Welcome to Family Faves, our 5th annual reader survey - the survey formerly known as Columbus Parent's Best of Columbus! New name (to help distinguish it from all the other "Best of" surveys out there), but the same goal: To find out what matters most to central Ohio families when it comes to spending their hard-earned money and precious time.

Welcome to Family Faves, our 5th annual reader survey - the survey formerly known as Columbus Parent's Best of Columbus! New name (to help distinguish it from all the other "Best of" surveys out there), but the same goal: To find out what matters most to central Ohio families when it comes to spending their hard-earned money and precious time.

A few notes on how we conduct the survey: Our online ballot featured worthy nominees in each category (culled from staff picks and write-in votes from the previous year). If a nominee from a previous year received less than 5 percent of the vote in that category, the nominee was removed from the ballot (but could still be written in).

Votes were collected online during the months of June and July, then we tallied the votes and determined who our winners and runners-up were.

We publish not only our winners and next two runners-up, but we also feature Honorable Mention winners, who are candidates who received at least 5 percent of the vote in that category (and they're listed in alphabetical order).

Now read on and enjoy your 2015 Family Faves!

HOW WE EAT FAVORITE ASIAN-FOOD RESTAURANT

HOUSE OF JAPAN - DUBLIN

6153 Parkcenter Circle, Dublin 43017; 614-792-2445; houseofjapanohio.com

No doubt about it: Japanese steakhouses are the faves with central Ohio families. This year, it's House of Japan's Dublin location that takes top honors with its combination of great food and dazzling chef-entertainment!

RUNNERS-UP: Genji Japanese Steakhouse – Reynoldsburg; Molly Woo's Asian Bistro

HONORABLE MENTION (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER): Akai Hana Japanese Restaurant; China Dynasty (Rt. 161); Genji Japanese Steakhouse – Dublin; Hunan Lion (Bethel Road); Lucky House (Westerville); Tai's Asian Bistro; Thai Grille; Thai Orchid

FAVORITE BAKERY

RESCH'S BAKERY

4061 E. Livingston Ave. (Whitehall), Columbus 43227; 614-237-7421; reschbakery.com

Resch's tops the field again, for the fifth year in a row (though it must be said, they got some stiff competition this year from Schneider's in Westerville). Whether it's their mouth-watering donuts or their traditional birthday sheet cakes, Resch's is a fave with families!

RUNNERS-UP: Schneider's Bakery; Pistacia Vera

HONORABLE MENTION: Cherbourg Bakery; Fantasy Cupcake, Froggy's Sweets & More; La Chatelaine French Bakery & Bistro – Dublin; La Chatelaine French Bakery & Bistro – Upper Arlington; La Chatelaine French Bakery & Bistro – Worthington; Mozart's Bakery and Piano Café; The Original Goodie Shop; Pattycake Bakery; The Suisse Shop

FAVORITE FANCY FAMILY DINING

CAP CITY FINE DINER AND BAR – GRANDVIEW HEIGHTS

1299 Olentangy River Road (Grandview Heights), Columbus 43212; 614-291-3663; capcityfinediner.com

When it's time to celebrate a special family event, Cap City Fine Diner and Bar in Grandview Heights is the fave! They've topped this category before, but this is the first time we made them compete against themselves (and the Gahanna location still placed high as well).

RUNNERS-UP: Brio Tuscan Grille – Easton; The Melting Pot

HONORABLE MENTION: Bravo! Cucina Italiana – NW Columbus; Buca di Beppo – Arena District; Buca di Beppo – Worthington; Cap City Fine Diner and Bar – Gahanna; Giammarco's; J. Liu Restaurant & Bar – Dublin; Lindey's Restaurant & Bar; Marcella's Italian Kitchen (Polaris)

FAVORITE FROZEN TREATS – MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

GRAETER'S

graeters.com

This is the first year we both combined all possible frozen treats (ice cream, custard, yogurt) into one category and also divided the candidates into those that operate out of multiple locations and those with single locations. Graeter's scored a resounding victory among the multiples!

RUNNERS-UP: Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams; Whit's Frozen Custard

HONORABLE MENTION: Handel's Homemade Ice Cream & Yogurt; Menchie's Frozen Yogurt

FAVORITE FROZEN TREATS – SINGLE LOCATION

VELVET ICE CREAM'S ICE CREAM PARLOR

11324 Mt. Vernon Road, Utica 43080; 800-589-5000; velveticecream.com

While we saw lots of votes for various neighborhood ice-cream and fro-yo joints, it was longtime local Velvet Ice Cream's Ice Cream parlor, a turn-of-the-19th-century place located near their Utica factory, that takes top honors. It's open daily from April through October.

RUNNERS-UP: Johnson's Real Ice Cream; OH-YO! Frozen Yogurt

HONORABLE MENTION: Clown Cone & Confections; Coppa Gelato; Ollie's Fine Ice Cream; Tony's Coneys

FAVORITE GLUTEN-FREE MENU

RUSTY BUCKET RESTAURANT AND TAVERN

myrustybucket.com

Rusty Bucket wrests back the crown in this category from B.J.'s. It's a tribute to all these candidates that central Ohio families know they can count on great meals without gluten worries when they need them!

RUNNERS-UP: B.J.'s Restaurant and Brewhouse; Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers

HONORABLE MENTION: Cap City Fine Diner and Bar; Local Roots; Marcella's Italian Kitchen; Raisin Rack Café

FAVORITE GROCERY STORE/MARKET

GIANT EAGLE MARKET DISTRICT - KINGSDALE

3061 Kingsdale Center (Upper Arlington), Columbus 43221; 614-538-0762; marketdistrict.com

What's not to love about a grocery store that's open 24 hours? Whether it's a diaper run or a prosciutto craving at midnight, locals know just where to go!

RUNNERS-UP: Whole Foods Market – Dublin; Trader Joe's – Easton

HONORABLE MENTION: Carfagna's Market; Fresh Thyme – Dublin; Lucky's Market; North Market; Trader Joe's – Dublin; Weiland's Market

FAVORITE ITALIAN RESTAURANT

THE SPAGHETTI WAREHOUSE RESTAURANT

397 W. Broad St. (Franklinton), Columbus 43215; 614-463-0143; meatballs.com

For more than 40 years, the Spaghetti Warehouse has been a mainstay in central Ohio Italian dining! Whether you love them for their 15-layer lasagna or their active involvement in the community (they donate a lot of spaghetti to local foodbanks), they're a family fave!

RUNNERS-UP: Marcella's Italian Kitchen; Carrabba's Italian Grill

HONORABLE MENTION: Buca di Beppo- Arena District; Buca di Beppo – Worthington; Carfagna's Kitchen; Giammarco's; Giuseppe's Ritrovo; Moretti's of Arlington; Villa Nova Ristorante

FAVORITE LATIN FOOD RESTAURANT

CHILE VERDE CAFÉ - SAWMILL

4852 Sawmill Road, Columbus 43235; 614-442-6630; childverdecafe.com

This was another category where we split the nominees into individual locations. El Vaquero (the previous winner) still fared well in the competition, but it was Chile Verde Café's Sawmill location that rose to the top this year.

RUNNERS-UP: Abuelo's; La Fogata Grill

HONORABLE MENTION: Cuco's Taqueria & Grill; Senor Antonio's Mexicano Restaurante; El Vaquero Mexican Restaurant – Dublin

FAVORITE PIZZA – MULTIPLE LOCATIONS

DONATOS

donatos.com

Hometown hero Donatos is another five-time champ (which means they've always been champ since this is the fifth year for our Best of Columbus/Family Faves reader survey). This year they competed against any pizza purveyor who operates more than one location.

RUNNERS-UP: Jet's Pizza; Dewey's Pizza

HONORABLE MENTION: Harvest Pizzeria; Massey's Pizza; Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers; Mikey's Late Night Slice; Pies & Pints; Pizza Cottage; Pizza House; Tommy's Pizza and Subs

FAVORITE PIZZA – SINGLE LOCATION

PLANK'S CAFÉ & PIZZERIA

743 Parsons Ave., Columbus 43206; 614-443-6251; plankscafe.com

Before there was a part of town called German Village, there was Plank's. First opened in 1939 at the corner of Sycamore and Parsons, it is now run by the third generation of the Plank family. Locals love their pizzas, subs and salads!

RUNNERS-UP: Hounddog's Pizza; Kingy's Pizza Pub

HONORABLE MENTION: Amato's Woodfired Pizza; Brooklyn Pizza; Eagles Pizza; Natalie's Coal Fired Pizza; Pasquale's Italian Restaurant; Rubino's Pizza; Yellow Brick Pizza

FAVORITE RESTAURANT WITH GAMES AND ACTIVITIES

DAVE & BUSTER'S - POLARIS

1554 Polaris Parkway, Suite 206 (Polaris), Columbus 43240; 614-310-6800; daveandbusters.com

Here's another category where splitting up multiple-location operations like Dave & Buster's might have ended their perennial perch atop the standings. Nope, they just took first and second in the results!

RUNNERS-UP: Dave & Buster's – Hilliard; Rule (3)

HONORABLE MENTION: Chuck E. Cheese's – Dublin; KDB Easton; Star Lanes Polaris

HOW WE SPEND OUR MONEY FAVORITE ART INSTRUCTION

COLUMBUS MUSEUM OF ART

480 E. Broad St. (Downtown), Columbus 43215; 614221-6801; columbusmuseum.org

Even as the Columbus Museum of Art revs up for the opening of its new wing, it never lost sight of its commitment to quality art education. Whether it's the open studios for teens or families, the community outreach programs or the homeschooler and summer workshops, they've earned their Family Fave status!

RUNNERS-UP: Columbus College of Art & Design; Columbus Music and Art Academy

HONORABLE MENTION: Art & Clay on Main; The Arts Castle; Elements Art Studio; Firefly Play Café; Ohio Craft Museum

FAVORITE BIRTHDAY PARTY VENUE

SKY ZONE INDOOR TRAMPOLINE PARK

459 Orange Point Drive, Suite E, Lewis Center 43035; 740-548-4004, columbus.skyzonesports.com

The winner and still champion in this hotly contested category is Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park. Central Ohio families just can't get enough of the bouncing for their birthday parties! Congrats on their fourth win in a row!

RUNNERS-UP: Magic Mountain Fun Centers – Polaris; Lazer Kraze

HONORABLE MENTION: Girls, Glitter and Grace; The Glass Slipper; Rule (3); Star Lanes Polaris; Super Games; Wild Child Salons; World of Bounce – Grove City

FAVORITE BOOK STORE

THE BOOK LOFT OF GERMAN VILLAGE

631 S. Third St. (German Village), Columbus 43206; 614-464-1774; bookloft.com

With our renewed focus on locally owned and operated businesses in this year's reader survey, The Book Loft (along with other indie bookstores) returns to the top of the book pile! And there's no better way to get kids excited about books than with a visit to this excitingly eccentric treasure of a bookstore!

RUNNERS-UP: Village Bookshop; Cover to Cover

HONORABLE MENTION: Acorn Bookshop; Fundamentals Parent-Teacher Store

FAVORITE BOWLING

STAR LANES POLARIS

8655 Lyra Drive (Polaris), Columbus 43240; 614-468-4830, starlanespolaris.com

Star Lanes Polaris has made bowling a high-end, family-fun event and central Ohio families have rewarded them, for the second year in a row. Also appreciated: their snow-day and school-holiday specials!

RUNNERS-UP: AMF Sawmill Lanes; Rule (3)

HONORABLE MENTION: Columbus Square Bowling Palace; Gahanna Lanes; Ten Pin Alley

FAVORITE CHILDREN'S CLOTHES – GENTLY USED

ONCE UPON A CHILD – DUBLIN

5777 Karric Square Drive, Dublin 43016; 614-761-8488; onceuponachildcolumbus.com

Local parents know that this branch of the Once Upon a Child empire, tucked into the Karric Square shopping plaza, has long been one of the biggest and best-stocked locations. It's a family fave destination when it comes time to replenish that back-to-school wardrobe!

RUNNERS-UP: Once Upon a Child – Westerville; Three Bags Full sales

HONORABLE MENTION: Columbus Mothers of Twins Sale; Goodwill Columbus – Dublin; Once Upon a Child - Gahanna

FAVORITE CHILDREN'S CLOTHES - NEW

BELLES & BEAUX CHILDREN'S BOUTIQUE

1249 N. Hamilton Road, Gahanna 43230; 614-473-2000, belles-beaux.com

Now in its 14th year, with a creatively curated collection of beautiful and well-made children's clothing and accessories, Belles & Beaux finds itself at the front of the closet when families are looking for new children's clothes.

RUNNERS-UP: Nicole's for Children; Blankets and Booties

HONORABLE MENTION: lilylimes; Team Chipmunk; What the Rock?!

FAVORITE CHILDREN'S SHOES

STRIDE RITE POLARIS

1500 Polaris Parkway, #1088 (Polaris), Columbus 43240; 614-888-9841; striderite.com

It's a name that parents know and trust when it comes to children's shoes - and now we know that the Polaris location is a Family Fave with central Ohio families!

RUNNERS-UP: Stride Rite Tuttle Crossing; Walker Shoe Center

HONORABLE MENTION: Lucky Shoes; Stride Rite Easton

FAVORITE CHILDREN'S THEATER

COLUMBUS CHILDREN'S THEATRE

512 Park St. (Arena District), Columbus 43215 for most shows; 614-224-6672, columbuschildrenstheatre.org

Five-time champion in this category, Columbus Children's Theatre does not rest lightly on its laurels. Its programming continues to be a thoughtful mix of popular classics (like Pinkalicious and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever) and creative boundary-pushers (like next year's Jackie & Me).

RUNNERS-UP: CATCO Is Kids; Abbey Theater of Dublin

HONORABLE MENTION: Wagnalls Community Theatre; Wexner Center for the Arts

FAVORITE DANCE INSTRUCTION

LEAP OF FAITH DANCE STUDIO

1145 Chesapeake Ave., Unit R (Upper Arlington), Columbus 43212 ; 614-486-1533, lofdance.com

It's a repeat win in this category! With classes in a wide range of dance art forms AND a big commitment to community and faith, central Ohio families gave their votes of approval to Leap of Faith!

RUNNERS-UP: Dublin Dance Centre & Gymnastics; Columbus DanceArts Academy

HONORABLE MENTION: BalletMet Dance Academy; NorthPointe Dance Academy; Straub Dance Center

FAVORITE DROP-IN ART STUDIO

COLOR ME MINE

6375 Perimeter Drive, Dublin 43016; 614-761-1153, dublin.colormemine.com

It's a repeat win for Color Me Mine. This Dublin studio is devoted to the fine and fun art of bisque pottery, whether it's a creating a serving bowl that matches your dining-room décor or the perfect polka-dotted elephant figurine for Mother's Day!

RUNNERS-UP: Clay Café; Marcy's Clayground

HONORABLE MENTION: Art & Clay on Main; The Bare Bowl; Elements Arts Studio

FAVORITE GARDENING SUPPLIES

OAKLAND NURSERY - COLUMBUS

1156 Oakland Park Ave., Columbus 43224; 614-268-3511; oaklandnursery.com

The original Oakland Nursery was founded by Gustav Reiner in 1940, not too far from this Oakland Park Avenue location where it moved in 1950. The business is now run by the second and third generations of the Reiner family.

RUNNERS-UP: Oakland Nursery – Dublin; Strader's Garden Center – Dublin

HONORABLE MENTION: Dill's Greenhouse; Oakland Nursery – Delaware; Oakland Nursery – New Albany; Strader's Garden Center – NW Columbus

FAVORITE MINIATURE GOLF

MAGIC MOUNTAIN FUN CENTER - POLARIS

8350 Lyra Drive (Polaris), Columbus 43240; 614-840-9600; magicmountainfuncenter.com

Whether your family calls it "miniature golf" or just "putt-putt," Magic Mountain's Polaris location is tops with central Ohio families. They've actually got two 18-hole courses at this site! All the better for those highly competitive family showdowns!

RUNNERS-UP: Westerville Golf Center; Glow Putt Mini Golf

HONORABLE MENTION: Galaxy Golf & Games; Magic Mountain Fun Center – SE Columbus; Putt n Play; Sports Ohio

FAVORITE MUSIC INSTRUCTION

MUSICOLOGIE

1400 W. Third Ave., Columbus 43212; 614-407-8740; musicologielessons.com

New to the central Ohio scene and already a fave, Musicologie offers private and group lessons in piano, voice, guitar/ukulele, drums, violin/viola and sax/oboe, as well as summer camps that provide pop-star or recording-producer experiences!

RUNNERS-UP: WeJoySing; Columbus Music and Art Academy

HONORABLE MENTION: Columbus Children's Choir; Guitar Center; Vaughn Music Studios

FAVORITE SPORTS INSTRUCTION

BUCKEYE GYMNASTICS

10562 Sawmill Road, Powell 43065, 614-793-1936; 7159 Northgate Way, Westerville 43082, 614-895-1611; buckeyegymnastics.com

We expanded this category from just gymnastics to include all kinds of sports - but look who won again! Buckeye Gymnastics, which has been a huge part of the central Ohio sports scene since 1982, takes the trophy once more!

RUNNERS-UP: Sports Ohio; Locker Soccer Academy

HONORABLE MENTION: AmeriCheer; ATA Martial Arts – Pickerington; ATA Martial Arts – Powell; Columbus Gymnastics Academy; Gym X-Treme; Integrity Gymnastics; The Little Gym at Polaris; Wendy's Gymnastics & Fitness; Westerville Golf Center

FAVORITE TOYS, GAMES AND LEARNING PRODUCTS

LAKESHORE LEARNING STORE

2148 Polaris Parkway (Polaris), Columbus 43240; 614-846-1710, lakeshorelearning.com

Lakeshore Learning Store has become an institution in this market, both for parents and teachers, looking for the latest and best in learning-oriented toys, games and more. We especially love their product guide that addresses children with unique learning and developmental needs.

RUNNERS-UP: Learning Express Toys - Worthington; Naturally Curious Kids

HONORABLE MENTION: Fundamentals Parent-Teacher Store; Learning Express Toys – New Albany; Oh Know! The Knowing Place; The Train Station

FAVORITE TUTORING CENTER

BRAIN BALANCE CENTER OF COLUMBUS

116 Dillmont Drive, Columbus 43235; 614-654-3399; brainbalancecenters.com

Brain Balance is a network of centers founded in 2006 by Dr. Robert Melillo, who developed a drug-free learning program for children who have ADHD, dyslexia, processing disorders and/or are on the autism spectrum. Columbus parents are very happy to have them here!

RUNNERS-UP: Kumon Math and Reading Center – Dublin/Commerce; Sylvan Learning – Lewis Center

HONORABLE MENTION: Kumon Math and Reading Center – Westerville; LearningRx; Math Plus Academy – Gahanna; Math Plus Academy – Powell; Sylvan Learning – Grove City; Tutoring Club – Gahanna; Tutoring Club - Hilliard

LOW- OR NO-COST FAMILY FUN FAVORITE FESTIVAL OR FAIR

OHIO STATE FAIR

ohiostatefair.com

Central Ohio does not lack for great festivals and fairs, so it was no surprise to see so many different events get votes in this category. But the big winner this year is the Ohio State Fair, which just celebrated its 165th edition! It's hard to top those butter sculptures.

RUNNERS-UP: Dublin Irish Festival; Columbus Arts Festival

HONORABLE MENTION: Circleville Pumpkin Show; Comfest; Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival; Delaware Arts Festival; Jazz & Rib Fest; Lancaster Festival; Ohio Renaissance Festival; Westerville Music & Arts Festival

FAVORITE INDOOR PLAY SPACE

POLARIS FASHION PLACE

1500 Polaris Pkwy., (Polaris), Columbus 43240; 614-846-1500, polarisfashionplace.com

The children's play area at Polaris has long dominated the "indoor mall play area" category and when we combined all the various indoor-play categories this year (including play cafes), they still came out on top! Columbus parents love those comfy seats and nearby treats!

RUNNERS-UP: The Mall at Tuttle Crossing, Recreations Outlet

HONORABLE MENTION: Firefly Play Café; Graeter's at Bethel Road; Lattes & Lollipops (play café); Little Skipper's Play Café; Piccadilly Modern Play & Creative Café; Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park; ZenKidz Play Cafe

FAVORITE LIBRARY CHILDREN'S AREA

WESTERVILLE PUBLIC LIBRARY

126 S. State St., Westerville 43081; 614-882-7277, wpl.lib.oh.us

After upsetting perennial champs Columbus Metropolitan Library's Main Library last year, Westerville cruised to a second win this year. CML Main was out of the running this year because of their renovation, but plenty of other great local libraries have stepped up to fill the gap! All of these contenders are worth a visit.

RUNNERS-UP: Worthington Libraries, Old Worthington Library; Columbus Metropolitan Library, Dublin Branch

HONORABLE MENTION: Bexley Public Library; Columbus Metropolitan Library, Driving Park Branch; Columbus Metropolitan Library, Hilliard Branch; Columbus Metropolitan Library, New Albany Branch; Columbus Metropolitan Library, Whetstone Branch; Delaware County Orange Township Branch; Grandview Heights Public Library; Pickerington Public Library; Upper Arlington Public Library, Main Library; Wagnalls Memorial Library

FAVORITE OUTDOOR MUNICIPAL POOL

HIGHLANDS PARK AQUATIC CENTER

245 S. Spring Road, Westerville 43081; 614-901-7665, westerville.org

This was a battle this year, right down to the end, but Highlands Park took the prize again for its well-designed and obviously much-appreciated aquatic facility. It's a great way to spend the day outdoors when you absolutely must spend it soaking wet!

RUNNERS-UP: Dublin Community Pool South; Groveport Aquatic Center

HONORABLE MENTION: Bexley Pool; Delaware Jack Florance Pool; Grove City Big Splash at Evans Park; Heath City Water Park; Hilliard Family Aquatic Center; North Orange Park Aquatic Center; Plain Township Aquatic Center; Reed Road Water Park; Worthington Pools

FAVORITE OUTDOOR PLAY SPACE

EASTON TOWN CENTER SPLASH PAD

160 Easton Town Center (Easton), Columbus 43219; 614-337-2200, eastontowncenter.com

This is another category where we combined all the usual suspects for outdoor fun and let them duke it out. From parks to playgrounds and everything in between, we wanted to know where families head for their fresh air and fun. The answer: everyone's favorite splash pad at Easton!

RUNNERS-UP: Highbanks Metro Park; Bicentennial Park in the Scioto Mile

HONORABLE MENTION: Columbus Commons; Dublin Ballantrae Park; Fancyburg Park; Homestead Park; Millstone Creek Park; Powell Village Green Park; Whetstone Park of Roses


STAFF PICKS: FAVORITE HIDDEN GEMS

HAYDEN RUN FALLS (4326 Hayden Run Road, Dublin 43017; Columbus.gov/recreationandparks/parks/Hayden-Falls-Park) When you haven't got the time to drive to Hocking Hills, head for the center of suburbia and enjoy the 35-foot waterfall hidden here!


THE GRANGE INSURANCE AUDUBON CENTER (505 W. Whittier St., Columbus 43215; grange.audubon.org) We love the play space and learning stations, but the view of downtown Columbus from the library (packed with cozy seats and kids' books about nature) is what keeps us coming back!


SHALE HALLOW PRESERVE (6320 Artesian Run, Lewis Center 43035; preservationparks.com) The newest park in the Preservation Parks of Delaware County system is another hidden gem tucked into a suburban setting, with deep ravines, a wade-able creek and man-made trails.


STAFF PICKS: FAVORITE FAMILY TRADITIONS

BLOOMS & BUTTERFLIES (Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, 1777 E. Broad St., Columbus 43203; fpconservatory.org) It's not spring in central Ohio until the butterflies arrive!


BALLETMET'S THE NUTCRACKER (Ohio Theatre, 39 E. State St., Columbus 43215; balletmet.org) Nothing says Christmas like a tree with a growth problem, a herd of ill-behaved mice and a beatific Sugar Plum Fairy restoring order to all.


THE SPRING GAME (Ohio Stadium, ohiostatebuckeyes.com) It can be hard to score tickets to a regular-season game, but the Spring Game, with its $5 seats, is a great and easy way to experience Buckeye Fever!