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It’s all GOOD in the Natural State. But there are none BETTER .. 

.. than the 2005 Best of Arkansas winners.

click to enlarge LATE NIGHT FUN: Midtown Billiards is the best.
  • LATE NIGHT FUN: Midtown Billiards is the best.
It must be summer. That’s when we hibernate to plow through the hundreds of ballots submitted by readers in our Best of Arkansas contest. It’s a familiar exercise by now. We publish the ballot in two consecutive issues. We give a couple of weeks to mail them in. We discard photocopies and obvious Florida-style election manipulation schemes. And now, we give you the winners. You’ll find many familiar places and faces. But you’ll note some changes. And we noted, in the counting, the profound impact that the Internet has had on our lives. We focus on Arkansas for our winners, but in many categories, readers had clear preferences in the electronic ether. Maybe that’s another contest altogether. Without further preliminaries, here are the winners, all from Little Rock unless noted, with runners-up listed alphabetically: GOODS AND SERVICES Shopping Center Park Plaza RUNNERS-UP: Lakewood Village and McCain Mall, North Little Rock; Wal-Mart shopping center on Bowman Road. Grocery Store Kroger RUNNERS-UP: Hestand’s, Terry’s Finer Foods, Wal-Mart Supercenter, Wild Oats Market. ANTIQUE SHOP David Claibourne Ltd. RUNNERS-UP: Fabulous Finds, Morris Antiques of Keo, I-40 Antique Center. FURNITURE Hank’s Fine Furniture RUNNERS-UP: Haverty’s, Mertinsdyke, Norwalk. INTERIOR DESIGNER Tom Chandler RUNNERS-UP: Kaki Hockersmith, Gary Mertins, Cortney Singleton. MUSIC (CDS) STORE Best Buy RUNNERS-UP: Barnes and Noble, CD Warehouse, Wal-Mart. MUSIC EQUIPMENT Sigler Music Center RUNNERS-UP: Pickin’ Porch of Pickles Gap, Saied Music Company of North Little Rock. SHOES Dillard’s RUNNERS-UP: Foot Locker, Shoe Carnival, Shoe Connection. VIDEO STORE Best Buy RUNNERS-UP: Hollywood Video, Movie Gallery. BOOKS Barnes and Noble RUNNERS-UP: Books-a-Million, Lorenzen and Co., Wordsworth. WOMEN’S CLOTHING Dillard’s RUNNERS-UP: Barbara Jean, Beyond Cotton, Elle. MEN’S CLOTHING Bauman’s RUNNERS-UP: Greenhaw’s, Greg’s, Mr. Wicks. HIP CLOTHING Scarlet RUNNERS-UP: Abercrombie and Fitch, Gap, Tulips. VINTAGE AND RESALE CLOTHING Poor Little Rich Girl RUNNERS-UP: Paddywacks, Private Collections, Savers. CHILDREN’S CLOTHING Toggery RUNNERS-UP: Gap Kids, Gymboree, Old Navy. ELECTRONICS Best Buy RUNNERS-UP: Circuit City, Radio Shack, Sharper Image. LINGERIE Victoria’s Secret RUNNERS-UP: Barbara Graves, Cupid’s, J.C. Penney’s. SPORTING GOODS Academy RUNNERS-UP: Gene Lockwood, Sports Authority, Wal-Mart. TOYS Toys R Us RUNNERS-UP: Heights Toy Center, Wal-Mart. FLORIST Tipton and Hurst RUNNERS-UP: About Vase, Friday’s, Millefleur. GIFT SHOP Crown Shop RUNNERS-UP: Design Center, Full Moon, Kirkland’s. OFFICE SUPPLIES Office Depot RUNNERS-UP: Pettus Office Products, Staples. VETERINARIAN Dr. Tim Paladino RUNNERS-UP: Hartford Hamilton, Hillcrest Animal Clinic, Maumelle Animal Clinic. CLEANERS Comet RUNNERS-UP: Cuffs, Moose, Schickel’s. BANK Metropolitan National Bank RUNNERS-UP: Arvest, Pulaski Bank, Regions. BARBER Supercuts RUNNERS-UP: Jerry’s, Sport Clips, Sullivan’s. SALON Salon Nouveau RUNNERS-UP: By Design Salon, Joel’s, Serenity Salon. JEWELER Mary Healey RUNNERS-UP: Cecil’s, Kay Jewelers, Sissy’s Log Cabin. PHARMACY Walgreen RUNNERS-UP: Kroger, Tanglewood Pharmacy, USA Drugs. CAR WASH Splash RUNNERS-UP: Best, Gyst Detail. MATTRESS Denver Mattress RUNNERS-UP: Bedding Mart, Sears, Wal-Mart. AUTO DEALER Landers RUNNERS-UP: Bale Honda, Parker Lexus, Riverside Acura. AUTO SERVICE Parker RUNNERS-UP: Bale Honda, Firestone Tire and Service Centers, Moore-Robinson. AUTO STEREO Best Buy RUNNERS-UP: Altamere, Auto Audio, Wal-Mart. TRAVEL AGENCY Poe Travel RUNNERS-UP: Dillard’s, Goodwin Travel, Sue Smith. HOTEL Peabody RUNNERS-UP: Capital Hotel, Embassy Suites, Holiday Inn Select. PRIVATE SCHOOL Pulaski Academy RUNNERS-UP: Central Arkansas Christian, Catholic High School, Episcopal Collegiate School. PUBLIC SCHOOL Central High School RUNNERS-UP:Dunbar Middle, Jefferson Primary, Parkview Arts and Science Magnet. APARTMENT COMPLEX Park at Riverdale RUNNERS-UP: Arbors of Pleasant Valley, Forest Place, Highland Pointe in Maumelle. SPA Caracalla RUNNERS-UP: Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs, Quy’s Day Spa, Rejuvenation Clinic and Day Spa. GARDEN STORE Good Earth RUNNERS-UP: Hocott’s, Horticare, Lowe’s. HARDWARE Fuller and Son RUNNERS-UP: Home Depot, Kraftco, Lowe’s. COMPUTER Best Buy RUNNERS-UP: Comp USA, Gateway. EYEWEAR LensCrafters RUNNERS-UP: Burrow-Mr. Frank’s, Success Vision Express, Wal-Mart. VEGETABLES River Market Farmers Market RUNNERS-UP:Jerry’s Produce, Terry’s Finer Foods, Wild Oats. OUTDOOR GEAR Ozark Outdoor Supply RUNNERS-UP:Academy, Gene Lockwood’s, Take a Hike. BIKES Chainwheel RUNNERS-UP: Arkansas Cycling and Fitness, J&P Bike Shop in Sherwood. GUNS Fort Thompson RUNNERS-UP: Easy Cash Pawn, Gunhill Gunsmithing, Southern Trading and Loan. COMMERCIAL ART GALLERY Heights Gallery RUNNERS-UP: Cantrell Gallery, Oval Gallery, Red Door Gallery. CELL PHONE PROVIDER Cingular RUNNERS-UP: Alltel, Cricket, Sprint. INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER SBC Internet Services RUNNERS-UP: AOL, Aristotle, Comcast. REALTOR Janet Jones RUNNERS-UP: Crye-Leike, McKay and Company, Rector Phillips Morse. PAWN SHOP Southern Trading and Loan RUNNERS-UP: Easy Cash, Pawnderosa, USA Loans. RECREATION PARK Burns Park, North Little Rock RUNNERS-UP: Allsopp Park, Pinnacle State Park, Riverfront Park. SWIMMING POOL War Memorial Pool RUNNERS-UP: Little Rock Athletic Club, Maumelle Aquatic Center, Wild River Country in North Little Rock. WEEKEND GETAWAY Hot Springs RUNNERS-UP: Eureka Springs, Memphis, Red Apple Inn. RESORT Red Apple Inn, Eden Isle RUNNERS-UP:Gaston’s on the White River, Hot Springs, Mountain Harbor on Lake Ouachita. MARINA Mountain Harbor on Lake Ouachita RUNNERS-UP: Brady Mountain Resort on Lake Ouachita, Jolly Roger. GOLF COURSE Rebsamen Golf Course (public) Chenal Country Club (private) RUNNERS-UP: Country Club of Arkansas in Maumelle, Diamante in Hot Springs Village, First Tee. ATHLETIC CLUB Little Rock Athletic Club RUNNERS-UP: JP Fitness, Powerhouse Gym, War Memorial Fitness Center. TENNIS COURTS Burns Park RUNNERS-UP: Little Rock Athletic Club, Racquet Club, Walker Tennis Center. ENTERTAINMENT BAND Rockets RUNNERS-UP: Afrodesia, Big John Miller Band, Ferris Wheel Junkies. PLACE TO DANCE Cajun’s Wharf RUNNERS-UP: Discovery, Electric Cowboy, Sticky Fingerz. LIVE MUSIC Juanita’s RUNNERS-UP: Cajun’s Wharf, Riverfest Amphitheatre, Sticky Fingerz. PICKUP BAR Cajun’s Wharf RUNNERS-UP: Bobbisox, Electric Cowboy, Grumpy’s. GAY BAR Discovery RUNNERS-UP: Back Street, Factory. SPORTS BAR Legends RUNNERS-UP: Grumpy’s, West End Smokehouse and Tavern, Zack’s. LATE NIGHT HANGOUT Midtown Billiards RUNNERS-UP: Discovery, Legends, Willy D’s. SHOOT POOL West End Smokehouse and Tavern RUNNERS-UP: Fox and Hound in North Little Rock, Midtown Billiards, Zack’s. MOVIE Rave Col. Glenn RUNNERS-UP: Regal Breckenridge Village, Market Street Cinema, Riverdale 10. MUSEUM Museum of Discovery RUNNERS-UP: Arkansas Arts Center, Clinton Library, Historic Arkansas Museum. PERFORMING ARTS GROUP Arkansas Repertory Theatre RUNNERS-UP: Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, River City Men’s Chorus, Weekend Theater. PLACE TO GAMBLE Oaklawn Park (overall) Grand in Tunica (casino) RUNNERS-UP: Gold Strike, Isle of Capri, Sam’s Town. PLACE TO SPOT SOMEONE FAMOUS Clinton Library RUNNERS-UP: Doe’s Eat Place, River Market neighborhood, Peabody lobby. PEOPLE PLACES and THINGS ARTIST Barry Thomas RUNNERS-UP: Jane Hankins, Jim Johnson, Ashley Saer. PHOTOGRAPHER Dixie Knight RUNNERS-UP: Jim Cunningham, Nancy Nolan, Dero Sanford. POLITICIAN U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder RUNNERS-UP: Sen. Jim Argue, former President Bill Clinton, Gov. Mike Huckabee. ATHLETE Matt Jones RUNNERS-UP:Derek Fisher, Jermain Taylor. NEIGHBORHOOD Heights RUNNERS-UP:Chenal Valley, Hillcrest, Maumelle. BEST LOOKING Joan Early RUNNERS-UP:David Bazzel, Jason Harper, Win Noble. CHARITY Susan Komen Race for the Cure RUNNERS-UP: Arkansas Sheriffs Youth Ranch, Heifer International, Arkansas chapter of the Red Cross. MEDIA RADIO STATION KUAR RUNNERS-UP: Alice 107.7 (KLAL), Power 92.3 (KIPR), The Buzz 103.7 (KABZ). TV STATION KATV, Channel 7 RUNNERS-UP: KARK, KTHV, Fox 16. RADIO PERSONALITY Tommy Smith RUNNERS-UP: Broadway Joe, Heather and DC, Bob Robbins. TV NEWS Kate Sullivan RUNNERS-UP: Scott Inman, Andy Pearson, Pamela Smith. TV WEATHER Ed Buckner RUNNERS-UP:Barry Brandt, Tom Brannon, Ned Perme. TV SPORTS Craig O’Neill RUNNERS-UP: Paul Eells, Steve Sullivan. NEWSPAPER COLUMNIST John Brummett RUNNERS-UP: Helaine Freeman, Wally Hall, Jim Harris. CUISINE FRIES McDonald’s RUNNERS-UP: Backyard Burgers, Cheers in the Heights, Rally’s. ONION RINGS Sonic RUNNERS-UP:Burger King, Cotham’s in the City, Outback Steakhouse. CHEESE DIP Juanita’s RUNNERS-UP: Chili’s, Loca Luna, Mexico Chiquito. BBQ RIBS Sims RUNNERS-UP: Chili’s, Corky’s, Whole Hog. RESTAURANT BEER Flying Saucer RUNNERS-UP:Boscos, Pizza Cafe, Vino’s. WINE LIST Acadia RUNNERS-UP: Ashley’s, Sonny Williams, Vermillion Water Grille. LIQUOR STORE Colonial Bottle Shop RUNNERS-UP: Grapevine, Heights Wine and Spirits, Popatop. COCKTAILS Nu Cuisine and Lounge RUNNERS-UP: Brave New Restaurant, Ciao Baci, Graffiti’s. BUSINESS LUNCH Vermillion Water Grille RUNNERS-UP: Brave New Restaurant, Cheers on Broadway, Faded Rose. MILKSHAKE Purple Cow RUNNERS-UP: Hop, McDonald’s, Sonic. PLACE TO EAT VEGETARIAN Wild Oats RUNNERS-UP: Dixie Cafe, Franke’s, Lilly’s Dim Sum Then Some. BREAD Boulevard Bread Company RUNNERS-UP: Community Bakery, Old Mill, Wild Oats. CATERER Catering to You RUNNERS-UP: RSVP, Simply the Best, Trio’s. OUTDOOR DINING Cheers in the Heights RUNNERS-UP: Brave New Restaurant, Pizza Cafe, US Pizza. GOURMET TO GO Diane’s RUNNERS-UP: Bennett’s Market, Boule-vard Bread Company, Catering to You. WEEKEND BRUNCH Capital Hotel RUNNERS-UP: Boscos, Loca Luna, Peabody Hotel. SALAD US Pizza RUNNERS-UP:Jason’s Deli, McAlister’s, Trio’s. DOUGHNUT Shipley RUNNERS-UP: Community Bakery, Daylight Doughnuts, Krispy Kreme. SUSHI Sekisui RUNNERS-UP:Benihana, Igibon, Mount Fuji. Winner Debbie Knight of Maumelle won $100 in the drawing among ballots in the Best of Arkansas contest.
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