Best Mascot 2012 | The Good Records Chicken | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

At Good Records' many events, namely its massive annual Record Store Day celebration, you know the party has reached its apex when the Good Records Chicken starts making the rounds and posing for photographs. "Basically, we've had the chicken suit for 12 years in various incarnations," says Good Records part-owner Chris Penn. According to Penn, the store's original chicken suit belonged to The Polyphonic Spree's Tim DeLaughter, but was somehow destroyed at a Guided By Voices concert. Penn still considers the mascot important enough to rent a chicken suit for Good Records' special occasions.

The most important product an auto shop can offer is honesty. At North Texas Performance in far West Dallas, that's the way they do business. You'll never be sold something that your car doesn't need. In fact, owner Tony Huerta will even let you look under the hood as he and his mechanics work, something most other auto shops wouldn't dream of. From small things like oil changes to huge undertakings like engine and transmission rebuilds, North Texas Performance can take care of it. And if you don't know what's wrong with your car, they do free diagnostic checks.

There's something whimsical about Oak Cliff's Bishop Arts District, and at the center of it all is Dirt, a flower shop that shares the artistic atmosphere of the neighborhood. The smell of seasonal flowers and the dark colors of the rustic walls and distressed wooden tables have a calming effect. They have the basics covered: roses, peonies and succulents, and there are usually a few exotic flowers to mix in. They take a European style approach to flower design, but by using wildflowers, they create a countryside-inspired design of their own.

Nice pairs of shoes get worn out. City sidewalks can chew up the soles of boots and shoes long before they've taken their last step. In that case, hidden in the downtown Dallas tunnels, Shoe Pro has set up shop. Whether your entire shoe collection needs repair or you just need a shine, they do a good job for a low price, and, most important, they get the job done quickly, in most cases on the same day.

How many children's clothes, toys and ephemera can you can squeeze into the first floor of a renovated Victorian house? If you've been to The Cozy Cottage Boutique, you'll know that it's a surprising amount. The shop, on 8th Street in the Bishop Arts District, is cozy, as its name implies, but without being cluttered. The selection of clothing, which ranges from newborn to about 6, is varied without being overwhelming. Help's available if you need it, but no one's breathing down your neck. Also, if your toddler pees himself because he won't put down his Hunky's hot dog to go to the bathroom and you realize you don't have any spare pants, The Cozy Cottage has you covered.

Stan "No, Not That Stan Getz" Getz is approaching the 30th anniversary of his employment at the record plant, a business he liked so much he bought the company. Yet he still exudes a youthful enthusiasm for vinyl, the format that seemed to be facing an all but certain death just a few years ago. We're glad he stuck with it and that the old-school platters are making a comeback, as it's an honor to have in our city the company that top acts such as the Flaming Lips come to have their discs pressed. A&R is staying on top of the game, offering colored and color-swirled albums to a new generation of musicians who insist on the nostalgia and audible warmth of vinyl.

The stylists at Sweet 200, which moved from Deep Ellum to the Bishop Arts area in 2008, have cut and colored for some of the city's prettiest of pretty people for modeling shoots and fashion shoots. Some of them, including owner Annette Jensen, have salon education and training that make our own schooling pale by comparison. We also think it's pretty cool that it donated hair to help soak up oil from the British Petroleum Gulf oil spill. But our favorite part of the experience just might be the wait. Rather than a handful of ancient issues of Time, there's a hip selection of music and fashion magazines and, best of all, a pool table that's in better shape than those at some of our favorite bars.

Eyebrows can make or break a person's face. Too thick and you look like Groucho Max, too thin and your forehead will transform into a fivehead. That's why it's important to see an aesthetician who knows what she's doing. And when it comes to eyebrow knowledge, nobody knows how to shape, groom and color brows quite like the Avalon Salon and Spa at the West Village. On top of excellent service, the spa is soothing, separate from the bustle of the salon. The combination of fountains and soft music is enough to put a person to sleep (that is, until the waxing begins). And sure, parking in the multilevel parking garage at West Village can be extremely stressful, but if you arrive early, Avalon will happily help you calm those nerves with a complimentary glass of wine.

We're generally happy with a barber-shop experience as long as the tonsorial artist is semi-competent with the scissors and clippers and the haircut is cheap. Both are the case in our experiences at Floyd's 99. The extras are nice, too, as any cut includes a straight-razor neck shave and a quick neck and shoulder massage. Buzz cuts are less than $20, most of the music playing in the shop at high volume is good or at least tolerable, and attractive barbers of both sexes ensure we're repeat customers.

As an extension of Napkin Art's poster pop confections, Rigor Mortis has taken on the more musical elements of the scene, efficiently wiping down album art for the likes of the Polyphonic Spree, and even getting into the skateboard and T-shirt biz. More good poster art is good for the city and its many nooks and crannies.

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