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The Winners Of Stuart Magazine's 'Best Of The Region' Contest, Voted By Readers

The Winners Of Stuart Magazine's 'Best Of The Region' Contest, Voted By Readers

by Aileen Mack by Kathleen Thieme Jul 2018 Also on Digital Edition

Discover our guide to the best food, drinks, things to do and more in Martin and St. Lucie counties as they were voted on by readers.

PLACE TO WATCH THE GAME

Duffy’s Sports Grill

A sports bar might conjure thoughts of peanut shells on floors and cigarette ashes on counter tops. This is not the case at Duffy’s Sports Grill, which opened its first Florida location in 1985 and has since expanded to 33 operations in the state. “The Treasure Coast was the first area that we expanded to outside of Palm Beach County,” recalls Duffy’s President Jason Emmett. “At the time, as a family owned company, this was a big leap for us.” In 2003 the brand opened in Port St. Lucie, immediately followed by a Martin County location in historic downtown Stuart. And two years later, a Duffy’s Stuart South made its debut. “After operating these locations for over 15 years, we feel particularly at home due to the loyal guests we’ve been fortunate to serve,” Emmett says. Expect traditional bar foods, like wings and burgers, but mixed in with the unexpected—like gluten-free dishes, poke bowls and creative cocktails (try the Gummy Bear Martini or Coco Mojito).

ART GALLERY

Gallery 36

Lisa Renee Ludlum’s Gallery 36 in the historical riverfront of downtown Stuart offers a relaxed atmosphere where browsers can enjoy wine while they shop. “The vision of Gallery 36 was created through the passion of photography, design and the arts, and the desire to share these treasures with the local community and beyond,” says Ludlum, the gallery owner. Gallery 36 also offers wall design consultations and custom photo shoots.

BEACH

Bathtub Reef Beach

With clear waters and soft sand, Bathtub Reef Beach is a favorite for visiting families and locals alike. The coral reef just offshore, which is home to hundreds of species of fish, is a favorite spot for snorkeling and scuba diving. The beach is named for the reef that creates a calm pool of water, like a bathtub, during low tide—ideal for little ones to splash and play in. Located on the south end of MacArthur Boulevard on the northern tip of Hutchinson Island, it’s the perfect place for a beach day.

BEER SELECTION

Sailfish Brewing Company

To offer the best pour in town, a brewery must know its customers. Through involvement with local organizations, charity events and community projects, Sailfish Brewing Company is deeply immersed in St. Lucie County. “It also helps that we make amazing beer,” says general manager Taylor Welchel. The company opened in 2013 in the historic Edgartown neighborhood on the outskirts of Fort Pierce with just a 1.5-barrel brewhouse and two employees. Sailfish has since moved to downtown Fort Pierce and expanded to become a 20-barrel brewhouse with 20 employees. Worth noting is the “3 Barrel Series,” which is used to provide an exclusive tap room selection.

BRUNCH

Kyle G’s Prime Seafood & Steaks

With bottomless mimosas and a bloody mary bar, Kyle G’s Prime Seafood & Steaks takes Sunday brunch to a whole new level. “We wanted to provide an excellent, quality focused restaurant with an amazing view and friendly service,” says Kyle G’s President Kyle Green. Located in Jensen Beach, the beachfront restaurant also offers outdoor seating with a Tiki bar. “I grew up here. This is home,” Green says. “Having a business here helps me to positively impact those around me, while simultaneously being able to do what I love.”

BURGER

Five Guys

With a cult-like following, Five Guys is known for making a delicious burger. In fact, they’re so good they’re fit for a president. Barack Obama famously visited Five Guys in Washington, D.C., in 2009. The restaurant started in the D.C. area in 1986 and has grown to 1,450 locations around the world. The fast-casual burger joint only uses fresh ground beef and doesn’t have freezers in any locations.

COFFEE

Stuart Coffee Company

Owners Kevin and Donna Barnes were inspired by the pubs and cafés in Ireland they visited while traveling often to visit Kevin’s family. Wanting to bring “a gathering place with great coffee from around the world, and a variety of great selections for breakfast and lunch,” to downtown Stuart, the couple opened Stuart Coffee Company. At the shop on Flagler Avenue, guests can select roasts from Costa Rica to Kenya, or fill up on breakfast sandwiches, acai bowls or paninis. The location also plays host to art events, live music, game nights and other community gatherings.

COCKTAIL

Square Grouper’s Bushwacker

Cooling down from the summer heat is easy at the Square Grouper Tiki Bar with a Bushwacker in hand. Enjoy the creamy cocktail with live music daily. Take to the dance floor, or kick back and enjoy stunning views of the riverwalk along the Fort Pierce Inlet.

FESTIVAL

Stuart Air Show

Capturing the imaginations of young and old alike, the Stuart Air Show brings the community together for its three-day signature event with exciting aerobatic acts, jet demonstrations, WWII displays and a historic battle reenactment. “Without the support of the local business and Martin County, we would not be able to bring such a thrilling event to life,” says executive director Susan Cunnane. Celebrating its 29th anniversary, the show continues to entertain and educate on aviation while benefiting community charities.

FLORIST

Harbour Bay Florist

With more than 20 years invested in the community, Harbour Bay Florist has been a part of every stage of locals’ lives supplying floral arrangements for birthdays, holidays and more. But on top of providing decorative blooms, the company also offers full-service event management through certified planners. With an inventory of invitations, linens and balloon décor, to relationships with photographers, videographers, bands, DJs and more, Harbour Bay Florist is a one-stop shop for life’s milestones. “We are so honored to celebrate so many special events with so many residents of Martin and St. Lucie County,” says owner Linda Oliver. “We think of our customers as family and enjoy celebrating with them.”

GOLF SPOT

PGA Golf Club

It’s no wonder PGA Golf Club, the flagship property of the Professional Golfer’s Association in Port St. Lucie, wins this category. The premier golfing destination offers excellent course conditions, superior service levels and competitive prices—with year-round summer conditions. PGA Golf Club offers one of the most complete golf experiences in the country with three varying layouts. “With all three courses on several national ‘best of’ lists and accolades recognizing our clubhouse dining options and instruction, PGA Golf Club is a must visit by individuals near and far,” explains Adriana Vizcaya, the club’s director of marketing.

GYM AND PHILANTHROPIC BUSINESS

“A” Vicious Cycle

Amanda Endres was on a mission when she incepted Port St. Lucie’s “A” Vicious Cycle Inc. “The spinning️ program has changed my life in so many ways that I wanted to make it my mission to help change other people’s lives like it has changed mine,” she says. Throughout her efforts, she didn’t just bring about change for her members, garnering AVC’s win as best gym. Endres also started giving back to the community. Her first charitable endeavor was when she learned about a little boy in need of a heart transplant. “He was the same age as my son, and I felt compelled to help any way I could,” she recalls. So she hosted a spinning event that raised nearly $3,000 in two hours. The gym  has since hosted many fundraising efforts like “Spin For A Cure” and “Random Acts Of Spinning.”

WINE SELECTION / HANGOUT FOR SINGLES

Vine & Barley Stuart

As owner Mark Carbone put it: “We are the ‘Cheers’ of the neighborhood.” But, while Vine & Barley Stuart has its regulars, Carbone says he also sees new faces every day. “Our friendly and relaxed atmosphere encourages people to make new friends and acquaintances,” he says. The local hangout fills a void in downtown Stuart where Carbone says he and his wife couldn’t go out anywhere that wasn’t a “smoky pool hall or sports bar.” “One day my wife said to me, ‘Why don’t you stop complaining and do something about it?’” he recalls. “Which is exactly what we did.” The bar on St. Lucie Avenue has been offering locals wine and craft beer with food and music for more than a decade now.

JEWELER

Eric Michaels Fine Jewelry

The recently relocated jeweler, which now calls the Treasure Coast Square Mall home, offers an unusual and varied collection of high-end designers and custom pieces alike in a casual atmosphere. Eric Michaels Fine Jewelry is a world filled with beautiful jewelry and gemstones, where “texture, appeal and color meet cutting-edge fashion and wearability,” says owner Eric Paul. Shoppers can browse the inventory, create a masterpiece from its loose certified diamonds and stunning mountings, or utilize services like repairs, appraisals and pearl restringing.

MASSAGE 

The Sanctuary Spa at Tradition

Total tranquility can be found at The Sanctuary Spa at Tradition. With more than 50 specialty treatments and a variety of massages from deep tissue to Swedish, pamper yourself or a loved one with the ultimate spa experience.

MEN’S CLOTHING

O’Sole Mio

O’Sole Mio in downtown Stuart offers a perfectly curated inventory of men’s and women’s apparel from select brand names. “We understand the importance [of giving] the customer an overall wonderful, personal and friendly experience,” says owner Kathleen Hagnauer-Giambalvo. The shop had its start as a tanning salon and bathing suit shop in 1994, which spiraled into a new identity when menswear was introduced due to customer demands. Before she knew it, Hagnauer-Giambalvo was selling her tanning beds and purchasing an inventory of men’s button-ups.

PICNIC SPOT / PLACE FOR A PARTY

Indian Riverside Park

Along the Indian River Lagoon, this 63-acre park is the premier family destination in Martin County with its abundance of amenities, venues and attractions. Indian Riverside Park has beautifully landscaped gardens and open grass fields, which are perfect for picnics. Afterward, enjoy a meal alfresco and take a stroll on the walking path, mangrove boardwalk or the 780-foot fishing pier. For special events, the park features pavilions and rental venues, including the two-story Frances Langford Dockside Pavilion, the Mansion at Tuckahoe and Historic Captain Henry Sewall House.

PIZZA

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza

When Anthony Bruno couldn’t find a good pizza in Florida, he took matters into his own hands. Fifteen-plus years later with more than 60 pizza shops attached to his name across the U.S., Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza sure has grown from its first Fort Lauderdale location. He created a pizza with a signature “well done” taste and always fresh, never frozen, high-quality ingredients. Its menu features items all from the 800-degree coal fired oven, including chicken wings, homemade meatballs and sandwiches.

PLACE FOR A HEALTHY MEAL

Harvest Table Restaurant & Bar

Harvest Table Restaurant & Bar is a go-to for those who strive to be healthy but refuse to give up dining out. The healthy hotspot serves elevated comfort food with a twist. “Our expert chefs with over 30 years [of] experience combined with vibrant services in a warm, inviting atmosphere are what the locals love about us,” says chef/owner Jimmy Cunningham. The restaurant recently relocated to Hutchinson Island and offers double the space.

PLACE FOR LIVE MUSIC/NIGHTLIFE

Terra Fermata

Terra Fermata offers a Florida-style nook with hand-selected craft beers, a tiki bar and performances every night. Hang in a hammock under twinkling lights with a cold drink or play a round of tiki toss, corn hole or giant Jenga. Located in the heart of downtown Stuart, the outdoor venue features live music that spans all genres from alternative, to zydeco, to folk, so no two nights are the same.

PLACE TO BRING YOUR DOG

Walton Rocks Beach and Dog Park

Let your furry friend run free at St. Lucie County’s only dog-friendly beach, Walton Rocks Beach and Dog Park. Popular with pups, the off-leash dog park has 24-acres of beach property available for dogs of all sizes to frolic in the sand, surf or catch Frisbees. Park amenities include restrooms, picnic tables and pavilions.

PLACE TO PULL UP YOUR BOAT

Stuart Sandbar

The shallow, clear water at the Stuart Sandbar is an ideal place to anchor a boat and spend the day with family and friends. Swim, relax and play a game in the water while enjoying the salt air and sunshine in the St. Lucie Inlet.

RESTAURANT FOR DINNER/BEST SERVICE AT A RESTAURANT

Sailor’s Return

Expect a stellar restaurant experience with top-notch food, atmosphere and service with a trip to Sailor’s Return. After retiring from decades in the restaurant industry, owners Bob and Tracy Davis decided to jump back in and created this one-of-a-kind spot. Overlooking the St. Lucie River and Sunset Bay Marina, the restaurant features a menu that appeals to a wide variety of tastes, spectacular views and live music seven days a week.

SPOT TO CATCH A WAVE

Stuart Beach

Stuart Beach is known for its dependable waves and windsurfs under the watch of a lifeguard, which is great for beginners. The pros can challenge themselves with choppy waters at this beach on the Atlantic coast of Hutchinson Island. Beachgoers can also enjoy the snack bar, volleyball and basketball courts, a canopy-covered playground and picnic areas. Plus, it’s an easy walk to The Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center and the Elliott Museum.

WOMEN’S CLOTHING

Monkee’s of Stuart

Women of all ages will find fitting fashions at Monkee’s of Stuart. Owner Natalia Meredith first ran into the brand where it’s headquartered in North Carolina. “I had no idea they were a part of a franchise because they are operated like any other small, locally owned boutique,” she recalls. “After further investigation into the company, I was thrilled to open the first Florida location.” The Stuart native and her mother do all of the buying for the store, curating a selection of clothing they know their regulars will love. “Our goal is making sure the customer leaves the store feeling and looking her best,” Meredith says. “We have the sweetest customers and have formed great friendships with many of them.”