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Place to Adopt Pets

Readers’ Choice: (tie) Humane Society of North Texas, 1840 E Lancaster Av, Fort Worth, 817-332-4768; Saving Hope Animal Rescue, 817-984-1129

Critic’s Choice: Humane Society of North Texas

Besides dogs and cats, you can also adopt small furry (or scaley) friends and even horses and livestock through the Humane Society of North Texas. Along with adoption appointments at its own facility, the Humane Society hosts community adoption events throughout the Fort and beyond. In 2022 alone, 8,074 animals were adopted and 1,612 fostered through this amazing nonprofit where pets and people save each other.

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Apartment Community

Readers’ Choice: Jameson at the Bluffs, 701 N Hampton St, Fort Worth, 817-406-3617

Critic’s Choice: 4000 Hulen, 4000 Hulen St, Fort Worth, 817-763-8768

The location can’t be beat. 4000 Hulen places tenants near Trader Joe’s and Central Market. The easy exit to Hulen Street means quick access to downtown or the Shops at Clearfork. Every room comes with elevated ceilings, marble-top counters, and hardwood cabinets. The complex is also dog-friendly with a miniature-dog park just for tenants. Entrances are accessible only via key fobs, and the doors face inward, meaning you’ll never have to worry about unwanted strangers roaming the halls.

 

Camp for Kids

Readers’ Choice: YMCA Camp Carter, 6200 Sand Springs Rd,

Fort Worth, 817-738-9241

Critic’s Choice: Young Chef’s Academy, 6333 Camp Bowie Blvd, Ste 260, Fort Worth, 817-989-2433

Young Chef’s offers all kinds of programs, but our favorite camps occur during summer, spring break, and the holidays. That’s when the little ones gather under Chef Carla’s tutelage and whip up food that’s … we’re not going to say “better than what the parents make on a regular basis,” but, dang, it’s yummy. From pasta and pretzels to cupcakes and burgers and all sorts of goodies in between, the young chefs at Young Chef’s produce quality work in a fun, clean, safe, and expertly overseen environment.

 

City Councilmember

Readers’ Choice: Elizabeth Beck

Critic’s Choice: Elizabeth Beck

District 9 has been #blessed with some amazing city councilmembers. Ann Zadeh, who oversaw the downtown and Near Southside portions of our city from 2014 to 2021, was an outspoken preservationist and a progressive voice on the otherwise right-leaning council. Elizabeth Beck was elected to Zadeh’s spot in 2021 and recently reelected on a platform focused on her background as a military veteran, attorney, and mother advocating for strong public schools, workplace diversity, and affordable housing. Putting Beck over the top for this Best Of award is her unfaltering compassion for the LGBTQ community, especially its youths. Earlier this summer, Mayor Mattie Parker pandered to homophobic trash when she removed the Pride Badge from the Mayor’s Summer Reading Program because, ya know, apparently anyone under 18 can’t handle stories about nonbinary genders. Beck created her own Pride Badge, and Fort Worth is better for it.

Elizabeth Beck has Texas deep in her heart.
Courtesy Facebook

 

Dog Groomer

Readers’ Choice: Glamour Paws, 3000 S Hulen St, Ste 108, Fort Worth, 817-923-9828

Critic’s Choice: Happy K9, multiple locations

Happy K9 staffers are friendly, easygoing, and dedicated to giving your dog a professional grooming with as little stress as possible, but you can also take the self-wash route and lather up your Lhasa apso in a tub on your own, using a nice selection of shampoos and scents. If your dogs are too dirty for your bathtub, treat them to a bath at Happy K9.

 

Hospital

Readers’ Choice: Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center, 1400 8th Av, Fort Worth, 817-926-2544

Critic’s Choice: Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center

All Saints is an award-winning full-service hospital with 538 licensed beds and a range of services. Eight treatments, including for heart attacks and diabetes, have been rated “high performing.” Located on the Near Southside, the expansive Fort Worth campus is ranked third best in North Texas. No matter what treatments you seek, the patient-focused care at Fort Worth’s premier medical center can’t be beat.

 

Lawyer

Readers’ Choice: Jason Amon, 1020 W Magnolia Av, Fort Worth, 817-332-1116

Critic’s Choice: Lesa Pamplin, 2821 E Lancaster Av, Fort Worth, 817-506-4587

Fort Worth’s East Side is home to one of the hardest-working lawyers in Tarrant County. Defense attorneys are often intimidated by judges and prosecutors, but good luck pressuring former prosecutor and police officer Lesa Pamplin. She openly calls out bad actors in our court system and has a reputation for never compromising her ethics. We need more Pamplins defending clients in a local criminal system *cough Sheriff Waybourn* that erroneously believes over-policing Black and brown communities and jailing nonviolent offenders somehow serve the public interest.

Best lawyer Lesa Pamplin is a former prosecutor and police officer who simply cannot be intimidated by crooked prosecutors and judges.
Courtesy Facebook

 

Local Celebrity

Readers’ Choice: Patrick Mikyles, Drag With Me The Show

Critic’s Choice: Abraham Alexander

Though most of us probably know the Texas Wesleyan alum as Leon Bridges’ sidekick (he was the local major-label star’s opening act in 2021), Abraham Alexander is a marquee act on his own. The singer-songwriter released his debut EP Sea/Sons earlier this year on legendary Dualtone Records, and it’s gaining some traction, with lots of airplay, most notably locally on KXT. His songs cover everything from losing his mother at an early age to the reality of living as a Black man in the world. “Stay,” recorded with hotshot Gary Clark Jr., is a glorious elegy to Alexander’s adopted home state: “Tell me if I go too far / Would I become the lonesome lone star?”

He may not be Leon Bridges-huge, but keep your eye on R&B sensation Abraham Alexander.
Courtesy Facebook

 

Place to Meet Locals

Readers’ Choice: Halo’s Bar & Grill ft. Rainbow 2.0, 3500 Alta Mesa Dr, Fort Worth, 682-250-2923

Critic’s Choice: Lola’s Fort Worth, 2000 W Berry St, Fort Worth

From The Wreck Room to Lola’s on 6th and now Lola’s by TCU, owner Brian Forella has established himself, his employees, and his ventures as the most pro-Fort Worth entities not only in North Texas but the world. Forella and his teams have built the Lola’s empire by focusing almost exclusively on 817-local shit, from the bands onstage to the beers on tap and even the décor. Bringing the world to town is fine if that’s what you’re into, but for an actual taste of Fort Worth and all its wild, innocent, and free characters, Lola’s can’t be beat.

 

Music Lessons

Readers’ Choice: Music Junkie Studios, 701 Enderly Pl, Fort Worth, 682-499-5732

Critic’s Choice: Fort Worth Conservatory of Music and Fine Arts, 2816 Hemphill St, Fort Worth,

817-680-1611

I’m so glad I can’t rock the piano like Elton John, said no one ever. There are certain things we can’t guarantee our kiddos, like an acne-free high school experience, but we can give them the gift of music. Located on the Near Southside, the Fort Worth Conservatory of Music and Fine Arts offers early-music, private, and group lessons on piano, bass, guitar, voice, and more. Headed by a faculty of pros and former professors, the conservatory will teach your child important fundamentals and at least the opening lines to “Don’t Stop Believing” after a semester of lessons here.

 

Nurse

Readers’ Choice: Virginia Anne Tidwell, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital, 301 Pennsylvania Av,

Fort Worth, 817-250-2000

Critic’s Choice: Crystal Baker, Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital

As your great grandparents may have said, the lord giveth, and the lord taketh away. It’s the same with Crystal Baker. As a nurse, she gives comfort and takes pain away. As a tattoo artist, she doles out the pain but in a good way. Yes, you read that right. When Crystal isn’t on a shift in the ICU, she can be found at Dark Ages Tattoo Studio (2836 Bledsoe St, Ste 200, 682-499-5734). Keep being you in both worlds, girl.

 

Photographer

Readers’ Choice: Crystal Clear Photography, @CrystalClearPhotographyTX, 817-996-8232

Critic’s Choice: A Shot of Bailey’s, @AShotofBaileysPhotos

For the past five years, Bailey has been chronicling local nightlife and underground events across North Texas and even in Austin. Starting at Fort Worth Camera as a concert photographer teaching classes in the field of media and technique, Bailey is now a freelance shutterbug working for outlets like Spliced Media and is about to launch her own publication at the first of the year called Heavy Pour.

@AShotofBaileysPhotos wins best photographer for her awesome pics of local nightlife and underground events. She’s about to launch her own publication, Heavy Pour.
Courtesy Facebook

 

Professional Athlete

Readers’ Choice: Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys

Critic’s Choice: (tie) Adolis Garcia, Texas Rangers; Micah Parsons,

Dallas Cowboys

Few people have done more to electrify the rivalry between the Rangers and Astros than Adolis “El Bombí” Garcia, who, since the 2021 season, has been knocking homers over Houston so regularly as to become a genuine foe to the people of Space City, most recently in the form of a grand slam at Minute Maid Park in July that ended up clearing both benches. El Bombí’s at-bats have that livewire crackle about them that makes baseball, at its core, pretty thrilling. … Much is made of the Cowboy defender’s hybrid role in DC Dan Quinn’s monstrous front seven. Whether he’s listed as a linebacker, defensive end, or pass rusher, there’s no arguing that he’s one of the league’s most disruptive players regardless of where he lines up. The 26.5 sacks he amassed in his first two seasons make for the sixth best mark to start a career all-time. As if he wasn’t already unstoppable, Parsons added some extra bulk this past offseason and took boxing lessons (?!?) to help him shed blocks by 300-pound offensive linemen and to hopefully avoid the wear and tear that hindered him a bit over the last half of the 2022 campaign. By this time next year, Parsons will likely be the sport’s first $40-million-a-year defensive player. No matter what the Cowboys eventually pay him, he will be worth every penny.

 

Radio Personality

Readers’ Choice: Hawkeye, New Country 96.3-FM/KSCS

Critic’s Choice: Norm Hitzges

Big congrats to Norm, the Texas Radio Hall of Famer who recently retired from his day job as the most excited voice and among the most knowledgeable bros on The Ticket. After 50 years in the biz, the time for the octogenarian to fly is right — but don’t blame him if he follows a few other Ticket talkers to new competitor The Freak. Let the games begin anew.

 

Social Influencer

Readers’ Choice: Patrick Mikyles, Drag With Me The Show

Critic’s Choice: @TheBrookeHargis

It’s difficult to enjoy anything anymore without being immediately reminded of brand sponsorship or product placement. There isn’t a sprawling menu of Fort Worth-based media influencers to choose from, but Brooke Hargis has amassed an impressive quantity of followers — around 160,00 worth — by creating comical shorts with various voiceovers from films, television, and standup comedians. All her videos are shot in a selfie style in which Hargis “talks” in the voice of someone else or in a conversation between two characters, both played by her. Her content is short, funny, and digestible by a wide range of consumers. The stylish Hargis does have a Linktree through which you can purchase items that she wears in the videos if her wardrobe appeals to you, but she never pushes the merch or even mentions it. If you just need a quick laugh from a local creator, this account is definitely worth a follow.

If you need a quick laugh from a local creator, @TheBrookeHargis is definitely worth a follow.
Courtesy Facebook

 

Tattoo Artist

Readers’ Choices (Top 5): Tomi Fowler, Sleepy Hollow Tattoos, 3023 Bledsoe St, Fort Worth, 817-435-2960; James Hix, Scarlet Tyde Tattoo, 965 Alta Mere Dr, Fort Worth, 682-306-5480; Tony Maxwell, Dark Age Tattoo Studio, 2836 Bledsoe St, Ste 200, Fort Worth, 682-499-5734; Scott Prather, Sleepy Hollow Tattoos; Aaron Stevens, Just.Inkd, 6201 Sunset Dr, Unit 650, Ste 138, Fort Worth, 214-621-0174

Critic’s Choice: Josh Wilson, TNT Tattoo Company, 5230 Denton Hwy, Ste 20, Haltom City

Though a pro for only about four years, Josh Wilson is a master. His traditional work is great, but it’s his Pokémon-style designs that have been booming over the past year or so, to the point that he’s become the go-to for that kind of wild and funky art.

 

Television Personality

Readers’ Choice: Deborah Ferguson, NBC 5

Critic’s Choice: Greg Fields, WFAA

Let’s be honest. The main quality we viewers want from our talking heads is niceness, creating the sensation that the person on TV is not reporting or reading or even bloviating but hanging out with us, and when it comes to niceness, they don’t make ’em any nicer than Greg Fields. The veteran WFAA meteorologist has a soothing, friendly tone and is always quick to smile. You can’t help but like him. And that’s why he’s the best in town.

 

Veterinarian

Readers’ Choice: Texas Coalition for Animal Protection, 2401 Westport Pkwy, Ste 140, Fort Worth, 940-566-5551

Critic’s Choice: Dr. Bob Moores, Banfield Pet Hospital, 3000 S Hulen St, Ste 111, Fort Worth, 817-732-9650

An unexpected trip to the vet can be nerve-racking for owners and their fur babies. The team at Banfield Pet Hospital’s Trinity Commons location is led by a knowledgeable and compassionate veterinarian. Before, during, and after treatments, Dr. Bob Moores communicates closely with pet owners while giving treatment recommendations and disclosing costs. When it’s time to pick up your cat or dog, he’s always there to patiently give debriefings and offer guidance on how to help your recovering loved one. Veterinarians have big hearts, and Dr. Moores is no exception to this esteemed field of medical doctors who understand our pets are valued members of our family and accordingly deserve the best in medical care.

 

Place to Work

Readers’ Choice: (tie) Dark Age Tattoo Studio, 2836 Bledsoe St, Ste 200, Fort Worth, 682-499-5734; Halo’s Bar & Grill ft. Rainbow 2.0, 3500 Alta Mesa Dr, Fort Worth, 682-250-2923

Critic’s Choice: Alcon Laboratories Inc.,

6201 S Fwy, Fort Worth, 817-293-0450

Locals have probably unknowingly been dripping a little bit of Fort Worth into their eyes for the last 70 years. Started by two Fort Worth-based pharmacists in 1945, Alcon is a publicly traded company that is a global leader in eyecare and is renowned for eye drops. With about 2,000 employees, it ranks highly in diversity both among gender and ethnic makeups. Retention is around five years, and Alcon’s average salary is competitive in the industry, especially for the size of the company. Empirically, we haven’t spoken with many Alcon employees — and we know lots — who aren’t extremely happy with their culture and overall work-life.

 

Place to Work Out

Readers’ Choices (Top 5): Anytime Fitness, 1714 8th Av, Fort Worth,

817-207-0900; Dissent Athletics, 1371 Gilman Rd, Fort Worth, 817-863-1190; Fort Worth Strong, 1510 W Magnolia Av, Fort Worth, 817-409-8087; Inursha Fitness, 2927 Shamrock Av, Fort Worth, 817-332-7554; Vigor Active, 615 Commerce St, Fort Worth, 817-336-6784

Critic’s Choice: CrossFit Westwood, 608 S Jennings Av, Fort Worth,

682-331-9466

A gym on the Near Southside for fitness enthusiasts looking for extras, options, and exclusivity, CrossFit Westwood started as a typical functional fitness gym centered on coach-led classes, and while still offering the same, owner Matt Haynes continually expands services with more traditional non-CrossFit equipment and the option for members to upgrade to 24/7 access to accommodate nontraditional or busy schedules. Different from most similar gyms, Westwood is climate controlled but also includes a large turf space for outdoor activities and has recently added childcare to optional amenities. If you’re searching for a facility with the bells and whistles of the big chains but enjoy a smaller, more premium feel, Westwood is worth a tryout.

 

Critic’s Choice Only

 

Facebook Group

Critic’s Choice: Cthulhu Anonymous, Facebook.com/CthulhuAnonymous42

There is no question that fans are often the worst part of fandom. Thankfully, there’s Cthulhu Anonymous, an online home for well-meaning nerd-culture enthusiasts weary of the unnecessary negativity and toxicity that plague most social media outlets, especially when it comes to fictitious universes. Whether your interests revolve around comic books, sci-fi novels, video games, fantasy RPGs, or movies and TV shows adapted from — or, most importantly, memes based upon — the like, Cthulhu offers a spoiler- and judgment-free zone that is as inclusive as it is informative. Prefer DC to Marvel? Actually enjoy the Star Wars prequals? Have any other equally questionable, deranged, and unpopular opinions? Cthulhu Anonymous welcomes you. Remember, be kind or face the wrath of Thor’s Banhammer!

 

Use of Taxpayer Money

Critic’s Choice: Trinity Metro

With a population topping 1 million, Fort Worth is heading toward more frequent traffic jams unless we make better use of and expand public transportation. Trinity Metro has built the framework for a car-free urban core via buses, ridesharing, and TEXRail. Operating with an annual budget of around $192.9 million from sales tax and grants, Trinity Metro services several Texas cities with innovative public transit options. Fort Worthians can use Trinity Metro’s vast bus fleet (reduced tickets for seniors, the disabled, and other qualified passengers), while newcomer The Dash is a sporty, red, all-electric bus that cruises Fort Worth’s urban core. Connecting the rail-based TEXRail and bus options is the sleek black ZipZone fleet that can be hailed using Trinity Metro’s easy-to-use app.

 

Sportscaster/Sportswriter

Critic’s Choice: Mac Engel, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

If you can stomach the tired idioms pockmarking his breezy writing and the feeling that he’s sometimes shouting at you, Mac Engel — with the exception of our own Buck D. Elliott and Patrick Higgins — is still the only journo penning anything remotely resembling a sports column in print these days. Why newspapers and TV stations are becoming less personal while radio shows are lousy with HSOs (see: The Ticket, The Freak, The Fan) is a question for some undergrad in media studies to untangle. For now, we’ll keep supporting Mac if only to bring some life back to his pandering, annoyingly right-leaning employer.

 

Local Political Development

Critic’s Choice: Saving the Fort Worth Community Arts Center

Mayor Mattie Parker is on the record. The Fort Worth Community Arts Center, she said in June, will always be a home for visual and performing artists. Speaking at a city council meeting, Parker intended to allay concerns that the 70-year-old building would be demolished or turned into a hotel amid concerns that the center needs extensive overhauls and refurbishment. Fort Worth leaders talk up our vibrant arts scene when it behooves them, but Arts Fort Worth — the nonprofit tasked with disbursing city grants to arts groups and managing the arts center — has long been underfunded. Local artists are cautiously optimistic that the public-private partnership city leaders are currently vetting could revamp 1300 Gendy Street. Fort Worth deserves a world-class community center, and this is it.

 

Underrated Athlete

Critic’s Choice: Miro Heiskanen, Dallas Stars

How could a player universally regarded among those paying attention as one of a sport’s absolute best young stars be considered underrated? Easy. You make him a hockey player. From Finland. Who plays defense. For a team in Texas. Despite the steady plaudits from the ESPN3 talking heads who sound like the McKenzie brothers from SCTV, the appreciation Heiskanen deserves hasn’t translated to your average local sports fan. As the power play quarterback and a Top-10 scorer from the blue line in the league, as well as a stalwart defensive presence in front of his own net and routinely the team’s leader in ice time, Heisky is the closest thing Dallas has had to Sergei Zubov in 20 years. Asking “Who the hell is Sergei Zubov?” only further illustrates our point.

Heiskanen is the closest thing Dallas has had to Sergei Zubov in 20 years.
Courtesy Facebook

 

Urban Farm

Critic’s Choice: Opal’s Farm, 2500 LaSalle St, Fort Worth, 817-333-8367

A partnership between the Tarrant Regional Water District and legendary civil rights leader Dr. Opal Lee, the 2.5 acres of farm produces tomatoes, potatoes, cantaloupes, okra, and a metric ton of peppers. Much of the produce is donated to southeast Fort Worth family-serving organizations and schools or sold at a steep discount within southeast Fort Worth neighborhoods, where access to fresh produce is almost nonexistent. Some of it is sold at the Cowtown Farmers Market and to local restaurants to continue the farm’s work. Farm manager Gregory Joel says it best: “Food insecurity is the root of all evil.”

 

Readers’ Choice Only

 

Dentist

Fort Dental, 4000 Bryant Irvin Rd,

Fort Worth, 817-292-5957

 

Doctor

Lisa Gardner DO, Fusion Healthy Aging, 2625 Whitmore St, Ste 111, Fort Worth, 817-644-1758

 

Realtor

Jen Franke, Berkshire Hathaway, 2900 S Hulen St, Ste 10, Fort Worth,

817-808-0179

 

Teacher

Kelsey De La Torre, Charles Nash Elementary School, 401 Samuels Av, Fort Worth, 817-814-9400

 

To see who won Best Of 2023 awards in the Arts & Culture categories, click here.

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