Wednesday, January 27, 2010
2914 N. State St., 601-487-6349
Best Local Business Owner
Jeff Good (Mangia Bene)
Jeff Good and his business partner, Dan Blumenthal, know the secret to success in the restaurant business, and it's not rocket science: Provide top-notch service and delicious quality food every day. Jacksonians know that they can count on the three Mangia Bene restaurantsBRAVO!, Broad St. Baking Company and Sal & Mookie'sto be consistently good, which is why you will find these businesses nominated over and over each year in the Best of Jackson polls.
This year's Best Local Business Owner Jeff Good loves Jackson, too, and he has shown that by being one of the city's fiercest advocates. Mangia Bene (Latin for "Eat Well") is also the catering arm of the business, providing tasty pastries, luscious lunches and perfect party food for all types of occasions.
The relatively new Sneaky Beans has crept its way into Jacksonians' hearts to tie with Mangia Bene for best locally owned business this year, and what's not to love? With good coffee (and beer), outdoor seating perfect for people watching, and comfy couches indoors, free wi-fi, delicious desserts and some of the best local music featured weekly, Sneaky Beans has become the neighborhood meet-up spot.
Best Locally Owned Business
Second: McDade's (multiple locations) / Third: Cups (multiple locations) / Good Showing: Material Girls (182 Promenade Blvd., Flowood, 601-992-4533 and 1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, 601-605-1605); Easley Amused (7048 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland and 2315 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-953-9786)
Local Business Owner
Second: Whitney Giordano, Material Girls (182 Promenade Blvd., Flowood, 601-992-4533 and 1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, 601-605-1605) / Third: Lacey Norris (Lacey's Salon, 1935 Lakeland Drive, 601-906-2253) / Good Showing: Byron Knight, Sneaky Beans (2914 N. State St., 601-487-6349); Ron Chane, Studio Chane, Swell-O-Phonic and Soma Wilai (2906 N. State St., 601-981-3547); Daniel Dillon (F. Jones Corner) Kathy & Greg McDade, McDade's (multiple locations)
Best Wedding Venue and Best Place to Book a Party/Shower
734 Fairview St., 601-948-3429
Become Jackson's "first couple" when you exchange your vows at the "White House." I'm not referring to the White House that hosts long, boring meetings about our economy; I'm referring to the Fairview Inn in the historic Belhaven community, which has been a top location for immaculate weddings and jamming soirees for more than 30 years. With several rooms of different sizes, the Fairview can accommodate from 10 to more than 600 guests. Whether you choose to host your event outdoors under the gazebo, by the rose garden or next to the library fireplace inside, your guests are guaranteed to appreciate the beauty of this bed and breakfast. After you and your guests have partied the night away, unwind in one of Fairview Inn's luxurious guest rooms.
Place to Book a Party/Shower
Second: The Cedars (4145 Old Canton Road, 601-366-5552) / Third: Easely Amused (2315 Lakeland Drive, Suite C, Flowood and 7048 Old Canton Road, Suite 1002, Ridgeland, 601-953-9786) / Good showing: Mint Restaurant (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 5002, Ridgeland, 601-898-6468); Old Capitol Inn (226 N. State St., 601-359-9000); Bon Ami (1220 E. Northside Drive, Suite 230, 601-982-0405)
Second: The Cedars (4145 Old Canton Road, 601-366-5552) / Third: Old Capitol Inn (226 N. State St., 601-359-9000) / Good showing: Luckett Lodge (214 Clark Creek Road, Brandon, 601-829-2567); Mynelle Gardens (4736 Clinton Blvd., 601-960-1894); Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St., 601-960-1515)
Best Beauty Shop or Salon, Best Hair Stylist
Lacey's Salon, Lacey Norris
1935 Lakeland Dr., 601-906-2253
I just got my eyebrows waxed at Lacey's salon today, and they look fabulous. I love that I didn't have to pay a lot to have hair ripped out of my face but still felt as if I got high-price quality. I'm always a little nervous going to a new salon, but walking into Lacey's is kind of like going into your best friend's bedroom to primp before a night out, only you would actually trust the stylists at Lacey's with your hair and a pair of scissors. Lacey Norris is a young woman with a vision, and her success can be attributed to her personal relationship with customers and innovative style. She takes the crown once again for best hairstylist.
Best Beauty Shop or Salon
Second: Barnette's (multiple locations, 601-362-9550) / Third: Ritz Salon (775 Lake Harbour Drive, Suite H, Ridgeland, 601-856-4330) / Good showing: Wavelengths (20 Northtown Drive, 601-956-6224); S'Moak (622 Duling Ave. Suite 206, 601-982-5313); Tangle (607 Duling Ave. 601-987-0123);
Best Hair Stylist
Second: Griff Howard, Ritz Salon ( 775 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-856-4330)/ Third: Claire Kinsey, Gloss Salon (733 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-898-8640)/ Good Showing: Jennifer Robertson, Lacey's Salon (1935 Lakeland Drive, 601-906-2253); Jesse Gallagher, Ritz Salon (775 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-856-4330); Brian Brower, Tangle (607 Duling Ave. 601-987-0123); Eddie Outlaw, William Wallace (2939 Old Canton Road, 601-982-8300)
4465 Interstate 55 N., 601-366-7619
Perennial winner for the JFP's Best Bookstore category, John Evans' Lemuria is a book oasis with plump sofas, ceiling-high bookshelves, book stacks on the floor and tables laden with delicious reading. Lots of nooks and great organization lend delightful intrigue and ease to browsing, and knowledgeable staffers fetch your requests and gift wrap your purchases. The young-readers section is an absolute goldmine, and the First Editions Club delivers a new fiction book monthly to members. Lemuria also offers numerous book signings and readings every month. Across the driveway, Lemuriabooks.com warehouses rare books and opens its doors for eventsliterary and otherwisereplete with tasty brews.
Jackie Warren Tatum
Second: Choctaw Books (926 North St., 601-352-7281) / Third: The Book Rack (1491 Canton Mart Road, 601-956-5086) / Good Showing: Tattered Pages (719 N. Congress St., 601-352-3399)
182 Promenade Blvd., Flowood, 601-992-4533 and 1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 7005, Ridgeland, 601-605-1605.
Material Girls, owned by the fashionable Whitney Giordano, wins JFP's "Best Boutique" for the third year. This full-service boutique, which now offers on-line shopping (http://www.shopmaterialgirls.com), appeals to women who relish their individuality and dare to express their boldest ambitions. Celebrating an eclectic array of established designers like Betsey Johnson, Chinese Laundry, Jessica Simpson and HOBO International, as well as emerging designers such as Cupid and Flying Monkey, you can always find a one-of-a-kind-something-special. This boutique pampers the girl in all women and has chic and sassy, fun and fancy options for all budgets.
Second: Treehouse Boutique (3000 N. State St., 601-982-3433) / Third: Pink Bombshell (270 Dogwood Blvd., Flowood, 601-919-1366 and 1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 5007, Ridgeland, 601-853-0775) / Good showing: Migi's (131 Market St., Flowood, 601-919-8203); Libby Story (120 W. Jackson St., Suite A, Ridgeland, 601-717-3300) / Wilai (2906 N. State St., Suite 103, 601-366-9955).
Best Day Spa
Aqua the Day Spa
4465 Interstate 55 N., 601-362-9550 and 1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 8001, 601-898-9123
Aqua has fans not only in the Jackson area, but also all over the state. I can't imagine a better gift for a bride-to-be, or for the entire bridal party (guys included), than a day of pampering at Aqua. Of course, anytime you feel the need for delight is the perfect excuse to get a facial, massage or mani/pedi. But when you're ready for the coddling big guns, go straight for the Aqua Ultimate Escape, which includes a one-hour massage, a kiwi and pomegranate hydrating facial, a Shea butter and wheat moisture drench, a manicure, pedicure and lunch. You might need to find someone to carry you home after all that; your very bones may have melted in bliss.
Second: Trio MediSpa (4812 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-608- 8746) / Third: NomiSpa (Fairview Inn, 734 Fairview St., 601-948-3429 x314) / Good Showing: Mon Ami Spa & Laser Center (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 128, 601-366-7721)
Best Dentist for Cowards
Dr. Jonathan Germany
2004 Courtside Drive, Brandon, 601-824-2280
Please. Who isn't a coward at the dentistmouth strapped open, a person probing around in it with needles and drills? Wouldn't it be better to sit in a massage chair in natural sunlight surrounded by the clear sounds of XM satellite radio? Well, you can, according to Dr. Germany, who dubs Germany Dental "Dentistry with a Gentle Touch." "Comfort is the key," Germany says on his Web site's video (http://www.germanydental.com), and he offers treatments from smile makeovers to complex oral-health problems. Sedation is optional.
Jackie Warren Tatum
Second: (tie) Dr. Mike Harkins (5495 Robinson Road Extension, 601-372-3277); Dr.
Michael T. Trammel (2525 Lakeward Drive, Suite 102, 601-982-7212 / Third: Dr. Danny P. O'Keefe (996 Top St., Flowood, 601-936-2526) / Good Showing: Dr. Brad Armstrong (459 Pebble Creek Drive, Madison, 601-856-3141)
Ethnic or Specialty Grocery
Rainbow Whole Foods
2807 Old Canton Road, 601-366-1602
If Rainbow wasn't in Jackson, Todd and I wouldn't be living here. You think I'm kidding? The first time we flew into Jackson from New York City to look around and see how living in Jackson might feel, our health-food homing device led us to the Rainbow Plaza. As vegetarians who try to eat everything possible organic and very little shot-up-with-chemicals food, having access to an excellent natural-foods grocery is key. We also like the community vibe that a good, locally owned natural grocer always creates. We crept into Rainbow, looked at the High Noon Cafe menu and cruised the Rainbow aisles looking for our favorite nutball food brands. We scanned the bulletin boards out front, noted the lack of a real alternative newspaper, and the rest is history.
And it wouldn't have happened without Rainbow.
Second: Aladdin Grocery (730 Lakeland Drive, 601-366-6033 / Third: Mediterranean Grocery and Cafe (6550 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland, 601-956-0082) / Good Showing: Spice Avenue (4711 Interstate 55 N., 601-982-0890; Patel Brothers (1999 Highway 80 West, # 15, 601-353-6611); Van Hung Asian Market (587 U.S. 51, Ridgeland, 601-856-9638
Best Flower Shop
705 N. State St., 601-352-5743
In business since 1917, Greenbrook Flowers cares, and it shows: Jacksonians have chosen Greenbrook the best for four years running. Its talented florists create magic with cut flowers, bouquets, gifts, centerpieces, corsages and green plants. You tell them the occasion and what you have in mind, and they'll create the magicwhether you want elegant or quirkyfor the effect you desire. Greenbrook always stays abreast of what's in style and offers the most up-to-date advice and arrangements. Call today for your valentine's arrangement, or go to http://www.greenbrookflowers.com and handle it all online.
Jackie Warren Tatum
Second: A Daisy A Day (1220 E. Northside Drive, Suite 180, 601-982-4438) / Third: Green Oak Nursery and Florist (5009 Old Canton Road, 601-956-5017) / Good Showing: Mostly Martha's Florist and Gifts (353 Highway 51, Ridgeland, 601-956-1474); Whitley's Flowers (740 Lakeland Drive, 601-362-8844); Drake's Designs Florist and Gifts (5731 Old Canton Road, Suite 105, 601-957-6983)
Best Garden Supply/Nursery
Lakeland Yard and Garden Center
4210 Lakeland Drive, 601-939-7304
Outside, Lakeland Yard and Garden offers cedar furniture, blueberry bushes, fig trees, colorful Adirondack chairs, apple trees, wrought iron furniture, bottle trees and enough urns to fill a basketball court. A tropical-plant tent borders a huge expanse of covered concrete for bedding plants and shrubbery. Inside, it's seeds, garden clogs, straw hats, funky frogs, Mississippi school paraphernalia, pottery, gifts, insecticides, furniture, ceramics and even funky kitchen towels. If it's for your yard or garden, these folks will have it.
Jackie Warren Tatum
Second: Callaway's Yard and Garden Center (839 S. Pear Orchard Road, Ridgeland, 601-957-1731) / Third: Green Oak Nursery and Florist (5009 Old Canton Road, 601-956-5022) / Good Showing: Hutto's Home and Garden Center (1320 Ellis Ave., 601-973-2277); Garden Works Nursery (650 Highway 51, Ridgeland, 601-856-3078)
Best Gym/Fitness Center
Courthouse Racquet and Fitness
Before you throw away that New Year's resolution to shed some holiday pounds (courtesy of turkeys, hams and other calorie-laden dishes), head to Courthouse Racquet and Fitness, where you'll find all the tools to stay fit and look great. With locations in Flowood, Byram and Madison in addition to downtown Jackson, it's easy to find a Courthouse location nearby. Courthouse offers several sports training regiments, including basketball, golf, tennis and racquetball. If you're into aquatics, Courthouse hosts swim lessons (adult and children), swim teams, lifesaving classes, scuba diving and even kayaking. Classes offer everything from Pilates to salsa aerobics, so there's something for everybody.
Second: The Club at St. Dominic's (970 Lakeland Drive, Suite 27, 601-200-4925) / YMCA (multiple locations) / Good showing: Fitness Lady (331 Sunnybrook Road, Ridgeland, 601-957-0045); Anytime Fitness (901 Lakeland Place, Suite #10, 601-946-8601); Baptist Healthplex (717 Manship St., 601-968-1766)
Best Festival/Annual Event
Mal's St. Paddy's Parade
In 1982, Jill Conner Browne decided that the best way to enjoy a parade is to be in it. Now, nearly 30 years later, we have her and the other Sweet Potato Queens to thank for helping make our parade one of the largest in the country. But we can't forget the father of our favorite event: Malcolm White has watched his baby grow up to be a hard-partying young adult with no signs of slowing down. St. Paddy's Day is my favorite holiday because of the paradeJackson's first rite of spring and the best time of year to walk downtown, drink with your friends, and catch beads. And if you get a chance to be in the parade, do it. You won't be sorry.
Second: Mistletoe Marketplace / Third: Jubilee!JAM / Good Showing: WellsFest; CelticFest
Best Liquor Wine Store
Kats Wine Cellar
921 E. Fortification St., 601-354-9181
A Jackson staple since 1966, Kats moved into their spacious new building in 2007, offering plenty of selection and parking, and ultra organization. The store features an expanse of metal wine shelves, clearly marked as to types of wine, with critique hang tags scoring the wines from 1 to 100, and menu suggestions that makes it easy to pair wines and food. Hard liquor claims one wall, with a beverage cooler on the opposite side of the store. The master stroke is a ceiling-high corner of more than 90 wines priced under $20. Let the staff help you pick the perfect libation for your next event or dinner. Jackie Warren Tatum
Second: Briarwood Mart Wines and Spirits (4949 Old Canton Road, 601-956-5108) / Third: McDade's Wine and Spirits (1220 E. Northside Drive, Suite 320, 601-366-5676) / Good Showing: Wine & Spirits In The Quarter (1855 Lakeland Drive, Suite A-10, 601-366-6644); Joe T's, (286 Highway 51, Ridgeland, 601-605-7602)
Best Kids' Clothes/Toy Store
Popfizz Children's Boutique
1481 Canton Mart Road, Suite E, 601-977-1000
I visited Popfizz while working on the back-to-school issue for the JFP in the fall. When I walked through the doors of the store, I knew I had found a special place with its whimsical decor and friendly service. Owners Julie Galloway and Susan Malouf, both graduates of the University of Mississippi, opened Popfizz in 2007 because they saw a need for a local kid's apparel store that carries everything under one roof. They offer a variety of clothes, accessories and shoes for kids from newborns to size 16. And we're not talking about just any clothes֖but brand names like Flower by Zoe, Hanana Banana, Baby Lulu, Roxy and Quicksilver. Trust me when I say your child will be the envy of all their friends on the playground.
Second: Helen's Young Ages (4750 Interstate 55 N., 601-362-0317) / Third: Lemon Meringue (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 1007, Ridgeland, 601-853-2611) / Good Showing: Cosmo Tots (2906 N. State St., Suite 103-B, 601-427-3322); Old Tyme Commissary (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 122, 601-366-1849)
Best Kids' Event
Jamie Fowler Boyll Park, 3601 Lakeland Lane, 601-353-0658
Wanting their child to have the most fun possible in a safe (affordable!) environment is only natural for a parent. Fortunately, WellsFest is an admission-free, alcohol-free atmosphere sponsored by Wells United Methodist Church and started in 1984. The entire fair is family friendly, but your kids will probably make a beeline for the fun fair, where the games and face painting are located, as well as a slide, jump-bounce and horseback rides. If your kids are into animals, there is even a pet parade for "leashable" friends. Enjoying the day with your family is made even easier with non-stop tunes; last year's music spanned Latin rock to country to gypsy jazz.
Second: Mississippi State Fair (October, Mississippi State Fairgrounds, 601-961-4000) / Third: KidsFest (April-May, Freedom Ridge Park, 235 W. School St., Ridgeland, 601-853-2011) / Good showing: Halloween at the Mississippi Agriculture & Forestry Museum (October, 1150 Lakeland Drive, 601-713-3365), Ice Cream Festival, aka Good Samaritan Scooper Bowl (May, Good Samaritan Center, 114 Millsaps Ave., 601-355-6276), Go Healthy (August, Metrocenter Mall, 1395 Metrocenter, 601-321-1200)
Best Martial Arts Studio
Academy of Kung Fu
626 Ridgewood Road, Ridgeland, 601-856-5051
The martial arts may have originated far, far away in the east, but Jackson has more than a few schools for those interested in fine-tuning their minds and bodies. If you're looking to hone your fighting skills, head to the Academy for Kung Fu in Ridgeland. The academy offers programs for various age groups, from "Little Ninjas" ages 4 to 6, to "Kung Fu Kids" ages 7 to 12. There are even classes for teens and adults. Instructor and owner Trey Crake will teach you or your child to sharpen your ability to physically defend yourself. The martial arts are also a great way to keep in shape. Head to the Web site (academyofkungfu.com) for more information on the academy.
Second (tie): Gracie South Martial Arts (1006 Top St. Suite H, Flowood, 601-502-7634); Jason Griffin Taekwondo Academy (125 Dyess Road, Ridgeland, 601-977-9000) / Third: Staples Martial Arts (5752 Terry Road, Byrum, 769-257-1749) / Good showing: Dettor's School of Okinawan (5750 Interstate 55 S., Byrum, 601-946-4189)
Best Park or Playground
Laurel Street Park
1841 Laurel St.
On any afternoon in the spring, cars line up along Laurel Street in the heart of Belhaven where the chatter of neighborhood children echoes through the hardwood trees from a lively little playground known as Laurel Street Park. In 2003, Friends of Laurel Street Park formed with the intention of sustaining the neighborhood park and to integrate it with local activities to ensure its vitality within the community. Laurel Park's colorful murals and imaginative playground offers a tranquil but whimsical setting for picnics (the park contains a gazebo, picnic tables and a grill) fundraisers, and music that appeals to children and adults alike. The park is open year round from dawn until dusk.
Second: LeFleurs Bluff (2140 Riverside Drive) / Third: Strawberry Patch Park (corner of Old Canton Road and St. Augustine Drive, Madison) / Good Showing: Parham Bridges Park (5055 Old Canton Road) / Liberty Park (Madison Avenue, Madison) / Winners Circle Park (3531 Flynn Road, Pearl, 601-992-4440)
Best Place to Buy Antiques
Old House Depot
639 Monroe St., 601-592-6200
Finding antiques can be difficult, but finding that perfect piece after rifling through piles of archaic knick-knacks makes it all seem worth it. This year's Best Place to Buy Antiques is Old House Depot, a self-professed "architectural salvage warehouse." What makes Old House Depot unique is the diversity of old objects it has for sale. From doors to stained-glass windows to chandeliers, describing the sheer volume of seasoned stuff here is an intimidating task. The staff at the Old House Depot goes into homes slated for demolition, or that simply can't be preserved, so finding authentic Mississippi antiques proves easy here. If you're trying to redecorate your house with the vintage effects of the South, Old House Depot is the place to go.
Second: Interiors Market (659 Duling Ave., 601-981-6020) / Third: Interior Spaces (5060 B Interstate 55 N., 601-981-9920) / Good showing: High Street Antiques (806 Larson St., 601-354-5222); Belgique Inc. (320 Commerce Park Drive, 601-982-6060); Repeat Street (626 Ridgewood Road, Ridgeland, 601-605-9393)
Best Place to Buy Art
Brown's Fine Art & Framing
630 Fondren Place, 601-982-4844
If you're looking for a reliable, local venue from which to purchase art, look no further than Jackson's Best Place to Buy Art, Brown's Fine Art & Framing. James and Mary Grace Brown opened the business in 1965, but since then the gallery has moved and expanded its showroom to house the huge number of works there. Brown's deals in traditional canvas work as well as pottery, sculptures and numerous other media, all of the highest quality. Perhaps the most alluring aspect of Brown's is the focus on Mississippi artists. Brown's is also the largest dealer of Walter Anderson prints. As the name implies, they also offer stock and custom frames, as well as art restoration, consulting and appraisals.
Second: Southern Breeze Gallery (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 5005, Ridgeland, 601-607-4147) / Third: One Blu Wall Gallery (2906 N. State St., 601-713-1224) / Good showing: Nunnery's Gallery (426 Meadowbrook Road, 601-981-4426), Sanaa Gallery & Boutique (4795 McWillie Drive, 769-218-1655); Fischer Galleries (3100 N. State St., 601-366-8833); The Ink Spot (300 W. South St., 601-352-4700)
Best Place to Buy Media
Be-Bop Record Shop
1220 E. Northside Drive, Suite 160, 601-981-5000
3887 Metro Drive, 601-969-3181
As record shops across the nation are closing, Be-Bop is still going strong. Opened in 1974 at its original North State Street location, Be-Bop now operates four storestwo in Jackson, one in Tupelo and another in Vicksburg. With an ample selection of new and used CDs, you are sure to find just what you are looking for. Be-Bop carries all musical genres, prides itself on their customer service, and also carries T-shirts, incense, posters, music DVDs, and new and used vinyl and turntables at the Maywood Mart location. The store also holds in-store events to promote local music, and you can purchase tickets to just about everything in town there.
Second: Heroes and Dreams (5352 Highway 25, Suite 1650, Flowood, 601-992-3100) / Third: Little Big Store (201 E. Main St., Raymond, 601-857-8579) / Good Showing: Action Island (579 Highway 51, Suite D, Ridgeland, 601-856-1789)
Best Place to Buy Men's Clothing
The Rogue & Good Company
4450 Interstate 55 N., Suite A, 601-362-6383
Men, if you're looking to impress special someone, if you have an upcoming gala occasion, or you just take pride in looking dapper, head to The Rogue for your haberdashery needs. You'll be in good hands with the sensibility and excellent taste of a clothing store that has clothed Jackson's elite and powerful. You'll find suits and fine shoes, as well as outerwear to keep your threads unscathed by the elements, with brands such as Riscatto-Italy, Cole Hahn and Zanella. If you want that shirt to fit just right, The Rogue can tailor to your physique.
Second: Great Scott (4400 Old Canton Road, 601-984-3500) Third: Kinkade's Fine Clothing (120 West Jackson St. Suite 2B, Ridgeland, 601-898-0513,) / Good showing: Buffalo Peak Outfitters (Highland Village, 1300 E. Northside Drive, 601-366-2577); Red Square Clothing Company (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, 601-853-8960)
Best Place to Take Dance Lessons
303 Mitchell Ave., 601-213-6350.
So you want to move like you're the reigning champ on "Dancing with the Stars"? Salsa Mississippi, owned by Sujan and Sarah Ghimire, is the top place to learn the moves to take on the dance floor. The Ghimires have created not only a dance studio teaching the trendiest Latin moves, but a popular club bringing people to Fondren to salsa and socialize. So while the New Year's resolutions linger with promise, it's a good time to put on your dancing shoes and swing and swirl your way into fitness and fun.
Second: Ballet Mississippi (Mississippi Arts Center, 201 East Pascagoula St., 601-960-1560 and Madison Square Center for the Arts, 2103 Main St., Madison, 601-853-0291) (tie) / Third: Ballet Magnificat (5406 Interstate 55 N., 601-977-1001) / Good showing: Lumpkin's BBQ (182 Raymond Road, 601-373-7707); Applause Dance Factory (242 W. Stephens St., Ridgeland, 601-856-6168).
Best Place To Be Inspired
Jacksonians have consistently said that when it comes to inspiration, the 33,000 square acres of the Ross Barnett Reservoirdespite its namesakeis hard to beat. Watch the sunrise wake the world from the causeway on Northshore Parkway, aka Pelahatchie Bridge. Bike the excellent trails north of the bridge and take a break at Arbor Landing, a tucked away place along the half-moon view of the wide blue water. From there, the cars crossing Spillway Bridge look like dots darting to and fro. Picnic at one of the public parks south of the Pelahatchie Bridge or camp at Timberlake Campgrounds and listen to the night in the flicker of lights bouncing on the water. It's a soul-stirring experience.
Jackie Warren Tatum
Second: Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St., 601-960-1515) / Third: Downtown Jackson / Good Showing: Church; Fondren; Mynelle Gardens (4736 Clinton Blvd., 601-960-1894)
Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners
Every city has one: the cool, artsy district. Memphis has Midtown; Houston has Montrose; Jackson has Fondren. With more colorful buildings sprouting up each year, Fondren has become the hot spot in town. Take your friends on a walking tour, stop for coffee at Sneaky Beans, vintage records and clothing at The Orange Peel, or have a nice lunch at Fondren's newest addition, Nick's. Find art around every corner for purchase or pondering, and if it happens to be the first Thursday of the month, even more local art and music pours out into the streets for Fondren After 5.
Take your guests to runner-up Mayflower Cafe for the comeback sauce and "Captain's Platter." They will definitely come back to Jackson again.
Second: Mayflower Cafe (123 W. Capitol St., 601-355-4122) / Third: Renaissance at Colony Park (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland) / Good Showing: Walkers Drive-In (3016 N. State St., 601-982-2633); Fairview Inn (734 Fairview St., 601-948-3429); Keifer's (705 Poplar Blvd., 601-355-6825 and 120 N. Congress St., 601-353-4976); Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (2148 Riverside Drive, 601-354-7303)
Best Reason to Live in Jackson
Jacksonians love each other. There's no other explanation for how well we got along during the recent water crisisdespite the fact that we were wearing mismatched clothes and smelling to high heavens after a few days with no water. We know how to get through a disaster together, and we embrace our crazies rather than exile them to Madison. We actually miss Frank a little. We love Josh Hailey, and he runs around half-nakeda lot. Apparently, some of the people you think make Jackson more livable are women, and I say, "Damn straight." Jackson women combine beauty, brains and awesome. And since the cost of living is so low, you can take us out on a date and still have money left over to buy us breakfast the next morning.
Second: Fondren / Third: Food/Restaurants / Good Showing: Belhaven; Cost of Living; Women
Best Place to Stage an Uprising
Outside the Capitol Building
Jackson Free Press readers chose the area outside the Capitol building as the best place to stage an uprising. This makes sense, actually. The steps of the Capitol have traditionally served as the gathering place to bring sickles, garden hoes, and other assorted farm instruments for a good old-fashioned, run-that-mad-scientist-and-his-ugly-monster-out-of-town riot. These days it's the spot of choice for protest rallies, so when you need to congregate and bravely share your feelings, there's no better place to do it than among a crowd of people who think just like you do.
Second: Governor's Mansion (300 E. Capitol St., 601-359-3200 / Third: Downtown Jackson / Good Showing: Intersection outside Rainbow Co-op (Lakeland Drive and Old Canton Road).
Best Place To Buy Unique Gifts
Mississippi Craft Center
950 Rice Road, Ridgeland, 601-856-7546
The Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi offers unique, high-art-quality crafts from hundreds of its guild artisans, mainly from Mississippi. The store, which occupies one end of the modern, two-story industrial-styled building, is flooded with light. You'll find bowls, statuary, baskets, jewelry, paintings, wall art, metal art, quilts, haute couture clothing, pottery and woodcraft, including a White House-quality walnut rocker a la President John Kennedy. Out front in the smaller cantilevered-roofed building is a blacksmith's shop, and the magnificent complex also has pottery studios and kilns.
Jackie Warren Tatum
Second: The Pine Cone (1220 E. Northside Drive, Suite 220, 601-713-1421) / Third: Apple Annie's (106 Autumn Ridge Place, No. 6, Brandon, 601-992-9925) / Good Showing: The Orange Peel (3026 N. State St., 601-364-9977)
Best Tanning Salon
Sun Gallery Tanning Studio
2720 N. State St., 601-366-5811
6712 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland, 601-957-7502
As a Florida native, I know the importance of getting a healthy tan. At the Sun Gallery, the staff looks out for you and will recommend which tanning beds to use and the time length, so you don't turn into a lobster. From airbrush tanning to three levels of tanning beds, the studio offers a variety of equipment to suit your tanning needs at affordable prices. Wait times are short, business hours are long, and a friendly and knowledgeable staff will help you avoid that pasty winter prune syndrome.
Second: Solar 51 (398 Highway 51, Suite 130, Ridgeland, 601-898-1003; 136 S. Pearson Road, Pearl, 601-939-1990; 727 Clinton Parkway, Clinton, 601-925-9747) / Third: Tan Central Station (1000 Lakeland Square Ext., Suite 300, Flowood, 601-420-9555)
Best Place to Buy Shoes
The Shoe Bar at Pieces
425 Mitchell Avenue, 601-939-5203
Songs are written about diamonds being a girl's best friend, but for some women it's shoes, and if they happen to have a few sparkles on them, all the better. Who would want to go barefoot, when you can slip your Cinderella tootsies into a pair of fashion forward, wickedly high pumps by L.A.M.B.? The Shoe Bar carries this and other grand brands like BeBe, Carlos by Carlos Santana and Jessica Simpson. The owners opened their first store, named Designer's Shoe Palace, in 1993 on Lakeland Drive. In 2007 they moved to a residential street in the Fondren District, set up shop in an old house and renamed the store The Shoe Bar at Pieces. The store sets itself apart by carrying a variety of distinctive shoes that you won't find in shopping malls. So the next time you want to spice up an outfit with a new pair of shoes, you know exactly where to go.
Second: Maison Weiss (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 109, 601-981-4621) / Third: Material Girls (182 Promenade Blvd., Flowood, 601-992-4533 and 1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 7005, Ridgeland, 601-605-1605) / Good showing: Buffalo Peak (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 115, 601-366-2557); Swell-O-Phonic, 2906 N. State St., Suite 103 601-981-3547) / Soma Wilai (2906 N. State St., Suite 103, 601-366-9955).
Best Tattoo/Piercing Parlor
The Ink Spot Gallery
300 W. South St., 601-352-4700
When asked what to see in Jackson, one of my top answers is always The Ink Spot Gallery. Even if you have no interest in getting a tattoo before you go, chances are that you'll leave inked up and bandaged. Why? As soon as you enter the shop, you're greeted by people who have a distinct passion for what they do, and once you see the unique, high-caliber art the shop's staff puts on customers' skin, you'll itch for a custom-drawn piece of your own, different from the standard "flash" tattoos floating around. While waiting, you can also check out local artists' work in the gallery, and get a laugh from the crew and characters that frequent the shop, making plenty of life-long memories.
Second: Squench's (3780 Interstate 55 S., 601-372-2800) / Third: Eternal Body Art (3611 Interstate 55 S., 601-346-5963) / Good Showing: Twizted Images (557 Highway 49 S., Richland, 601-664-0000); Ritual Custom (1016 Hampstead Blvd., Clinton, 601-925-0205); House of Pain (22 Holiday Rambler Lane, Byram, 601-321-9040)
Best Thrift/Consignment Store
The Orange Peel
3026 N. State St., 601-364-9977
You can tell a lot about a city based on its restaurants and shopping. Lucky for us, both are neatly combined in Fondren. The Orange Peel is an exquisite shopping nook nestled between Walker's restaurant and Fondren Place. It's a breath of fresh air from the stale racks squished into department stores, and makes a mockery of the same old cuts, colors and styles folded neatly and stacked in the store next to itall in the name of fashion. Peel away those layers, and you have The Orange Peel and its individual pieces of merchandise that become style statements for men and women of all sizes. That defines fashion: unique ensembles structured and accessorized to your liking; not duplicating what everyone else is wearing.
Second: Bargain Boutique (5070 Parkway Drive, 601-991-0500) / Third: Repeat Street (626 Ridgewood Road, Ridgeland, 601-605-9393) / Good Showing: N.U.T.S. (114 Millsaps Ave., 601-355-6276)
Best Yoga Instructor
Courthouse Racquet & Fitness (multiple locations)
A good yoga instructor can be hard to find. Luckily, there are some great yogis in town, and Jean Powers takes the 2010 crown. Student and fellow fitness guru Kelly Bilbo had this to say about Jean: "The set of skills and knowledge she displays in her classes benefit everyone there, from the first-time participant to the experienced student. Oh, and the (herbal) China gel she shares at the end of her class with her thought or saying of the day is the icing on the cake for me personally."
Butterfly Yoga is represented well in this category, with founder Scotta Brady in second, Tara Blumenthal in third and Chris Timmins with a good showing.
Never fear, Jacksona quality yoga class is always near.
Second: Scotta Brady (Butterfly Yoga, 3025 N. State St., 601-594-2313) / Third: Tara Blumenthal (Butterfly Yoga, 3025 N. State St., 601-594-2313) / Good Showing: Chris Timmins (Butterfly Yoga, 3025 N. State St., 601-594-2313); Barbara Nobles (Body Benefits, 731 S. Pear Orchard Road, Suite 30, Ridgeland, 601-991-9904); Debi Lewis (Joyflow Yoga, 7048 Old Canton Road, Suite 2-F, Ridgeland, 601-613-4317)
Best Category We Left Out
Good thing we left it out. With so many Jackson lawyers, imagine the competition: During Best of Jackson campaign season, you'd be assaulted at Tye's with 15 precisely argued, esoterically worded pleas. No thanks.
Now, tattoo artistthere's one I can get behind. When I finally decide to get that manatee wearing Rollerblades on my chest, I want to know who's got the steadiest hand.
As for Best Actor, great suggestionas long as we disqualify State Sen. John Horhn as CNN Reporter in "Ghosts of Mississippi"; dude would win every time. Some gems didn't make the cut, ranging from the inexplicable (Best Car), to the oxymoronic (Best Shopping Mall), to the cute (Best Romantic Place for Sex, Best Place of Refuge from the Zombie Apocalypse).
Second: Best Tattoo Artist / Third: Best Actor, Actress / Good Showing: Best Doctor; Best Yoga Studio; Best Hookah Bar; Best Caterer; Best Personal Trainer