2013 Readers Poll
2013 Critics Picks

Sandy Carson

Best Appliance/TV Repair

There's nothing secret about these agents of A/V. Since 1954, they've kept Austin plugged in, whether by rabbit ear or coaxial. As television's role has expanded, so has theirs, so just because they've been around since father knew best, don't go in expecting a bunch of doddering ol' fuddies who don't know what's what. These sound & vision pros know the biz and can hook you up (literally, with custom installation) with any type of system – surround sound, outdoor theater, security, desktop networking, flat screen upgrades, automation, you name it – for the home or office.

1010 W. Lynn

Best Auto Service/Repair

You’re a musician about to head out of your Eastside group house when the brakes on your minivan go out just as you're taking the kids to their soccer game. Or maybe you’re a busy soccer mom who needs one-stop shopping for an oil change and state inspection on your tour van to make sure it's in tip-top shape before heading out on that punk club circuit your lover booked for you across the Pacific Northwest. Mike Yost and his team of tattooed grease monkeys are on the case, getting you in and out and on your way with a minimum of fuss and with fair prices. Non-van drivers welcome.

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

Best Barbershop

With your favorite stylist's sched available online, Birds takes the anxiety out of walk-in hair service (shout out to Jualdo and SB, the cah-yute makers!). And even though walk-ins get helped quickly, you can call up to an hour before you want to shimmy shake through that door. (Shhhh! Don't tell like-a-boss Beth we told you.)

Various locations

Best Bicycle Repair

It's a real bummer when your bike is out of commission, kind of like when your best friend gets drunk and jumps off a roof and breaks their ass or their ankle, and suddenly you don't have a pal to lurk around with for two months. At least when your bike breaks, you can take it to Bicycle Sport Shop. Their staff of professional mechanics can repair and tune-up your bike, so you can stay on the road, where you belong.

Bicycle Sport Shop

Best Car Wash

With a twitch of the nose, a wiggle, and a blink, this local institution has been making cars sparkle for decades, drawing in drivers with its kitschy Genie signs and fast, friendly service. But their real secret is their “Magic Touch.” We don’t know exactly what that is, either, but it sure leaves our burled oak panels glowing.

Various locations

Best Computer Repair

Computer broke as a joke? Hey, don't get your wires all frayed! Never fear because Discount E's super team of techies are here to save the day. They are faster than a speeding modem and able to leap computer issues in a single bound. So, next time that villainous spinning rainbow wheel or hourglass of death won't quit, go see the super nerds of Discount Electronics for help. How do you spell "thank you" in code?

Discount Electronics
4005 W. Parmer, 512/983-9989
1001 S. I-35, Round Rock, 512/637-7051

Sandy Carson

Best Dry Cleaner

This town can get pretty down and dirty. So, it's EcoClean's job to wash away those late-night adventures (but you'll always have the memories) in a safe and clean environment. From its humble beginnings in 1995 to the opening of its second location, EcoClean maintains its eco-friendly "wet cleaning" process and uses biodegradable detergents. But now it offers free pickup and drop-off at your home or office to keep your secrets squeaky clean.

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

Best Florist

This "BOA" regular and Austin landmark has been helping Austinites make nice, make up, and make out since 1974. These beautiful bouquets can say "I'm sorry" or "I love you," or even "just because," or "get better." Whether you want to bewitch or console, make amends or make a grand gesture, Freytag's is our readers' favorite place to start.

Freytag's Florist
2211 W. Anderson

Best Hair Salon

Located on the western edge of Hyde Park, Austin's Mint Salon offers the best of both worlds in the beauty racket: The salon is hip yet comfortable, the stylists have impeccable taste while remaining friendly, fun, and approachable, and the location is conveniently located in a central urban strip but still feels like a neighborhood business. These perfect contradictions make Mint feel as fresh and lovely as the name might suggest.

4023 Guadalupe

Best Landscape Services

When the natives are restless, who ya gonna call? If it's a family member, we suggest dialing 911. But if it's a plant, Fertile Ground Organic Gardens will help you pave (mulch and prune) the way to a new beginning. The business was started in 2001 by Houstonian Julie Donie as a way to prevent herself and her young children from being exposed to synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Fertile Ground's managing partner, Alexa Villalobos flexed her green thumb in 2005, when she began working with the business on landscape maintenance. Donie and Villalobos can breathe easy again, as readers make this the fifth consecutive year to shower them with "Best of Austin" love.

Fertile Ground Organic Gardens
3303 Breedlove

Best Laundromat

Well, SpinZone, you’ve gone and done it again. What is it? The TVs out the wazoo? The old-school arcade games for the bored children? The free wi-fi? Maybe it's all of those. We like the largest locally owned coin-op laundry biz in town title, honestly; and, of course, the whole same day wash-and-fold feature that saves even the laziest clothes-washing patron. Two of the three stores are open 24 hours, to boot. They claim to be “Keeping Austin Clean.” We prefer "Keeping Austin B.O. Free," but whatever. Either way, SpinZone gets it done.

SpinZone Laundry
1909 E. Willam Cannon, 512/326-2200
6307 Cameron, 512/454-6600
2424 S. Congress, 512/447-2700
1108 N. Mays, Round Rock, 512/580-0900

Best Movers

Unicorns, whaaaaat? Seriously, though, this company does exist and strives to provide a level of service as rarely seen as their mascot IRL. They’ve done their homework and can expertly handle any moving job, large or small, at a competitive price. These are no amateurs, and they vow never to be all hoof.

Unicorn Moving & Storage
102 Victor

Devaki Knowles

Best Pedicure/Manicure

When you need a pedicure complete with an exfoliating scrub and vanilla cupcake-scented paraffin wax treatment, Embellish is your place. The affordable and natural nail care salon offers organic facials complete with embellishments such as a yam and pumpkin enzyme peel and an alpha hydroxy fruit pulp and paprika glycolic treatment. Watch your favorite rom-coms under a crystal chandelier, sip a glass of wine, and prepare to be pampered.

Embellish Nails & Boutique
3663 Bee Caves Rd. #3, 512/328-9898
3010 W. Anderson, Ste. H,, 512/452-7465

Best Pet Services

If there ever comes a time you must be away from your sweet baby (your dog), you can feel confident that the loving and attentive staff of Mud Puppies will take care of your best friend (your dog). This doggy service emporium offers boarding, training, and "playcare," and if you're hoping to treat your favorite member of the family (your dog) to a day of pampering, Mud Puppies offers both professional grooming and a self-service dog wash.

Mud Puppies
12233 FM 620 N. Ste. 110-A, 512/249-2498
2015 E. Riverside Bldg. 9, 512/912-0200

Best Printer/Copies

Printer ink costs more per ounce than human blood or fine wine, so why not spare your little home inkjet and let the professionals take care of your next big job? From dissertations to show posters, these guys can take care of you, or you can do it all yourself by ordering online or dropping in at any of their dozen locations in and around town.

Various locations

Best Shoe Repair

Before we discovered Austin Shoe Hospital, we were upcycling our favorite footwear into exquisite planters, gravy boats, and button bins. But now our unshod days are over! We’ll never let those favorite clodhoppers go to seed again when a quick hospital visit or mail-order repair can have us as light in our loafers as when we first fell in step.

Various locations

Sandy Carson

Devaki Knowles

Best Spa

From brain to bum, the Milk + Honey experience is designed to relax even the most anal retentive. Seasonal treatments (like the delicious Mojito Scrub) keep things fresh and new, while Manly Manicures will please any man-friend. Wrapped in a cocoon of warm blankets, it's hard to remember what WORRIES drove you to the spa in the first place.

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

The pieces don't fit anymore? Ace Custom Tailors can fix that. They can also make all those fresh finds from the top rack to the bargain bin into tailor-made confections. Master tailor Vanessa Wilkerson at the 12th Street location can even do leather. Yes we're fit, and my gosh, don't we just know it.

Various locations

Best Tattoo Shop

Want some body art but don't know where to start? Our readers attest that the artists at Atomic will make it tonight, make it right, and make it magnificent, all at blow-out prices. If you want that heart on your sleeve to be the bomb, then stop worrying; Atomic Tattoo is here. Up and Atom ... ic!

Various locations

Readers: Politics & Personalities
Readers: Shopping

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle