Best of Philly

Best Local Hero

2023 Best Poultry Protagonist

The Chicken Man

Last November, Barclay Prime server Alexander Tominsky consumed 40 rotisserie chickens in 40 days for reasons that were neither religious nor athletic nor psychologically sound. (If you count all the chickens he dreamed about during the process, he says, it was probably more like eating 300 fowl.) Tominsky’s chicken ingestion captured the attention of our city, culminating in a final chicken nosh session at the abandoned pier by Walmart for all to see. He doubts this could have happened anywhere but Philadelphia. We agree. Read More »

2023 Best Post-Game Performance


Paul Vile — a.k.a. Jelloman — has been a gelatinous folk hero for years, known for benevolently launching pre-packaged Jell-O shots into eager crowds at music festivals and Eagles tailgates. But his boozy legend reached new heights during the NFC Championship­ celebration, when he crowd-surfed the gathered Broad Street masses sling-shotting cups of kelly green slurpables. Then the Super Bowl requests flooded in, so of course Vile (yup, Kurt’s bro) spent the run-up prepping an astounding 4,000 shots of jiggly­ juice. Read More »

2022 Best We-Knew-Him-When

James Ijames

Ijames has been on the Philadelphia theater circuit for nearly two decades, writing and directing plays across town. His reward? Just a little moment in the spotlight in the form of a Pulitzer Prize for his latest opus, Fat Ham, a reimagining of Hamlet set in the South. The show just capped a three-month run at New York’s Public Theater — the place that once put on a plucky little production called ­Hamilton — but nothing will change the fact that the premiere was here, at the Wilma Theatre, where Ijames serves as an artistic director. Read More »


2022 Best Tech Champion

Sylvester Mobley

Mobley has been a citywide hero for a long while, having previously been honored with the prestigious 2018 Philadelphia Award for his groundbreaking work in advancing his nonprofit, Coded by Kids. But he’s become a tech legend since launching his new venture capital fund for under-represented founders — and he continues to rack up national recognition and accolades, including being named a For(bes) the Culture 50 Champions honoree last year. Read More »

2022 Best Quizzo Partner

Ryan Long

We all watched him plow through the Jeopardy! competition this past spring, but it wasn’t his domination that kept us tuning in every night. It was his kindness, his humor, and — well, the fact that he repped Philly every chance he got. (First purchase with his winnings? A Reggie White Eagles jersey.) When he returns for the Tournament of Champions in November, we know who we’ll be rooting for. Read More »

2022 Best Prodigal Daughter

Maisha Kelly

This West Mount Airy native, who graduated from St. Joe’s and went to grad school at Temple, last year was named athletic director at Drexel — the first Black woman AD at any of the city’s D-1 colleges. Stints at Rutgers, Vanderbilt and Bucknell prepared the mom of two young kids — her husband’s with Temple’s track and field program — for the role. “I know that my pathway was formed by others who have been first,” she told the Inquirer of her rarefied status. But there haven’t been many: Of 248 open NCAA college AD positions between 2010 and 2019, only 11 were filled by Black women. Go, Dragons! Read More »

2022 Best Plot Twist

The Tale of the Teeth

Bear with us here, because this one is complicated and unlikely. Last February, a local driver named Greg (understandably, his last name’s been withheld) rammed into the car of Ambler’s Cecilly Rudalavage on the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge. While they were exchanging info, Rudalavage, a sales rep for implant maker Ditron Dental USA, noticed — well, Greg’s lack of teeth, long an embarrassment and handicap for him. Through her professional contacts, she arranged for Fairless Hills surgeon Simon Oh to rebuild Greg’s jawbone and implant a full set of new teeth … for free. Now? Everybody’s smiling. Read More »

2022 Best Grace Under Pressure


How Philly’s coolest hometown hero just got cooler, in four steps: 1) Directed the riveting Summer of Soul. 2) Won an Oscar for it. 3) Gave an unruffled (heartfelt, human) acceptance speech mere moments after Will Smith’s slap heard ’round the world. 4) Admitted he missed the whole shebang because he’d been meditating. At the Oscars. Questo forever! Read More »

2021 Best Cleanup Act

Terrill Haigler, a.k.a. Ya Fav Trashman

Of all the pandemic’s heroes, none is more uniquely Philly than Haigler, who rose to Instagram prominence during last summer’s trash slowdown by delivering trash tips and updates and has since parlayed that fame into his own block-by-block, neighborhood-by-neighborhood­ city-cleanup operation. Read More »


2021 Best Nose

Lon Taylor

Cyrano de Bergerac has nothin’ on this Chester County newspaper delivery guy, who averted a Christmas Day disaster at the Ovations at Elk View 55-plus community by sniffing out and reporting a big gas leak while making his rounds. After evacuating residents, PECO found a broken gas line and high levels of natural gas throughout the community center’s basement. A Christmas miracle! Read More »