Best of Big D


Featured in The Best of Big D 2015

Best Barbershop

Rob’s Chop Shop

There has been an influx of barbershops in Dallas recently, but Rob Villareal—a third-generation barber—has been cutting heads down in Exposition Park for 20 years. He’s next door to his original location, but he’s still dispensing clean haircuts and his homemade pomade in a simple, guys-only environment, with great music playing and beer in the fridge. And he has a shoeshine guy come in on Saturdays.

Best Pet Groomer

Billi Bonze Bathhouse and Bone Boutique

Want to know where the city’s bold-name canines go for a day of beauty? They are chauffeured to this West Lovers Lane establishment for full-service care that includes brush out, manicure, ear cleaning, bath, and personalized blowout by caring and competent groomers. And if you want a special haircut for your beloved pooch, they’re happy to make that happen.

Readers’ Choice: Pappy’s Pet Lodge offers award-winning pet care in six different locations.

Best Caterer

The Food Company

Owners Shelley Barsotti Hudson and Andrea Hagar were some of the first caterers in Dallas to introduce intricately designed food displays. Thirty years later, they continue to create tasty and impressive menus whether your group is just a few or a few hundred. Your wishes are their commands.

Readers’ Choice: Having a party and don’t want to cook? Two retail locations of the Festive Kitchen make it easy for you to taste before you buy.

Best Facial

Joanna Czech

What makes Czech special isn’t just her more than 30 years of experience, her celebrity endorsements (of which she has many, including Anna Wintour), or the fact that results from one of her facials last for weeks. It’s her empathy, which we’ve heard more than one person attest to. Breaking out from a product? Czech will talk you off a ledge. Rosacea redness? She’ll make it so you feel comfortable going without makeup. Damage from acne and chemical peels? Czech is there for the long haul, right up to this particular client’s wedding day years later. Czech’s namesake salon in Victory Park opens in October. By appointment only.

Readers’ Choice: If you’re already going to Laura the Brow Queen for your brows and your eyelashes, you could also let her work on the rest of your face.

Best Shoe Repair

The Cobbler

Don’t toss your favorite old shoes. Take them to this little shop that has been repairing and restoring shoes, belts, purses, and luggage for more than 50 years. Chances are good you’ll be able to get another five years out of those ancient Joan & David boots. Check out their handmade exotic skin belts and other shoe accessories. You’ll find things you didn’t even know you needed.

Readers’ Choice: Deno’s of Highland Park is one of the reasons why nearby residents are so well heeled.

Best Custom Framer

Debra Stevens

It doesn’t matter if you have a Rembrandt or a $10 painting you bought off a street artist in Nicaragua. Debra Stevens will frame them affordably and with equal attention. Make an appointment and Stevens will greet you at the door of her home with its studio out back. Don’t be surprised if you bump into a well-known gallery owner.

Best Veterinary Clinic

Hillside Veterinary Clinic

We knew the end had come for our 3-year-old Samoyed with heart disease on a Wednesday afternoon. But since Hillside is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with no emergency fees, we took our time saying goodbye at home, then brought her in. Everything the vet and her team did—from talking us through the euthanasia process and handling her ashes, to the sympathy card sent later—made us feel comforted. This level of care is the reason we keep coming back.

Readers’ Choice: Hillside Veterinary Clinic

Best Blowout


We tried. We really did. But nobody, and we mean nobody, can beat Drybar for consistency, quality, and price. What you get: a straightforward and pleasant shampoo and blow dry, with a professional stylist (read: no awkward personal stories). They even do a great job on ultra-curly girls. You’ll leave with gorgeous hair that lasts.

Readers’ Choice: Thanks to its location, La Bichette is popular with the SMU crowd.

Best Yard Care

Bonick Landscaping

If you have a fancy house, you’re going to need a beautiful yard and pool, too. Glenn Bonick and his team have been designing and caring for some of the finest Dallas properties for more than 30 years, so he’s sure to create something for you that will flourish with his continued care.

Readers’ Choice: Bonick Landscaping

Best Movers

Curtis Specialized Moving & Storage

When Dallas’ top event planners and high-end home designers need priceless furnishings, antiques, art, and accessories moved, they call on Curtis. Their white-glove service and dedication to customer satisfaction make them second to none. They’ll also install your hard-to-handle tapestries, chandeliers, mirrors, and more with the same care and attention to detail they give to every job, large or small.

Readers’ Choice: Two Men and a Truck promises to make moving stress-free for home and business owners.

Best Party Rental

TLC Event Rentals

We threw a backyard birthday party and needed a few extra round tables and folding chairs for party guests. The cheapest option? TLC. A large selection of aforementioned tables and chairs? TLC. Super-nice service? TLC. Insider tip: save some cash by picking up and dropping off at their warehouse location off Mockingbird.

Readers’ Choice: Ducky-Bob’s will help you plan your next fiesta with their vast selection of inventory.

Best Stationer

Ellis Hill

After you put a ring on it, put a monogram on it. This Highland Park stationer is quickly becoming the social set’s new go-to for all things paper. Trust in duo Margretta Wikert and Kerri Davis to design a one-of-a-kind monogram for your new moniker while picking the perfect stationery suite that suits your momentous day.

Readers’ Choice: Design custom invitations for every occasion at local favorite Paper Affair.

Best Yoga Studio

We Yogis

At We Yogis, they reach beyond just Zen mastery and fitness. By offering a playroom and children’s yoga to occupy your little ones, they create just the balance you need to perfect your bird of paradise. With family-oriented programming and eclectic, challenging classes, there’s room for everyone to align their chakras.

Readers’ Choice: Dallas Yoga Center is an enduring space for fitness, peaceful yoga, and beyond.

Best Lawnmower Repair


Johnny Gassett owns the joint. You’ll probably get his cheerful daughter Lacey on the phone when you call. After another place failed to fix our mower, Gassett’s correctly diagnosed the problem and had us back in business. Only problem: in high season, a repair might take a month.

Best Day Spa

Spa Castle

Our beauty editor has dubbed this 140,000-square-foot Carrollton property the Dave & Buster’s of spas. It’s as much about the experience—the wade-up bar, the 24-hour sauna made out of 98-percent pure gold—as it is relaxation and restoration. But that doesn’t mean you won’t feel like (disinherited) royalty while you’re there. Exhibit A: for only $35, you’ll have access to six outdoor pools, 10 saunas, and a number of food and drink options, including a Starbucks. The services menu includes everything from facials and massages to hot stone therapy for an added fee.

Readers’ Choice: The spa menu at Hiatus Spa + Retreat is extensive, and aestheticians are well-trained and knowledgable.

Best Pet Boarder

Downtown Dog

Cops, firefighters, and teachers pay a discounted $10 for day care, plus $10 for overnight. But lately more Mercedes from Uptown and the Park Cities are ferrying their critters to Downtown Dog. They come not just for the value ($12 to $15 per day for civilians, another $10 for overnight) but for the 1.5-acre outdoor play area and the best-trained staff in town.

Readers’ Choice: Pappy’s Pet Lodge provides Kuranda beds in its clean, safe facilities located all over North Texas.

Best Car Wash

Brushbusters Carwash

The saying “You get what you pay for” often rings true, but this North Dallas car wash is an exception. Here, your ride will sparkle inside and out for just six bucks. The shop is run by an affable gentleman named Big Lou, who has outfitted his car wash with leather sofas and chairs to keep you comfy while you wait.

Readers’ Choice: The à la carte services at Vintage Car Wash make it easy to stop in for a quick clean.

Best Dry Cleaner


When we spill spaghetti sauce (or, sometimes, wine) on our most prized purchases, we trust the experts at this Dallas chain for everything from dress shirts to intricate formalwear. Spotted silk comes out flawless every time. Though the services are a bit pricey, the staff is knowledgeable and does spot treatments at a reduced rate when it makes sense.

Readers’ Choice: We love Sunshine Cleaners’ bundle service.

Best Eyebrows

Joanna Czech

In the age of the bold, boyish brow, it has never been more vital to have an arch expert on speed dial. Luckily, we have Czech, whose impeccable eye for shape and color leaves us with sculpted, natural-looking arches every single time. She opts to tweeze rather than wax and uses more subtle gray-based tints so that brows never look painted on. By appointment only.

Readers’ Choice: Laura the Brow Queen has many loyal subjects—we mean, customers.

Best Eyelashes


Studies have shown that darkened lash lines make faces appear more feminine, which is why we’ve spent so much time and effort piling on coat after coat of mascara. But Blushington will offer you a glass of bubbly and two painless ways to ease you off the wand: you can have your lashes tinted for a low-maintenance look (and at a low cost) or spring for a full set of falsies. They’ll do touch-ups for a buck per lash.

Readers’ Choice: Laura the Brow Queen also lords over lashes.

Best Fitness Program

Beyond Fitness Studios

The fitness gurus behind Beyond Fitness won us over with the holy trinity of workout options: Beyond Pilates for days when you want to sculpt long, lean muscles; Beyond Pedaling for times when you need 45 minutes of spin therapy; and Beyond 500 for an interval-based, heart-pumping way to blast 500 calories in one session. We salute them.

Readers’ Choice: Camp Gladiator hosts its boot camps in parks around the city, so you can take in a nice view as you get fit.

Best Tailor

Margaret Custom Alterations

You can bring in jeans for a hem job—they’ll replicate stitching, no problem—or a beaded, laced, leathered, sequined evening gown. Although Margaret runs a team of tailors, she’s in the shop from open to close, overseeing every detail. And we appreciate that when we’re handing over our overly priced designer denim and vintage treasures.

Readers’ Choice: Unique Tailor is a trusted go-to for inexpensive jean hemming done perfectly and nips and tucks to special items.

Best Foot Massage

YaYa Foot Spa

The ultimate in relaxation: the foot massage. At this spa with outposts in Bishop Arts and on West Lovers Lane, treatments are based on ancient Chinese healing. The sessions last 40, 60, or 90 minutes, triggering both major and minor pressure points in the feet. So take a load off, already. You deserve it.

Best Hair Salon


Larc strikes that tricky balance between contemporary salon and warm and inviting environment to try out a new look. Sleek mirrors and chairs, for instance, find perfect harmony with earthy wood floors and cabinetry. Stylists are some of the most knowledgeable in town, so whether you’re looking for an expert color or stocking up on cool-girl R+Co products, you’re in the right place. Discerning menfolk also get their hair cut here.

Readers’ Choice: No matter your budget, you can get a stylish cut at Clive & Co., where services start at just $45.

Best Mani/Pedi

Hiatus Spa + Retreat

Plenty of nail salons around town will swap your polish in a jiffy—but remember the days when a manicure and pedicure was a luxurious, relaxing experience? Hiatus has dubbed their mani/pedi combo “The Retreat,” and it really is. Sink into a zero-gravity chair and enjoy aromatherapy along with a true massage and polish change. Adding a vitamin-infused, eco-gel manicure is extra but worth it.

Readers’ Choice: MiniLuxe, a new mani/pedi spot, prides itself on cleanliness and boasts a great selection of eco-friendly polishes.

Best Rug Cleaner

Oriental Rug Cleaning Co.

In 1911, just two years after arriving in the United States, the Turkish-born Armenian immigrant H. Mirza Amirkhan Sr. opened a rug cleaning business on South Ervay Street. Eventually relocating to Ross Avenue, three generations of the Amirkhan family have continued the tradition. Just what kind of trust does a century of experience earn you? When the Dallas Museum of Art needs carpets cleaned, they take them here.

Best Sunless Tanning

Make Me a Bronze Bombshell

We’ve tried myriad spray tans over the years, but Monica Smith, a 15-year airbrush veteran, surprised us with her meticulous work. With her tan gun full of St. Tropez formula, she dries as she goes, sculpts the abs and face, cleans between the fingers and cuticle areas post-spritz, and neglects no pale nook or cranny. First-timers get $5 off.

View Map of the Best of Big D Winners

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

Readers’ Choice: Shops, Beauty, Fitness


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