The Best of the Metro 2012
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 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.
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
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 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).