Best Independent Bookstore

Chop Suey Books

Readers' Pick

2913 W. Cary St.

Second Place: Fountain Bookstore

Third Place: Black Swan Books

Chop Suey turns 10 years old this year. Ask owner Ward Tefft the secret of the Carytown bookstore's success, and he's fairly certain that "Won Ton is the main reason." The store's legendary, white-whiskered, black cat indeed is an important asset, purring and prowling the bookcases. But it also might be Chop Suey's plentiful inventory of mostly used books, the laid-back vibe and a collective happy feeling among bookworms that they've found their Mecca. "We work real hard to offer great books at competitive prices," Tefft says, adding that the store plays up new titles — especially tomes by local authors — that often get hidden on the shelves of the chains. "We're rooted in the community."

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