2004 Readers Poll
2004 Critics Picks
Best Dry Cleaner

It’s tough to hand your most expensive clothes over to strangers, but Austinites have come to trust Reid’s. With their clean record and friendly staff, Reid’s assures that we can have our silk and our barbecue.

Reid's Cleaners & Laundry
3317 N. Lamar, 512/302-1870
9222 W. Parmer, 512/219-9340
1700 W. Parmer #240, 512/821-4211
3616 Far West #102, 512/343-9654
11907 FM 2244, Bee Cave, 512/263-8705
3720 RR 2222, 512/420-8320
13450 Research #237, 512/219-9770
13450 Research #237, 512/219-9770
6317 Bee Caves Rd. #310, 512/306-0635
2814 Bee Caves Rd. Ste. C, 512/330-0565
7010 Hwy. 71 W. #20, 512/288-3713
6600 MoPac S. #2140, 512/891-9262
9901 Brodie #150, 512/291-0101

Best Laundromat

Who said doing the laundry can't be fun? Well, you might enjoy it more if you knew that you could get your undies clean and save the environment all at the same time. Ecomat's "wet cleaning" technology not only rids your clothes of those nasty barbecue stains, but it also helps them last longer by ditching the harsh chemicals that most dry cleaners use and replacing them with biodegradable soaps. How ecofriendly.

2915-B Guadalupe

Best Barber Shop

Though original owner Robert Bristol (who died earlier this year) had left his shop in the early-Nineties after many years, the Crestview Barber Shop is flourishing as new attentions have many clients exiting salons and entering barber shops for more traditional cutting and styling methods. Its classic setting is a look back to another era, and its devoted clientele wouldn't consider going anywhere else ... and that makes it one of the best things in Austin.

Crestview Barber Shop
7113 Woodrow

Best Hair Salon

For a salon experience "comb"ining the "cutting" edge with organic basics – "head" to Avant salon. They can do any kind of cut, and they use exclusively Aveda products. Your holistic experience begins with an herbal tea and is followed by a scalp massage, wash, cut, and blow-dry. The finishing touch? A new sense of you.

Various locations, including 3405 Guadalupe, 458-5231

Best Day Spa

Austin’s premier day spa and hair salon for the past 30 years, this readers' fave offers a variety of regularly updated services consistent with current trends in skin and hair care. Their excellent specials keep prices competitive, especially around holidays, and their staff is always kind, professional, and innovative.

Aziz Salon & Day Spa
710 W. Seventh

Best Shoe Repair

We're hard on our shoes here in Austin – from extreme sports to the ballroom of the Four Seasons, we're on our feet all the time. Be they Chuck Taylors or Manolos, we invest a lot in our shoes, and fortunately we have both Sammie's one-stop shop for shoe repair, run by a friendly son-and-pop duo (neither of whom is named Sammie), as well as the Austin Shoe Hospital's multiple locations, to serve our footwear needs.

Austin Shoe Hospital: Various locations, including 720 Congress, 477-5078; Sammie's Shoe Repair, Delwood Center, 3909 N. I-35, Ste. E-10, 451-7463

Best Tailor

Back in the day, jeans were always too short – grunge was in, but jeans weren't long enough to get grungy. Today’s jeans are overcompensating, with hyperlong being the norm, and the city’s mud puddles are all on our pants, soaked up Brawny-style. Maybe that’s why Austin shows Ace Custom Tailors the love every year. It’s not just the brides and the businesspeople. It’s regular old, jeans-wearing Austinites who know that Ace can magically make a new denim hem look just like the original, worn-along-the-stitch hem – a time-honored and indispensable service – just like their many other time-honored and indispensable services.

Various locations, including 916 W 12th, 478-9965

Best Auto Service/Repair

A few years ago, Jim Ernst and crew took home a Critics Pick for Best Place to Pick Up a Used Honda or Toyota. They earned that distinction for expertly specializing in – and offering great deals on – cars from the small-import genre. First and foremost, however, the Auto Depot is an excellent repair shop. Estimates are straightforward. If something is off or the unanticipated happens, communication lines are open, and options are discussed before unexpected charges present unwelcome surprises. Through the years, Jim and his hard-working staff have built up a fine reputation for taking care of their customers. We're very happy that those customers decided to share the news!

Auto Depot
909 Prairie Trail

Best Auto Inspection Station

Fast, efficient service gets you in and out of this inspection station in a matter of minutes ... but throwing in a pleasant and friendly carside manner makes Alan's an Austin favorite.

Alan's Inspections
5253 N. Lamar

Best Car Wash

Americans may be "in love" with their cars, but Texans are positively obsessed with them. We are auto stalkers! Well, like any good lover or totally obsessed boyfriend, we like to keep our preciouses pretty. Here's where the jolly Big G works his magic. If you wish for that certain sparkle for your trophy car, the Genie will grant you the glances, leaving your car so fresh and so clean.

Various locations, including 1311 S. Lamar, 444-9274

Best Bicycle Repair

With all the bicycling Austinites like to do around here, it's no wonder we need skilled bike geniuses to keep us on the road. Luckily, we've got plenty to choose from, and you, sweet readers, deraill(eur)ed the previous years' gridlock of our regular two hot contenders, Ozone and Bicycle Sport Shop, and have chosen humble Buck's Bikes as this year's top of the pops. So, keep those chains greased and those toes clipped: Should you ever snap a spoke or crimp your crank, you know who to call.

Buck's Bikes
12530 Research Blvd., 512/250-9550
1830 N. Mays, Round Rock, 512/255-8755

Best Computer Repair

Hovering above South Lamar's mortals like Bill Gates' vision of nirvana is the PC Guru. If Paul Mullen's calming, Crumb-like caricature adorning the store does not yet bring you comfort, wayward computer, surely his work will. Renowned on both sides of the pond for computer expertise (Mullen got his nick in the UK as a columnist for their premier 'puter rag), the Guru will surely exorcise whatever ails your PC, over the phone, via e-mail, or in person.

PC Guru
310 E. St Elmo Rd, 512/383-0000
4004 N. Lamar Blvd., 512/472-8324

Best Appliance/TV Repair

Having problems getting a picture on your television set? Step one: Make sure it's on. (Step 1.5: ... and plugged-in.) Step two: Call Bond's if that doesn't fix the problem. This family owned and operated TV and electronics repair shop prides itself on timely and thorough service. Who knows, maybe they've even figured out the riddle that plagues humanity: how to set the timer on your VCR?

1010 W. Lynn

Best Rental/Roommate Locator

Started in 1995 by Craig Newmark to tell friends about the cool happenings in San Francisco, the Craigslist phenomenon has now spread to 45 other cities, including our own, and is still growing. From Austin to Boston and even London, this helpful online bulletin board is a simple and hassle-free (no pop-up ads!) way to find, sell, or give away just about anything. Whether you're looking for a room or a mate, this is the Web site to visit. It’s likely you’ll find what you’re looking for, and maybe even a little bit more.


Best Florist

Negligent spouses and S.O.s everywhere are thanking the woman-owned Enchanted Florist for getting them back out of the doghouse. With same-day delivery and a huge selection of bouquets and arrangements (including the sure canine redeemer: flora-laden champagne baskets!), there's no excuse for missing your anniversary this year or any other. "Chico" will be so happy to have his house back.

Enchanted Florist
1616 Lavaca

Best House Painter

"The Redstart is sometimes described as nervous or fidgety as it appears to be constantly in motion, often showing its wing marking and spreading its tail." Yes, well that would describe the bird called the Redstart, and not necessarily the paint design team that has taken this first-ever award of this new Readers Poll category. When the not-at-all "flighty" triumvirate of local wild visual artists Rachael Shannon, Michelle Marchesseault, and Jason Neufel take to the nest, magnificent displays of color happen – whether in the form of exacting geometric op art or classic neo-rococo. And there is no way they could be nervous or fidgety because their work is so precise! The amount of detail that goes into the elaborate decor of clients like Brio Vista, Wink, Frou Frou Salon & Spa, Jeffrey's, and St. John Neumann Catholic Church proves that the artists at Redstart are unflappable!

RedStart Paint Design
517 Navasota

Best Recording Studio

Hidden all the way down South Congress (near Exposé and Ruta Maya International Headquarters), Kurtis and the gang at Million Dollar Sound have been quietly supporting Austin's rock scene for years. Your musical dreams will come to fruition with the sound of a million dollars on the budget of a broke soon-to-be rock star.

Million Dollar Sound
217 E. Alpine

Best Tattoo Artist

Specializing in Japanese, neo-Japanese, and abstract art, Monsieur Gunn is a maestro of magnificent tattoos. His finely crafted designs, subtle shadings, and brilliant colors have earned him national renown, and practically made him into a local hero. His devotees are rabid about his work, and some will not consider anyone else when it comes to the body art that will live forever. A character himself, and a highly esteemed artist, Gunn puts the firepower into the Austin tattoo scene.

Southside Tattoo
1313 S. Congress

Best Graphic Designer

And you thought he was just a DJ. Like Clark Kent, Peter Parker, and, um, that guy who spins vinyl at night but does something else that no one knows about during the day (no, not Keoki), Brown has something of a secret identity that we'd like to expose, heh, heh. In his positions as graphic and Web designer extraordinaire, he's utterly mastered the art – and it is an art, make no mistake – of creating some of the most arresting and successful visual imagery in Austin. When he's not repairing broken beats and baking your booty in the fiery kiln of combustively creative Technics techniquery, Brown is busy dropping graphical science for clients, ranging from Advanced Micro Devices to Zales Jewelers, with a clean, fluid, futuristic style that owes no small debt to his revered years in Austin's DJ community. And, of course, there's still no one in town who can make you shake it like Mr. Brown.

Best Local Web Designer


Best Printer/Copies

Ah, the rows of gleaming copiers and crisp paper choices create a colorful haven for procrastinators everywhere, as does their convenient card system that can be loaded up with credit or cash when you have it and used at all hours when you don't. Whether it's printing a résumé, putting the finishing touches on that overdue report, or hustling to get out that brilliant poetry chapbook, Kinko's is always up to the task – 24/7.

Various locations, including 327 Congress #100, 472-4448

Best Pet Care

Years ago when Taurus Training was but a pup of a business, owners William and Melanie McLeroy barely had a physical address for their workplace. Now they have two, with their original location on South Lamar going strong, plus a brand-spanking-new place! Which means there are a whole lot more happy dogs in Austin. Happy to be getting the best, gentlest (but firm!) training. Happy to have a place to go for doggy day care. Happy they get to sit and lay down for folks who really know their poop when it comes to K9 love.

Taurus Academy
715 S. Lamar, 737/402-8679
6917 McNeil, 737/242-2359
Taurus Academy: Bark & Zoom, 2601 Cardinal Loop, 512/817-2275
12419 Metric, 737/242-2381
3721 RR 620 N., 737/202-2156
6506 Burnet Rd., 512/900-2236

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