Best of Big D


Featured in The Best of Big D 2014

Best Party Rental


The inventory selection at Ducky-Bob’s is expansive, which makes them the one-stop shop for planning a party ranging from an intimate dinner party for 12 to a soirée for a cast of thousands. You can find the usual party essentials such as tables, chairs, and linens in various colors and styles. But the reason we love them is for their selection of hard-to-find, unique items such as hot dog carts, cotton candy machines, and raffle cages. (That sounds like the making of a pretty kick-ass party if you ask us.)

Readers’ Pick: Ducky-Bob’s

Best Car Wash

Forest Car Wash and Detail

Choose an express or full-service detail—or just one of their well-priced hand-wash packages—and leave your car with one of the attendants. Then pick an activity. There’s free coffee and chair massage (small charge) inside. Or head across the parking lot and browse Forestwood Antique Mall. Hungry? Liberty Burger has a burger and shake with your name on it. When you return, your car will be as good as new.

Readers’ Pick: Vintage Car Wash has fast and friendly service on even the most basic wash (which will run you $12, and includes a better-than-average interior vacuum).

Best Blowout


We’ve had great blowouts all over town, but for consistency, speed, and price, this blowout-only salon takes the win. A menu of options (we like the Straight Up signature blowout with body) makes it easy for stylists to deliver the look you’re going for. Mimosas and chick flicks accompany your $40 service, and online appointment scheduling makes it easy to book.

Readers’ Pick: Drybar

Best Dry Cleaner

Sunshine Laundry & Dry Cleaner

Life continues to disappoint and punch you in the face. Allow us to suggest a way to break from the bleakness: take your bedding set to Sunshine for a little wash and go via the bundle service. The friendly and courteous staff washes and presses your sheets (and everything else!), folds them, covers them in brown paper, and places them in a pretty little brown bag. They will even carry your packages to the car. Turnaround is a day, and it all happens for about $30. Good luck replicating that anywhere else in your life.

Readers’ Pick: Bibbentuckers is a local chain that offers pickup, delivery, and services that include leather care.

Best Eyebrows

Joanna Czech

Czech has been in the industry for 30 years and works on the famous faces of Christy Turlington and Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour. We love her facials but insist that no one else touch our eyebrows. She carefully tweezes—not waxes—each brow into a natural, clean arch that we just can’t achieve at home.

Readers’ Pick: Cindy DiMaggio at Salon Boutique commands a loyal following (see her several years of Readers’ Pick awards) that swears by her precision.

Best Shoe Repair

Deno’s of Highland Park

Friendlier faces behind the counter wouldn’t hurt, but we’ll forgive the staff because of the magic they work on our shoes. Over the years, Deno’s has revived our favorite pairs from trashed to like-new, dyed sandals new hues, and repaired our beloved but tattered handbags. Most incredibly, when we passed our Louboutins to a smaller-footed friend, Deno’s was able to raise the footbed and shorten the straps to compensate for nearly two sizes.

Readers’ Pick: Deno’s of Highland Park

Best Day Spa

ESPA at the Joule Hotel

Shaking off stress begins at check-in with ginger tea and a warm hand towel. Down the stairs, underground, you can enjoy the temperature rooms (tricked-out showers, saunas, and ice fountains) before beginning your service with a footbath. We recommend booking ESPA Time. Choose body or beauty, number of hours, and your therapist will customize the treatment to your needs. Finish it all off with a healthy Spa Box from the Joule’s spa menu. Or wine.

Readers’ Pick: Hiatus Spa + Retreat is all that the name implies. Everything from a mani/pedi in the anti-gravity chair to a massage under the Vichy shower is a getaway from real life.

Best Mani/Pedi

Pampered Soles

Skip your standing appointment at the mediocre joint around the corner and sink into a leather recliner at this Lovers Lane salon. Lined footbaths are brought to your station, where you can relax knowing you’ll get consistent service every time and an attentive foot massage. For a nominal fee, you can upgrade to luxury polish brands like Chanel and Butter London. Don’t forget cash or a check—it’s all they accept.

Readers’ Pick: Hawaiian Nail Bar has you covered when you only have nighttime hours to spare. All locations stay open until midnight on weekends.

Best Pet Groomer

JD Howard at Urban Paws

We follow groomer JD Howard wherever he goes. When Howard was at Petropolitan, our dog would prance out, showing off his meticulously trimmed ears and perfectly coifed tail. Then Howard moved to Urban Paws, and so did we. Howard is even groomer to Dallas’ celebrity pup Nelson, the Goldendoodle who rides in a Vespa sidecar. If Howard’s good enough for Nelson, he’s good enough for our dog.

Readers’ Pick: We love the upscale experience our favorite four-legged friends get from Billi Bonze, located in a 65-year-old home.

Best Tailor

The Fitting Room

Owner Bea Harper has been tailoring, altering, and creating custom clothing for the Park Cities elite for 20 years. Whether it’s reweaving a hole in a designer suit, creating a wedding veil to match a gown, or just a basic hem stitch, Harper’s full-service design shop does it all.

Readers’ Pick: There’s nothing wrong with cheap, fast, and good, and that’s what you get at Unique Tailor, a no-frills yet efficient tailor shop.

Best Movers

Curtis Specialized Moving and Storage

The humble editors of D Home have very non-humble tastes. It is not uncommon for them to feature things that cost many times more than they make in any given year. Therefore, it is of the utmost import that the good people who transport these items to and from photo shoots take care of these treasures. We don’t want to jinx anything, but Curtis has never broken a single thing. Even if something were to get damaged, editors know they would repair both the situation and the $30,000 vase. They’re also super easy to work with—D Home calls, they show up and do their jobs. In all these years, they’ve never no-showed once.

Readers’ Pick: Two Men and a Truck moves your prized possessions locally and long distance.

Best Stationer

Lilco Design and Letterpress Studio

If you’re looking for a simple monogrammed piece of stationery, look elsewhere. Designer and printer Lily Smith-Kirkley isn’t satisfied with just slapping a letter on a tented piece of cardstock and calling it a day. Her notecard and invitation designs are winsome and clever without being cloying or overwrought. She’ll also work with you to create custom paper pieces (as well as websites, business cards, packaging—you name it).

Readers’ Pick: Paper Affair, with locations across Georgia and North Texas, offers a wide selection of brands.

Best Pet Boarder

Camp Bow Wow

It’s easy to leave your furry friend behind when staffers greet your pup by name (and sometimes with a kiss). Instead of being locked in cages all day, dogs pass the time playing in both indoor and outdoor play areas. Sleep “cabins” are clean and roomy, and online “Camper Cams” allow you to take a peek at what your dog is doing while you’re away.

Readers’ Pick: Pappy’s Pet Lodge was created to introduce a little TLC to standard boarding. Six North Texas locations cater to pets that range from dogs to guinea pigs.

Best Nail Art

Ms. Patty Cake at Beauty Bar

The nightclub actually does offer a beauty service, as the name implies. Pop by Tuesday through Friday from 5 to 8 pm, and you’ll find Patricia Valle (aka Ms. Patty Cake). She’ll be the tattooed pin-up girl at a sparkly gold table adorning nails with hand-painted designs—polka dots with designer logos, geometric zigzags, or anything you can think of (we love the trendy eyeballs)—for $20, which includes a martini.

Best Eyelashes

The Lash Loft

Lauren Taylor’s clients followed her around town for six years to get their lash fix before she opened her own Deep Ellum studio. Taylor says she’d rather skip getting her hair done than be without her long eyelashes, and after a round on her table, we get it. The lightweight silk NovaLash lashes she applies one at a time leave us batting our lashes in the mirror more than usual.

Readers’ Pick: Nouvelle Beauté by Laura the Brow Queen offers a slew of eyelash services from tinting, dying, and perming your natural ones to filling them out with extensions.

Best Fitness Program

Crowbar CARDIO

This neighborhood joint is warm and welcoming, with friendly, professionally certified instructors and the owner’s dog manning the front desk. Crowbar offers a unique take on the usual spin and barre classes with RealRyder bikes, which tilt and lean, and a dancer-designed ballet barre, but we especially love them for bringing back rowing. The Indo-Row machines, which pull the blades through a tank of water, offer an intense, low-impact cardio workout in an environment that feels like a community, not a cult.

Readers’ Pick: CrossFit’s total-body approach inspires unbridled passion in its devotees, and with 9,000 locations, it’s especially nice for world travelers.

Best Facial

Renée Rouleau Skin Care

Once upon a time, our skin was red, bumpy, and drier than the Sahara. Nothing helped. Enter the calming presence of Julia, one of Rouleau’s estheticians, and a regimen of equally calming, high-performance facials. Rouleau has been in business for 20-odd years, and experience is evident in everything from the way facials are performed to her line of products. It’s an expensive habit, but we wouldn’t trust our finicky face to anyone (or anywhere) else.

Readers’ Pick: Renée Rouleau Skin Care

Best Sunless Tanning

The Tan Bar

The Tan Bar doesn’t follow a one-spray-tan-fits-all formula. Before your appointment, you’ll fill out a questionnaire with your skin type, natural hair color, eye color, reason why you’re tanning, and more. This will help owners and technicians Terry Ehrle and Leslie Lopez select one of their nine organic tanning formulas to provide you with the perfect bronze. Service is solid, and pricing is reasonable at $45 for full body.

Best Body Treatment

Hiatus’ monthly treatments

Although the theme of the spa’s special treatment changes monthly—pumpkin in November, for example—the gist remains the same: an indulgent 80 minutes of aromatherapy-infused body scrub, rainfall Vichy shower, and massage so good you’ll never want to leave. (They won’t let you spend the night; we’ve asked.) A cocktail to fit the motif rounds out the service.

Best Veterinary Clinic

Hillside Veterinary Clinic

Late one night our dog got ill, so we took him to the emergency clinic. We ended up spending more than $1,000 and were given a misdiagnosis of kidney failure. We vowed never to go back and found Hillside, a 24/7 vet with no emergency fees. The initial exam was inexpensive, and we left with the correct diagnosis. And that appointment took place at 8 on a Tuesday evening.

Readers’ Pick: Nothing is quite as soothing as the fish tank at Katy Trail Animal Hospital, unless, of course, you’re talking about the vets themselves.

Best Caterer

Two Sisters Catering

So often, catered food just tastes so, well, catered. Not at Two Sisters. For 25 years, owner Connie Chantilis has been called upon to cater Dallas’ finest private parties, corporate events, and wedding receptions. Whether they’re serving meals for 15 people or 500, the food is always fresh and delicious. And with two convenient take-out locations, you can easily sample the goods before booking.

Readers’ Pick: Two Sisters Catering

Best Place to Get a Massage

Cloud 9 Massage

When you book with Denice Buchanan, don’t bother choosing your massage type. Tell her about your lifestyle, and she’ll decide what you need. “I let the body talk to me,” she says. Her no-frills clinic is located inside a chiropractic office in East Dallas, but if Buchanan’s schedule allows, she’ll come to your home instead. You’ll even get a follow-up text the next day to see how you’re feeling. Your answer will be “fantastic.”

Best Yoga Studio

BalancingEnergy Health and Yoga Center

This studio sets itself apart in its return to simplicity. Inside is cozy and dark, and the small classes are driven through the basics. It’s focused, genuine yoga that will get you sweating. They also have an Infrared sauna and personalized wellness programs to complement your practice. And with 30 days for $30 to get started, it’s hard to beat.

Readers’ Pick: Sunstone Yoga boasts thoughtful instructors and classes that range from leisurely to intense.

Best Yard Care


Everybody on your block is competing for the award of prettiest yard. Instead of spending hours whispering to your lawn, why not ask the experts? Founded in 1919, Lambert’s has been in the business of keeping North Dallas greens greener for nearly 100 years. Plus, they’re in charge of the Park Cities’ azaleas, which are both impressive and pretty.

Readers’ Pick: Not only will Southern Botanical take care of your garden, but it can also help you save water and protect your yard from pests.

View Map of the Best of Big D Winners

Editor’s Choice: Shops, Beauty, Home Services, Fitness

Readers’ Choice: Shops, Beauty, Fitness


  • Photographer Billy Surface
  • Photographer Elizabeth Lavin
  • Photographer Matthew Shelley
  • Photographer Jason Janik

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