2005 Readers Poll
2005 Critics Picks
Best Appliance/TV Repair

The word-of-mouth loyalty generated by this team of repair geniuses makes Mr. Wizard a consistent reader's fave. With one wave of his magical staff, Mr. Wizard takes your electronics headaches away. Leave it to the sure hands at Mr. Wizard, and soon enough your househould will be running as smoothly as the words flowing from the mouth of Billy Dee Williams: TVs, radios, VCRs, and other electricity-powered knobs, whistles, and wires are quickly and nimbly uncrossed and retooled for maximum usage ... baby.

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

Best Auto Inspection Station

Part of the Groovy Enterprises family that includes Groovy Automotive on Red River, their mission has been to bring back the "honest, neighborhood garage." These Groovy inspectors will speak a language you understand and will have you in and out and stickered in no time. They are environmentally friendly, too, recycling everything from filters to antifreeze.

Groovy Lube
3511 Guadalupe

Best Auto Service/Repair

What do these two great auto service shops and frequent award winners have in common? Jim Ernst of Auto Depot and Joe Lamping of Flamingo run their businesses with both a friendly and no-nonsense style. They and their mechanics tell it like it is and always call before making any unforeseen repairs, so no surprises when the bill arrives. Each place oozes its own unique character and style, which has also helped to create a group of dedicated customers who refuse to take their cars anywhere else. And our readers luv 'em!

Flamingo Automotive
3512 Guadalupe

Auto Depot
909 Prairie Trail

Best Barber Shop

Tucked inside the Crestview Shopping Center since 1954, this barbershop is still such a part of neighborhood life that the proprietors refer to the area as "Little Mayberry." Go in for a haircut and find three barbers and two stylists ready to clean you up and fill you in on the latest.

Crestview Barber Shop
7113 Woodrow

Todd V. Wolfson

Best Bicycle Repair

As bike crazy as Lance has made Austin, the Bicycle Sports Shop had to work hard to come out ahead of the competition. Instead of a Spanish Armada, the Shop used its new location on South Lamar to step it up and take the trophy home. Don't worry, we doubt the other contenders are so incensed as to make bunk charges against the BSS. Unlike L'Equipe, they’re classy enough to wait for another go at the title.

Bicycle Sport Shop

Best Car Wash

Chronicle readers know: You can still stand at the windows and watch your chrome and candy paint re-emerge from a soapy cloud while your mats are shampooed. You can also still get a full-service car wash for $10.99. Check out the Genie's full menu of protectants and interior services to keep your whip gleaming.

Best Computer Repair

Ordinarily, discovering that your PC has contracted a processor-eating virus is hardly a calming, meditative experience. Fortunately, when disaster strikes the hard drive, Austinites can turn to their very own Paul Mullens, aka the PC Guru, who practices his intercontinental computer know-how right here, in the heart of the Silicon Hills – and he even does house calls.

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

Best Dry Cleaner

If Reid's cleaners were a bar, it would be Cheers. Because everybody knows your name. And they're always glad you came. You'll be glad, too, when that stain on your expensive new coat is gone, and the coat still fits. Masters of dry cleaning and alterations, and a regular Readers Poll champ, the only thing more consistent than their stellar and convenient service is their loyal and trusting customer fan base. Eager to share the love, they've grown to 15 - count 'em - 15 area locations.

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 Florist

Enchanted Florist is a full-service florist offering everything from single blooms over the counter to complete wedding packages and floral delivery. They are noted for their dramatic designs and exotic blooms, but they also provide the more traditional selections as well. Enchanted Florist is also a gift store with a stellar selection of Texana, including their Taste of Texas gift basket, among a variety of gift baskets and plants.

Enchanted Florist
1616 Lavaca

Best Graphic Designer

Whether they're working the clean, bold line; mishmashing elements into a melange; or serving up a simple, yet elegant brochure, ShoeHorn Design is quietly making a name for themselves in a town packed with great design. With clients ranging from the Victory Grill to Dell, these Eastside-based graphic artists are ready to lay out your logo, produce your poster, dole out your direct mailer, and then some.

ShoeHorn Design
1010 E. 11th

Best Hair Salon

Avant again! With three locations to whip you into shape, Avant has the city covered, cut, and colored. Racking up "Best of Austin" awards for as long as anyone can remember, Avant loves what they do: extensive consultations, rejuvenating scalp massages, shampoos, conditioning rinses using Aveda products, and complimentary bang or nape trims, plus color and perms using Aveda products. Austin clearly loves Avant's dos, too.

Avant Garde Studio Salon Spa
318 Colorado St.

Best Health Care

What would you call a medical practice with a dozen area offices and scores of doctors – from general pracs to internists to allergists and endocrinologists – that accepts a wide range of health plans as well as discount cards for cash-paying patients? A dream? Well, wake up, because its real, and its called the Austin Regional Clinic. Started in 1980 by three local docs, the ARC has grown into a comprehensive medical practice that serves about 225,000 patients, with but one goal in mind: providing communitywide access to affordable health care. Our readers think that's a dream come true.

Austin Regional Clinic
6937 N. I-35 #500

Best House Painter

Since last year's win in this same category, RedStart has gone big time. Local musician/artists Michelle Marchesseault and Rachael Shannon (both regular fixtures in Austin's H2Hos synchronized swim troupe) still offer the classic antique glazed finishes and murals clients love, plus their signature Op art pop art evidenced by their eye-popping work at Viva, BettySport, and Maiko Sushi, but now they can add to their extensive list of credits: MTV's Real World Austin. Along with interior designer Joel Mozersky, the RedStarters have much to do with this season's look and feel.

RedStart Paint Design
517 Navasota

Best Landscaper

Let’s face it: Texas summers are downright unfriendly to our lawns. When the grass resembles the “uncut hair of graves,” our readers call Crazy Aaron, who will not only tame the yard for a reasonable price but throw in a free hug for good measure. For a more elegant view from the patio, our readers pick Big Red Sun, who can turn a garden into anything, well, under the sun. Our suggestion? Their version of a checkerboard Wonderland.

Big Red Sun
1102 E. Cesar Chavez

Crazy Aaron's Yard Service

Todd V. Wolfson

Best Laundromat

Ecomat is the activist of Austin laundromats. Their energy-saving machines give other laundromats the same spin the Prius did for the SUV, and the fact that they have eliminated toxic chemicals in their dry cleaning process gives Ralph Nader-ites an ecologically sound way to keep their white suits clean during soapbox speeches. Plus, hanging out in the superclean, brightly lit watiting area gives users a chance to catch up on the Guadalupe goings-on.

2915-B Guadalupe

Best Local Web Designer

Web site in need of a little spice? Groovee Fortune has more to offer than a cool name. With clientele like Texas Rollergirls, artist Heyd Fontenot, band the Action Is, and Legs Diamond shoe salon, Web mistress Beth Been is well-seasoned in the art of Austin flava. And, hey, if HTML is not your cup of tea, have no fear: This affordable Web designer also offers training to maintain your own site. Pretty "groovee"!

Groovee Fortune

Todd V. Wolfson

Best Movers

No strangers to this award, Blue Whale Moving is the largest locally owned moving company in Austin. Packing, shipping, storing, and even cleaning up the space you just exited are all part of their repotoire. We love the fact that their employees are full time and not simply contracted out. Our readers love their Free Move Quote online form – handy and high tech, just like the big guys, but with a whale of an Austin flair.

Blue Whale Moving & Storage
8291 Springdale #100

Best Pedicure/Manicure (nonspa)

The ladies of UT Nails are fabulous. They've got style, they've got infectious laughter, they've got mad skills, and they've got the best deal in town: a manicure/pedicure three days a week for $25. But the real thrill at UT Nails, as your feet soak in warm bubbly water, is listening to the aforementioned ladies crack themselves up (and you, if you're lucky). It's like those slumber parties you never got invited to when you were a kid: the fun ones. And, fret not if you're not the nail-polish type. Ask for the most basic, short nail job, and the ladies will buff your claws to a nice, eye-catching shine.

UT Nails
3909 N. I-35

Mary Sledd

Best Printer/Copies

Kinko's offers 24-hour service to lazy college students and ambitious entrepreneurs alike. They're known for their full spectrum of printing resources ... but what if you don't need an egg-shell business card? Or a thesis copy? Maybe you just want to print out those digital nudies you took of yourself, and Kinko's seemed the best bet because their self-serve offerings are top-notch, and what are the chances of running into an eager staff member at 3am? A word to the wise: Kinko's employees have all signed a "Purple Promise" (something to do with their FedEx merger) to be as productive and helpful as possible. So don't expect to be ignored even in the wee hours. For the truly shameless, they offer finishing services like mounting.

2901-C Medical Arts edit, 476-3242; and other locations around Austin

Best Real Estate Agent

What makes a Live Music Capital most? Its clubs and bands? What about its Realtors? After all, even musicians – and painters and politicians and mechanics and techies, for that matter – need a place to call home. And when they're in the market for a new pad, our readers choose Dan Harvey, the music Realtor – the "Creative Realtor for Creative People." Harvey's an accomplished drummer who's played with local legends Storyville, Charlie Sexton (among others), as well as national names, like Steve Earle and Bruce Springsteen. He's also an accomplished photographer whose day job is hunting down the right abode for you, whether that means a 2-2 pier-and-beam or a swanky million-dollar baby. Rock on.

Don Harvey Music Realtor

Best Recording Studio

Build it, and they will strum. Founding partners Wally Williams and Danny Levin converted a downtown 1970s bath house (and, ahem, the original old Chronicle HQ) into a 6,200-square-foot recording studio, and now they keep the place buzzing with a staff of 13 and dozens of freelance composers and world-class studio musicians. Designed by Mark Genfan of Acoustic Spaces, the facility features three studios and a live room, with the very latest recording software at work in each.

Tequila Mockingbird
306 W 16th St

Best Shoe Repair

Walk into any of their nine locations around town, and you'll find an able ESS (Emergency Sole Savers) staff member standing ready to perform triage on your ailing shoes and bags. Check the racks on your way in for a fine selection of brushes and buffers, shoe polish, slip guards, and cleaners to keep your kicks from croaking, plus a full line of Briggs & Riley luggage.

Austin Shoe Hospital
720 Congress, 512/477-5078
3106 Windsor, 512/477-6515
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

Best Spa

Both Aziz and Avant are longtime institutions in Austin. Both are full-service hair salons as well as day spas. They both do facials, manicures, pedicures, waxing, massage (including specialties such as Swedish, deep tissue, sports, acupuncture, and reflexology), body wraps, scrubs, polishes, other body treatments, make-up application, and more. Both offer wonderful packages for you or your significant other, or both ... and both are longtime winners of the "Best of Austin" awards!

Avant Garde Salon and Spa , 3405 Guadalupe edit, 458-5231; 9901 Avant Spa, Capital of TX Hwy. N. , 502-8268; Avant Studio, 318 Colorado, 472-6357; Aziz Salon & Day Spa, 710 W. Seventh, 476-4131

Best Tailor

From bridesmaids dresses that will never again see the light to jeans worn every day, Ace Custom Tailors knows what they are doing, and that's why they are No. 1, yet again. In fact, we think maybe they weave a little magic into their stitches to get them so precise. What else could keep Austinites coming back dress after dress, suit after suit, worn pair of jeans after worn pair of jeans, year after year?

Ace Custom Tailors
724-A N. Lamar, 512/478-9965
11909 Domain Dr. #154, 512/345-7688
2707 Walsh Tarlton, 512/329-0523

Todd V. Wolfson

Best Tattoo Artist

In our increasingly disposable society, very little is meant to last. So if you're going to affix forever onto your skin, be sure your tattooist is worth their weight in ink. Locals in the know, know two best of the best reside at SouthSide Tattoos. Chris Gunn and Karen Slafter have been creating works of art out of flesh and color for years now, well-earning their local legendary reputations and leaving their proverbial marks all over town. Karen, for her stunning, recognizable color work and Chris, for his Asian-inspired and beautifully inked creations. Open late and worth the wait.

Southside Tattoo
1313 S. Congress

Best Travel Agent

Our city may have plenty to offer, but sometimes you’ve got to roam. For those with ants in their pants, our readers recommend STA Travel, a discount travel agency catering nominally to students, but also to youngsters in general. STA operates on the belief that travel enhances people’s lives, and when it gets sweaty enough here, we couldn’t agree more. Whether you're heading to your hometown or a far-off hinterland, STA should be able to make you an offer you can’t refuse.

STA Travel
2116 Guadalupe St.

Best Veterinarian

What do our readers like best about Brykerwoods Veterinary Clinic? Is it the friendly and knowledgeable staff, the delightful neighborhood setting, the excellent service, the community and animal outreach? Nope. Well, yes ... of course, all those things. But more importantly, the peace of mind knowing that they will love your pets just as much as you do. Meow! Need we say more?

Brykerwoods Veterinary Clinic
1501 W. 35th

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