Omni Hotels and Resorts

There's nothing petite about this 100+-year-old resort with stunning mountain views. Much more than just a place to sleep, The Omni Grove Park Inn is a total escape. Everything you need is right here.

Southerners don't have a cookie-cutter definition of their dream stay; see all the Southen resorts that made this year's list: Read more.

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The South's Best Hotel: The Willcox

The Willcox
Peter Frank Edwards/Redux

Walk into Aiken, South Carolina's The Willcox, and you'll instantly feel at ease at the hotel, restaurant, and spa. The sweeping front porch on this white-columned, historic hotel is lined with rocking chairs, while its guest rooms look more like bedrooms in a well-appointed Southern home than typical hotel accommodations.

It's one of the best places to tuck in across the South. See all the charming inns on this year's list: Read more.

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