Best of Whitewater 2021

The 5th annual survey results are in!

Hannah Avdic, Business and Technology Editor

You’ve been voting for your favorites, and the long awaited results are here for first, second and third place finishers. Congratulations to all of our Best of Whitewater winners! 

The list of “bests” was created to highlight our campus and community, give credit to those that are successful, and show our appreciation to the ones who are getting it right. The survey ran from Jan. 20 – Feb. 20, giving participants a month to weigh in online via The survey was anonymous, but emails were gathered to eliminate more than one submission from the same address. Thank you to all 434 participants who made our survey possible! 

A variety of topics were included in this year’s contest, including categories for dining, entertainment and services. Click through our slideshow below to see the top finishers in each category and read on to learn more about a few special winners in the survey.

Congratulations to Underground Cutz, which was crowned the Best Hair Salon in Whitewater. Owner Cesar Mendoza is in his 11th year of cutting hair, and it seems he’s mastered skills in both styling and service.

Underground Cutz barber Levi Schmitz gives UW-Whitewater Chancellor Dwight Watson a haircut Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. (Kylie McCombe)

“We love cutting hair and that shows in our haircuts. We strive to make sure everyone that enters our doors doesn’t just get a haircut, but a great experience. We try to take our time and actually get to know our clients. We don’t want to give you a 5-minute haircut and take your money – anyone can do that. We want to go above and beyond with our haircuts,” says Mendoza. 

Underground Cutz caters to men, perfecting a number of contemporary male styles. The machismo atmosphere featuring toolboxes as work stations creates an inviting environment for guys hang out and enjoy their time at the barbershop. The positive response is making the women of Whitewater hope that Mendoza will open up a sister shop for female clients as well.

Fanatico, a family-owned Italian restaurant won two categories for Best Italian Restaurant and Best Date Night. It might be due to their beloved Italian family recipes and warm welcome to customers that put them ahead of the competition.

Frank Powers eats a meal outside of Fanatico Authentic Italian Restaurant Sept. 25, 2020. (Dane Sheehan)

“It’s great for us to be in a town that supports us, where we can offer our Italian recipes and bring them to little Whitewater. We appreciate our customers and staff that have stayed with us – especially during these crazy times,” says owner Kiki Ademi. 

The restaurant is a popular place to visit for all the Italian classics cooked to perfection. Try the calamari, baked manicotti and and frutta di mare. Afterwards, be sure to share a few desserts around the table while enjoying some espresso. And while this restaurant has a five-star look and menu, the kids are welcome too.

Finally, it might not be much of a surprise that the UW-Whitewater Football Team was also a winner in multiple categories. A big congratulations goes to the Warhawks, who took home first place in Best Sporting Event for football games, Best Campus Event for Homecoming, and Best Sports Season for the football team itself. The team not only provides entertainment for the campus, but also builds a sense of community in the UW-W nest.

Ryan Liszka, Tyler Precia and Egon Hein run side-by-side in a practice drill during the cool early morning hours Oct. 23, 2020 at Perkins Stadium. (Dane Sheehan)

“The students take great pride in being a Warhawk. There is a deep level of involvement with the student body and the football organization. The games and the events that football hosts provide an outlet of expression for their alma mater and a strong sense of community value,” says senior captain and running back Ronny Ponick.

“For administration, staff, students and athletes, football has played an integral part of inclusion within the university.  Their strong sense of identity and presence within the Athletics Department has helped cultivate a high standard of excellence on and off the field. We’ve never been more connected as a university, community and family,” Ponick says.

Congratulations to all contestants and winners of the Fifth Annual Best of Whitewater 2021 survey. The Royal Purple would like to thank everyone who voted, helping us to create a stronger sense of community and spread the news about Whitewater’s best of the best.