The Austin Chronicle’s 33rd “Best of Austin” poll is whittling down to its finalists; Editor-in-Chief Kim Jones joined Studio 512 to talk about what’s at stake this year.

“This poll celebrates the best people, places, and businesses in Austin. It’s Austin’s longest-running readers’ poll and the finalists just got announced today! Food categories are in a separate ‘Best of Austin: Restaurants’ poll later in the year.”

There are some “must-watch” categories, according to Kim. Here are her top picks:

“Politics & Media’s ‘Best Controversy’ is a juicy category. It’s got super-timely controversies like the crazy Rainey Street killer conspiracy theories, but also the I-35 expansion, which was on last year’s ballot too (and obviously has a very personal impact on the Chronicle).

“The wild cards in general are really fun and sometimes are an indicator of where the next year’s ballot will go. For instance, we debuted a new category this year, ‘Pop-Up Markets’, because so many of them were popping up in the ‘Shopping: Wild Card’ category. It sometimes takes a while for new categories to gain traction, but ‘Pop-Up Markets’ was popular right off the bat — I think because it’s still really important to Austinites to shop locally, and pop-ups are a great way to do that.

“The ‘Local Beverage Brand’ categories are also really fun — in particular the non-alcoholic category. Each year, it feels like a battle between Austin sparkling water and Austin kombucha, but this year we’ve got a couple spoilers in the form of Slow Luck (a non alcoholic spirit) and a cacao elixir!

“‘Large Live Music Venue’ should be fierce competition: we’ve got three different Moody-named venues (including brand-new, first-time nominee Moody Center), a brand-new EDM club (also first-time nominee The Concourse Project), and two icons (Stubbs, Mohawk).

“Winners will be announced on June 15th in print and online at Winners receive a ‘Best of Austin’ certificate – you may see these or ‘Best of Austin’ banners up at businesses around town.”

Make your voice heard: go to by May 15th at midnight to weigh in on 2023’s finalists!