Editor Letter: Celebrating the Best

Amid turmoil, we can still celebrate the best in people and places throughout our community.
Barry Glenn


Last November, when the Orlando Magic unveiled their gray and orange “City Edition” jerseys, what was emblazoned on the front instantly caught my eye: ORL. Of course, Best of ORL is the name of our annual reader poll, with more than seven dozen categories that we put before readers and ask them to vote for their favorites. The Magic and star Jonathan Isaac graciously agreed to help us celebrate the annual selections in this issue with photos of the big-hearted star, as well as lending us jerseys that some of the winners could sport in their photos.

Wait, did I just use the word “celebrate’’? Is there really anything to celebrate in this time of sickness and social unrest? I would offer a resounding yes, and you’ll find a lot of it in this issue. First, there’s Isaac, to whom we gave a special award: “Biggest Heart’’ because of his work helping to feed children in need during the pandemic. Then there are the winners chosen by readers. Certainly this is a trying time for most local businesses—all the more reason to lend them your support. And there are also the personalities whom we celebrate, from community leaders to radio hosts to a couple trying to dole out a measure of good cheer by turning Lego characters into social media stars that roam The City Beautiful.

Need more to celebrate? Check out our lineup of eight great African American-owned restaurants that specialize in vegan offerings, Ethiopian fare, soul food, scrumptious sweets and much more. For inspiration, read the riveting story of Dr. Mark McDonough, who as a teenager was badly burned in a fire that killed his mother and brother but overcame unfathomable pain and scars to find his calling as a plastic surgeon. We continue to be committed to offering readers viable options for getaway excursions; this month we take a jaunt over to the Melbourne Beach area, where you can enjoy a predawn wildlife tour of Indian River Lagoon, among other memorable activities.

Finally, in her Extra Pulp column, Laura Anders Lee reflects on the memories of Saturdays down South—aka college football. Okay, I admit there is a twinge of sadness on that subject because as I write this, things don’t look good that the beloved pastime will crank up this fall. And that is truly jarring.

But we’ll still find things to celebrate. In the coming months, they’ll include more restaurants, community leaders, the arts, pets and…pizzas! That’s right, we’re pitting 32 prime places for pizza against one another in a weekly bracket matchup, until there’s just one restaurant left standing (think March Madness). But we need your help. So join the fun by going to orlandomagazine.com/pizzabracket and filling out your bracket. And watch for our Best Pizzas issue in November.

Categories: Column