1996 Readers Poll
1996 Critics Picks

photograph by Minh Carrico   Minh Carrico

Best Alterations

Ace aces this category. Four years to be exact. Who else helps when you're in a stitch? Check out these runner-ups: Alterations, Etc., Just Tailoring, Capitol Tailors and Cleaners, and Alterations To Go.

Express Alterations by Ace Custom Tailors
916 W. 12th

Best Appliance/Tv Repair

For two years, the tubular Mr. Wizard has kept your TV and other home equipment a-glow. Bonds, AAA, and Ray's Electronics account for most of the other votes.

Mr. Wizard's Electronics Service
1507 W. North Loop

Best Auto Body/Paint Shop

This new category yielded a slew of individual votes for many, many firms. What does this say about your driving skills, friends? Don's took first, B&B took second and Ellis & Salazar were a close third.

Don's Paint & Body Shop
1006 W. 12th

Best Auto Mechanic

This resurrected category is one for which we receive calls all year long. Who was voted best mechanic? Well, in the past, Mark Larkin the Honest Mechanic won hands down. This year, the exotic birds at Flamingo pulled ahead and took first.

Flamingo Automotive
3512 Guadalupe

Best Dry Cleaner

Here's one of those odd categories. Jack Brown usually leads the way, so it's assumed year after year, that this would be a lock. Not so. Over 40 (!) dry cleaners got multiple votes and this winner was determined by a narrow margin, putting Rick's chain of nine cleaners past the over 50 locations of Jack Brown. Pressed close to the top were: Comet, Brothers, Washburns, Capitol, Kim's, and Bluebonnet.

Rick's Cleaners
3652-D Bee Cave Rd., 512/327-6846
7435 Burnet Rd., 512/454-7425
110 N. I-35 #250, Round Rock, 512/244-4363
5324 Cameron, 512/452-2200
850 N. Bell Blvd. #304, Cedar Park, 512/258-4990
11126 Jollyville, 512/346-8845
900 N. Austin Ave. #603, Georgetown, 512/930-0666
500 W. William Cannon #404, 512/462-3868
12218 RR 620 N., 512/257-0057
8400 Brodie #101, 512/291-1588
3810 Gattis School Rd. #102, Round Rock, 512/244-3733
13011 Shops Pkwy. #200, Bee Cave, 512/263-1588
3411 N. Lamar, 512/323-0188
2614 S. Lamar, 512/433-6666

Best Fitness Club

In the universe of fitness, this place still steels your buns and rocks your world for the second year in a row. The Q, Hills, Clean & Lean, and YMCA showed well, close to the top.

World Gym
115 E. Sixth

Best Florist

1994's winner, Cowgirls & Flowers is back in first place by a few votes over second-place Flower Bucket. Azul is surely not blue about taking third place.

Cowgirls & Flowers
508 Walsh

Best Hair Salon

Previous winner Maximum FX slipped to third this year, behind Avant and Bella. Here's another category with as many entries as hairs on your head (unless, of course, you are bald). Big votes went to Anne Kelso, Carpe Diem, Aziz, Horse Feathers, Astarte, and Russ & Co.

Avant Garde Studio Salon Spa
318 Colorado St.

Best Home Repair

We consolidated a few sub-categories and placed them under one banner. Know what? Fox still outfoxed us. While their lead is narrow, it's still a winning number. Good Neighbor Remodeling and Fair & Square tied for second.

Fox-Schmidt Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning
757 Shady

Best Kennel/Vet

This dog-eat-dog competition names Northwest Hills king of the pack for the second year straight. Past winner Hyde Park Animal Clinic and the ever-popular University Animal Clinic tied for second.

Best Laundromat

Clean & Lean is an Austin tradition and so is its annual sweep of this prize. Is this a surprise? It's a genius concepts of wash, dry, and grunt and just screams "Where else but Austin?" Kwik Wash with its many locations holds on to second place.

Best Lawyer

For the last two years, we ran only a category for Criminal Lawyers. That seemed an odd statement. The competition was opened up and attorney Janet Stockard led the field of briefcased barristers.

Best Photo Lab

This full service lab with reasonable prices dashed the HEB chain and tossed them into second. The Heeb has taken it for the last two years. Back in a Flash shares second place with them.

Holland Photo Imaging
2125 Goodrich

Best Public Health Clinic

New for 1996, this category goes to the venerable People's Community Clinic, the sliding-scale nightengale in a sky full of health "care" hawks. Planned Parenthood probably didn't plan to do as well as they did, but we're sure they're happy with their brand new bouncing second place.

People's Community Clinic
1101 Camino La Costa

Best Shoe Repair

This has been the respite spot for the weary soles of the Readers Poll for the last two years. Sammies, Rowell's and Golden Slipper shuffled into second.

Austin Shoe Hospital
3106 Windsor, 512/477-6515
720 Congress, 512/477-5078
3300 Bee Caves Rd., 512/329-8104
1911 W. Ben White, 512/440-8788
8211 Burnet, 512/453-1961
5114 Balcones Woods Dr. Ste. 301-B, 512/345-8663
6781 Hwy. 290 W., 512/288-6386
1316 Round Rock Ave., Round Rock, 512/244-9124
306 S. Bell, Cedar Park, 512/219-8387
3932 RR 620 S., Lakeway, 512/263-4630
12119 Hwy. 290 W., 512/827-3398

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