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Jordan Roberts.

Fort Worth appears to be maturing. Finally. Just a couple of years ago, Fall Gallery Night consisted of the same handful of art spaces that have been around forever. But for the most recent version of the annual event, there were more places showing more art than any human could reasonably visit within a six-hour period. And restaurants? Could you have imagined just a few years ago a spot like Cork & Pig Tavern, Oni Ramen, Piattello Italian Kitchen, 44 Bootlegger, or any other of our wonderful contemporary-cuisine establishments keeping their doors open for longer than six weeks? And while the music scene is as potent and diverse as ever, now it’s no longer concentrated in one little corner of the West 7th corridor – it’s at festivals all over town, in Sundance Square, and even down on South Main Street, a.k.a. that kinda scary No-Man’s Land that’s been lifeless for decades. Well done, Fort Worth. Well done.

As Fort Worth continues growing into the metropolis we know it can be, our fair burgh will also experience some world-class problems. At least we know we have the strength, smarts, and diversity to survive whatever comes our way, allowing us now to take a few moments out of our hyper-political lives to enjoy all of the great art, food, goods, services, and people that help make this city that we all know and love feel like home.

Now don’t be fooled by cheap imitators. Fort Worth Weekly’s annual Best Of Fort Worth issue is the oldest, most trusted news source of its kind in Tarrant County. While some competitors sell awards to the most desperate advertisers, we here at the Weekly choose our winners the old-fashioned way: by researching them with actual journalists, not salespeople. We also consult our readers. Thousands of votes (most online but some in print) piled into our office over the past month. Yep, we counted every one.

Our 22nd annual celebration of all that’s the tops in the great 817 is, per our style, served up with a dollop of good humor. Now is not the time to cry over political divisions. We need to engage in the truly great debates of our time. Who serves the best barbecue? Which city councilmember really has our back? Who’s the best visual artist? Who’s our fiercest watchdog? What was the best play this year? Pizza! Even if only for a couple of minutes, Best Of Fort Worth lets us come together but not to go at one another with our pitchforks and knives. Unless, of course, we have opinions different from the ones in print. At which point we are more than welcome to discuss them on social media, like the trolls that we are. (Just be sure to use #bestofFW17!)

Putting together this issue every year is something of a minor beatdown, and I’d like to thank everyone involved for making Best Of Fort Worth 2017 one of the, uh, best issues ever, from the writers and voters to the sales team and production department. We love doing it every year because we love Fort Worth. So come on in, put your feet up, and enjoy. The best is yet to come. – Anthony Mariani

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