Shopping & Services

  • Best Used Bookstore

    Book Ends at the Dallas Public Library

    This bookstore on the first floor of the main Dallas public library is like a perpetual yard sale. You never can tell what books you might find, but they're guaranteed to be cheap. You can walk out the door with an audiotape, a couple of hardcover books and some paperbacks for less than 10 bucks. At these prices, the time… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Handbooks

    Crossroads Market Bookstore and Cafe

    Handbooks, mouth books, bum books. Crossroads Market and Bookstore has sex manuals of every type. And they're just there on the shelf, not behind a counter or hidden beyond a velvet curtain. Just there by the cookbooks and romance novels and magazines and various knickknacks and greeting cards. But accessibility is only part of the issue. No one will look… More >>
  • Best Cooking for Canines

    No Bonz Barkery

    If you're looking for a way to get on Bowser's good side, this is the place to call. Co-owners Braden Tripp, a former chef, and Jonathan Pickens have a list of freshly made goodies that will have your pet slobbering more than usual. The menu has everything from Bow Wow Bagels ($4 a dozen) to Paw Paw's Old Fashioned Oat… More >>
  • Best Place to Get a Pet

    Animal Adoption Center

    Yes, get a pet...and love it, and care for it, and KEEP it! In doing the research for this tender category, we were privy to far too many animals abandoned in moves or given away because they cost too much to feed (what?). And, of course, there's the unfortunate "he was cute when he was young, but now he's grown… More >>
  • Best Computer Store

    Micro Center

    At some point, almost all of the big mall computer stores decided they couldn't afford to hire salespeople who actually know anything. Micro Center is the exception: Prices are competitive, but Micro Center also puts smart salespeople on the floor. Their own line of computers is usually a good buy, and the shelves almost always offer a fuller line of… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Video Games


    It may be time to retire this category for one simple reason: No one comes close to matching GameStop's selection of new and used video games and hardware. That's why this Grapevine-based company, with more than 1,300 stores nationally, is a perennial winner in Best of Dallas. The clerks know their merchandise; the prices, while not greatly discounted, are reasonable;… More >>
  • Best Place for Millionaires to Be Geeks

    Heritage Comics in Auctions Heritage Plaza

    Comic-book auctions have become quite a lucrative market in recent years, and the king of this particular hill is Dallas' Heritage Comics Auctions. For example: Last year, when Nicolas Cage decided to sell off his entire comic-book collection--which contained such prize books as Action Comics No. 1 (the first appearance of Superman) and All-Star Comics No. 3 (the debut of… More >>
  • Best Inexpensive Internet Service


    Dial-up service is fast becoming antique, but Texas.Net's $20-a-month home service is the best cheap and reliable Internet access we know of. The 9-year-old Austin-based outfit is a boutique among giants, but the big guys could learn a thing or two from them about service. In five years we've never had access or billing problems, and the e-mail is as… More >>
  • Best Hardware Store

    Elliott's Hardware

    So we needed some leather cleaner. Nearly $100 later, we left Elliott's with things we needed and things we didn't and were once again assured that this is probably the best hardware store on the planet. Not to be sexist, but the male buying impulse is so well identified and satisfied here that even the cookware looks good. Of course,… More >>
  • Best Chain Saws

    J. Gassett Lawn Products

    Sure, you can buy one of those hardware-store chain saws that are light and dainty and easy to start. But what's the point? Would you buy a hybrid-electric Harley? You need a big damn chain saw. Loud! You need one of them orange helmets with a visor. You need chain saw chaps. In fact, if you get the orange helmet… More >>
  • Best Lawn Artillery

    Caseys Lawn Equipment

    Whether you're a pro or just a weekend hobbyist who loves the eau de toilette of freshly cut grass blended with two-cycle engine emissions, Casey's has the goods--even those heavy-duty back-mounted leaf blowers that look like flamethrowers (Die, leaf pile! Die!). Casey's has all the brands that draw lawn grunts--Toro, Honda, Echo, Snapper, Stihl, Shindaiwa, Lawn Boy--and offers pickup and… More >>
  • Best Pond Store

    Water Gardens Galore

    Didn't you ever want to dig a hole in the back yard, put some water lilies in it, put some fish in it, sit around and look at it? Well, you should, man. What's the matter with you? Nowadays everybody sells the basic equipment, even Home Depot, but most of the people who sell it have no idea how to… More >>
  • Best Place to be Stuck in the 20th Century

    Movie Trading Company

    We know someone--the name begins with "M" and rhymes with "brother"--who still doesn't own a DVD player. She claims she never will but defends her right to complain that no one carries videocassettes anymore. Lucky for her (and her technophobe brethren), there is one last sanctuary. Movie Trading Company still carries VHS tapes, and used ones are only $5.99. But… More >>
  • Best Place to Get the Evil Eye

    Another Time & Place

    An evil-eye talisman is a Turkish charm that is supposed to bring luck and ward off those who wish to do you harm--both concepts we can get on board with. Plus, they look really cute on a gold chain or possibly a silver bracelet. Yes, we're superstitious, but not at the expense of fashion. In any case, the best place… More >>
  • Best Toy Store

    Zeus Comics and Collectibles

    No other place satisfies kids and the inner child in their parents quite the way Zeus does, with a wide-ranging inventory containing everything from mint-condition artifacts meant to be kept behind glass to newer, cheaper stuff meant to be banged around inside a toy box. Stuffed animals, action figures, Barbies, movie tie-ins, board games, bobbleheads, even the McDonaldland Gang--they've got… More >>
  • Best High Fidelity-ish Record Store

    AWOL Records

    Other stores are too bright, clean and well-kempt to look like Championship Vinyl, the record store John Cusack owned in High Fidelity. But AWOL has that slightly disheveled, dank, grungy feel of home...for music nerds, at least. It also has Cusack character Rob's sense of categorization. How many genres of punk are there? We're sure there's more each time. There's… More >>
  • Best Place to Succumb to the Kitsch

    Metro Retro

    Metro Retro is like a flashback. A good one--typewriters, Formica tables, vintage rags, Centipede board games and the best in midcentury Christmas décor when the season's right. Looking at something that may need a little cleanup? Owner Andrea Jennings can probably offer a few tips on re-covering or chrome polishing. She knows her stock better than any other owners specializing… More >>
  • Best Tuxedo Rental

    Mister Tuxedo

    The news was bad. Some faulty wiring had caused a fire that put Mister Tuxedo temporarily out of business in July. But nothing could stop the unflappable Harold Bell, owner, proprietor and grand master of the witty comeback, from reopening as soon as the smoke cleared. He secured a new space close to the old one and has plans of… More >>
  • Best New Bookstore

    The Book Gallery

    Truth is, it isn't new--and most of the books aren't. But for a new book-shopping experience, this is the place to try. "We're a nostalgic place," says Jim Parker, who owns the business with his wife, Dee. Remember reading Ernest Hemingway's In Our Time or Jack London's White Fang? You can find collectors' first editions, many of them signed by… More >>
  • Best Place to Purchase Cool


    We'd walked past it an untold number of times, never once stopping to look inside what appeared to be just another one of those annoying hippie stores that sells incense and plays crap music by Enya. The front windows of downtown's Musemart advertised "Organic Iced Lattes" and had some funky copper disc thing that obstructed the view of what we… More >>
  • Best Way to Save Yourself a Trip to the Spa

    Beauty Store & Salon

    Not only can you find every ointment, unguent, lotion, peel and organic skin- or hair-care concoction you'll need here, but the prices are usually lower than you can find at swankier spots. The really great thing is that there always seems to be a special going on. Whether it's a free this with your purchase or a free that done… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Sweet Jeans

    Jean Connection

    Take it from someone who recently had a very fruitless search for cool jeans: It's worth a trip to Jean Connection. Somehow, this shop on Northwest Highway manages to get the sweetest designer jeans before even the hipper-than-thou department stores. They know the trends before they reach the mainstream here, so if you're the kind who is serious about your… More >>
  • Best New CD Store

    CD World

    We love Good Records, with its yellow racks with colored light bulbs, in-store performances, magazine selection and barbecues, and we shop there a lot. But we're cheap bastards, and CD World appeals to this side of us. There are rows and rows of new and used--from Turbonegro to Justin Timberlake--and all the local music that's fit to print (and sometimes… More >>
  • Best Cheap Grocery Store

    Grocery Outlet

    Like those outlet stores that sell overstocked shoes and underwear, only this store sells groceries. They offer great deals on name-brand food, from breakfast cereal to hot sauce. The store is still new and finding its way, so the stock is a little unpredictable. You probably couldn't do an entire grocery run here, but you can really save money on… More >>
  • Best Stogie Depot

    Montfort Cigars

    Because cigar smoking right now is about as hip as official Beanie Baby Club membership, you can actually get your hands on the best smokes from Don Diego, H. Upmann, Romeo y Julieta, Macanudo, Partagas, Hoyo de Monterrey and Punch without suffering from sticker shock. Montfort Cigars has a massive 600-square-foot walk-in humidor stocked with the best brands at terrific… More >>
  • Best Decor for a Cinephile

    Remember When

    Vintage movie posters, placards and stills sit next to the latest-release materials in this quiet shop off Interstate 35. Stills and publicity shots are $4 for black-and-white and $5.50 for color, and poster prices run the gamut, offering an inexpensive way to build a shrine to the motion picture...or, in our case, the ultimate mystery man, Alfred Hitchcock. We found… More >>
  • Best Deal on Roses

    Your Florist

    Two dozen roses for 20 bucks is a helluva deal these days, but somehow this no-frills operation manages it. Most of the time. Prices go up on Valentine's Day, Mother's Day and other occasions, but bargains are still available for most birthdays and anniversaries as well as those crucial "apology occasions" that often precede makeup sex. Your Florist opened in… More >>
  • Best Florist

    Dr. Delphinium Designs

    The doctor has the cure for your symptoms. Whether you're in the doghouse or just wanna be someone's dog, Dr. Delphinium has a prescription for you. And, seriously, if you drop $150 on one of the larger designs, you'd better get some action either way. From fresh red roses in classic vases to contemporary exotic blends in tall glass cylinders… More >>
  • Best Place to Go After You've Seen Queer Eye

    Carrollton Square Skin Spa and Shop

    The ladies know how important a good eyebrow waxing is and that some people are better at it than others. But after the first episode of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy ran, the hetero dudes realized that it's a good idea to get rid of the monobrow look. For $10, the good people at CSSS will give you a… More >>
  • Best Place to Save Face

    Emeralds to Coconuts

    Our favorite Emeralds to Coconuts find is a dainty beaded bracelet. We liked it so much we went back for more to rebead into other objects. Each bead has a face painted on it, and, as in real life, each face is different and is supposed to reflect a different personality and emotion. Unlike real life, all of them are… More >>
  • Best New York-Style Italian Family Grocery

    Jimmy's Food Store

    Run by two Italian-American guys, third-generation owners; their mama makes the meatballs in the back. They make their own Italian sausage--hot, mild or how you like it. The wine selection is all Italian, all good and two bucks cheaper per bottle than the high-rent places. Every Italian condiment you can think of. People don't just come here from Plano. They… More >>
  • Best Place to Feel 74 Years Old

    Urban Outfitters

    When you hit your early to mid-30s, there are constant reminders that you're not 21 anymore. These include, but are not limited to, your waistline, your hairline, your preference for talk radio, your tendency to be offended by behavior you used to find hysterical and your reluctance to order more than six tacos at Taco Bell. But if you really… More >>
  • Best Thrifty Clothing That's Not "Thrift"

    Buffalo Exchange

    The price of fashion takes its toll in many ways other than the slimming of that designer pocketbook of yours. "Chic" eternally revolves and recycles in a vicious, cannibalistic circle, and the constant struggle to remain in The Now seems all but insurmountable when everything ends up being (or actually strives to be) so five-minutes-ago. Short of taking a not-so-scenic… More >>
  • Best Men's Hairstylist

    David Broussard, Premier Club Salon

    To call David Broussard an artist in no way overstates the obvious. Just look around his shop high atop Central Expressway, adjoining the Premier Club. He is a sculptor who prefers working in steel, and his artwork--much of it encompassing religious themes--adorns the shop walls. He plays a spirited bass guitar and writes his own songs, the latest of which… More >>
  • Best Shop Cat

    Dallas Costume Shoppe

    During a serious costume crisis, we visited the Dallas Costume Shoppe. We got great help and quite a bit of kitty lovin'. Skutr, a beautiful mix who looks part siamese and part short-haired Himalayan, greeted us at the door with a meow and a stretch. He accompanied us on our wig hunt, cutting figure eights through our legs and pawing… More >>
  • Best Team to Mend a Hand

    Lankford Hand Surgery Association

    Put those hands up for the team of experts that can mend them like no one else. Doctors David Zehr, Arnold DiBella and Paul Rosco Ellis III compose said team, and it seems there's nothing they can't hand-le (sorry about that, but we just had to). These talented doctors/surgeons tackle trauma, sports injuries, pinched nerves, wrist injuries, vascular and nerve… More >>
  • Best (Faux) Flower Arrangements

    Silks Abloom

    Usually, in Best of Dallas, we tell you where to find the good deals. But sometimes we just gotta tell you, look, these folks are the best, but it's gonna cost you. Pay it. It's worth it. That's the case with Silks Abloom. They're not the cheapest in town--far from it. But if you want a distinctive, stunning faux flower… More >>
  • Best Place to Pick Up an Alias

    Hollywood Five & Dime

    Gotta love the work shirt. More specifically, we love the random name patches that adorn the work shirt. Vintage or new, the shirt should fit, but that's all we really require of it. It is, after all, all in the name. Petey, Mike, Renaldo, Tito, Leroy, Jessie, Martha. We found all of those and more at the little hole in… More >>
  • Best Place for Gay and Lesbian Comic Collectors

    Zeus Comics Gay and Lesbian Comic Mixers at Ciudad

    This one is as easy as it gets, since it appeals to the smallest subgroup out there: gays and lesbians who read comic books. Not too many people cater to that particular market. But Richard and the rest of the crew at Zeus not only do just that, they do it in style, with regular get-togethers at neighboring Mexican restaurant… More >>
  • Best Kids Haircut

    Kids Kutz

    We heard about one mom who was so desperate to cut her 2-year-old's hair that she took the scissors to him while he was asleep. Given that she wasn't a trained professional, and it was dark, and half the kid's hair was under his head pressed against the mattress, the result wasn't so great. We're not sure what happened after… More >>
  • Best Men's Shoe Store

    DSW Shoe Warehouse

    We know you think of it as a women's shoe store, but hear us out. We recently held a garage sale. One couple made $300-plus. We saw this couple the next day. We asked them what they were going to do with their money. "We've already been to DSW Show Warehouse!" they exclaimed. Now, women who know their designer labels… More >>
  • Best Joyride

    Revolution Bike Taxi

    Say you and your pals have decided to go out for a night on the town. Say you've decided to drink responsibly and have opted to utilize one of the city's cab services. Then say that particular cab company proceeds to stand you up--twice. What do you do? Well, first you delete the company's number from your cell's phone book,… More >>
  • Best Place to Dress Up a Nursery


    We'll admit we went overboard when furnishing our kid's nursery, especially considering he won't be using it for, oh, the next six months to a year and won't even be able to see it clearly for the next little while. But, let's admit it, we deck out babies' rooms not for the post-fetal, but for the parents, who like to… More >>
  • Best Frozen Custard

    Wild About Harry's

    Founder Harry Coley isn't about to give up the secret ingredients passed down by his mother. Suffice it to say he's been whipping up his rich, creamy and mouth-watering custards since 1996, using more egg yolks than any recipe you've ever heard of. On the rotating menu are 48 flavors with eight specialties of the day, from the standard vanilla… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a Bra

    Nordstrom in the Galleria

    Buying bras can be a tricky task, since off-the-rack doesn't work for every, um, rack. But Nordstrom simplifies the process with in-store alterations and an extremely helpful and (heh) supportive staff. It can be pricey (three bras will run you about $200), but it's worth every cent. … More >>
  • Best Place to Baby Your Baby's Mama

    Pickles & Ice Cream Maternity Apparel

    Gentlemen, when our old lady was pregnant with the Little Genius, as we've taken to calling our firstborn son, we discovered that nothing soothed flared hormones and other things starting with "h" better than an unexpected purchase from a happening maternity store. None of that Liz Lange "fashion" they're selling at Target, none of that bargain-rack nonsense from Motherhood in… More >>
  • Best Place to Find a Tee

    Paul Frank Store

    This West Village shop is hip for all the right reasons: It combines simple, classic styles with fun images and quality construction. If only other trendy boutiques could do this. We're partial to the T-shirts, everything from the cabin boy line to the ones featuring our favorite monkey, Julius. Because if you can't buy a T-shirt with a grinning monkey,… More >>
  • Best Hand-Me-Downs

    Counter Culture - CLOSED

    At what point did the scourge of childhood--being forced to wear clothing already used by someone else, usually a sibling--become so cool that people will pay $30 for a thrift store-quality, ironic T-shirt? No, really, we need a date. We'll go back in time and open a chain of stores like Counter Culture. The stylists--"cashiers" or "clerks" doesn't do them… More >>
  • Best Camera Store

    Competitive Cameras Ltd.

    You won't find price tags on the Nikons and Minoltas at this mom-and-pop shop. All the prices are in the head of its colorful owner, Ramsey Jabbour, who knows precisely what each item is worth. Just ask him. Some might call it haggling, but he calls it offering the most competitive prices around. His no-nonsense business style makes comparisons to… More >>
  • Best Men's Pressing

    Cox Dry Cleaners and Laundry

    You spend a lot of money on a suit, wear it a few times, have it dry-cleaned and suddenly it just doesn't look, or even fit, like new. It's all in the pressing. Sam Cox knows a lot about pressing; his establishment has been doing it superbly since 1961. "First, we use no air-operated equipment that smashes clothes and actually… More >>
  • Best Junk

    BettyAnn and Jimbo's Antique Marketplace Inc. Junkadoodle

    When we visited Junkadoodle for the first time, it was not on purpose. We were searching for another address and in the process saw what we are now lauding for Best Junk. We have to admit that it was the name that sucked us in--and the fact that the sign out front was designed with bubbly purple letters. In case… More >>
  • Best Place for a Musician to Cash In

    Guitar Center

    Hang out in the metro music-scene nightlife long enough, and you'll realize one thing. It feels like there's just as many struggling musicians in the city as there are peeps in China's army. "Feel" is the key word, word. Where is the coolest place shaggy-haired melody makers can find some cash flow to go along with sudden inspiration? We're assuming… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Tattooed

    Pair O'Dice Tattoo

    Pair O'Dice is our best because we trust them with our own bodies. It's almost the official tattoo parlor of the Observer staff. We go here; we bring our friends. We tell strangers to come here when we find them gawking at us in line at the grocery store. Get the hint? Come here. To us, trust is a key… More >>
  • Best Pit Stop

    Lakewood Mobil

    Big, bright, sparkly clean, lots of pumps, with beautiful cashiers and friendly service, yada yada--that's not why this is the best pit stop. It's the best for one simple reason: The owner is oddly obsessed with selling the coldest, cheapest beer in Dallas. The beer is already chilled to 36 degrees. As Best of Dallas was going to press, Lakewood… More >>
  • Best Navel Station

    Egypt World Trading

    Truth is, the term "belly dancing" is a bit of a misnomer. The traditional dance moves actually give the knees and lower back a workout, not the abdominals. Just ask the lovely ladies you'll find at Egypt World, which houses a diverse supply of belly-dancing gear. In addition to the rookie purchases of silky veils and hip sashes covered in… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Pierced

    Skin & Bones

    The rule is don't go to a stylist with bad hair. We say don't trust a piercer who doesn't have any piercings. That's definitely not a problem at Skin & Bones, but that's not the only reason to choose this place. It's clean. The prices are fair. And even if the piercing artists aren't sporting the style you want, they… More >>
  • Best Women's Hairstylist

    Roman Gonzales

    When faced with finding a new hairstylist, panic undoubtedly ensues. The hair is, after all, a key detail in one's look and personal style. More than a year ago, Roman filled in when our regular stylist was out. He fashioned a seductive, flirty 'do that we coveted. But when our pocketbook was padded enough to allow for a little pampering,… More >>
  • Best Video/DVD Store

    Premiere Video

    Whatever your video needs, Premiere will, 99 times out of 100, be able to fill them. Want something vintage and foreign, something out-of-print, something not even available yet? Call Premiere. Want something brand-new with Ashton Kutcher? Call Premiere. (But why would you even want to watch such a thing?) Want something from Europe or Asia that hasn't even been released… More >>
  • Best Hidden Herb Shop

    The Labyrinth

    The Labyrinth, located appropriately on Bell Street, is also next to Shake-Rag, the highest-priced musical junk store that exists in the South. So when you pull up to the quaint purple house decked out in wind chimes, don't hold the eyesore next door against them. You may enter to buy incense for your, um, extracurricular activities, or maybe you need… More >>
  • Best Place to Party Like It's 1979


    Ever wonder what happened to those rockin' concert T-shirts your older brother/cool uncle/baby sitter wore? We're talking Styx, Journey, KISS, Foreigner, Pink Floyd. Well, they're at Pandemonium in near-mint condition. Hell, even your little sister's New Kids on the Block and Tommy Page shirts are here, though it would take some balls--or a very refined sense of irony--to walk out… More >>
  • Best Snapshot Frames

    Near and Far in West Village

    Whether you get yours rimmed with muscle-bound hunks or Vargas girls; trimmed in granite or wood; garnished with leaf reliefs or rhinestone studs; Near and Far has the frames that will make your snapshots pop. … More >>
  • Best Furniture Store

    Design Within Reach

    Industrial designer Raymond Loewy believed that "good design keeps the user happy, the manufacturer in the black and the aesthete unoffended." We believe Design Within Reach must have embraced this same maxim when it gathered together some of the best modern home décor and started opening studio locations on both coasts. Known to many fans only by its catalog, DWR's… More >>
  • Best Gift store

    The Impeccable Pig

    It's pretty much guaranteed that when you first visit "the Pig," you'll immediately make a plan to introduce the shop to someone else. The sign says "Home, Garden, Gifts, Stationery," and while all those things are there, what it really should say is, "We have a gift for most anyone." Co-owners (and sisters) Mona Kanther and Laura Robbins have stocked… More >>
  • Best Scavenger Hunt

    Lula B's - CLOSED

    We never walk out of Lula B's without something. We may find it in a booth near the doors; we may find it in the back corner with all the farmhouse-looking kitchen gadgets. It could be a 1950s aluminum pitcher with a Bakelite handle, or it could be an E.T. night-light. But it's there, and only many, many minutes… More >>
  • Best Women's Shoe Store

    Electrique Boutique

    Whether you were born a woman or paid thousands of dollars to become one, Electrique Boutique has shoes in your size. Likewise, whether you need new kicks for dancing to jazz at the Samba Room or to Kid Rock tunes onstage at Baby Dolls, this store can hook you up. You'll find SMU girls trying on platform sandals with beaded… More >>
  • Best Place for Cool Pet Supplies

    Boutique Pet Shop & Aquarium - CLOSED

    This little puppy has survived the Petco invasion and is doing just fine, thank you, mostly because of the array of treats and specialty foods, combined with good service and other benefits (like top-notch dog grooming), you can find here. If you're not in East Dallas, it's a bit of a jaunt, but your widdle puppy wuppy is worf it,… More >>
  • Best Kids Clothing Store

    Bebe Grand

    Nothing's too good for our newborn, which is why we're willing to spend a small fortune on small clothes that'll be good for a short amount of time--a few weeks, maybe a couple of months if we're lucky. This Lakewood store is the place to shop for those who want to pamper their Pampers-wearer: The racks are lined with beautiful… More >>
  • Best Independent/Amateur Photographer Resource

    Dallas Darkroom

    In college, we'd lock ourselves in the journalism department's darkroom, crank up the classic rock station and print black-and-white photos until the wee hours of the morning. While the other students were doing beer bongs, we were inhaling the sweet aroma of developer, toner and Photo-Flo. Nowadays, the cost of setting up a personal darkroom--and the recurring nightmare of our… More >>
  • Best Used CD Store

    CD Source

    Not sure how so many brand-new, still-shrinkwrapped, kick-ass discs end up in the "used" bin at CD Source. And guess what? We don't really care. Even with Universal's recent decision to drop CD prices, you can't beat getting a $9 copy of the latest, say, Mary J. Blige disc the same week it's out. You can't. Seriously. Don't even try.… More >>
  • Best Hair Salon

    Osgood-O'Neil Salon

    Don't want to take our word on it? Fine, then take Allure magazine's, which recently named colorist J.T. Osgood one of the best colorists around. This is no surprise, as this tony, 'spensive (but worth it) salon in Snider Plaza has long been known as one of the best of its kind in town. As well, The Dallas Morning News'… More >>
  • Best Dating Service

    It's Just Lunch

    We have a friend who has tried out all the dating services. She is professional, mid-30s and has had a varied degree of success with each. Most of the time the dates turn out OK, sometimes not so much. But she and others we've talked to have nothing but good things to say about the hard-asses at It's Just Lunch.… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Hockey Equipment

    Players Bench

    Taking a high school hockey team into the Players Bench is asking for trouble. As their eyes go wide and they take in their surroundings, it's likely that a few might begin to drool, and after a few seconds, all pretense of decorum is abandoned. Players race through the store trying on every piece of equipment that isn't stapled to… More >>
  • Best Fit to the T

    Casa Loco

    We always coveted the clothing machine on The Jetsons. You know, the one they could step into and it would put clothes on them that fit, and they could even change the color and design. Here's something that comes close. At Casa Loco, you can make your own T-shirts. Go to the store, choose a color, choose the correct size… More >>
  • Best Refuge for the TLC Junkie

    Lakewood Hardware

    Following another marathon of TLC's essential Trading Spaces, we've continually found ourselves full of enthusiasm and...not much else while nursing a grand homeowner "vision." It's the kind of scheme that works perfectly within the old gray matter, but if it were to be realistically applied, a catastrophe of Fawlty Towers proportions inevitably would occur. Quality programming or no, Lesson No.… More >>
  • Best Rebirth of the Cool

    Ahab Bowen

    Whenever the runway fashions turn back to the looks of Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn, while the others are running to NorthPark for reproductions created with rayon and machine-made lace, go instead to Ahab Bowen. This is where the originals come to live again. The small rooms in the old house where the store is located have vintage dresses in… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Dust


    You don't actually get charged for the dust. It comes free, a gift with purchase, you could say. We like to think it makes our finds even more authentic. Not only did some kid transport his bologna sandwiches in this Fall Guy lunch box, someone else's dust is still on it. It's history, man. But to look inside Millennium is… More >>
  • Best Bicycle Equipment

    Plano Cycling & Fitness

    Not only does Plano Cycling & Fitness have the brands--Felt, Trek, Specialized, Cannondale--it's equipped with a knowledgeable staff dedicated to a perfect marriage between body and spoked wheel. Plus the service staff is trained and certified to work on all makes and models, not just the ones the shop hawks. And Plano Cycling supports the sport, sponsoring the Plano Athletic… More >>
  • Best Young Doctor

    Dr. Lyla Blake-Gumbs

    Most doctors rush through the obligatory two-minute head-nodding, note-scribbling, no-eye-contact exam before turning patients over to a nurse practitioner for treatment. And then they berate you for the few little things that bring meaning and substance to an otherwise miserable existence. You know, drinking, smoking, sexual escapades and big hunks of nearly raw red meat. Well, Dr. Lyla Blake-Gumbs won't… More >>
  • Best Way to Kick it Old-School

    T-shirts from Classic Sports Logos

    Retro sportswear is what the fashionable are sporting these days, but it can be expensive keeping up with what NBA lottery picks and bling-blinging rappers are wearing. Not everyone can drop a few hundred on a 1970s-era Dr. J replica jersey. If you've got a spare $20, however, you can jump on the bandwagon, thanks to Classic Sports Logos, the… More >>
  • Best Handyman

    George Miller

    Your house is going to hell and you can't even find your handbasket, whatever that is. The gate to the fence won't close, the garbage disposal won't dispose of anything and your back bedroom could use a serious coat of paint. George Miller is without doubt the guy for you. He is a pest-exterminating, ceiling-fan-installing, door-jamb-adjusting, light-fixture-replacing, house-paint-applying, gizmo/gadget-fixing jack-of-all-trades.… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Furniture Store

    Sunnyland Furniture Co.

    For three years, we were this close to buying patio furniture from Target; the stuff was cheap but not cheap-looking, good enough. But not quite good enough: We stalled long enough to wind up at Sunnyland, which we heard was expensive but worth the price--and not so exorbitant if you scoured the discounted section hidden away in the back, where… More >>
  • Best Fresh Seafood Market

    TJ's Fresh Seafood Market

    The workers behind the counter don't throw the fish around, and you can't see any blue water, except in snapshots on the wall, but the tidy little market has an excellent selection and outstanding customer service. While grocery-store fish-counter personnel always seem to say everything is fresh and never frozen and then recommend the stiff trout with milk-covered eyes, the… More >>
  • Best Monthly Bill

    Rent Paid to J. Elmer Turner Realtors Inc.

    Rent generally is not the happiest check to leave our tight wallets, but there is one leasing company that makes us glad each month. Since their signs have been cropping up more and more in Dallas neighborhoods, rental units owned by the family business have seen improvements in façades, tenants and amenities. Maintenance calls are returned almost immediately (which, in… More >>
  • Best Place to Get Antique Prints and Cool Old Maps

    Beaux Arts

    Cool is hardly good enough to describe the 16th- to 19th-century antiquarian prints and rare maps you will find at Beaux Arts. The prints are of botanicals, natural history and architecture and can really class the place up (more so than the college posters). The gallery sells huge maps of Texas and elsewhere from the 18th and 19th centuries. Some… More >>
  • Best Women's Clothing Store

    Cotton Island

    Cotton Island offers enough glitz, goof and glam to make up for the ferocious Snider Plaza parking. It's a fun store, and at first glance, one might think it's all too young and flirty. The boutique is young and flirty, but it also offers a great selection of wardrobe staples such as Michael Stars shells, Mavi jeans and Baked Beads… More >>
  • Best Body Fluids

    Bath Junkie

    Face it: You've been addicted to customizing every corner of your life ever since you installed aftermarket neon tire valve cap lights on your Olds Delta 88. Now you can customize your own body fluids, too, with body lotions, bath oils, massage creams, bath sprays and shower gels--among other toiletry oozes and goops--tailor-made to your specifications. Choose from more than… More >>
  • Best Place to Spend Money You Don't Have

    The Apple Store

    Walk into the white-on-white wonder that is The Apple Store, and be forewarned: You will buy something. It will be sleek. It will be silver or white. It will be so effin' cool you'll want to take pictures of it and hang them in your hallway. It will have an "i" in front of its name (iPod, iMac), but if… More >>
  • Best Men's Clothing Store

    H.D.'s Clothing Co.

    This must be hard times for independent retailers of high-end fashion, particularly when clothes can be marked down for next to nothing at chain stores such as the Gap, knockoffs make function secondary to form and folks just don't have the bucks to shell out for designer labels. How Harry DeMarco (H.D. himself) weathers the economic storm is a testament… More >>
  • Best Gas Station

    Fuel City

    There was a time--before most of us at the Observer were born--when it wasn't enough for a gas station to sell gas. It needed a little something extra: a petting zoo, a reptile display or (a favorite from that trip to the Grand Canyon back in 1966) a full set of 20-foot-tall Flintstones characters complete with an oversized replica of… More >>
  • Best Bargain for the Serious Shoe Whore

    DSW Shoe Warehouse

    DSW has various locations, but the Preston Road store is our fave, with its rock-star boots, clunky clogs, dainty sandals and even some Kenneth Cole dress shoes for the guys. Name brands abound, and with the self-serve setup, there's no guilt from sending salespeople back and forth to the stock room. What's more, the whole experience offers a sense of… More >>
  • Best Pet Sitter

    Probable Claws

    These days, when animal rights are being elevated to the level of human rights, shouldn't you take every step to ensure that your pets are treated with the dignity they deserve? If you don't have the time to give them that dignity because you are out of town, too busy at work or otherwise engaged, the surrogate mom of Probable… More >>
  • Best Health-Food Store

    Whole Foods Market

    We're not certain what constitutes health food these days, but this growing national chain was here first, and some of us are eternally grateful. Good fresh produce, bins of raw grains, organic everything and one of the nicest selections of natural soaps--including a cheap and serviceable store brand--and scented candles mean we haven't surrendered completely to last year's winner: newcomer… More >>
  • Best Auto Body Shop

    Excalibur Collision Center

    Fair quotes. Nice, quick work. No false salesmanship. What more could you ask for in your vehicle's time of need? They actually did a little repair on our jalopy--a bashed mirror and a dent--while we waited in a nearby Exposition Park coffee shop. An advice-giving relative once said you can judge an auto body shop by its cleanliness and the… More >>
  • Best Children's Bookstore

    Barnes & Noble

    It's tough to choose a chain over a mom-and-pop store, but for selection of children's books, Barnes & Noble is tops. Any book the store doesn't have on its shelf, it can get pretty darn quickly. They've got all the classic stories and even the latest favorites. When asked about a copy of a certain popular children's book series, one… More >>
  • Best Wine/Liquor Store

    Spirit's Liquor

    Don't know about you, but discount liquor stores don't mean a thing when cheapo Wild Turkey's the best they can stuff in a bag. It's all about selection, baby, and this warehouse-sized Deep Ellum liquor paradise has just about every brand of booze you can imagine--from the inexpensive hooch to the vintage Dom you can touch but never actually afford.… More >>

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