Photo by Carlos Bonilla

Place to Adopt Pets

Readers’ Choice: Humane Society of North Texas, 1840 E Lancaster Av, 817-332-4768

Critic’s Choice: Saving Hope Rescue, @SavingHopeTX

The Fort is very animal-friendly, so there are animal adoption events aplenty. Saving Hope has our hearts because it takes in abused animals, rehabilitates them, and gets them ready for adoption. Beyond the rescue organization’s social media efforts, it’s often in the spotlight at prominent events like the annual Funky Finds Spring Fling, distillery events at Trinity River, and more. Keep doing what you do, Saving Hope. We appreciate ya.

Vato Loco Web Ad (300 x 250 px)


Apartment Community

Readers’ Choice: Boca Club Condos, 5618 Boca Raton Blvd, 817-457-1043

Critic’s Choice: 4000 Hulen Place, 4000 Hulen St, 817-502-3320

Some apartment teams do way more than what’s expected, and 4000 Hulen Place, located just a few blocks south of Central Market, offers full-time maintenance, a dog park, open-air breezeways, marble countertops, a lavish pool, a grill station, and some of the best customer service in the 817. Joining this apartment means joining a community that hosts pizza nights and other fun events for tenants. Did we mention this is probably the most dog-friendly apartment in town?



Readers’ Choice: Gene DeVito, pickleball pro, Courtside Kitchen Pickleball, 1615 Rogers Rd, 682-255-5751

Critic’s Choice: Martín Pérez, Texas Rangers

Remember back in April when the Rangers’ signings of Marcus Semien and Corey Seager were going to vault the team into contention in the AL West? Ah, those were the days. Now that Texas is struggling even to finish ahead of the perennially underachieving Los Angeles Angels, it’s easy to overlook how Pérez has put up numbers worthy of a staff ace. Signed to a one-year contract, he has discovered his form in the place where he started his Major League Baseball career, performing among the sport’s leaders in ERA, strikeouts, and quality starts. His career numbers suggest that this may just be a purple patch, but the native of Guanare, Venezuela, has been dealing.


Camp for Kids

Readers’ Choice: Benbrook Stables, 10001 Benbrook Blvd, 817-249-1001

Critic’s Choice: YMCA Camp Carter, 6200 Sand Springs Rd, 817-738-924

Struggling with what to do with the kids over the summer? Looking for a fun and safe opportunity to tear them away from Mr. Beast’s YouTube channel or creating pixelated zombie forts in Minecraft? Need a chance to get them a little actual physical activity along with a healthy dose of Vitamin D? Your answer is the YMCA’s Camp Carter. Right smack in the middle of Fort Worth, sitting on more than 350 acres along the Trinity River, the well-crafted camping program offers your standard camp life activities: challenge courses, canoeing, and archery, along with great outdoor education and horseback riding. Day camps are offered for kids over 5, and there is overnight camping (in air-conditioned cabins!) starting at age 6. There’s even Camp Can Do, a specialty camp for blind and visually impaired campers to take advantage of the program’s enriching curriculum.


City Councilmember

Readers’ Choice: Elizabeth Beck, District 9

Critic’s Choice: Chris Nettles, District 8

Chris Nettles’ district parallels a chunk of I-35 and includes most neighborhoods in East Fort Worth, along with the East Lancaster corridor, synonymous with the area’s significant challenges dealing with the unhoused. A longtime District 8 resident and advocate for social justice, Nettles proves the adage that if at first you don’t succeed (he challenged Betsy Price unsuccessfully for mayor in 2017), try, try again. Nettles moved onto council in June 2021 primarily to advocate for his district, which is generally acknowledged as the last to receive city benefits and services. Wasting no time after he was sworn in, one of his first acts of business was to publicly exhort the local judicial system to take action on the case of the Atatiana Jefferson, a Black woman killed in her own home by Fort Worth police almost three years ago. Although the officer who pulled the trigger was indicted two months later, there has been no trial. Currently on Nettles’ ambitious agenda: addressing homelessness, providing affordable housing and transportation for all of Fort Worth, and emphasizing the city’s role in maintaining neighborhood streets and curbs, along with pressing for a citizen’s oversight committee to create transparency in dealing with complaints against police. It’s a lot for a fledgling councilmember, but Nettles’ skill set includes working as Precinct 8 assistant court manager and as an administrative court clerk for Tarrant County.

“Dedicated leadership is not simply showing up to shake hands and take photos,” he writes on his website. “Instead, it is the act of listening to those you represent and actually fighting for their interests, even when it may not benefit yourself.”



Readers’ Choice: Brown Family Dentistry, 4004 White Settlement Rd, 817-625-1548



Readers’ Choice: Jennifer Hinkle MD, 801 W Cannon St,
817- 250-7195


Glamour Paws pups know how to glam it up. Courtesy Facebook

Dog Groomer

Readers’ Choice: House of Wag, 2912 Race St, @HouseofWagDFW

Critic’s Choice: Glamour Paws, 3000 S Hulen St, 817-923-9828

Who wants to be basic? Not your dog. When it comes to basic dog grooming, Glamour Paws can do it all. If your pooch is a bit of a fashion hound, keep an eye on Glamour Paws’ social media pages. With fall and Halloween coming soon, little Fluffy may want candy-corn ears and paws. Look them up. You won’t be disappointed.


Facebook Group

Critic’s Choice: Stay Local, Get Vocal: Fort Worth

The private Facebook group with nearly 4,000 members provides news like voting locations and help with registering to vote and has helped influence several other political awareness groups by asking, “But what can we do?” By also organizing peaceful protests, SLGV offers the community the opportunity to interact with other likeminded individuals.



Readers’ Choice: Cook Children’s Medical Center, 801 7th Av, 682-885-4000

Critic’s Choice: Medical City Fort Worth, 900 8th Av, 817-877-5292

Not too long ago, Fort Worth Report health writer Alexis Allison dived into local hospital safety report cards. We’re not just talking those Press-Gainey surveys here –– whether your breakfast tray arrived on time is irrelevant to your safety. Allison mined the data from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services along with a for-profit entity that focuses on safety benchmarks. Medical City Fort Worth was the only local hospital to score A’s across all categories. The hospital uses a winning combination of daily safety “huddles” and constant monitoring of infection control measures, like how many patients have central lines, which may be sources of whole-body infection. In addition, the management is encouraged to move toward the front lines to see what problems exist on a real-time basis and how they can be dealt with before they grow.


Place for IV Hydration

Readers’ Choice: LT Men’s Clinic, 6115 Camp Bowie Blvd, Ste 140, 817-416-5699

Critic’s Choice: Vigeo Wellness, 906 W Cannon St, 817-783-0463

If you’re curious about ketamine infusions or find yourself beneath the crush of a crippling hangover, Vigeo Wellness is for you. Should you need to detox, boost your immune system, improve your energy levels, and/or fight fatigue, Vigeo offers a comfortable space operated by friendly experts who will help you fill up your “life bars” with the help of nourishing, direct-to-the-vein hydration. Your arteries, skin, and overall sense of well-being will thank you for the drink.



Readers’ Choice: Mark Scott, Funkytown Lawyer, 3000 E Loop 820, 817-534-8000

Critic’s Choice: Mike Ware, The Innocence Project of Texas

Prosecutorial misconduct, false testimony, and any number of other misfortunes can land an innocent person in lockup. Nationally, around 20,000 falsely convicted persons languish in U.S. prisons at any given time, based on Innocence Project estimates. The task of monitoring wrongful convictions in Texas falls on a team of astute lawyers at The Innocence Project of Texas’ Fort Worth headquarters, which is headed by attorney Mike Ware. The nonprofit’s executive director has seen both sides of the courtroom, both as a long-time criminal defense attorney and as special fields bureau chief for the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office, which included a Conviction Integrity Unit. Since 2007, the Texas branch of the Innocence Project has exonerated or freed 25 innocent people from incarceration.


“Local” celebrities? Pfft. Danni & Kris would be international stars if they lived somewhere with industry support.
Courtesy Facebook

Local Celebrity

Readers’ Choice: Eric Love and Big Juicy Love,

Critic’s Choice: Danni & Kris

What is “star power,” a.k.a. “it,” as in, “That person has it”? Whatever it is — a mix of traditional good looks, charm, charisma, and confidence? — Danni & Kris have enough to cover this blue orb and back again. In a fair, just world, the folk-rocking singer-songwriters would be playing big-time festivals nonstop and gracing the covers of Rolling Stone and Vogue. Alas, unless you’re Leon Bridges, the tastemakers of the world don’t seem to want to draw from Flyover Country for their next big things. As much as we don’t want Danni & Kris to leave, you just know that if they were based in New York, L.A., or Nashville, they’d probably be more than just local celebrities by now.


Local Political Development

Critic’s Choice: Fort Worth redistricting

More than one-third of Fort Worth’s nearly 900,000 residents are Hispanic, yet that demographic has long been underrepresented on Fort Worth City Council. In recent memory, the nine-member council that includes the mayor has had only one Latino representative. A new district map, approved by city council in March, will allow for more accurate representation of minorities due to the addition of two new districts. The population of newcomer District 11, which roughly encompasses the Riverside community, is about 60% Hispanic. The bulk of the redistricting work was handled by a council-appointed task force with ample input and map submissions from local residents. Proponents of an independent redistricting commission (IRC) that would have removed elected officials from the redistricting process entirely were rebuffed in the end. Allowing politicians to redraw their own maps is fraught with conflicts of interest, IRC supporters successfully argued. The overall process was contentious at times, but a more representative city council is now a reality leading into the 2023 elections that will see Fort Worth’s largest (and hopefully most ethnically diverse) city council ever.



Readers’ Choice: Texas Nurse Midwife Group, 1300 W Terrell Av, Ste 320, 817-250-7360


Place to Meet Locals

Readers’ Choice: Lola’s Fort Worth, 2000 W Berry St, @LolasFortWorth

Critic’s Choice: Rock ’n’ Roll Rummage Sale, Lola’s Fort Worth

On the third Sunday of every month from noon to 6pm, Lola’s backyard turns into a warren of vendor stalls selling all manner of artwork, handicrafts, knick-knacks, vintage clothes, vinyl records, and just about every other can’t-pass-up trinket you can imagine. People from all over town come to these monthly gatherings, and if you live here, you’re bound to run into someone you know. It’s a great representation of what makes Fort Worth a fun place to live because while it showcases a lot of goods you won’t find elsewhere, it also showcases what truly makes Fort Worth a funky, worthwhile place to be: the people.


Place to Work 

Readers’ Choice: The Kimpton Harper Hotel, 714 Main St,


Critic’s choice for best photographer, Greg Gutbezahl (@gregmg451) does a little bit of everything but does everything exceptionally well, like this pic of Phantomelo bassist Panda Cuenca at MASS.
Courtesy Greg Gutbezahl


Readers’ Choice: Aubrey Sandford, Wandering Candid, @WanderingCandid

Critic’s Choice: Greg Gutbezahl, Studio 680 Images @gregmg451

Having snapped pics as a pro throughout the States and Europe over the past 20 years, Greg Gutbezahl is also a creative director at a few design firms. From portraits to concert shots, his work brings two dimensions to life in crisp clarity. The NYU grad’s reputation stretches from the Big Apple to the Fort and many stops in between.


Radio Personality

Readers’ Choice: Dustin Schneider, Jerry Jonestown Massacre

Critic’s Choice: Paul Slavens, The Paul Slavens Show, 8pm Sundays on KKXT/91.7-FM

A Sunday night staple on local public radio, Paul Slavens has been broadcasting the most eclectic, diverse, and interesting music of any DJ on any station across the country for nearly two decades. From unknown ’60s psychedelia, Fitzgerald-era ragtime, modern local indie rock, or lo-fi Afrobeat, each weekend, Slavens curates a compelling playlist of captivating music you won’t ever hear on commercial radio. Much of what he plays comes from listener suggestion, but on his own, Slavens is a comprehensive encyclopedia of underground sounds. He offers colorful insights into the artists he showcases, giving context to the seemingly disparate tuneage. Each broadcast is as educational as it is engrossing.



Readers’ Choice: Cyndi Reep, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Premier Properties, 817-821-8945


Social Influencer

Readers’ Choice: That Texas Couple, @ThatTexasCouple

Critic’s Choice: Rambo Elliott, @Rambo on Instagram, @RamboElliott on TikTok

It feels weird, almost wrong, to list a prolific photographer and artist like Elliott as a “social influencer.” She has collaborated on imagery with international soul sensation Leon Bridges and recently finished an ad campaign for Stetson, but the Fort Worthian keeps her Instagram stories and TikTok full of jaw-dropping style inspo, body-positive messaging, and dancing — lots of dancing. This year, she added “Panther City Weather Women,” and under this hashtag, she posts videos that vary from funny mockups of weather reports to slices of life with the high and low temps of the day thrown into the caption. The snippets range from sweet to bizarre but are always good for a much-needed smile.



Critic’s Choice: Mac Engel, Star-Telegram

With journalism in general becoming more freelancer- and adjunct-based, Engel remains the tenured professor of North Texas sports reality checkers. Unabashed with hot takes, he will compliment or roast with impunity based on the product produced. His wry but approachable style doesn’t force him into exclusively covering one sport, kind of like that uncle who expounds on everything and makes reasonable arguments even if you don’t agree with all of them. A writer by craft, Engel jumps off the page by utilizing new media such as videos on his Facebook account as well as publishing and responding to his own hate mail and producing a podcast. On The Engel Angle, he uses sports as a launchpad for educational and entertaining guests to discuss politics, society, and entertainment. Engel knows the X’s and O’s and the Janes and Joes even better, which is why his pieces are always relevant even if no local sports squads are.


Critic’s choice for best tattoo artist, Tomi Fowler plies her trade at Sleepy Hollow.
Madison Simmons

Tattoo Artist

Readers’ Choice: Aaron Stevens, Just.Inkd, 6201 Sunset Dr, Unit 650, Ste 139, 214-621-0174

Critic’s Choice: Tomi Fowler, Sleepy Hollow Tattoos, 3023 Bledsoe St, 817-435-2960

Yeah, Tomi Fowler may be newish, but she still turns out some of the best tats in the Fort from her station at Sleepy Hollow. Though adept at a number of styles, Fowler shines at neotraditional, with clean lines and bright pops of color. On a personal level, her laid-back style and warmth put even the newest to ink at ease in her chair.



Readers’ Choice: Natasha Bruton, Trimble Tech High School


Use of Taxpayer Money

Critic’s Choice: Federal investigation of civil rights violations in Southlake

It’s worth every taxpayer penny. Well-monied Christian Nationalists in Southlake may have taken over the city’s school board and city council, but that doesn’t mean Uncle Sam won’t swoop down to defend the civil rights of minority schoolchildren when it’s called for. In late 2021, the civil rights enforcement arm of the Department of Education announced that it had begun a comprehensive investigation of allegations of discrimination and bullying at the Carroll school district. Although specifics were not released, ethnic minority and LGBTQ+ students have been vocal about mistreatment by parents and teachers who subscribe to Fox Nation’s poor-white-people bullshit.


Your four-legged loved ones will feel like royalty at our critic’s choice for best veterinarian, The PARC.
Courtesy The PARC Vet


Readers’ Choice: Arlington Heights Animal Hospital (James Davis, DVM; Lauren Walker, DVM; Erin Boss, DVM; Nicole Randolph, DVM; & Chelsea Dunnehoo, DVM), 1712 Montgomery St, 817-735-8700

Critic’s Choice: The PARC Vet, 4801 W Fwy, 817-731-3733

Beyond the glowing recommendations on social media and Yelp, you’ve probably noticed The PARC by driving past. The resort-style building is quite distinct. Inside, you’ll find not only veterinarian services but also boarding, doggie daycare, training, and more at its in-house PARC Grand Resort. More importantly, PARC is an acronym that stands for “People first. Animals at the heart of it. Revolutionary Care throughout.” Nice philosophy!


Place to Work Out 

Readers’ Choice: Zombie Krew Jiu Jitsu, 2720 Western Center Blvd, 682-279-2545

Critic’s Choice: Dissent Athletics, 1371 Gilman Rd, 817-863-1190

Primarily a CrossFit gym, Dissent packages Olympic weightlifting classes, boatloads of conditioning, and an aspiring community of dedicated members into a facility that isn’t bougie but is aesthetically pleasing and creature-comfort appropriate. Owners Kelsey and Jonathan Royston have also launched headlong into community initiatives, providing their space to a substance recovery group for weekly workouts in addition to leading physical education classes for local schools. Their Instagram account is worth a follow for fitness and nutrition tips as well as mental health suggestions from licensed therapist Kelsey related to your fitness journey.


In Memoriam:

Ted Nichols-Payne, broadcast engineer

Unless you’re deeply into broadcast engineering (or you paid attention when Eric Nadel did the credits at the end of Texas Rangers broadcasts), you may not know that one of the essential sparks of regional radio broadcasting died suddenly this summer. For 27 years, Nichols-Payne was the primary technical director and broadcaster for Rangers games and the radio network engineer for Dallas Cowboys games. Nadel memorialized Nichols-Payne in the Texas Rangers Magazine in August, writing, “Ted was much more than an engineer to us. He was a friend and a confidant, and his fun-loving, goofy spirit permeated our booth.” For three decades, the names of the enterprises changed — from KRLD Radio to CBS to Audacy — but the name of the game never changed for this engineer’s engineer. He was known for his loud print shirts, his ability to hotwire equipment, the faces he made when someone touched said equipment without his blessing, and his devotion to his three daughters: Anika, Emma, and Zoe. Nichols-Payne died en route to work the boards at a Rangers game.


To read about more winners, go to the Best Of Arts & CultureNight & DayGood GrubOn The TownSounds Of The City, and Getting & Spending section articles on To see the Best Of 2022 special edition in a flipbook, page-by-page format, click here.