Reader's Digest Nicest Place Winner: Yassin's Falafel House

The nicest place in the world is a falafel house in Tennessee

All across America, there are places where people are kind and treat each other with dignity and respect. However, you might not think so with what you see on cable news or read on social media. That's why Reader's Digest teamed up with Good Morning America and 10Best.com to ask the question, "Do you live in the Nicest Place in America?"

  • Yassin's Falafel House in Knoxville, TN
    Reader's Digest Nicest Place Winner

    Yassin Terou left Syria in 2011 and arrived in America unable to speak English. Seven years later, he’s a pillar of the Knoxville community and has turned his Yassin’s Falafel restaurant into a home away from home for the refugees he employs and for anyone who stops in for a delicious meal. Read more
    Photo courtesy of Victoria Long

  • Bothell, WA
    Reader's Digest Nicest Place Finalist

    Pop into Beca’s Brews for a cup of coffee and a kind word from Will, Bothell’s friendliest resident. While May 10 is the town’s official “Cup of Kindness day,” when everyone is urged to share a good deed, that’s the town spirit the other 364 days of the year too. Read more
    Photo courtesy of Mary Leah Moore

  • Ellijay, GA
    Reader's Digest Nicest Place Finalist

    In Ellijay, locals have a tradition of not turning away strangers. The reader who nominated this town popped into a crowded diner and was ready to leave when the locals scooted over to make room. Seven years later he moved here with his family. And lately, another kind of visitor has been looking to call it home. Migrant workers have started to settle in – and they have been welcomed with open arms. Read more
    Photo courtesy of Gilmer Chamber & Welcome Center

  • Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, MD
    Reader's Digest Nicest Place Finalist

    Baltimore residents who need legal advice, job leads, or a good book to read can pop into the Enoch Pratt Free Library–or just keep an eye out for the big bus marked “Mobile Job Center,” a modern twist on the old book mobile, and a model for libraries across the country. Read more
    Photo courtesy of Enoch Pratt Free Library

  • Kalamazoo, MI
    Reader's Digest Nicest Place Finalist

    Kalamazoo has made a vow to all of its public high-school students: If you get into college, it’s paid for–as long as you keep your grades up. The “Kalamazoo Promise” is funded by anonymous donors who will shell out $15 million in scholarships this year, the program’s 12th year. After gun violence marred the city a few years back, the city gave itself a new motto as it supported survivors: “Kalamazoo Strong.” Read more
    Photo courtesy of Sherry Ransford Ramsdell

  • Katy, TX
    Reader's Digest Nicest Place Finalist

    The Houston area had no shortage of heroes in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. Katy stands as an example of hanging tough, neighbor helping neighbor. The owner of the local Buc-ee’s convenience store told first responders to come and take what they needed. Bass Pro Shops donated boats for search and rescue. People left their own flooded homes to help evacuate others. Of their efforts, Mayor Chuck Brawner said simply, “We just did what Katy has always done, we all just got together and helped each other out.” Read more
    Photo courtesy of Trish Johnson

  • Life Moves Yoga in Killeen, TX
    Reader's Digest Nicest Place Finalist

    Who says tough guys don’t do yoga? Drop into the Life Moves Yoga studio in Kileen, Texas, just outside the gates of the Fort Hood Army base, and you’ll find wellness classes geared to soldiers, including wounded warriors, and their spouses. Read more
    Photo courtesy of Judith Woodward

  • Mower County, MN
    Reader's Digest Nicest Place Finalist

    Even in a state known for “Minnesota Nice,” the people of Austin and the surrounding Mower County stand out for their friendliness and generosity. The local PayItForward initiative has helped raise money for a baby with brittle-bone disease, replaced a stolen snowblower for an elderly resident, and built brand-new bathrooms for six local families at no charge. And that’s just for starters. Read more
    Photo courtesy of Laura Helle

  • North Evergreen Street in Burbank, CA
    Reader's Digest Nicest Place Finalist

    In the city where new versions of “reality” are manufactured every day, North Evergreen St. is as real as it gets, with neighbors sharing vegetables from their gardens, a bike ride to a different fun event every Thursday night, and a community spirit worthy of any feel-good movie made in the studios across town. Read more
    Photo courtesy of Ashley Erikson

  • North Riverside, IL
    Reader's Digest Nicest Place Finalist

    Is there a rule book for being nice? In North Riverside there is. The town has put together a 65-page manual on caring for each other that can be boiled down into one dictate: the Golden Rule. Each block has its own volunteer captain, who welcomes new neighbors, helps seniors run errands, makes sure kids play nice, and so much more. Read more
    Photo courtesy of Tina Valentino

We received 450 nominations from coast to coast, representing every kind of place and more ways of being "nice" than you can count. Then we did the painful work of narrowing down those submissions to these 10 Nicest Places in America.

10Best and Reader's Digest readers voted for their favorite Nicest Place, and the winner was just announced on Good Morning America. We're happy to share the results with you below.

Winner:

Yassin’s Falafel House in Knoxville, Tenn.

Finalists:

  • Bothell, Wash.
  • Ellijay, Ga.
  • Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore
  • Kalamazoo, Mich.
  • Katy, Texas
  • Life Moves Yoga in Killeen, Texas
  • Mower County, Minn.
  • North Evergreen Street in Burbank, Calif.
  • North Riverside, Ill.

 

The panel that selected the winner and nine finalists included Robin Roberts, co-anchor of ABC’s Good Morning AmericaBruce Kelley, Chief Content Officer for Reader's DigestGeri Weis-Corbley, founder of the Good News Network; Paige Brown, 62nd Mayor of the Reader's Digest 2017 Nicest Place in America (Gallatin, Tennessee); Emilie Starr, co-host of BYUtv's hit hidden-camera show Random Acts; and Randy Taran, founder and CEO of Project Happiness.

Congratulations to Yassin’s Falafel House and all our deserving finalists.

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AlertThe Judges

Robin Roberts

Robin Roberts

Bruce Kelley

Bruce Kelley

Geri Weis-Corbley

Geri Weis-Corbley

Paige Brown

Paige Brown

Emilie Starr

Emilie Starr

Randy Taran

Randy Taran