2009 Readers Poll
2009 Critics Picks

John Anderson

All-Time Winner

So your bike is broken. Gears out of whack? Brakes not doing their job as well as they should? Perhaps you had an unwelcome interaction with a car. Whatever happened, you're likely in a foul mood – your biker's high severely harshed. You do not need attitude right now. We're talking to you, snobby bike shop employee who decided that since we drove our ailing bike to the shop in a car we weren't worthy of attention, causing our two-wheeled buddy to suffer. Things like this don't happen at Bicycle Sport Shop, because it's an everyman cyclery, likely the reason it's won 17 "Best of Austin" awards, including Best Bicycle Repair, over the years. It's the BookPeople of biking, the Waterloo of peddlers. Austin has enough cyclists to keep niche shops in business – all you hipsters on your fixies and speed freaks on your ultralight racers have your specialty spots – but BSS can outfit the new rider or make sure your racing bike gets the fine touch that it needs to perform. Of course that means you can get everything from fingerless gloves to headlights to really, really tight clothing, giving you the ability to walk in looking like a gas-guzzling newbie and walk out feeling like a badass bike messenger. Although a bit cleaner, we imagine. Classes, rentals, and custom bike fittings are just icing on the cake. The flagship store – once nestled back between Schlotzsky's and Zach Theatre – now sits proudly on South Lamar and is the centerpiece of a thriving South Austin biking community. The Joy Rides Cafe helps nourish the riders before or after rides, or, hell, maybe you needed a patch for your tire and a Greenbelt Smoothie just sounded delicious. But don't forget the North Austin location just waiting to help all the non-Central cyclers out there. Nothing becomes such a regular winner without helping the community. In Bicycle Sports Shop's case, the sponsored races and teams, bicycle advocacy (boo to Gov. Perry for vetoing the Safe Passage Bill), and several helpful Web accoutrements keep the shop on top of its game.

Bicycle Sport Shop

Best Appliance/TV Repair

Crest the slight North Loop slope headed toward Burnet Road and the Mr. Wizard’s Electronics sign nestles among the greenery on your left like a pygmy palm in its breezy flourish. Inside, more Southwestern Chandler-esque: a repair shop timelessness pausing the clock among modern modes of media delivery. May 1 marked three decades troubleshooting for head sorcerer Mark Duffel, while Aug. 7 – the day of this phone call – marked 27 years of marriage with his business partner, Allison Duffel. Abilene (Mark) and New Orleans (Allison) share the University of Texas in common, and because the electrical engineering dropout (him) bypassed “corporate America” to work weekends, struggle, and problem solve, “both the equipment and the customer,” business (her) has remained “shockingly consistent.” “Unsurpassed,” asserts Mark about Austin’s consumer base. “It’s all about people being community-based. They do tell their friends. I don’t think it happens like it does in Austin. It comes down to the goodness of the people.”

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

Todd V. Wolfson

Sandy Carson

Best Auto Service/Repair

Michael Yost and his crew of all-model experts may have moved from their old digs by I-35, but when they moved, they took something important with them: the amazing trust they have built up with their devoted fans. Ask anyone: They do just what's needed – no more, no less – to keep your four-wheeled baby purring.

Yost Automotive
5415 N. Lamar, 512/374-9678
6517 N. Lamar, 512/452-9678

Best Barbershop

Birds Barbershop is the barbershop for Austin's hipster elite. And we mean that in a good way. Cheap, hip cuts from folks you're likely to bump in to at the bar later that evening, and they even serve you a complimentary beer while you wait. But don't worry, customers without neck tattoos are given as much quality service as the bassist for the current buzzworthy band.

Birds Barbershop
Birds Barbershop South Lamar, 2110 S. Lamar, 512/442-8800
Birds Barbershop Burnet, 6800 Burnet Rd., 512/454-1200
Birds Barbershop East Sixth, 1107 E. Sixth, 512/457-0400
Birds Barbershop South Congress, 1902 S. Congress, 512/445-0500
Birds Barbershop 41st/Red River, 905 E. 41st, 512/492-8400
Birds Barbershop Slaughter, 5000 W. Slaughter, 512/758-7800
Birds Barbershop 183/Anderson Mill, 13219 Hwy. 183 N., 512/879-4700
Birds Barbershop Rock Rose, 11420 Rock Rose #114, 512/610-7600
Birds Barbershop William Cannon, 3601 W. William Cannon, 512/795-4600

Best Bicycle Repair

Since 2005, the Peddler on North Loop has built a loyal following of neighborhood patrons due to its speedy repair service and low labor costs. With an ever-expanding array of high-quality accessories and inventory of used and new bicycles – from KHS to Redline to Free Agent – it's a good thing the shop's moving into spacious new digs this month, just a few blocks away at Duval and 51st.

The Peddler Bike Shop
5015 Duval St.

Best Car Wash

Let the Genie do his magic on your automobile. Fill 'er up, and get all the services that used to be standard practice at filling stations in the past. The washes are great, but it's the interior and exterior detailing that makes your car want to cuddle up to you and say, "Thank you."

Genie Car Wash
7320 Burnet, 512/451-9274
1311 S. Lamar, 512/444-9274
1021 W. William Cannon, 512/416-9274

Best Computer Repair

Whether the instrument of choice is a Mac or a PC, we've all been to the mountain, clutching our laptops to our chests in wallet-cringing, dark-screen hell. For reassuring, straight talk, Austin's Mac users know to go directly to Whitney Tracy at Happy Mac. He's been solving Apple's problems since before he worked in its tech support division and still goes the extra mile. Customer service has paid off for Mr. Notebook, as well. Relieved PC users gush over doors being held at closing time, repair extras at no charge, and technicians that were determined to get them back online.

Happy Mac
601-A E. 53rd

Mr. Notebook
2401 Rio Grande

Best Dry Cleaner

When you take your clothes to EcoClean, you do something more than just laundry. Some folks don't understand the harm in so many of our everyday routines (like dry cleaning). This nontoxic cleaner has made it possible to be conveniently proactive. And EcoClean hasn't racked up so many "Best of Austin"s just because of its efforts in the green revolution. It also provides smooth, speedy, and consistently efficient service. Ahh, the fresh smell of clean slacks and consciousness!

2438 W. Anderson Ste. C-3, 512/236-8645
4012 N. Lamar, 512/236-8645
3005 S. Lamar Ste. D-114A, 512/236-8645
3600 Capital of Texas Hwy. N. #120, 512/263-8645

John Anderson

Best Florist

Locally owned and managed, Freytag's has an impeccable reputation for sending out sinfully sensuous flowers, gift baskets that are brimming with beauty, plants that are bursting with life, dish gardens that add peace wherever they're placed, bouncy balloons, and the freshest fruit. Coupled with 24-hour service and a 35-year history, Freytag's knows how to please.

Freytag's Florist
2211 W. Anderson

Best Hair Salon

Roar owner Rory McNeill must have a wall of fame in his home to show off all of his awards, commendations, and photos with high-profile clients. He's really been around, and yet seems to have never lost his boyish enthusiasm for designing fabulous hair and color. The swank East Fifth salon is a haven for his clients, who wouldn't dream of going anywhere else.

Roar Salon
201 E. Fifth #107

Best Landscape Services

Staring longingly at your neighbor's perky garden while grimly hand-watering your crunchy brown lawn? With the aid of Fertile Ground Gardens, you too can have organic, drought-resistant landscapes. Whether you need just a few tips or a complete yard makeover, Julie Donie and her crew lay out – not lead you up – the garden path.

Fertile Ground Organic Gardens
3303 Breedlove

Best Laundromat

Whether it's your saddle blanket or your duvet cover, locally owned and operated Wash Day Laundry provides a squeaky clean environment in which to get your clothes (or saddle blankets) immaculate. With an abundance of state of the art machines and its sleek new no-coin card system, there's hardly a wait. But if washing your own clothes just isn't you, then let the on-site staff do it for you (includes pressing for a little more). Wash Day Laundry washes away your clothing cares.

Wash Day Laundry
7626 Hwy. 71 W., 512/906-2760
Wash Day Laundry (Brodie), 8213 Brodie, 512/614-6760
14306 RR 12, Wimberley, 512/847-0292

John Anderson

Best Movers

Heavenly care is exactly what you need, especially when it comes to helping the elderly adjust to newer, down-sized housing. And Heavenly Care Moving knows just how to make that transition as smooth as possible. But that's only one of its particular specialties. Founding the company in 2004, owner Benny Latino knows how to provide excellent service to his customers and makes the moving experience a truly moving experience.

Heavenly Care Moving Services
13266 Pond Springs

Best Pedicure/Manicure

Mani/pedi! Oh, how that hybrid brings happy to mind! Nails of America offers up big-screen TVs, comfy massage pedicure chairs, a bright and spacious work area, and a large staff of experienced, welcoming technicians at a surprisingly affordable price. Pure Nails embraces the environmental approach to natural nail beauty with a platinum standard hygiene regime. Featuring formaldehyde-free polishes that are good for your body and better on the nose, Pure lives up to its name, through and through. Both are Austin’s favorites for putting your best foot (and hand) forward.

Pure Nails
2110 S. Lamar

Nails of America & Spa
1000 E. 41st #220

Best Printer/Copies

Ah, the convenience of Kinko's. It has rescued us from countless late-night photocopying emergencies and inspired us to flights of collating and paper-cutting fancy. And in those times when our DIY spirit couldn't keep pace with our imagination, the savvy folks behind the counter have been there to do the printing for us, whether we were making lost-kitten fliers, wedding invitations, or bound copies of the coolest zines ever. Plus its FedEx services make us wonder why we'd trouble ourselves ever again to box and address our own packages. Kinko's does it so much better – leaving that much more time for our more creative, paper-obsessed pursuits.

FedEx Office
2901-C Medical Arts, 512/476-3242
327 Congress #100, 512/472-4448
327 Congress, 512/472-4448
330 Bee Caves Rd. #715, 512/314-2300
6406 N. I-35 Ste. 1210, 512/452-3600
5601 Brodie #1210, 512/892-1992
9222 Burnet #101 & 102, 512/339-1191
13729 Research, 512/331-0800

Best Shoe Repair

Clocking in more than a century of shoe healing in Texas, this hospital is not only versed in emergency care but also serves up preventative medicine for all of your heels, boots, shoes, bags, and leather goods. It doesn’t just stop at cowhide – earning its cred in cowboy country, it also has specialists in alligator, snakeskin, ostrich, lizard, and goatskin, to boot.

Austin Shoe Hospital
8211 Burnet, 512/453-1961
3106 Windsor, 512/477-6515
720 Congress, 512/477-5078
3300 Bee Caves Rd., 512/329-8104
1911 W. Ben White, 512/440-8788
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

John Anderson

Best Spa

Experience sheer heaven with the luxurious treatments found at both of Milk + Honey's locations. Whether in the chic Second Street District or at the Hill Country Galleria, your tired ol' bag o' bones can always find top-notch aestheticians, massage therapists who can get to the root of your ailment, and nail techs to adorn the nails. You'll walk out wishing you never had to leave Milk + Honey's cocoon of a spa.

Milk + Honey
100-A Guadalupe, 512/236-1115
12901 Hill Country Blvd. Ste. D1-110, 512/236-1115
9722 Great Hills Trail #210, 512/236-1115

Best Tailor

Year after year, readers tell us they wouldn't take their ill-fitting finery anywhere else. Ace has been marking up Austinites with little pieces of chalk seven days a week since 1967 and now has four locations around town to show for it.

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

Best Tattoo Artist

Karen Slafter wins again. As an artist, she pushes herself beyond the boundaries of accepted standards and takes her tattoo art into another realm entirely. As The Austin Chronicle cover girl for 2007's "Best of Austin" issue, she has more than 70% of her body covered in colored and black ink. Being a walking billboard for her vocation ensures that she will always have a secure future.


Best Veterinarian

Sometimes a parrot can get a little hoarse, and even a dog needs a CAT scan every now and then, which is where Oak Springs comes in to save the day. OSVH's state-of-the-art technology is wielded by a fierce group of medical and dental specialists, supported by a well-trained and caring staff of humans, who have earned the highest marks from the American Animal Hospital Association. No wonder this hospital has won the loyalty of our readers and their lucky pets of all species.

Oak Springs Veterinary Hospital
9324-C Hwy. 290 W.

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