We may kid about "20 Years of Glamour," but let's recall the Knoxville of 1994, when the Best of Knoxville was launched—a time when our city was the Southeast's underdog. Downtown was pretty much a wasteland after 6 p.m.—even our one repository of bohemia on Market Square, the Snakesnatch Lodge, had closed. Outside of downtown, chain stores and restaurants dominated the landscape, and people seemed to take comfort in being just like most other places. In that inaugural Best of Knoxville, some of the winners included Hooter's, Circuit City, and McDonald's. But even back then we had proud-to-be-local originals who won the hearts of Knoxvillians right from the start: Tomato Head, the Disc Exchange, Litton's, Bike Zoo, and several others. They were places you could not find elsewhere—and now, 20 years later, there are many more local icons that help define the city we live in. Today, Knoxville has finally become its own distinctive place, again—and our Best of Knoxville celebrates all the people, businesses, and institutions that have made us a destination worth traveling to. To all the winners, congratulations—and thank you.
—Coury Turczyn, editor
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