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When planning this year’s Best Of issue, the northforker team had a challenge before us: How do we recreate something that was a success in its first year, but make it still feel new?

The answer was to make it more competitive. So we narrowed down the number of winners, from between six to eight in most categories last year, to a maximum five in 2022. We also eliminated a handful of categories to cut it down to 50 total.

And unlike last year, where it was truly just the members of our staff debating over which businesses and public spaces to include in each of our Eat, Drink, Live and Breathe categories, we had data to draw from to consider how our readers feel. For example, we made sure to include any winner of our readers’ choice voting last year, among our five staff picks this time around. And if our team was truly divided on who to include as a winner in certain categories, we looked at how our audience voted in 2021 to break the tie.

Of course, the winners are still largely guided by staff experience. Wine Country Deli in Calverton, for example, was not considered a year ago in the best deli category, but after several great trips there this year, we made a stronger case for it in 2022.

We also added some new businesses among the various categories, but not too new, so if a place opened in the spring of 2022, you likely won’t find it on our list until 2023.

Yes, next year. We want this to be an annual tradition; something our readers look forward to and that local businesses get excited about. We’d love to see the Best of 2022 stickers displayed prominently at shops and restaurants. Encourage your social media followers to share posts and vote in the readers’ choice vote, which will be ongoing through July 20.

We’re also inviting winners to a Best of Event, happening at RG|NY on Aug. 4.

Simply put, the North Fork is the best place in the world, so for us to celebrate the best it has to offer is a great privilege and a fun exercise each summer.

We hope you enjoy navigating all of our selections and having your say at this month.

About the cover

For the second year in a row, we’ve worked with local illustrator Kaitlin Beebe to create the look of our Best of the North Fork issue.

As we noted last year, the North Fork native’s series of “Island Life” drawings, done in vibrant marker, are infused with her own love for the area.

You can visit to see more of her work and to purchase prints and other items featuring her illustrations