By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Oct 18, 2009 at 10:05 AM

The votes are in, and the winners have been selected for OnMilwaukee's Best Dining 2009. The results of this readers' poll, including an editors' pick, are available in this series of articles that run all October long during Dining Month on

Ah, the salad. We've witnessed it rise in the ranks among menus over the years, just as we've seen it get shrouded in controversy.

Some call it "rabbit food" and wouldn't be caught dead ordering one in public. Homer Simpson perhaps said it best when he sang, "you don't make friends with salad."

Others order it to be healthy, only to discover that chunks of breaded chicken, hard boiled eggs and buttermilk ranch dressing probably aren't doing them any favors in the calorie-counting department.

But, when done right, a great salad is neither a small bowl of browning iceberg nor should it contain more calories than a Big Mac. It should fall somewhere in the middle, as a hearty yet healthy meal option.

The cool part is, almost no restaurant does a salad the same way, which is what makes this category of the contest a true test of innovation, taste quality and design.

The readers of voted Beans and Barley to the top, based on menu winners like its famous mesclun salad with grilled vegetables, its large garden salad that comes with the works, and its chicken or tuna salad plate. Each salad is served with a roll and your choice of creamy garlic Parmesan, garden ginger, herbal vinaigrette or tahini. editors' choice: Beans and Barley

2. The Knick
3. Mason Street Grill
4. Louise's Trattoria
5. Elsa's
6. Nessun Dorma
7. Waterfront Deli
8. Milwaukee Chophouse
9. Hotch-a-Do
10. Cafe Manna
11. Apollo Cafe
12. Christie's Pub & Grille
13. Stonefly
14. River Lane Inn
15. Taylor's People Park