Holy local merchants! It’s Best of 2018, and a new team of businesses has risen above the ranks to protect Palo Alto’s character and charm from FIERCE outside forces threatening to take over small communities around the world. WHO ARE THESE SUPERHEROES? C’mon, chances are you’ve met them while dining out, shopping, training at the gym, relaxing at the spa or merely walking through downtown. These are our local retailers, service providers and restaurants who have used their incredible STRENGTH and extraordinary powers to go above and beyond the status quo and SHATTER the notion of “business as usual.”

By casting 23,043 votes in 84 categories, Weekly readers set in motion a series of events that have taken these businesses from the shadows and into the pages of this week’s issue, where they are being celebrated as Palo Alto’s newest superheroes. Read their origin stories inside to find out which stylists are a force for follicles, where to go to get Superman’s abs of steel and what menu will make your taste buds go KAPOW! Also, discover which stand-out businesses have won their categories five in years in row and have been inducted into our Hall of Fame.