Baltimore Sun readers voted on what’s best in the area, from antiques to veterinary surgeries. This year’s winners include individuals and companies who have been recognized for outstanding service and customer satisfaction over the past year. Several companies stood out from the crowd despite the pandemic-induced drop in trade.

The winners of the readers’ poll were chosen by the readers in May.

Visit for more categories.

Baltimore center stage

700 N. Calvert St., Baltimore,, (410) 332-0033

Congratulations to Baltimore Center Stage! You certainly don’t look your age for a 60-year-old theater company.

As it celebrates six decades of live theater production, the Maryland State Theater — like many regional theaters across the country have chosen — might choose to get a little staid, a little smug. As the largest and oldest professional theater company in the Old Line State, it has filled its seasons with yesterday’s classics and proven crowd favorites.

It could coddle the audience instead of challenging them. But then it wouldn’t be Center Stage.

Founded in 1963 by visionary Peter W. Culman, the company has never been afraid to experiment and take risks since its inception: directing financially risky new works, accepting color-blind casts, and introducing audiences to voices and perspectives unfamiliar.

Over the past three decades, the theater’s commitment to shaking things up has been refined and sharpened by former artistic directors Irene Lewis and Kwame Kwei-Armah, a trend Stephanie Ybarra, who has led the company since 2018, is eager to continue.

“I want to build on what Irene and Kwame have achieved,” Ybarra said.

It’s not like Center Stage shys away from the classics. The final show of the 2021/22 season was The Bakkhai, an ancient Greek tragedy first recorded in 405 BC. was listed. But two major themes in this 2,400-year-old work are gender fluctuation and the dangers of a mob mentality — issues that dominate today’s headlines.

Ybarra also seeks to strengthen Center Stage’s ties with the city and state in which the theater is located.

She launched a series of “Baltimore Butterfly Sessions,” which combine music, poetry, literary excerpts, and talks on issues such as climate change, racial violence, and media portrayals of Baltimore.

She opened the theater’s lobby for an American Red Cross blood drive and worked with the NAACP to sponsor a debate between gubernatorial candidates.

Next season will also see a new “locally grown” festival of Baltimore artists exploring diverse forms of storytelling, from music to spoken word to visual arts.

If the 60th anniversary season is going to have a unifying theme, Ybarra said, it will be “Our Town Baltimore.”

“We’re going to look at how our city works,” she said. “We will look to the past, but we will also look ahead to ask what Baltimore and Baltimore Center Stage can be for generations to come.”

Bowling: Mustang Alley’s Bar, Bowling & Bistro


Patterson Bowling Center

forest hill paths


Casino: Maryland Live! casino


Horseshoe Casino Baltimore

Hollywood Casino Perryville

Charity/Non-Profit: Caroline Center


Hampden Family Center

Archdiocese of Baltimore

Second Chance Inc.

College/University: Towson University


Loyola University Maryland

Johns Hopkins University

Morgan State University

Dog Park: Patterson Park


Canton Dog Park

Burdick Park

Perry Paw Dog Park

Golf Course: Pine Ridge Golf Course


Mount Pleasant Golf Course

Bulle Rock Golf Course

Greystone Golf Course

Museum: American Visionary Art Museum


Art Museum Baltimore

The Walters Art Museum

B&O Railway Museum

Park: Patapsco Valley State Park


Patterson Park

Oregon Ridge Park and Nature Center

Druid Hill Park

Private school: Loyola Blakefield


Calvert Hall College Grammar School

High School Mercy

St. Louis School

Suburb: Ellicott City Historic District





Theater Company: Baltimore Center Stage


Toby’s Dinner Theater

Baltimore Rock Opera Society

Baltimore Choral Arts Society (tie)

Single Carrot Theater (Tie)

Tourist attraction: American Visionary Art Museum


National Aquarium

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Avenue Hampden

Way: Torrey C. Brown Rail Trail


Gwynn’s Falls Trail

Baltimore court

Baltimore court


Find out about the new restaurant, learn more about the chef changes and discover your new favorite recipe. All of your Baltimore food news is here.

Herring Run Park

North Park Loop Trail (Joe K’s Trail)

Wedding location: American Visionary Art Museum


The monastery castle

The elm

Baltimore Industrial Museum

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *