2011 Readers Poll
2011 Critics Picks

Todd V. Wolfson

Best Appliance/TV Repair

This West Lynn fixture has been in the TV biz since last midcentury was modern. Just to give you an idea: They opened here in Austin around the same time RCA, Admiral, and Westinghouse introduced the first color sets. Seasoned salesmen like Gary Hanna have been in the game since the days of cathode consoles, and he can still talk circles around any big-box hack explaining the distinctions between flat panels. While planned obsolescence is not a new concept in the audiovisual world, Bond's can service what it sells as well as that old set you keep around for show. In fact, original owner and octogenarian Bob Bond (the Bond in Bond's) is still making service calls.

1010 W. Lynn

Best Auto Service/Repair

This is Yost's third time feeling the "BOA" love. Mike Yost himself was crowned 2004's "Most Honest Punk Rock Mechanic," and his shop won this very category in 2009. Vehicle inspections, electrical and computer diagnostics, tune-ups, air conditioner inspections, radiator services, and minor body work on pretty much all makes and models makes Yost a one-stop auto care shop – now with two convenient North Lamar locations.

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

John Anderson

Best Barbershop

With a few years under its belt, Birds knows what Austinites like. Want to get in and out with your mane tamed? No problem. Want to sip a Lone Star and gab about Austin's music scene while your excess locks slowly fall away? Easy peas-y. With new locations going up all the time (including one right down the street from the Chronicle offices) and the addition of Verb – Birds' line of styling products – looking good rarely gets this convenient.

Various locations

Best Bicycle Repair

This is the 23rd time Bicycle Sport Shop has taken home a "BOA," so obviously it knows how to repair two-wheeled conveyances while keeping their two-legged companions happy. Newer kid on the podium, the Peddler (it got the nod in '09), might be dwarfed by the local chain, but it keeps Duval spinning with familiar faces and the knowledgeable brains behind them. What the two businesses have in common is a commitment to the cycling community with sponsored rides, events, and all-around bike goodness.

The Peddler Bike Shop, 5015 Duval St., 220-6766; Bicycle Sport Shop, various locations

Todd V. Wolfson

Best Car Wash

Genie’s professionals will whip, swish, swoosh, and buff your car into first-date shape inside and out, so fast and oh so furious. These perennial masters of the wax on, drive off are equipped to handle all your dirty driving habits without judging (yes, they see that old french fry under the seat) while showing your dusty, crusty bits no mercy.

Various locations

Best Computer Repair

Discount Electronics is legendary for its reliable service and parts selection for Dell repairs and upgrades, but one of the best parts of any visit is the wait. The store is a showroom of gadgets and doodads stocked in huge quantities, with low prices rivaling that of the big chains. Multiple-"BOA"-winning Happy Mac continues to please Apple devotees in need of service or advice, and a stop in the small shop on North Loop is a nice excuse to visit with pleasant proprietor Whitney Tracy. So whether you're a PC or a Mac, these Austin winners have got you logged in. Does that compute?

Discount Electronics
4005 W. Parmer

Happy Mac
601-A E. 53rd

Best Dry Cleaner

Founded in 1987 and with 15 locations in and around Austin, Rick's has plenty of good service to go around and plenty of testimonials to how great it is. Reasonable prices on dry cleaning and laundry are an added plus, as is the recycling of hangers and plastic. Most garment cleaning is $2.59 per piece, and you can always find coupons online for an even better deal.

Various locations

Best Florist

Our hometown Freytag's Florist (pronounced "fry," not "fray") has been helping Austinites congratulate and console one another for nearly 40 years, and for nearly 30 of those years, it has been recognized as one of the Top 100 florists in the nation by national wire service Teleflora. Whoa! That deserves a big bouquet of yellow roses, we'd say. The family-run business' long history of bringing a bit of beauty into our lives is the reason our readers have again named Freytag's No. 1. And if you do want to send some congratulations, we'd recommend flowers.

Freytag's Florist
2211 W. Anderson

Best Hair Salon

Y'all love Avant. You just can't help yourselves. Owner Roy Fredericks is a true pioneer in Austin's beauty scene with decades of successful salons under his belt. Extraordinarily talented stylists go through Avant's meticulous training process, ensuring that when you see an Avant haircut, you know it's an Avant haircut. With his ever-growing empire in Central Texas, Fredericks and Avant will be remembered as the foundation upon which our current fashion scene was built.

Avant Salon Spa
507 Pressler #800, 512/472-6357
Avant Salon Day Spa, 9901 Capital of TX Hwy. N. #240, 512/502-8268

Best Landscape Services

With 2009 and 2010 "Best of Austin" wins, Fertile Ground Organic Gardens wins again in a three-“peat.” (Get it?) From landscape design to installation to maintenance, the team at Fertile Ground specializes in plants and ground cover that perform in Central Texas' demanding environment, and it's Green Garden-certified by the city of Austin as an eco-conscious company. With your Saint Augustine left in the dust, maybe it's time to move to more Fertile Ground?

Fertile Ground Organic Gardens
3303 Breedlove

Todd V. Wolfson

Best Laundromat

Forget everything you know about going to the laundromat: No creepy guys, no used chewing gum under the seat, no long waiting. Expect state-of-the-art, eco-friendly machines to do the dirtiest of deeds, and if time is short, the owners of Wash Day will take care of your needs with drop-off wash and fold, pickup and delivery, and even pressing services. No wonder it's expanded to a southwest location at Brodie and even as far south as Wimberley. Make sure to check its up-to-date, highly informative blog for extra cleanliness.

Various locations

Best Movers

Unicorn does everything in the realm of residential and commercial packing and storage, even unpacking. It is spotlessly professional, it's local, and, let's get to the point: All of its trucks portray strapping, muscular unicorns. Le sigh.

Unicorn Moving & Storage
102 Victor

Jana Birchum

Best Pedicure/Manicure

We swear, the SpaRitual nail polish used at Milk + Honey does not chip! Are you a full-time bartender? Maybe a penny-pinching badass that changes your own oil and rotates your own tires? In our experience, even after a week of abuse, your nails will still be beautiful. And what about those tootsies? They'll feel like they died and went to extremity heaven. Down with the acrylic cuticle killers and hooray to all-natural, actually good-for-your-skin manicures and pedicures from Milk + Honey, featuring organic, vegan, eco-friendly products. What else do you expect in the land of … well, you know.

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 Pet Services

For those living in an efficiency or lacking a yard, the well-established Dirty Dog is a dog/godsend, with reasonably priced grooming and fun self-serve mutt-washing facilities. Mud Puppies is like Dirty Dog on steroids, taking it to another level, with full-service and self-serve grooming, training, "playcare," and boarding. Consider yourself and your hound lucky to live in a town with such high-quality pet care options.

Dirty Dog, various locations; Mud Puppies, 12233 FM 620 N. Ste. 110-A, 249-2498

Best Printer/Copies

Our readers are pretty savvy. For a national chain to win over a local fave, it takes consistent service, an array of choices, and a slew of convenient locations. FedEx Office has all that. Fast, friendly service and plenty of technology on hand to do it yourself is what makes this the ultimate convenience, whether you're simply copying documents, having binders made up, duplicating photos, or shipping the entire project off to multiple destinations. Selections in paper stock, self- and full-serve options, and locations across Central Texas – our readers like options.

Various locations

Best Shoe Repair

Sole power! Go ahead and spend the extra money on that nice purse and those sexy shoes. When they get dinged up from constant use, these doctors will return your babies back to their initial awesomeness, and you won't even have to break them in again. The many locations and online mail-in system make it easier to get back to your loafer love affair in no time. Sniff that freshly glued Corinthian leather. It's totally normal.

Various locations

Todd V. Wolfson

Best Spa

Is it really possible to pick just one favorite place to indulge and pamper? No, it isn't, that's why we've got a tie this year, with two spas that do their very best to remind you to take time out for yourself. Viva Day Spa, with two central locations, offers an impressive list of services and deals that can't be beat, delivered in an unpretentious setting – supremely accessible for folks on the go. Lake Austin Spa Resort, the internationally known lakeside haven, offers wellness retreats that wash away city stress, with amenities designed to remind you just how very special you are.

Viva Day Spa, 215 S. Lamar, 472-2256; 1811 W. 35th, 300-2256; Lake Austin Spa Resort, 1705 S. Quinlan Park, 372-7300

Best Tailor

For almost two decades, our readers have declared Ace Custom Tailors aces. Sure, these folks are great at zippers, alterations, and repairs. But their sleeves show a distinctly warm heart, especially when it comes to kids. Check out their teddy bear hospital, where children can bring their gently worn stuffed animals, blankets, or any other beloved object and have them repaired for a suggested $10 donation, with 100% the proceeds benefiting the Austin Children’s Shelter. In addition, Ace commissions teddy bears from the local glitterati to be auctioned off every year for charity. Yep, aces all the way.

Various locations

John Anderson

Best Tattoo Shop

Known for its friendly Texas style, True Blue Tattoo has the tats on lockdown, reppin' our city on the Red River scene and catering to walk-ins and appointments alike. With nine artists varying in specialties and styles, the staff will make sure you get the exact ink you want in a well-lit, clean, professional environment. It's open late, but hey, that doesn't mean you can just stroll in all three-sheets-to-the-wind; these artists are professionals.

True Blue Tattoo
607 Red River, 512/472-2783
4507-B Airport, 512/363-5511

Best Veterinarian

Whether they're up with the roosters or lying down with the lions and lambs, whether your pet is having a dog day or in need of a catnap, this Austin Zoo-trusted pet hospital flings the doors open early and stays late (even on Catur … uh, Saturdays), and our readers love 'em for it. In a city where most people have more than one four-legged family member, the ability to win the respect of serious animal lovers is a major coup. And hey, they can even take care of your major coops!

Austin Veterinary Diagnostic Hospital
9324-C Hwy. 290 W.

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