You voted and the results are in! From best brewery to place to get takeout, here are your 2021 Kalkaska, Gaylord & Grayling Red Hot Best winners. Explore the top three in each of the 46 categories to find Red Hot Best winners near you.

A record-breaking 16,000 people voted in MyNorth’s 2021 Red Hot Best Awards. Red Hot Best recognizes winners across seven Northern Michigan regions in 46 unique categories. These categories include restaurants, wineries, front-line workers, home healthcare, golf courses, trails and so much more. Through Red Hot Best we recognize Northern Michigan’s top businesses, entrepreneurs, events and places.

Read on to see who took home first, second and third place in all of Kalkaska, Gaylord & Grayling’s 46 2021 Red Hot Best categories.

Searching for the full winner’s list? From Benzie and Leelanau to across the bridge in the Upper Peninsula, here are the Red Hot Best Winners 2021: The Best of Northern Michigan.


  1. Elliot Blumberg, Blumberg & Blumberg, PC Gaylord

Auto Dealer

  1. Bill Marsh Ford, Kalkaska
  2. Matt LaFontaine Chevrolet Buick GMC, Grayling
  3. Jim Wernig Chevrolet, Gaylord

Auto Repair

  1. Tie: Alpine Auto Repair, Gaylord & Fuhrs Grayling Car Care
  2. Sure Stop Auto LLC, Gaylord
  3. Tie: James Long, South Boardman & Matt LaFontaine Chevrolet Buick GMC, Grayling

Bank/Financial Institution

  1. 4Front Credit Union, Kalkaska
  2. Huntington Bank, Kalkaska
  3. North Central Area Credit Union, Grayling


  1. Otsego Lake State Park, Gaylord
  2. Lake Margrethe, Grayling
  3. Bear Lake, Kalkaska


  1. Paddle Hard Brewing, Grayling
  2. Big Buck Brewery, Gaylord
  3. Rolling Oak Brewing Co., Grayling


  1. Jennifer Malicowski, AuSable Family Dental, P.C., Grayling
  2. Jacob Soenen, Birch Street Dental Care, Kalkaska
  3. William Koenig DDS, Gaylord Family Dentistry


  1. National Trout Festival, Kalkaska
  2. AuSable River Festival, Grayling
  3. Alpenfest, Gaylord


  1. Facebook: Alpine Chocolat Haus Gaylord
  2. Facebook & Instagram: @otsegoresort
  3. Facebook & Instagram: @treetopsmich

Family Physician

  1. Michael Samalik MD, McLaren Northern Michigan – Gaylord Family Practice
  2. Natalie Okerson-Sparks MD, Kalkaska Medical Associates
  3. Andrew J. Long DO, Kalkaska Medical Associates

Financial Service Advisor

  1. Bill Forreider, Edward Jones, Gaylord
  2. Mark Sloan, Ameriprise Financial Services, Grayling
  3. Justin Cherwinski, GLP & Associates, Kalkaska

Fishing Charter

  1. Gates Au Sable Lodge, Grayling
  2. Old AuSable Fly Shop, Grayling
  3. Ron’s Fly Shop, Grayling

Floor Covering

  1. Hickerson Floor & Tile Haus, Gaylord
  2. Jarrad’s Carpet Direct, Kalkaska
  3. McLean’s Home Center Inc., Kalkaska

Food Truck

  1. Tie: The Dig’s Food Truck, Elmira & Billy Bob’s Boneyard, Kalkaska
  2. K & J Grill Food Truck, Gaylord
  3. Food at Northbound Outfitters, Grayling

Front Line Worker

  1. Kendra Churches RN, Otsego Memorial Hospital
  2. Doug Galer, Otsego County EMS/Rescue Team
  3. Shelley Holm RN

Golf Course

  1. Treetops Resort, Gaylord
  2. Twin Birch Golf Course, Kalkaska
  3. Grandview Golf Club, Kalkaska

Photo by Treetops Resort

Brewery – Kalkaska, Gaylord & Grayling: Paddle Hard Brewing, Gaylord

Photo by Jesse Green

Hotel, Inn or Resort

  1. Treetops Resort, Gaylord
  2. Otsego Resort, Gaylord
  3. Woodland Motor Lodge, Grayling

Local Artist/Maker

  1. Brianna Nelson, Shoot Me Photography, Kalkaska
  2. AuSable Artisan Village, Grayling *all of the artists were recognized*
  3. Cara Barajas, Cara Bear Tattoo, Gaylord

Locally Made Cider or Seltzer

  1. Pie Pants, Snowbelt Brewing Co., Gaylord
  2. Fall Harvest Cider, Big Buck Brewery, Gaylord

Local TV Person

  1. Joey DeBerardino, 9&10 News


  1. Peter Oppermann OD, Gaylord Eye Care Center
  2. William Dean OD, Ausable Eye Care, Grayling
  3. Kari M. Visser-Robel OD, Gaylord

Outdoor Dining

  1. Ray’s BBQ, Brews & Blues, Grayling
  2. Alpine Tavern & Eatery, Gaylord
  3. Porter Haus, Gaylord

Pet/Wildlife Nonprofit

  1. Otsego County Animal Shelter, Gaylord
  2. Silver Muzzle Cottage, Rapid City
  3. Ausable Valley Animal Shelter, Grayling

Place for a Wedding

  1. Sonshine Barn Wedding & Event Center, Gaylord
  2. Sojourn Lakeside Resort, Gaylord
  3. Treetops Resort, Gaylord

Place to Buy a Book

  1. Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord
  2. Tip’n the Mitten, Grayling

Place to Buy a Gift

  1. Old Spud Warehouse, Gaylord
  2. Jay’s Sporting Goods, Gaylord
  3. Tie: Call of the Wild Museum, Gaylord & The Curator, Grayling & Tip’n the Mitten, Grayling

Place to Buy Jewelry

  1. Hogan’s Jewelers, Gaylord
  2. Davis Jewelers, Grayling
  3. Kay Jewelers, Gaylord

Place to Buy Pet Items

  1. Tractor Supply Co., Gaylord
  2. Kalkaska Feed & Supply
  3. Natural Farm Store/Lodi Trading Company, Kalkaska

Place to Buy Windows

  1. Preston Feather, Gaylord
  2. Kalkaska Windows & Glass
  3. Apex Exteriors, Gaylord

Place to Get Active/Outdoor Wear & Gear

  1. Jay’s Sporting Goods, Gaylord
  2. Northbound Outfitters, Grayling
  3. White Birch Outfitters, Gaylord

Place to Get Global Food

  1. El Rancho Mexican Restaurant, Gaylord
  2. The Bearded Dogg Lounge, Gaylord
  3. China West, Grayling

Place to Get Takeout

  1. Tinker’s Junction, Grayling
  2. Alpine Tavern & Eatery, Gaylord
  3. Bear’s Den Pizzeria, Grayling


  1. Nate Spencer, South Boardman

Radio Personality

  1. JC, Q100 94.5/100.3/106.3
  2. Mike Reling, EAGLE 101.5
  3. Susan Melton, Big Country 102.9

Real Estate Agent

  1. Craig Hinkle, RE/MAX of Grayling
  2. Hannah Techel, The Team Real Estate Group, Gaylord
  3. Paig Switalski, Smith Realty Group, Gaylord

Residential Cleaning

  1. Bam’s Cleaning Service, Kalkaska
  2. SERVPRO of Gaylord & Cheboygan
  3. Adams Carpet Cleaning, Gaylord


  1. Trout Town Tavern & Eatery, Kalkaska
  2. Ray’s – BBQ, Brews & Blues, Grayling
  3. Bennethum’s Northern Inn, Gaylord


  1. Timberlie’s Salon Studio, Kalkaska
  2. From Head to Toe, Kalkaska
  3. Bliss Salon & Spa, Gaylord

Tattoo Artist

  1. Cara Bear Tattoo, Paragon Ink, Gaylord

Tax Prep Service

  1. Crawford Accounting & Tax Preparation, Kalkaska
  2. Diane’s Accounting & Tax Service, Johannesburg
  3. Tie: Chet Szymanski, Gaylord & JPK Accounting Co. Grayling


  1. Tawni Deike, Forest Area High School, Fife Lake
  2. Brad Wagner, Grayling Middle School
  3. Nick Nowak, Gaylord Intermediate School

Veterinarian Practice

  1. Kalkaska Animal Hospital
  2. Grayling Hospital For Animals
  3. Alpine Animal Hospital, Gaylord

Find this article and more in the June 2021 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine; or subscribe and get Traverse delivered to your door each month.