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Best of the Valley

Best Mexican Cuisine

The flavors hail from across North and South America, but the masterminds of the best Mexican cuisine in the Wood River Valley are anything but foreign to Blaine County—two large, local families and a stalwart of Ketchum Mexican food claimed the top three honors for this year’s Best Mexican Restaurant category in the Best of the Valley poll.

Best Local Athletes

The Wood River Valley abounds with successful athletes. In the 2018 Best of the Valley polling, Idaho Mountain Express readers selected three that stand out from the crowd in special ways.

Best Hotels

It’s not easy being in the hospitality business, but it’s especially challenging when the community has distinct busy and slack seasons. Our three local Best Hotel winners of 2018—Limelight Hotel, Sun Valley Lodge and the Knob Hill Inn—therefore deserve extra commendation for their dedication in a seasonal economy. Poor snow years, national recessions and destructive fires—Wood River Valley hoteliers have seen it all and rolled with the punches, often managing to make something good out of their situation (like diversified summer events and marketing, which led to a seasonal guest count surpassing even winter numbers).

Best City/County Staffer

Hailey Police Chief Jeff Gunter can be summed up in one word: dedication.

Best Outdoor Gear

The attentive service and knowledgeable advice prevalent in Ketchum’s best outdoor gear shops are rooted in one thing—people who love their jobs. Best of the Valley voters and anyone else who’s spent time in the Wood River Valley can affirm that the smiles and friendly greetings they’re met with when they walk into Backwoods Mountain Sports, The Elephant’s Perch or Sturtevants—the winners of the category in that order—aren’t faked, because they’re there all the time.

Best Teacher

Erika Liebel loved words before she knew their meanings. She loved the sounds, the shapes, the common cypher to unlock places far away from her mother’s house and her Boise home.

Best Companies to Work For

‘Best’ companies deliver a wide range of services.


The results of the tenth annual Best of the Valley survey are in!

Discover the best that the Wood River Valley has to offer, from the most-loved dining and shopping spots to the best entertainment, recreation and professional services.

The Best of the Valley survey is conducted online each spring by the Idaho Mountain Express newspaper, for the Sun Valley Guide magazine. This year, more than 1,500 people voted in the survey. Results of the polling are monitored and verified to ensure that no ballot stuffing occurs.

Congratulations to all of the winners!




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