The Best of the Metro 2012

The River Market was voted (by the public) Best Place to Pick Up a Date.
The River Market was voted (by the public) Best Place to Pick Up a Date.
Jun 05
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Welcome to our inaugural Best of the Metro issue. For this contest, we had a nomination period where readers submitted the locally owned restaurants, businesses, people, places and things they thought deserved to win in each of our many categories. We confirmed that they were indeed local and then the voting process began. The winners here were chosen by the public and can officially be known as the Best of the Metro for 2012.

FOOD & DRINK

Bakery: Community Bakery

BBQ: Whole Hog Café

Breakfast: Ozark Mountain Smokehouse

Brunch: Red Door

Buffet: Larry’s Pizza

Burger: Big Orange Burgers, Salads & Shakes

Cheese Dip: Mexico Chiquito

Chef: Donnie Ferneau

Chinese Restaurant: Fantastic China

Coffeeshop: Community Bakery

Cupcakes: Cupcakes on Kavanaugh

Deli: Boulevard Bread

Delivery: Damgoode Pies

Desserts: Community Bakery

Donuts: Shipley

Downtown Restaurant: The Root Café

Farmers Market: Little Rock Farmers Market

Food Truck: Hot Dog Mike

Frozen Yogurt: TCBY

Home Cooking/Soul Food: Your Mama’s Good Food

Hot Wings: Flying Saucer

Hottest Waitstaff: Flying Saucer

Ice Cream: Zaza Fine Salad + Wood Oven Pizza Co.

Indian Restaurant: Star of India

Italian Restaurant: The Villa

Lunch: The Root Café

Margarita: Senor Tequila

Mexican Restaurant: Senor Tequila

New Restaurant: The Root Café

Patio Dining: Cajun’s Wharf

Pizza: Damgoode Pies

Restaurant When Someone Else Is Paying: Sonny Williams

Romantic Restaurant: Ashley’s at the Capital

Salsa: Senor Tequila

Seafood Restaurant: Cajun’s Wharf

Service: Star of India

Signature Drink: Play-De-Do, Cajun’s Wharf

Steak: The Butcher Shop

Sushi: Sushi Café

Thai/Vietnamese: Lilly’s Dim Sum Then Sum

Vegetarian: The Root Café

Wine List: By The Glass

ATTRACTIONS & CITY LIVING

Church: New Life Church

Condo: 300 Third Tower

Fundraising Event: Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure

Green Business: Heifer Project International

Hotel: Capital Hotel

Neighborhood: Hillcrest

Outdoor Event: Little Rock Kickball Association

Park: Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Place to Work: Home

Tourist Trap: Little Rock River Market

CULTURE, ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Art Gallery: Arkansas Arts Center

Exhibit: Andy Warhol (Arkansas Arts Center)

Actor: Josh Lucas

Actress: Mary Steenburgen

Artist: Jason Gammel

Comedian: Michael “Doc” Davis

Movie Theater: Market Street Cinema

Museum: Museum of Discovery

Music Concert: Riverfest

Place for a Cheap Date: Arkansas Travelers game

Place for Live Theater: Arkansas Repertory Theatre

Public Artwork: Starving Artist Café

GOODS & SERVICES

Bank: Arvest

Boutique: Box Turtle

Car Wash: Splash Car Wash

Comic Book Store: The Comic Book Store

Consignment/Thrift Store: Goodwill of Arkansas

Dry Cleaner: Hangers Cleaners

Florist: Tipton and Hurst

Furniture Store: Ashley Furniture

Garden Store: Good Earth Garden Center

Gift Store: The Crown Shop

Grocery Store: Argenta Market

Hardware Store: Fuller and Son Hardware Inc.

Health Food Store: Green Corner Store

Insurance Agency: The Hatcher Agency

Interior Design Store: Rock Paper Scissors

Jewelry Store: Sissy’s Log Cabin

Landscaper: Good Earth Garden Center

Law Firm: Friday Eldredge and Clark

Lawyer: Jordan B. Tinsley

Lighting Store: PC Hardware/Light Innovations

Liquor Store: Colonial Wine and Spirits

Local Clothing Designer: Korto Momolu

Mechanic: Joe’s Garage

Men’s Clothing Store: Dillard’s

Motorcycle Shop: Landers Harley-Davidson

Music Store: Arkansas Record and CD Exchange

Pawn Shop: Big Daddy’s Pawn Shop

Place to Buy a Boat: Bradford Marine

Place to Buy a Car: Landers Toyota

Real Estate Agent/Realtor: Janet Jones

Realty Company: The Janet Jones Company

Shoe Store: Shoe Connection

Shopping District: Hillcrest

Tobacco Shop: Pipe and Tobacco Shop

Women’s Clothing Store: Dillard’s

NEWS & THE MEDIA

Blog or Vlog: Arkansas Blog

Newspaper Columnist: Max Brantley, Arkansas Times

Radio Personality: Heather Brown and DC McGhee, Alice 107.7

Radio Show: The Morning Show with Heather and DC, Alice 107.7

TV Anchor: Craig O’Neill, KTHV, Channel 11

TV Sports Anchor: Steve Sullivan, KATV, Channel 7

TV Station: KATV, Channel 7

TV Weather Forecaster: Ed Buckner, KTHV, Channel 11

Tweeter: HotDogMike

SPORTS & RECREATION

Amateur Sports League: Little Rock Kickball Association

Bicycle Shop: Chainwheel

Bowling Alley: Millennium Bowl

Golf Course: Rebsamen Park Golf Course

Kickball Team: Tie — Angry Penguins and Drinking Team with a Kickball Problem

Local Athlete: Cliff Lee

Local Sports Team: Arkansas Razorbacks

Place to Bike: Arkansas River Trail

Place to Hike: Pinnacle Mountain State Park

Sporting Goods Store: Ozark Outdoor Supply

Swimming Pool: Wild River Country

PETS

Dog Park: Paws Park at Murray Park

Doggie Day Care: Canine Country Club

Pet Groomer: Groomingdales

Pet Store: Premium Pet Products

Place to Adopt a Pet: Humane Society of Pulaski County

Veterinarian: Bob Hale, DVM

FAMILY

Baby Store: Pickles and Ice Cream

Children’s Clothing Store: The Toggery

Day Care: Arkansas Children’s Hospital

Kids Menu: Purple Cow

Place to Entertain Kids: Museum of Discovery

Preschool: Chenal Valley Montessori School

Private School: Pulaski Academy

Public School: Little Rock Central High School

Toy Store: Heights Toy Center

HEALTH & BEAUTY

Barber Shop: By Design Salon

Chiropractor: Dr. John Vincent

Cosmetic Surgeon: Suzanne Yee

Day Spa: Rejuvenation Clinic and Day Spa

Dentist: Dr. Drake Hawkins

Dermatologist: Dr. Renie Bressinck

Fitness Center: Little Rock Athletic Club

Hair Salon: Fringe Benefits

Hair Stylist: EC Haynes

Hospital: Arkansas Children’s Hospital

Manicure/Pedicure: Indulgences Day Spa

Massage Therapist: Amanda Smith

Personal Trainer: Jeff McDaniel

Physician: Dr. Harold Hedges

Piercing Shop: 7th Street Tattoo and Piercing

Tanning Salon: Advanced SunSystems

Tattoo Shop: 7th Street Tattoo and Piercing

Yoga/Pilates Studio: Barefoot Studio

POLITICS, PUBLIC AFFAIRS & PERSONALITIES

Central Arkansan: Heather Brown of Alice 107.7

Community Activist: Aaron Reddin

Conservative: Bill Vickery

Do-Gooder: Mitzi and Breezy Osborne

Greenie: Liz Sanders

Liberal: Mike Beebe

Local Cause: Arkansas Children’s Hospital

Local Legislator: Kathy Webb

Misuse of Taxpayer Funds: Bobby Petrino

Nonprofit Organization: Heifer Project International

Philanthropist: Osborne Family

NIGHTLIFE

Bar: White Water Tavern

Bartender: Tim Stramel at Capital Bar

Cheap Buzz: White Water Tavern

Dive Bar: White Water Tavern

Gay Bar: Discovery

Late-night Bar/Restaurant Hangout: Midtown Billiards

Local Cover Band: Tragikly White

Local DJ: Pool Boy

Local Hip-Hop Artist: Epiphany

Local Rock Band: Tragikly White

Night of the Week to Go Out: Friday

Place to Dance: Electric Cowboy

Place to Karaoke: Town Pump

Place to Listen to Live Music: Rev Room

Place to Play Pool: Fox & Hound

Place to Pick Up a Date: River Market

WINNER'S CHOICE

Best Comedian

Michael “Doc” Davis

He’s an actor, comedian and all-around entertainer. Davis promotes local comedy by staging performances and sketches as part of his WTF (Way Too Funny) Comedy group. He’s also big into helping charity organizations such as C.A.S.A., Youth Home and Make a Child Smile, just to name a few. Readers named him Best Comedian and now he lists a few of his “bests” in central Arkansas.

Best movie theater: This was a tough one. I love more than one local theater because they support local film. However, Market Street inched out in front because it serves beer!

Best radio personality: I would have to select Mornings on The Point 94.1 with Sharpe and Mike, but Drew Mitchell, also from The Point, is a quick up-and-coming radio personality ... with his nickname of “half moon.”

Best radio show: This category is easy. Mornings with Sharpe and Mike on The Point 94.1 is what I listen to because they are as crazy as I am and know how to push buttons and the limits.

Best bar: Ever since I first stepped into Maduro Cigar Bar and Lounge I fell in love it. I feel very comfortable there. The cigar and drink selection is awesome, and all of the staff including owner Michael Peace are awesome!

Best TV station: I really like two in this category but looking at the overall station and their interaction with me and the public, KATV, Channel 7 was a clear winner, especially the awesome morning crew.

Best Central Arkansan

Heather Brown

Heather Brown can be heard on the Alice 107.7 morning show with DC McGhee. She’s been in radio for 26 years, and she started at Alice back in 1999. She and her co-host emcee tons of charitable events as well as donate time to the American Heart Association, food drives and collecting toys for kids at Christmas. Readers named her Best Central Arkansan and now she lists a few of her “bests” in central Arkansas.

My favorite church is Fellowship Bible Church. My family and I have been attending there for about eight years. I love their children’s programs, and I am moved spiritually and emotionally every single Sunday by the music and the message.

My favorite place to buy my baby girl her cute outfits is All Thru The House. They have the sassiest little leggings and tutus. They carry the Mud Pie line which is THE girliest.

My favorite bakery has to be Blue Cake Company simply for their petit fours. We didn’t even have a traditional birthday cake for my daughter’s first birthday because I wanted all the guests to try their melt-in-your-mouth petit fours. They are incredibly sweet.

Best Cheese Dip: I am all about some El Porton cheese dip! I could drink it! I’m afraid my family would burn the place down if they ever ran out while we were there.

My favorite consignment sale is Duck Duck Goose. I get there early so that I can find the items that are new with tags still on them. I have cleaned up on deals for my four kids throughout the years.

Best Do-Gooder

Mitzi and Breezy Osborne

Breezy Osborne-Wingfield is a yoga instructor and the owner of Barefoot Studio in Little Rock. The Osbornes, led for years by the late Jennings Osborne, are known for hosting cook-outs, Christmas light spectaculars and endless other charitable acts both large and small. Breezy and Mitzi were named Best Do-Gooders by our readers and her family also won the Best Philanthropist category. Now that readers have given her the Best Do-Gooder title, Breezy lists a few of her favorite things in central Arkansas.

Favorite Place to Wander Around Aimlessly: Box Turtle is the best place to give gifts from local artists or find that one piece of Arkansas or yoga jewelry — or really anything — that you’ll never see anywhere else.

Favorite Place to Hike: Pinnacle Mountain trails allow my mind to wander with ease, topping it off by rolling out a yoga mat at the end of a hike.

Favorite anytime meal: Boulevard Bread Company. I could easily pitch a tent and live at this place. It’s so delicious! Every soup and salad, especially the Balsamic Chicken and Goat Cheese salad, is lovely! Oh, and the Banana Chocolate Bread!

Favorite Places to Indulge in Pregnancy Cravings: So far, during seven months of pregnancy, ZaZa’s salad with tuna, Coconut Curry Soup, and any neighborhood lemonade stand are the things I cannot pass up!

Favorite Place I Can Be Found Drinking Lemonade: Our back porch with my husband and our pups.

Best TV Weather Forecaster

Ed Buckner, KTHV, Channel II

He’s the chief meteorologist at Today’s THV, and he’s bona fide, with seals of approval from the National Weather Association and the American Meteorological Society. He volunteers with the Susan G. Komen foundation and visits kids in the state to share his experiences of living with Tourette’s syndrome. Readers named him Best Weather Forecaster and now he lists a few of his “bests” in central Arkansas.

Favorite Fundraiser: Arkansas Walk Now For Autism Speaks. Autism affects so many families, including my own. This is close to my heart.

Favorite Outdoor Event: Arkansas Travelers Baseball. Dickey-Stephens Park is a beautiful place to be, regardless, plus baseball is my favorite sport. Now if they can just do something about that picture outside the restrooms!

Favorite Place to Work: Really? Today’s THV, Channel 11

Favorite Cupcakes: Carolyn’s cupcake creations! My wife’s are the best in the state!

Favorite Concert: Robert Earl Keen

Best Artist

Jason Gammel

He’s a fireman, visual artist and kickball player with interests in competitive shotgun shooting, music and aviation. He’s also a painter who has decorated eggs for Youth Home’s Eggshibition, been accepted into the Delta Exhibition and had his work on display at M2 Gallery. His portfolio at jasongammel.com has eye-catching abstracts and colorful still-life sketches. Readers chose him as Best Artist, and now he lists a few of his “bests” in central Arkansas.

Tourist Trap: Old Mill — This place is pretty amazing setting aside its film history. It’s always well-maintained. Plus, how can I resist going when my little niece says, “Can we go to that pok?”

Music Concert: Arkansas Symphony — It’s incredible to sit and listen to them play and realize the sound you’re hearing is coming from those people on that stage … live.

Public Schools: EStem Charter School — While I don’t have any children I do have a friend with a son that attends eStem. Seeing and hearing about that place almost makes me want to go back to high school there … almost.

Italian Restaurant: Cafe Prego — Besides excellent food and service, I could just sit in this place for hours. 

Real Estate: Janet Jones (Shannon Treece) — I can’t say enough about the Janet Jones Company, and in particular Shannon Treece. In my pursuit to purchase a home she certainly had my best interests at heart, often at her expense. A rare gem. 

TV Anchor: Alyson Courtney KATV, Channel 7 — I know Alyson personally through a mutual friend, and I can honestly say that her friendly upbeat personality is the same off air as on. Genuine person.

Do-Gooder: Larry Betz Little Rock Kickball — I’ve never personally known another person that is as caring and giving as Larry. It’s hard to imagine the hours he spends in the pursuit of helping and making other people happy. 

Best Local Hip-Hop Artist

Epiphany

Epiphany is a Little Rock artist who started in Pine Bluff. He released his second album, Such Is Life, back in February. If you’ve ever visited a local bar, you might have seen him emcee at the Peabody Rivertop Parties or watched him perform at Cornerstone Pub or The Rev Room or just about anywhere, to be honest. He wrapped up a 12-city tour in late 2011. Epiphany is prolific. Readers named him Best Hip-Hop Artist, and now he lists a few of his “bests” in central Arkansas.

Best Bank: Simmons. Been there since my Pine Bluff days and never had any bad experiences. Plus the folks in the Little Rock branches tend to know my name and make me feel good despite the fact that I’m probably overdrafting.

Fundraising Event: “An Evening With...”put on by Friends of Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. It raises funds to support the programs of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center. It’s well organized...That means a lot. Of course, it’s also for a good cause and enjoyable, too.

Place for a Cheap Date: Tandy 10. I’m not saying that I’ve taken anybody there for a first date because my pockets were light when one of my shows didn’t go well, but still wanted to see a movie that just left the main theaters, but perhaps somebody has ...

Burger: Burge’s. That joint with the jalapenos on it is pretty dope.

Cupcakes: Brown Sugar Bakeshop. Whenever you can put bacon on a cupcake, and it still tastes good, then you’ve got a God-given talent. (Although, I believe recent research has revealed that bacon is God’s preferred fruit.)

Donuts: Irish Maid. Folks from Pine Bluff know that this is our best kept secret (especially since they’re only open like four hours every morning).

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