Best Of 2009: Urban Living | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Best Of 2009: Urban Living

<b>BEST FREE PARKING</b>

Photo by Ben Deneka

FONDREN

At just about any time except the noon lunch rush, your parking choices in Fondren are abundant. There are lots by Rainbow Coop, The Everyday Gardener and McDade's. On-street parking is plentiful along State Street and Duling. I often park further afield than necessary in order to indulge in a little fresh air and window shopping on my way to run errands. Just be careful backing out of the diagonal spaces on State Street during rush hour.
—Kelly Bryan Smith

Second: Lenny's (2820 N. State St., 601-362-4999) / Third: 3808 N. State St. / Good showing: Hal & Mal's (200 S. Commerce St., 601-948-0888); Sneaky Beans (2914 N. State St., 601-487-634)

BEST THRIFT / CONSIGNMENT SHOP
ORANGE PEEL

3026 N. State St., 601-364-9977

I have a confession. I have never walked out of Orange Peel empty-handed. I always find something fabulous at a great price. Men and women alike can go vintage or fashion forward while still pinching their pennies. And with such a convenient location, it is easy to run in during your lunch break or even on the way home from work. One of the coolest things I have seen there was a Beatles purse. Unfortunately, my younger sister saw it first.
—Kelly Bryan Smith

Second: Repeat Street (626 Ridgewood Road, 601-605-9393) / Third: N.U.T.S. (114 Millsaps Ave., 601-355-7458) / Good showing: Bargain Boutique (5070 Parkway Drive, 601-991-0500); Goodwill (Multiple locations, 601-853-8110); Salvation Army (110 Presto Lane, 601-982-4881)

BEST MECHANIC
FREEMAN'S AUTO REPAIR SERVICE
847 S. State St., 601-948-3358

Customers of Mr. Freeman at Freeman Auto Repair wouldn't dream of going anywhere else. They call him honest and reliable. So if he seems a little uninterested in tooting his own horn (or that of his business), know that he'll still toot your car's. But go ahead, drive down State Street, almost to the railroad tracks and pull in. Blow your horn for service. Mr. Freeman will definitely straighten you out, and hopefully your car as well.
—Katy Rivlin

Second: Emory Zakin (Saturn of Jackson, 5728 Interstate 55 N., 903-815-5246) / Third: Lyle Donald, (Bullock Auto Repair, 404 Gallilee St., 601-355-2052) / Good Showing: Tony at Tony's Tire, (5138 N. State St., 601-981-2414); Davey Jones at Putnam's (4879 N. State St., 601-366-1886)

BEST CHEAP THRILL
RIVERSIDE DRIVE
(Off N. State Street, one block south of Woodrow Wilson Drive)
Second: Fondren Guitars (607 Fondren Place, 601-362-0313) / Third: (Tie) Orange Peel (3026 N. State St., 601-364-9977); Fondren Beverage Emporium (3030 N. State St., 601-321-0806) / Good showing: N.U.T.S. (114 Millsaps Ave., 601-355-7458); Hudson's (379 Highway 51, 601-898-9555); The Jackson Zoo (2918 W. Capitol St., 601-352-2582).

Editor's note: The above write-up was deleted out of respect for an accident that occurred on Riverside Drive after the Best of Jackson issue was published. We urge our elected officials to do everything in their power to focus attention, and resources, on the terrible condition of Jackson streets.

BEST WAY TO COLLECT $200
WORK FARISH STREET

Really, readers? $200 for working Farish Street? I would say it's worth much, much more than $200. As Samantha Jones said, "Easy? Honey, they don't call it a job for nothin'." The best way would really be a garage sale or a special-edition pub quiz. Unless by "work Farish Street," you mean "put some positive energy into one of Jackson's most historically rich investments," which I get. While we are on the subject, though, can someone send me $200? You can send to Jackson Free Press care of Emily. Thank you, be blessed, and you are so kind!
—Emily Braden Knight

Second: Pass Go / Third: Work / Good Showing: Ask

BEST LAWYER (Tie)
DAVID MCCARTY; JOHN WINDSOR

Most lawyers I know have a thick skin and a hearty appreciation of cynicism. It seems to come with being a member of a profession that, when one enters, immediately results in becoming the butt of countless jokes about being everything from a shark to, well … much worse. It's not often that one encounters a true Renaissance man, but in the midst of Jackson's Renaissance, Jackson has its very own in David McCarty. He shares his legal knowledge with future attorneys as an adjunct professor at Mississippi College School of Law and serves on the Jackson Young Lawyers board ... but he also actively supports Jackson's art scene, exhibiting his Polaroid photos at Light and Glass Studio, supporting other artists, and cutting the occasional tunes in vinyl, too.
—Julie Skipper

Second: Sherrie Dewolf / Third (Tie): Cindy Langston; Dorsey Carson / Good Showing: Richard Schwartz; Jamie Priest

BEST ART GALLERY
BROWN'S FINE ART
630 Fondren Place, 601-982-4844

Picasso once said, "Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life." If that's true, then Jackson should be dust-free, because we're at no loss for galleries, from the eclectic in Fondren showcasing local artists to the new Mississippi Museum of Art exhibiting world-class collections. At Brown's Fine Art Gallery in Fondren, not only can you purchase a piece for your collection, but get it framed, appraised and installed. Be sure and stop by their monthly receptions to meet some of the artists and mingle with other art-lovers.
—Julie Skipper

Second: Southern Breeze Gallery (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 160, 601-982-4222) / Third (tie): Ink Spot (300 W. South St., Suite A, 601-352-4700); One to One Studio (121 Millsaps Ave.) / Good showing: One Blu Wall (2906 N. State St. 601-713-1224); Mishka's Art (2761 Old Canton Road, 601-260-0876); Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St., 601-960-1515)

BEST BOOKSTORE
LEMURIA
4465 Interstate 55 N., 601-366-7619

A good bookstore is made of good books, good people and a few good chairs. Add nooks and crannies, author readings and an expansive couch, and you have a great bookstore—Jackson's own Lemuria Books. As I browsed inside the store, a good refuge from the recent cold and rain, I was especially tempted by "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. But that's just me. Don't forget to browse their extensive selection of southern writers.
—Kelly Bryan Smith

Second: Books-a-Million (4950 Interstate 55 N., 601-366-3008) / Third: Choctaw Books (926 North St., 601-352-7281) / Good showing: Pentimento Books (302 Jefferson St., Clinton, 601-925-4662)

Best Kids' Event: WellsFest (September)
Jamie Fowler Boyll Park

I'm not sure if it's the change in the weather or the fact that Christmas decorations start coming out, but my kids just seem to sense when it's time for WellsFest! Drawing about 10,000 people each year, the alcohol and drug-free family festival benefits a different non-profit organization each year. The day includes a 5K walk/run, a live art auction, entertainment, food, crafts and of course, a ton of kid's activities. While my son races off to the climbing wall, my daughter drags me to the pony rides. Once they've had their fill, we sit on top of the park's hill and relax with some great tunes.
—Candy Manning Hagwood

Second: Mississippi State Fair (October, 1207 Mississippi St., 601- 961-4000) / Third (Tie): KidsFest (April, Freedom Ridge Park in Ridgeland, 601-605-5256); Kid's World (August, Mississippi Trade Mart, 601-961-4000) / Good showing: Jackson Progressive's Family Day in the Park (September, Smith Park, 302 Amite St., 601-291-5296,); Jackson Street Fall Festival (November, Jackson St., Ridgeland); Pickin' and Paddlin' (Mayes Lake, 601-540-3710)

Best Place to Buy Art: Southern Breeze
1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 5005, Ridgeland, 601-607-4147

I'm a sucker for the arts, and a good gallery makes it easy to view artists' works, providing great selection, beautifully displayed. I loved Southern Breeze from the day I first walked into their old Highland Village store. The huge selection in myriad media would have been enough, but the kicker was that the art was uniquely southern, with many unique, original pieces from unknowns; a veritable boon for collectors. Last year saw Southern Breeze move to the 'burbs, but they designed the new space at Renaissance to spectacularly showcase the art, and that's hard to argue with.
—Ronni Mott

Second: Brown's Fine Art (630 Fondren Place, 601-982-4844) / Third: Mishka's Art (2761 Old Canton Road, 601-260-0876) / Good showing: Sanaa Gallery (2906 N. State St., Suite 106, 601-982-2370); Ink Spot Gallery (300 W. South St., Suite A, 601-352-4700); One Blue Wall (2906 N. State St., 601-937-3254)

Best Window Shopping: Highland Village
4500 Interstate 55 N.,
601-982-5861

Upbeat easy music drifts through sweet olive, azalea, palms and evergreens. A garden and courtyard meanders through two stories of unique shops with bright store windows, a spa, Pilates studio and four wonderful restaurants. Aged wisteria vines splay up toward the cedar shingle roof covering a peaceful promenade. Picturesque water features and art invite the shopper to rest on a bench or under the gazebo and soak up the ambiance.
—Jackie Warren Tatum

Second: Renaissance Colony Park (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, 601-519-0900) / Third: Fondren / Good showing: Dogwood Festival Market (120 Promenade Blvd., Flowood, 601-919-3877); Northpark Mall (1200 E. County Line Road, Ridgeland, 601-956-3438)

Best Museum: Mississippi Museum of Natural Science
2148 Riverside Drive, 601-354-7303

For several years straight, the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science has won the distinction of best museum. Despite the recent death of their famous white catfish, there is still much to delight guests of all ages, from hiking trails to the scuba divers cleaning the alligator tanks. Look for their exhibit on sustainable living in January.
—Kelly Bryan Smith

Second: Museum of Art, 380 S Lamar St., 601-960-1515 / Third: Mississippi Agriculture Museum, 1150 Lakeland Drive, 601-713-3365 / Good showing: Smith Robertson Museum (528 Bloom St., 601-960-1457); Old Capitol Museum (100 S. State St., 601-576-6920); Sports Hall of Fame (1152 Lakeland Drive, 601-982-8264)

Best Hairstylist: Lacey Norris of Lacey's Salon
1935 Lakeland Drive, 601-906-2253

Canton native Lacey Norris, 25, graduated from Magnolia College of Cosmetology. This young business owner has been clipping and styling for the last four years and says the key to her success is keeping her customer relationship as personal as she can. If you are looking for someone to give you that perfect style and listen to your latest drama, Lacey is your girl.
—Sage Carter-Hooey

Second: Griff Howard (Ritz Salon, 775 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-856-4330) / Third: Jesse Gallagher (Ritz Salon, 775 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-856-4330) / Good Showing: Morgan Cook (Gloss, 1625 E. County Line Road, 601-572-8919); Claire Kinsey (Molecules, 794 Highway 51, #A, 601-605-4511); Roxanne Rogers (Vieux Carre, 144 W. Ford St., Suite B, Ridgeland, 601-605-2929)

Best Place for a First Kiss; Best Place to See the Sunrise; Best Place to See the Sunset:
Ross Barnett Reservoir

The Reservoir isn't just about the water; there are 17,000 acres of land surrounding it and several parks and trails, but if you're looking for one-stop "shopping," check out Old Trace Park, which gives you an excellent seat for the sunrise and the sunset. For a little romance to your life, try the Pepsi Pops concert at the park in May. Take a picnic, listen to the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra and watch the fireworks. It's not free, but when it comes to a memorable first kiss, you can't beat music and fireworks by the water.
—Dawn R. Dugle

Best Place to See the Sunrise
Second: Overlook Point on Natchez Trace / Third: LeFleur's Bluff/Mayes Lake / Good showing: Ironworks Building Rooftop (300 W. South St., 601-352-3722);

Best Place to See the Sunset
Second: University Club (210 E. Capitol St., Suite 2200, 601-969-4011) / Third: Capitol Club (125 S. Congress St., Suite 19, 601- 969-7101) / Good showing: Rooftop at Fondren Corner

Best Place for a First Kiss
Second: Fenian's Pub (901 E. Fortification St., 601-948-0055) / Third: Anywhere / Good showing: My bedroom/couch/house; Fire (209 Commerce St., 601-592-1000); Martin's (214 S. State St., 601-354-9712)

Best Banker (Tie): Ben Aldridge Trustmark, 248 E. Capitol St., Suite 704 (pictured);
John Rankin Bank Plus, 3100 N. State St., Suite 100

Ben Aldridge has been with Trustmark for almost five years in corporate treasury service, helping municipalities and businesses. Aldridge says honesty and integrity are important for a banker making customers feel comfortable and reinforcing trust. "He's an overall good guy and represents Jackson well," says devoted customer Ryan McElveen.

If the key to good banking is making it personal, then it's no wonder John Rankin, branch manager of the new Bank Plus on State Street, also tops of the voting this year. Rankin is a Fondren resident, and he must know that the key to good business is knowing his community. Keep up the good work, gentlemen.
—Sage Carter-Hooey

Second: Sedric Brinson (Bank Plus, 510 Highway 51, Madison, 601-898-5640) / Third: Sam Lane (First Commercial, 1300 Meadowbrook Road, Suite 100, 601-709-7777) / Good showing: Andy Hinton (Trustmark, 3110 Old Canton Road, #100, 601-354-5070); Harry Walker (Trustmark 248 E. Capital St., 601-208-5866); John Pearson (Bancorp South, 525 E. Capitol St., 601-354-4500)

Best Local Fitness Center: Courthouse Racket and Fitness
Multiple locations

Don't be intimidated by the body-builders, the Olympic-sized swimming pool, racquetball and basketball courts, or the flat-screen TVs on every cardio machine. There's something for everyone at Courthouse Racquet and Fitness, now with five locations around the Jackson area. Drop the kids at the in-house nursery and take your pick. The Courthouse even has its own massage therapist to knead you into shape.
—Katy Rivlin

Second: YMCA (multiple locations) / Third: The Club (multiple locations) / Good showing: Baptist Healthplex (717 Manship St., 601-968-1766); Healthline at St. Dominics (970 Lakeland Drive, 601-200-4925); Anytime Fitness (multiple locations)

Best Place for People Watching: Northpark Mall
1200 E. County Line Road, Ridgeland, 601-957-3744

Looking for something to do on a rainy afternoon, or just looking for something to make you feel better about yourself? Try people watching at Northpark Mall. You will see people of all shapes and sizes. Prime spots to people watch: a table outside Starbucks, the food court, a pedicure chair at California Nails (they have glass walls – so you can be more discreet with your staring!), or the bench outside Hot Topic. I recommend Saturday afternoons; you'll get more bang for your buck.
—Dawn R. Dugle

Second: Fondren / Third: Cups (multiple locations) / Good showing: Renaissance (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, 601-605-4400); Airport (1399 Airport Road, Flowood, 601-939-5631); Metro Center Mall (1395 Metrocenter, 601-960-0049)

Best Running Route: Belhaven Neighborhood

Belhaven's hills bring your heart rate up. Streets and yards are diverse; sidewalks appear and disappear; swings hang on front porches. Streets skirt Millsaps and circle Belhaven College. Apartments pop up around single family residences. Shops, medical facilities and schools perimeter the neighborhood. Try running from State Street and Pinehurst Street to Peachtree Street and then around the immaculately groomed Belhaven College grounds. Nice. Caveat: Always run facing oncoming traffic. A runner can be invisible on some of the inclines.
—Jackie Warren Tatum

Second: The Natchez Trace / Third: Fondren / Good showing: Ridgeland Multi-Purpose Trail; Parham Bridges Park (5055 Old Canton Road, 601-956-1105); The Reservoir

Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners: Fondren

Fresh paninis and deviled eggs from Basil's. A $4 Gap blazer from Orange Peel. Milkshakes at the counter at Brent's Drugs. A decadent bathrobe from Treehouse Boutique. Doll tea sets at The Toy Place. Cups' infamous London Fog. A cornucopia of organic chapstick at Rainbow Whole Foods Cooperative Grocery. Custom-designed pizza from Sal and Mookie's. A custom Jackson t-shirt from Wilai. Expert DIY advice at Montgomery Hardware. And that is only the beginning. Why go anywhere else?
—Kelly Bryan Smith

Second: Mayflower Café (123 W. Capitol St., 601-355-4122) / Third: Cock o' the Walk (141 Madison Landing Circle, Ridgeland, 601-856-5500) / Good showing: Walker's Drive-In (3016 N. State St., 601-982-2633); The Reservoir; Renaissance (1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, 601-605-4400)

Best Free Wi-Fi: Cups
Multiple locations

As a professional freelancer, I can't underestimate the benefit of a coffee shop's Internet access when I need a change of scenery for my work. Cups' varied locations provide atmosphere, solid tables and vibrant social interaction to make the perfect backdrop for checking e-mail. Newcomer Sneaky Beans has taken Fondren by storm, and could find itself in the top spot next year. I'd like to give a quick shout-out to Krystal's free Wi-Fi: Who among us hasn't pulled off the highway during a road trip for a simultaneous Facebook and chili cheese fries fix? —Darren Schwindaman

Second: Sneaky Beans, 2914 N. State St., 601-487-6349 / Third: Broad Street Baking Company (4465 Interstate 55 N., 601-362-2900) / Good showing: Fusion Coffee House (1111A Highland Colony Parkway, Ridgeland, 601-856-6001); Krystal's, multiple locations; McAlister's Deli, multiple locations

Best Democrat: Barack Obama

Can we imagine anyone else winning this award? Yes, we can! Er ... I mean, no. we can't! By invigorating a nation and inspiring even the most jaded, Barack Obama's victory makes Jacksonians feel like their voice actually matters again in our democracy. More importantly for Democrats, Obama's clean, effective and methodical campaign has rebranded Democrats as the party of competence and common sense against the backdrop of a top-down financial freefall. Looking back, one wonders if Obama knew all along that he'd smoothly weather the drawn-out primary battle, malicious false attacks and the tight general election campaign. Watching the states turn blue one-by-one on the news networks' touchscreen maps, Election Night 2008 took on a flavor of destiny. With economists only beginning to understand the full breadth of the national economic downturn, let's hope Obama can provide Americans of both parties with the same steady leadership and tangible results he delivered to Democrats in 2008.
—Darren Hussein Schwindaman

Second: John Hartley / Third: Frank Melton / Good showing (Tie): Bennie Thompson; William Winter; Ronnie Musgrove

Best Republican: Haley Barbour

If former Gov. William Winter is considered our greatest governor on the issues of race relations and educational reform, then Gov. Haley Barbour can be considered our greatest governor on the issue of economic development. When Gov. Barbour took office, the state had a $709 million budget deficit. In the 2008 fiscal budget year, the state fully funded the Mississippi Adequate Education Program for the first time since its enactment in 1997. From Nissan to Toyota to SeverCorp to Paccar, Gov. Barbour has worked tirelessly to negotiate the placement of high-paying jobs to Mississippi. An inspiration to other Republicans, Gov. Barbour has gained national attention as chairman of the RNC and for his handling of Katrina at home.
—Matt Allen

Second: Roger Wicker / Third: Thad Cochran / Good Showing: Ben Allen; Greg Harper; Sarah Palin

Best Yoga Instructor: Jean Powers, Courthouse Racquet & Fitness
Multiple locations, 601-932-4800

Get your om on! Jackson's yoga studios offer enough diversity to entice every man, woman and child in the metro to rock their downward dog throughout the New Year. But several seem to take top-dog honors time and time again: Powers' classes at Courthouse Racquet & Fitness, and the varied lineup presented by Butterfly Yoga's Tara Blumenthal and Scotta Brady. No matter your asana preference, you won't find a more mindful group of yogis to serve as both physical and spiritual guides to your practice. And you won't leave empty handed; the wisdom these strong women impart in every one of their classes will last you a lifetime of savasanas.
—Brandi Herrera Pfrehm

Second: Tara Blumenthal (Butterfly Yoga, 3025 N. State St., 601-594-2313) / Third: Scotta Brady (Butterfly Yoga) / Good showing: Nicole Baker (Poplar Place, 710 Poplar Blvd., 601-209-6325); Barbara Noble (Body Benefits, 731 S. Pear Orchard Road, #30, 601-991-9104); Chris Timmins (Butterfly Yoga)

Best Liquor/Wine Store: Kats Wine Cellar
921 Fortification St., 601-354-9181

The secret to getting great wine in Jackson is as simple as asking one of our Best Of store-owners for recommendations. Tasho Katsaboulas, owner of Kats Wine Cellar (whown), says "Bringing Jackson the highest scoring wines at the lowest prices is our mission, and great friendships and "Best of" nominations have been our reward." Nathan and Leslie McHardy, co-owners of Briarwood Wine & Spirits, are both former restaurant sommeliers. Nathan says that "without question, the wine savvy of the general public in Jackson has grown immensely," due to information online and in magazines, and a willingness to ask for advice. According to Nathan, the wines to watch for in 2009 are Spanish Ganache and Argentinian Malbec wines. Both wines have excellent bottle options in the $8-15 range, which means I'll be toasting to this year's economic downturn in the classiest way possible.
—Darren Schwindaman

Second: Briarwood Wine & Spirits (4949 Old Canton Road, Jackson, 601-956-5108) / Third: Joe T's (286 Highway 51, Ridgeland, 601-605-7602) / Good showing: Klein's Fifth & Vine (775 Lake Harbour Drive, Ridgeland, 601-856-2712); Lakeland Wine & Spirits (1855 Lakeland Drive, 601-366-6644); McDade's Wine & Spirits (1220 E. Northside Drive, 601-366-5676)

Best Boutique: Material Girls
182 Promenade Blvd., Flowood, 601-992-4533 and 1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 7005, Ridgeland, 601-605-1605

Despite the stigma of the label "material girl," this little boutique is chock-full of goodies that awaken your inner material girl. Before you even enter the shop, lovely treasures are in view screaming, "Buy me!" Betsey Johnson handbags and Dogeared jewelry are at the top of my lust list. While much of what Material Girls sells is high-end one of the best things about the boutique is that it's still easy to find cute jewelry and other fashionable items that are well within a poor girl's budget. And that makes me happy.
—Maggie Neff

Second: Pink Bombshell (270 Dogwood Blvd., Flowood, 601-919-1366 and 1000 Highland Colony Parkway, Suite 5007, Ridgeland, 601-853-0775) / Third: Treehouse Boutique (3008 N. State St., 601-982-3433) / Good showing: Lemongrass (1491 Canton Mart Road, Suite 8, 601-914-3181); Migi's (5352 Lakeland Drive, Suite 100A, 601-919-8203); Wilai (2763 Old Canton Road, 601-366-9955)

Best Massage Therapist: Edward Robinson
G2 Fitness Institute, 1867 Crane Ridge Drive, 601-366-2223

Edward Robinson at the G2 Fitness Institute offers a range of massages, including neuromuscular, deep tissue, Swedish and myofascial massage techniques, Robinson's skilled hands will ease away the sources of stress and pain in your body. When someone can skillfully manipulate away all that ails you with just their touch, it's enough to make you believe there's something way better than pain pills. —Ronni Mott

Second: Hannah Bryan (Buji, 407 W. Parkway Place, Suite B, Ridgeland, 601-813-4374) / Third: Martha Howell (102 Pinehaven Place, Clinton, 601-613-9631) / Good showing: Alin Kimbrough (Trio Med Spa, 4810 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-608-8746; Karl Bombich (Gloss, 1625 E. County Line Road, Suite 400, 601-572-8919; Olga Richardson (Massage by Olga, 4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 254, 601-918-4087)

Best Playground: Laurel Street Park
1841 Laurel St.

With the huge, bright painting of sea creatures marking its front entrance and the fish and crab-looking "character" playground equipment sitting among a sandbox, slides and a tire swing, Laurel Street Park is considered a "way cool" place to hang out. More than a playground, it's a great place for birthday parties or a cookout, a game of touch football or just sitting on a bench reading a great novel. Tucked away in the heart of Belhaven, I've often wondered if Eudora Welty herself ever enjoyed this peaceful, little retreat just around the corner from her home.
—Candy Manning Hagwood

Second: LeFleur's Bluff State Park (2140 Riverside Drive, 601-987-3923) / Third: Liberty Park (810 Madison Ave., Madison, 601-853-9109) / Good showing: Winner's Circle Park (100 Winner's Circle, Flowood, 601-992-4440); Parham Bridges (5055 Old Canton Road, 601-956-1105); Strawberry Patch Park (Corner of St. Augustine and Old Canton, Madison, 601-853-9109).

Best Tattoo/Piercing Parlor: The Ink Spot Gallery
300 W. South St, 601-352-4700

When I got my first tattoo, everyone warned: "Be careful; they're addictive!" Nearly two years later, I only have nine tattoos (far from the full body my mom and grandma envisioned me getting), but they are all from the same place: The Ink Spot. Despite the shop's industrial, ultra-urban location in the old Ironworks building, the shop is a warm, welcoming place. With music playing through speakers and art adorning the walls, the shop's artisans produce creative, top-notch work on your flesh. While they provide some amount of flash (pre-drawn, stock tattoos), the majority of Ink Spot tattoos are custom drawn, making the customers as much a gallery as the shop's walls.
—Vince Falconi

Second: Squench's (3780 Interstate 55 S., 601-372-2800) / Third: Eternal Body Art (3611 Interstate 55 S., 601-346-5963) / Good Showing: Animal House (420 N. Bierdeman Rd., 601-933-1120), Ritual Tattoos (1016 Hampstead Blvd., Clinton, 601-473-9195), Twiztid Images (817 Highway 49 S., Richland, 601-664-0000)

Best Day Spa:
Aqua The Day Spa
4465 Interstate 55 N., 601-362-9550

This perennial winner doesn't monopolize the competition for no reason. The spa feels like a small retreat into a Zen sanctuary. I love the Aveda products in the bathroom and the warm tea to drink while I wait for my appointment. This is the only place in town I can find that will do Brazilian waxes, too. This year, Aqua started a new line of services with Darphin products, which focus on aromatherapy, new body treatments and even more new facials including a kiwi and pomegranate hydrating facial that sounds to-die-for. A new salon is scheduled to open in February at Renaissance.
—Sage Carter-Hooey

Second: Trio (4812 Lakeland Drive, Flowood, 601-608-3223) / Third: Spa Beca (357 Towne Center Place, Suite 101, Ridgeland, 601-977-8401) / Good Showing: Mona Spa (4500 Interstate 55 N., Suite 125, 601-366-7721), Buji (407 West Parkway Place, Suite B, Ridgeland, 601-707-5184), Earthly Delights (111 Colony Crossing Way, Madison, 601-898-9330)

Best Local Business: Mangia Bene
3317 N. State St., 601-362-2900

How can you go wrong with a name that's Italian for "eat well?" Owners Jeff Good and Dan Blumenthal have run BRAVO!, Broad Street Bakery and Sal and Mookie's under one well-known name since 1994. Known for catering everything from breakfast trays for that early staff meeting to five-course dining events the Mangia Bene Catering service will perfect your occasion in style. If you're looking a little more upscale, try BRAVO!'s fine Italian menu or go to Broad Street for their popular lunch specials. Sal and Mookie's, known for its "Little Italy" atmosphere, prepares signature pizzas and grilled paninis on foccacia bread that will have your mouth watering.
—Rosalie Nolan

Second: Eyevox Productions (279 S. Perkins St., Ridgeland, 601-853-7270) / Third: McDade's Market (Multiple locations) / Good Showing: Cups (multiple locations); Sneaky Beans (2914 N. State St., 601-487-6349); Petra Café (6955 Old Canton Road, Ridgeland, 601-956-4044)

Best Plumber (Tie): Buford Plumbing & Heating
5625 Highway 18 W., 601-372-7676;
Charles Ingle of Fountain Construction, 5655 Highway 18 W., 601-373-4162

Thankfully, Joe the Plumber's 15 minutes of fame are over, and we can turn our attention to Jackson's best local plumbers. When asked what makes for a good plumber, Howard Buford of Buford Plumbing says, "We try to be honest, thorough and courteous." He also assures that the best plumbers arrive with a clean appearance and tidy up their mess when they leave. Really, what more could you ask for?
—Darren Schwindaman

Second: Skeen's Plumbing (220 Christopher Cove, Ridgeland, 601-856-5758); Neill Plumbing & Gas (4321 1/2 N. State St., 601-366-0507) / Third: Hanging Moss Plumbing & Heating, 132 Munich Drive, Madison, 601-898-2400); Quality Plumbing (P.O. Box 55791, Jackson, 39296, 601-506-1598) / Good showing: Joe the Plumber

Best Reason to Live in Jackson: The people are diverse, friendly, hospitable and creative

Jackson represents everything that is Mississippi, namely its people. While my North Mississippi classmates moved away, I came to Jackson and found everything we experienced. We grew up on Willie Morris and Clyde Frog, yet, at the same time, we were often ignorant of our state's racist past. Now I can visit the Willie Morris Library, or even happen upon JoAnne Pritchard Morris at a party. I've met the folks who created Clyde Frog and continue to create Emmy Award-winning television. I've met civil rights leaders who have changed my life, and I'm able to participate in racial reconciliation discussions. Jackson, especially her people, is the one city that contains everything good about our state as it helps us heal, instead of ignore, all that is and was bad.
—Emily Braden Knight

Second: Fondren / Third: Low Cost of Living / Good Showing: Convenience; It's Home; Belhaven

Best Local Festival: Mal's St. Paddy's Day Parade
I hope you've made your plans for Mal's St. Paddy's Day Parade. If not, stop what you are doing and get to it. I have walked the parade with a bullwhip, watched from the sidelines when Delta Burke threw beads. Dress up, celebrate joy, take lots of pictures and observe Jackson at its best when guests come from all over the world to march with the Sweet Potato Queens. You won't regret it; that's a promise. —Emily Braden Knight

Second: Jubilee Jam / Third: CelticFest / Good showing: Fondren After 5/Unwrapped; WellsFest; Bright Lights, Belhaven Nights; Miller Lite Crawfish Boil

Best Nature Walk: Lefleur's Bluff / Mayes Lake
2140 Riverside Drive, 601-987-3985
Each time I walk down the wooden stairs from the science museum to follow the trails through Lefleur's Bluff State Park to Mayes Lake. I want to see an otter in the water. No luck, yet. The most eye-catching things I have seen (besides the beautiful waterways and trees, of course) are some jade-colored beetles. But my husband saw a cow along the trail last year. I promise it is true.
—Kelly Bryan Smith

Second: Museum of Natural Science trails (2148 Riverside Drive, 601-354-7303) / Third: Natchez Trace / Good showing: Clinton Nature Center (617 Dunton Road, Clinton, 601-926-1104); Ridgeland Multi-Use Trail; Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum trails (1150 Lakeland Drive, 601-713-3365)

Best Developer: Mike Peters
Visionary. Artist. Dreamer. Crazy. All words used to describe the brave men who stared at the shells of old Jackson buildings and saw potential. They created energy and vibrancy by turning them into new spaces where we can live, work and play. Mike Peters is central to these efforts, having created mixed-use properties at Fondren Corner, the Plaza Building, a warehouse downtown and the Duling School. When Mike's around, you just know—his booming voice and warm personality are hard to miss. What's also hard to miss is his passion for the revitalization of Jackson—not only through his own projects, but also his support of the ventures of other visionaries, including his tenants. These developers are the best, and they're helping Jackson become its best, too.
—Julie Skipper

Second: David Watkins / Third (Tie): Andrew Mattaice; H.C. "Buster" Bailey Jr. / Good Showing: Ted Duckworth; Pat Piggott; Mark Jordan

Previous Comments

ID
143063
Comment

I think I would take down Riverside Drive, in consideration of the Murrah student's death.

Author
dwfinms
Date
2009-01-25T10:28:49-06:00
ID
143067
Comment

dwfinms, you may have a point... Unfortunate.

Author
kaust
Date
2009-01-25T14:55:29-06:00
ID
143079
Comment

Hi dwf, I'm just catching up with comments due to all the Best of Jackson madness. Thanks for posting. I think it makes sense to delete the light-hearted blurb that goes along with the award, but not the winning entry itself, being that the vote happened before this horrible tragedy. Clearly the vote, as well as the blurb, were sarcastic statements about how awful that road, not to mention others, are in town, and written before the tragedy. No taxpayer-funded road should be a hazardous "cheap thrill," and our elected officials should figure out how to do something about it. And the taxpayers need to be willing to fund such improvements.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-01-26T15:44:40-06:00
ID
143096
Comment

BTW, all, our friends at WAPT did a good story last night about the tragedy on Riverside Drive, and the condition of the road, in addition to the need for drivers in general to slow down on that awful stretch of road, as well as others in the city. They even showed that Riverside is so bad that JFP readers voted the street the "best cheap thrill" in the city. I'm so saddened by this incident, but I am glad that the station was able to use the readers' poll to help shed light on the dangerous condition of our roads. When residents think a street is like a roller coaster, something is dramatically wrong and needs to be addressed. All of the families and the young men's friends have our sympathy and prayers. And let's hope this incident sends a message to everyone of all ages about safer driving, setting better examples for young people by following all laws (not just speeding, but stop signs and lights) and being proactive about raising and spending the money and time to repair dangerous conditions before they cause, or worsen, another accident.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2009-01-27T15:43:08-06:00

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