2018 Boston's Best

The population is growing. The cranes are rising. There is no doubt: Boston is booming.


And yet, it’s not the numbers that make city living so desirable these days. It’s the people—and the places where we eat, drink, shop, workout and get all dolled up. For the 27th consecutive year, The Improper set out to decide which of those places that make our city great were the best of the bunch. We started on a cold March night, under threat of a major snowstorm, when a couple dozen judges gathered at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston. With suggestions in hand from arts bigwigs, chefs, fashion trendsetters and more, the staff and readers weighed in with their own additional picks. And now, amid a string of blazing hot days, we present a list of 213 winners that are truly the best.


The Boston’s Best Judging Dinner held at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston. Photo Credit: Leo Gozbekian

Front row, left to right: Ray Peleckas, founder/owner of Burnin’ by Ray; Joseph Durkin, regional director at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital; Michelle Finamore, fashion curator at the Museum of Fine Arts; Peggy Fogelman, director of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; Matt Martinelli, editor at The Improper; Laura Sceppa, CFO/VP of administration at The Improper; Jadiann Thompson, news anchor at Ch. 7 (WHDH-TV); Shayna Seymour, host at Chronicle (WCVB-TV); Wendy Semonian Eppich, publisher at The Improper; Bill Eppich, general manager at The Improper; Jonathan Soroff, feature writer/social columnist at The Improper; Stacey Shane Lloyd, director of marketing and public relations at The Improper; Philipp Knuepfer, general manager at the Mandarin Oriental, Boston; Leon Semonian

Back row, left to right: Megan Flynn, co-owner of M. Flynn; Emily Keneally, founder of Alice Walk; Moria Flynn, co-owner of M. Flynn; Juan Pedrosa, executive chef at Yvonne’s; Ashley Bernon, philanthropist; Jamie Bissonette, chef/co-owner at Coppa, Toro and Little Donkey; Sean Leonard, CEO of the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts; Katie Doyle, co-founder of Brass clothing; Jennifer Wood, owner/founder of Herd Nerd Spice; Isaac Haselkorn, musician in Almost Owen; Joseph Heroun, design director at The Improper; Kerry Brett, contributing photographer at The Improper; Karen Keane, CEO of Skinner Inc.; Eliza Shirazi, founder of Kick It By Eliza; John D. Spooner, contributing editor at The Improper; Julia Aparicio, associate editor at The Improper; Cathryn Haight, editorial assistant at The Improper; Marissa Angelone, senior designer at The Improper; Holly Rike, photo editor at The Improper; Nathan Tavares, assistant editor at The Improper

Not pictured: Sarah Hagman, managing editor at The Improper; Latrell James, musician; Jessica Knez, owner of All Too Human; Melinda Lopez, playwright/actress; Jane Miller, senior designer at Rafanelli Events; Dutch ReBelle, musician; Wanda Strukus, chief programming officer at Boston Center for the Arts; Emily Turner, digital editor at The Improper.


Adam Smith is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in various publications including BostInno, The Boston Herald and elsewhere. A resident of Boston for nearly two decades, he was previously a staff copy editor at the Herald. He contributed to the Goods + Services section.

C. Dimiti is a Boston-based writer who believes in the chameleonic power of fashion and that there’s nothing a good red lipstick can’t solve. She delights in a good sale, quality pieces that marry form and function and obliterating the presumption that Bostonians have little appreciation for style. She contributed to the Fashion section.

Cheryl Fenton is a Boston-based freelance writer for magazines and digital publications. A self-proclaimed “kitchen sink” writer, she has covered everything from interior design (yes, including the kitchen sink) to fashion, beauty and food for The Boston Globe, Boston magazine, Boston Common, The Improper, Glamour, InStyle and Whole Foods. She contributed to the Weddings and Beauty + Health sections. Photo credit: Elizabeth Orrell

Jacqueline Houton is a word nerd who’s currently copy editing children’s and young adult books by day and freelance writing on the side. She is a former editor of The Improper and a former managing editor at The Phoenix and STUFF Magazine, and her writing has also been published in outlets such as Boston magazine, Big Red & Shiny and Bitch magazine. She lives in Cambridge with her musician-turned-techie husband and two Rubenesque cats. She contributed to the Arts + Entertainment section.

MC Slim JB is The Improper’s restaurant critic and a food-and-drinks feature writer who has contributed to many local and national publications, including Boston magazine, Take Magazine, Serious Eats, DigBoston, Maxim, The Boston Phoenix, Stuff Magazine, AskMen, Gayot and CitySearch. A New England
he is a longtime resident of Boston. He contributed to the Food + Drink section.

Scott Kearnan is a Boston-based writer and editor focusing on food, lifestyle, arts and entertainment for outlets such as The Boston Herald, Boston Spirit, The Improper and Boston magazine. He’s also a Leo with Gemini rising, so in other words: Run. Follow his work and pop culture musings on Twitter @TheWriteStuffSK. He contributed to the Bars + Clubs, Food + Drink and Arts + Entertainment sections.

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