Everybody has a favorite place to grab a slice of pizza or hang out on Friday nights, but do your tastes mirror those of your neighbors? Last November and December, we surveyed our readers to find out the most popular dining, entertainment, and shopping venues in town. Many of you filled out our form online, listing your favorite place to score dessert or the best place to see and be seen. All the votes have been counted, and here are your People’s Choice 2011 winners. Did your favorite business make the list?
FOOD & DRINK
Peggy Sue – 6600 Snider Plaza
This should be your first stop with out-of-town guests. It’s homey without feeling claustrophobic, the prices are right, and the food is on point. We usually go with the brisket and sausage, with a heaping pile of Hoppin John. Oh, and don’t forget the jalapeno cheese bread, to sop up your excess sauce.
Runner up: Sonny Bryan’s
Al Biernat’s – 4217 Oak Lawn Ave.
Al Biernat’s steak menu is tailored to a variety of tastes, and the Kobe beef filet mignon is a favorite among patrons — many of them longtime regulars — at the popular Oak Lawn Avenue bar and eatery. Off-menu tip for two: Split the buffalo tenderloin over a pair of chopped salads, pair it with a favorite red from Al’s massive wine list, and you’re set.
Runner up: Perry’s
La Duni – 4620 McKinney Ave., 4264 Oak Lawn Ave., NorthPark Center
The brainchild of Duni and Taco Borga, La Duni Latin Kitchen dubs itself a “Mestizo” experience, with European and Latin American elements played out in a contemporary dining room, elegant baked goods, and an indulgent brunch menu. Roll in on a Sunday morning for the chilaquiles rancho la lira with asadero and gruyere cheeses, the huevos finos, or the butter brioche French toast.
Runner up: Bread Winners
Mi Cocina – 77 Highland Park Village, 3699 McKinney Ave., 11661 Preston Road
Mi Cocina not only offers the classic Tex-Mex fare you know and love, it does it with the quality and reputation of all M Crowd restaurants. From combo plates to fajitas and margaritas, Mi Cocina has delicious dining options for all.
Runner up: Bandito’s
Burger House – 6913 Hillcrest Ave.
For 60 years, burgers have been grilled on Hillcrest Avenue with little variation. The Chantilis and Canellos families, who’ve been running the place for three decades, don’t devote much time and energy to decor or atmosphere. Instead, the focus is on the delicious burgers (double? quadruple?), the thick milkshakes, and the addictive fries, which are covered in a seasoned salt recipe that the owners guard like a state secret.
Runner up: Maple & Motor
Snuffer’s – 8411 Preston Road
We made a deal with our doctor a while back: We limit our indulgence in Snuffer’s loaded cheese fries to once per year. But on that one day, our life is oh so glorious, albeit slightly shortened by each gooey bite. The cheese fries come loaded with so many bacon bits, jalapenos, and chives, you almost need to order a second unloaded basket of fries to handle the overflow.
Runner up: McDonald’s
Howard Wang’s – 4343 W. Northwest Highway
Named after the man who made a name for himself with the Empress of China chain, this Bluffview restaurant opened in 2005 and is full of tasty options. In addition to fine dining, Howard Wang’s is tops on atmosphere. Chow down on the crispy Polynesian citrus chicken while stylishly ensconced in angled booths.
Runner up: Shinsei
Campisi’s – 5405 W. Lovers Lane, 5610 E. Mockingbird Lane
You can take your pizza sliced into triangles if you’d like. We prefer ours divided into thin rectangles, Campisi’s style. Walk into the flagship location on Mockingbird, and you’ll feel like you’ve traveled thousands of miles and dozens of years to an old-style New York pizzeria. It’ll take a minute for your eyes to adjust to the barely-there lighting, but if you spot former Playboy Playmate Amber Campisi, the wait will be worth it.
Runner up: Fireside Pies
Bread Winners – 3301 McKinney Ave., 5560 W. Lovers Lane
The first thing you see when you walk into Bread Winners is the dessert case. Actually, two dessert cases, plus pies and cakes teetering on top of both. It’s an ingenious marketing technique, and one that forces us to buy a magic bar or piece of chocolate cream pie every time. It would upset us if the desserts weren’t some of the most delicious, decadent treats we’ve ever tried.
Runner up: Cafe Pacific
Bistro 31 – 87 Highland Park Village
Prolific restaurateur Alberto Lombardi’s newest creation is in the heart of Highland Park Village. The restaurant is named to honor the year the original structure was built in: 1931. The menu offers dishes from Spain, Italy, and France. We recommend the steak tartare “31 style.” It’s a blend of Kobe beef and filet with a hint of Dijon mustard flavor and is served with toast points. The meat will melt in your mouth.
Runner up: Marquee
Dough – 11909 Preston Road
It isn’t easy getting children to sit still for a meal, much less enjoy it. But the gooey goodness of Dough Pizzeria makes dinner time look like child’s play. Plus, parents can rest easy knowing the ingredients are always fresh and natural. Tasty food, healthy choices — what’s not to love?
Runner up: Taco Diner
Al Biernat’s - 4217 Oak Lawn Ave.
Al Biernat’s is upscale — think white linen, perfect steak, well-paired wines, and fair-to-painful prices. What’s more, Al himself seems to know and remember every patron who walks through his door, even if you only visit once or twice a year. Spend an hour at the bar, and you’ll know everyone, too.
PEOPLE & PLACES
PLACE TO SEE AND BE SEEN
Diamond Doctor – 8127 Preston Road
It’s not often that a jewelry store is a social hub, but Diamond Doctor is changing that. The newly minted owners of the former Washington Mutual site on Preston have already thrown two lavish parties since opening in October. The store hosted catered benefits with live music for the sponsors of Cattle Baron’s Ball and Crystal Charity Ball.
Runner up: Bistro 31
This California native has been whipping North Dallas residents into shape for about 12 years through his personal and group training business, Fitness Built For You. Nicknamed “the MacGyver of training,” Shanley is known for creative workouts that get results. Want to feel the burn but aren’t a fan of the same-old workouts? Give Joe a call.
Runner up: Kim Truman
PLACE TO WORK OUT
Park Cities YMCA - 6000 Preston Road
You know why you should sculpt your guns at the Y? Because it’s not just a gym. It’s an association. Since 1944, It’s been a place for friends and families to gather in fellowship to treat their bodies as temples through exercise classes, team sports, or just good old-fashioned cardio. To top it off, the Y has always followed the mission that every year, the Y should be better. Amen to that.
Hiatus Spa + Retreat – 5560 W. Lovers Lane
All manicures are not created equal. There’s more to it than just slapping on some polish, and the folks at Hiatus Spa + Retreat understand that. The 80-minute Mani-Pedi Retreat includes cleansing, exfoliation, aromatherapy, and a hand and foot massage. You’ll awake from your reverie in a zero-gravity chair with expertly polished nails.
Runner up: Hollywood Nails
Facelogic – 4518 Lovers Lane
Everyone needs to be pampered at least once in a while. Whether you get a monthly massage or an annual facial, Facelogic has you covered. The spa offers a number of other services, including microdermabrasion and waxing. With facials starting a $49, you can’t afford not to get one.
Runner up: The Crescent
Osgood-O’Neil – 3213 Knox St., 6932 Snider Plaza, 4320 Lovers Lane
Whether you’re going for a whole new look or just getting a trim, Osgood-O’Neil has qualified stylists to make your vision a reality. When Bruce Osgood and Allane O’Neil opened the salon in 1998, they had a lofty goal: to create an environment where you could receive the best hair treatment in town. With three locations and a loyal clientele, its safe to say: Mission accomplished.
Runner up: Dry Bar
Lash Studio – 3699 McKinney Ave.
It takes a lot of trust to let someone work on your face. But the experts at Lash Studio have earned the right to tinker with your appearance. The studio’s certified extentionists will expertly apply NovaLash eyelash extensions that make every day glamorous. If that isn’t fancy enough for you, upgrade to faux mink lashes and an advanced certified extentionist to take your lashes to the limit.
Runner up: Lash Bar
Avon Cleaners – 4347 Lovers Lane, 6301 Hillcrest Ave.
If you look back far enough, every family has an American immigrant story. For the Godo family, owners and operators of Avon Cleaners, that story begins in 1956 when Karoly Godo moved to New York from Hungry. Twelve years later, he’d made his way to Texas and purchased Avon Cleaners. The business has been growing ever since, adding service on Saturdays and a second location along the way.
Runner up: Bibbentuckers
Moore Tree Care – 6333 Denton Drive
When the Dallas Arboretum names someone its designated tree consultant, you know it’s legit. Moore Tree Care, in business since 1962, owns that title as well as a host of others. Moore’s certified arborists work with commercial and residential clients to provide proactive tree care. The well-trained, professional staff consistently receives rave customer reviews.
Runner up: Holcomb Tree Service
Bicycles Plus – 7015 Snider Plaza
Customer service can make or break a business. At Bicycles Plus, the friendly staff has won over the entire community. Even if you didn’t buy a bike, repair advice is always on tap. This is a pretty good strategy, and one that has likely earned the shop its fair share of new customers.
St. Michael’s Woman’s Exchange – 5 Highland Park Village
What do you get for the woman who has everything? Just about anything from St. Michael’s Woman’s Exchange. In addition to being the exclusive provider of the Michael Aram line, the stylish shop donates all of its proceeds to the women’s grant committee at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church. The committee uses the funds to support about 75 charities. That’s guilt-free shopping.
Runner up: Uptown Carwash
Allie-Coosh – 6726 Snider Plaza
Allie-Coosh owner/designer/model Paulette Martsolf has an eye for jewelry, and she’s lined her Snider Plaza clothing boutique with accessories of her own creation. Meant to compliment clothing available in the store, Allie Coosh jewelry is born of quietly zany materials, like fossils — “dino bones,” Martsolf calls them — and mammoth tusks, alongside pearl, amber, purple labradorite, and more.
Runner up: Diamond Doctor
PetCo – 4325 Lovers Lane
In recent years, the family pet has graduated from sleeping outside and eating scraps to demanding its own pricey regimen of grooming, specialty food, and entertainment. Luckily, PetCo on Lovers Lane has everything you need to keep your pooch pampered at a low price. Not only can you bring your pet shopping, you can also drop him off for a bath or an obedience lesson while you browse.
Runner up: The Lucky Dog Barkery
Allie-Coosh – 6726 Snider Plaza
Newfoundland native Paulette Martsolf is the peppy designer — and the model, if you’ve caught the print ads — behind Allie-Coosh. Loosely translated, the name of her Snider Plaza boutique means “off to bed,” but that’s only because Martsolf once designed pajamas. Now she specializes in bright, sumptuous apparel that appeals to almost anyone’s shape and style. Outfits are available off the rack, but can also be made to order.
Runner up: Neiman Marcus
Stanley Korshak – 500 Crescent Court
When you need something for the dapper man in your life, look no further than Stanley Korshak. The stylish threads from this independent Dallas clothier have impressed fashion critics the world over. And all you have to do to get your hands on some is drive to Uptown. What are you waiting for?
Runner up: Culwell & Son
BEST CONSIGNMENT CLOTHING
Clothes Circuit – 6105 Sherry Lane
Why pay full price when you don’t have to? For more than 25 years, Clothes Circuit on Sherry Lane has provided gently used Prada purses, Talbots tops, and Gucci gowns at a fraction of the sticker price. With a booming inventory that grows by about 500 pieces a day, you can always afford to update your wardrobe when you shop at Clothes Circuit.
Runner up: Clotheshorse Anonymous
BEST CONSIGNMENT FURNITURE
Again & Again – 5207 Bonita Ave.
You know what brand new furniture becomes the moment you kick off your shoes and pop a squat? Used. Again & Again was created for people who’d rather not pay hundreds of dollars more for that two-second honor. The ever-changing inventory offers unique items ranging from antiques to designer chic. Adventurous shoppers wanted.
Runner up: On Consignment
Lovers Lane Antique Market – 5001 W. Lovers Lane
When you’re looking for the perfect piece of furniture to finish off a room, big-box stores don’t exactly fit the bill. Find the piéce de résistance at Lovers Lane Antique Market, which sells English and French items from the 18th and 19th centuries. Standing globes, painted vases, writing desks, and every thing in between await your favor — and your pocketbook.