Best of the Emerald Coast 2007
It’s the good life, as Frank Sinatra so smoothly crooned many years ago. And although the Chairman of the Board may not have been singing about life on the Emerald Coast, the song’s meaning certainly applies to our area, with some of the finest restaurants and businesses available, offering premium products and exceptional services.
Every year, our discriminating readers have the opportunity to cast votes in Emerald Coast Magazine’s “Best of the Emerald Coast” poll, honoring the cream of the crop. A record number of ballots poured in this year, resulting in some new winners – such as Stinky’s Fish Camp for “Best Seafood Restaurant” and Michelle Anchors for “Best Good Corporate Citizen,” as well as some “Best Of” favorites, including Resort Interiors for “Best Furniture Store” and Avantgarde Salon Spa for “Best Hair Salon.”
The winners will be honored at the “Best of the Emerald Coast” awards ceremony on Saturday, Oct. 20, at The Village of Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort from 6-10 p.m. The outdoor festival-style celebration will benefit the Destin YMCA as the organization builds a new much-needed facility for our community. Many of our winners will offer samples of the products and services that landed them on the “Best Of” list. For more information, please contact Carolyn Folley at 837-8440.
So, dear readers, you did it your way, and now the best is yet to come: Your 2007 “Best of the Emerald Coast” winners are …
Food & Beverage
Best Appetizer | Bonefish Grill’s Bang Bang Shrimp
Dinner at Bonefish begins with a Bang. It’s no surprise that this starter is a menu standout, with tender, crispy shrimp tossed in a creamy, spicy sauce. Seafood fans, what more could you ask for?
Best Asian Restaurant | Osaka Sushi Rocks
In addition to having one of the area’s largest sushi bars, Osaka Sushi Rocks has an extensive hibachi menu and sensational stir-fry entrées, as well as a full selection of Japanese beers, sakes and sake cocktails. Osaka Sushi Rocks, located in Sandestin, is open for lunch and dinner.
Best Bakery | Donut Hole
Since 1978, this longtime traditional bakery has served breakfast, lunch and dinner. A popular spot on the Emerald Coast for locals and visitors, the Donut Hole, located in Destin and Santa Rosa Beach, features eggs Benedict, fluffy biscuits under sausage gravy, Belgian waffles, fresh doughnuts and many more favorites. With its original location in Destin open 24 hours a day, this comfort food is available around the clock.
Best Barbecue | Jim ‘N Nick’s Bar-B-Q
Jim ‘N Nick’s takes great pride in serving authentic barbecue, prepared Southern style. In addition to smoking the finest-quality meats, ribs, chicken and pulled pork, the restaurant provides the freshest trimmings and sides around. No matter what your craving, barbeque is served every way imaginable by the friendly staff at the Niceville and Sandestin locations.
Best Breakfast | Another Broken Egg Café
When it comes to breakfast, brunch or lunch, this restaurant offers a totally “egg-ceptional” experience. Located in Grayton Beach, Sandestin and Destin, this “Best Of” repeat winner offers eggs just about anyway you want them, soups, salads and some unique house specialties.
Best Brunch | Rutherfords 465
Get a relaxing start to your Sunday with this Destin restaurant’s unbeatable brunch. Fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, salads, soups, eggs Benedict, meats, sausage and omelets top the seemingly endless selection. And top off the meal with a fresh mimosa, a bloody Mary, a bellini or a glass of wine. Located at Regatta Bay Golf & Country Club, the rolling greens provide a setting like no other.
Best Casual Dining | Callahan’s Restaurant & Deli
For 15 years, this family-operated restaurant and deli has continued to receive rave reviews for its tasty salads, burgers, Reubens, made-to-order sandwiches, pastas, and nightly specials such as charcoal-grilled chicken and grilled pork chops. With its new location off U.S. Highway 98 in the Downtown Destin Plaza, this establishment is convenient for locals and visitors alike.
Best Caterer | Sarah K’s Gourmet
This gourmet takeout and caterer specializes in chef-crafted, ready-to-heat cuisine. With choices ranging from appetizers to desserts and all courses in between, Sarah K’s menu is perfect for catering a dinner party, luncheon, casual dinner for two, or even a hassle-free meal for your family.
Best Chef | Tim Creehan
With a seasoning line, multiple cookbooks, a signature snack chip for a national brand and several restaurants on the Emerald Coast, this award-winning chef’s work truly is in a category of its own. Needless to say, some of his ingredients have been recognized as revolutionary breakthroughs in modern cooking.
Best Dessert | Beachwalk Café
At Beachwalk Café, you can have your cake and eat it too. Go ahead, indulge with this award-winning restaurant’s decadent desserts, including Chef Tim Creehan’s Belgian Chocolate Sin Cake and Bananas Foster Cheesecake with traditional New Orleans Foster Sauce.
Best Fine Dining Restaurant | Seagar’s Prime Steaks and Seafood
All the stars align at Seagar’s. This five-star dining restaurant specializing in the finest prime beef and the freshest seafood available in one of the most elegant settings along the Emerald Coast. Seagar’s also offers dining facilities for intimate occasions, as well as business dinners. And with a wine list of more than 800 labels, it comes as no surprise that the restaurant is a repeat reader’s choice.
Best French Restaurant | Café Provence
Owner Michel Atlas once dreamed of bringing European culture to the Emerald Coast. He did just that when he established Santa Rosa Beach’s Café Provence. Serving gourmet French and Belgian traditional cuisine, including house specialties of seafood, pork, lamb and beef, Atlas’ charming restaurant offers an experience full of exceptional cuisine and culture.
Best Gourmet/Food Shop | Fresh Market
Inviting … comfortable … convenient. These are three attributes the Fresh Market focuses on for top-notch customer service. With the atmosphere of an Old World European market, this grocery store provides a range of departments, including an old-style butcher shop and fish market, a bakery, produce, a floral stand and a delicatessen. Marking off your grocery list will come with ease as you stroll through the wide aisles, where you are always greeted by the accommodating staff.
Best Grocery Store/Supermarket | Publix
Known for exceptional service, pristine aisles and premier product quality, it is no surprise that people along the Emerald Coast enjoy their shopping experience at Publix. With specialty foods, a pharmacy, a bakery and a deli, you’ll find everything you need – and then some.
Best Hamburger | McGuire’s Irish Pub
The butchers of McGuire’s Irish Pub custom-grind more than 25 choices of lean beef with a special blend of seasonings to create the pub’s thick and juicy handmade steak burgers. Menu favorites include the cracked peppercorn-coated burger and the merlot and mushroom burger.
Best Happy Hour | Blue Point Fish Club
It’s a new way to think of the traditional two-for-one happy hour. Located conveniently in the rapidly growing Destin Commons, Blue Point Fish Club offers two evening happy hours. The first round of specials includes beer and wine from 4 to 7 p.m., and cocktails are featured from 10 p.m. to closing.
Best Italian Restaurant | Tony’s Ristorante
Eat at Tony’s Ristorante and you’ll discover amore at first bite. Open for lunch and dinner, Tony’s offers a wide variety of Italian specialties, including pizza, pasta, calzones, strombolis and fresh salads. Located in the heart of the Destin Commons next to the RAVE Motion Pictures, this little bit of Italy offers a great dining room and patio seating.
Best Locally Owned Restaurant | Zampieri’s Harbor Grille
Personal service in a unique setting, a renowned chef, delicious meat and seafood specialties, delightful wines and superb desserts create the world of Zampieri’s Harbor Grille. With harbor-side dining and one of most extensive wine selections on the Emerald Coast, it is nearly impossible to refuse the Sunset Specials.
Best Margarita | La Paz Restaurante & Cantina
Alive with natural color, energy and flavor like Mexico itself, La Paz Restaurante & Cantina serves margaritas south-of-the-border style. La Paz’s formula is simple: buy the best ingredients, provide great service and have fun! As for the most popular selection, try the Patronarita or frozen mango margarita.
Best Martini | Marlin Grill
This casual yet upscale fine-dining restaurant prepares its martinis the Marlin Grill way – perfectly. The 10,000-martini list has every request covered, whether shaken, stirred, dirty, sweet, up or on the rocks. With 24 hours’ notice, Marlin Grill will serve your favorite ’tini in an engraved shaker with two crystal glasses and a one-carat diamond.
Best Mexican/Latin American Restaurant | Pepito’s Mexican Restaurant
The flavor of Northwest Mexico comes to Northwest Florida at this locally owned Destin restaurant. Pepito’s offers a wide range of traditional, made-to-order Mexican dishes, with unique seasonings, sauces and sauces, seven days a week for lunch and dinner. The authentic décor, reasonable prices and friendly staff are the perfect ingredients for a relaxed dining experience.
Best Outdoor Bar | AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar
AJ’s, an Emerald Coast landmark located on the Destin Harbor, offers something for everyone – including a spectacular view of the area’s breathtaking sunsets. And once the sun has gone down, the outdoor bar heats up with bands and drink specials. As the folks at AJ’s would say, some follow trends, others create legends. Go see for yourself what legends are made of.
Best Outdoor Dining | The Crab Trap
Pull up a seat to one of the best views on the Emerald Coast – and while you’re at it, enjoy a menu that includes a fresh oyster bar, delicious Gulf seafood selections, chicken dishes, juicy steaks and savory pastas. The Crab Trap, located on Scenic Highway 98 in Destin, offers Gulf-side seating that has become a favorite for locals and visitors alike.
Best Pizza | Ciao Bella Pizza
At Ciao Bella, only the freshest ingredients are used to create the casual Italian eatery’s gourmet and traditional pizzas, starting with the house-made dough. Ciao Bella, located in Silver Sands Factory Stores in Miramar Beach, also offers a variety of pastas, sandwiches and fresh salads.
Best Romantic Restaurant | Destin Chops
Indulge in a fine-dining tradition while experiencing spectacular views of the Destin Harbor. This premier steakhouse is the perfect setting for an intimate dinner for two, with a well-appointed dining room featuring rich mahogany and polished brass that you and your special someone are sure to love.
Best Sandwich Shop | McAlister’s Deli
Fresh taste, quick service and a welcoming friendly atmosphere define McAlister’s as a winner. The menu incorporates 100 different items, including spuds, salads, soups and sweets. And the signature, combination and deli sandwiches are in a class of their own, along with the best sweet tea in the Southeast.
Best Seafood Market | Sexton’s Seafood
Sexton’s is as fresh as it gets without the hassle of having to catch it yourself. This clean, fresh establishment offers a wide selection of the best the Gulf has to offer. Pick up a bag of Sexton’s signature shrimp/crab broil and enjoy an unbeatable seafood feast in your own home.
Best Seafood Restaurant | Stinky’s Fish Camp
If it was any fresher, it still would be swimming. With a menu offering appetizers, gumbo, chowder and an array of main courses focusing on local seafood, this new come-as-you are restaurant and wine bar located in Santa Rosa Beach quickly is becoming a favorite.
Best Service – Food and Beverage | Creehan’s Copper Grille
With an active open kitchen in the center of the dining room, Creehan’s Copper Grille is filled with high energy and excitement. And while the restaurant is known for its excellent steaks and seafood, it is the personalized service provided by the exceptional staff that makes a lasting impression.
Best Sports Bar | Johnny O’Quigley’s Irish Pub & Grille
There isn’t a bad seat in the house at this neighborhood-style Destin bar, which offers big screens and 48 televisions lining the walls. With some of the best sports viewing in town, plenty of good food and a wide selection of beer, this pub is a score for any sports fan.
Best Steakhouse | Ruth’s Chris Steak House
It’s the sizzle that makes it special at Destin’s Ruth’s Chris, located in Silver Shells Resort. Tender fillets, ribeyes, New York strips, T-bones and porterhouse steaks are carefully selected and aged for tenderness, cut thick and seared to perfection at 1,800 degrees. The choice steaks are seasoned with salt, black pepper, a touch of parsley and fresh butter to bring out that famous signature sizzle.
Best Sushi | Harbor Docks
Although Harbor Docks is not a Japanese restaurant but a seafood eatery, the Asian influences at this multifaceted restaurant include a sushi bar and hibachi tables. Renowned Chef Yoshie has created an exclusive menu for Harbor Docks and is famous to sushi lovers along the Emerald Coast.
Best Wine List | Cuvee Beach
In wine parlance, cuvee refers to “blend.” This Destin restaurant is just that – a blend of a beautiful atmosphere, talented people, delicious food and fine wine. Cuvee offers an amazing mix of wines by the bottle, half bottle and glass. Most will agree that this casual fine-dining restaurant helps set a standard of excellence with its inviting dining room and impressive wine bar.
Best Wine Shop | Chan’s Wine World
With more than 1,000 labels in stock, selecting the perfect wine never is a problem at Chan’s Wine World. The certified wine specialists at locations in Destin and Sandestin, as well as a new outlet in Miramar Beach, will help you make the best buying decision by evaluating your needs and preferences. More than a store, Wine World will increase your wine I.Q. with wine tastings and wine education classes.
Best Art Gallery | Wyland Paradise Galleries
Discover beautiful marine art with a visit to Wyland Paradise Galleries, located in Destin Commons. Whether you are looking for brush paintings, photography, acrylic works, bronze sculptures or other ocean art, Wyland is your art-collecting Paradise Found.
Best Golf Course | Regatta Bay Golf & Country Club
Positioned among nature preserves along Choctawhatchee Bay, this 6,894-yard, par-72 course is a true escape into a golfer’s paradise. Regatta Bay, designed by Robert C. Walker, was selected as one of Golf Digest’s “Top Places to Play in North America.”
Best Local Attraction | Big Kahuna’s
Thrills, chills and spills await you and your family at Destin’s destination for family fun. With more than 40 water attractions and an adventure park, Big Kahuna’s offers something fun for everyone. Featuring dozens of slides and the biggest manmade waterfall in the world, your family is sure to have a blast.
Best Musician/Vocalist/Band | Jones & Company
From dance to romance, one of Northwest Florida’s finest bands, Jones & Company, keeps the Emerald Coast moving and grooving with its mix of tunes, including jazz, blues, funk, R&B, soul, reggae, Latin and rock ‘n’ roll. This versatile band is a local festival favorite as well as an entertainment mainstay for many area restaurants and clubs.
Best Place to Be Seen | Seabreeze Jazz Festival
This annual event, held at Gulf Place Outdoor Amphitheater, is quickly ranking as one of the top jazz festivals in the county. The three-day event features some of the region’s top jazz performers. This year, be sure to check out the entertainment and activities planned, including “The Smooth Jazz Mash Up.”
Best Place to Go Dancing | John Wehner’s Village Door Nightclub
John Wehner, owner of the Famous Door on New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, created this hot spot, located in Sandestin’s Village of Baytowne Wharf, to offer the same eclectic and electric style. Open seven days a week, the Village Door is Destin’s only dedicated live music and dance venue.
Best Place to Take the Kids | The Track
Your family fun and recreation center offers go-karts, mini-golf, bumper rides, thrill rides and much more. The Track, which is ideal for a large gatherings or birthday parties, offers fast fun for both kids and kids at heart.
Best Place to Watch the Sunset | Whale’s Tail
Located on the south side of Scenic Gulf Drive in Miramar Beach, this restaurant is a popular place to sip a cocktail and watch the sun go down from the beachside covered deck.
Best Radio Personality | Mark Carter, Seabreeze 106.3
Mark Carter is just the boost you need in the early morning hours. Providing the local news and weather through the morning drive time, Carter creates a perfect balance of a.m. energy and information on this smooth jazz station.
Best Splurge for Her | Rock Hard Designs
All that glitters is gold – and silver and platinum too – at Rock Hard Designs, with locations in Grayton Beach and Pensacola. This locally-owned jewelry store, the only international award-winning jeweler on the Emerald Coast, has a special gift for that important lady in your life. From one-of-a-kind designs to estate pieces to custom metal smithing, Rock Hard Designs can wrap up the perfect present to bring a sparkle to any woman’s eye.
Best Splurge for Him | Sharper Image
Located in Destin Common’s, Sharper Image offers seemingly countless innovative, high-quality products that will do the trick for him. Still stumped on what to get? Sharper Image has a gift idea list created especially for men, including the latest in technology and guy-approved gadgetry.
Best Tennis Facility | Sandestin
Calling all tennis lovers: The Sandestin Tennis Center provides a perfect setting with 15 tennis courts, including hard, natural grass and clay surfaces, for your perfect match. This state-of-the-art tennis facility also has a clubhouse with dressing rooms, lockers, showers and the latest tennis apparel.
Best New Business in 2007 | Trader Vic’s
The world-famous Trader Vic’s Restaurant and Mai Tar Bar, located at The Palms of Destin, has quickly earned a reputation as one of the latest hot spots in the area. Vic’s renowned Polynesian-inspired food, crowd-pleasing drinks and island-inspired atmosphere makes it the perfect destination for a night out on the town.
Best Antique Store | Smith’s Antique Mall
Smith’s presence in the “Best Of” awards year after year comes as no surprise to shoppers along the Emerald Coast. With more than 90 dealers from across the country offering one-of-a-kind antiques in a 25,000-square-foot showroom, Smith’s Antique Mall in Destin is a true treasure in itself.
Best Beachwear Retailer | Sporty Lady
Offering more than 10,000 swimsuits and representing more than 50 swimwear brands has influenced women across the Emerald Coast to shop at Sporty Lady for 29 years. Family-owned and managed, this one-stop shop for swim and sportswear is located in the Shoppes at Paradise Key.
Best Children’s Clothing Store | Hugs & Hissy Fits
With in-style apparel for little girls and boys, Hugs & Hissy Fits offers clothing lines by Kate Mack, Biscotti and Bailey Boys. Hugs & Hissy Fits can be found in two locations on the Emerald Coast: on the Miracle Strip Parkway in Fort Walton Beach and in Destin Commons.
Best Consignment Shop | Closet Swap
At Closet Swap, recycling clothes always is in style. This high-end consignment boutique in Destin offers gently warn clothing and accessories by some of the most popular designers at reasonable prices. Clean out your closet and earn a little spending money to restock your wardrobe with the latest fashions.
Best Eyeglass Store | Eye Gallery
For the most contemporary and fashionable styles in eyewear, stop by the Eye Gallery in Destin Commons. With designer frames, sports glasses and a wide selection of lenses, it is easy to see why this eyewear store is a local favorite.
Best Furniture Store | Resort Interiors
Offering shoppers a 60,000-square-foot showroom and design center featuring 10 of the nation’s top furniture lines, it comes as no surprise that residents along the Emerald Coast are loyal customers of Resort Interiors. This full-service interior decorating store has been crafting the art of fine living in area homes for more than a decade.
Best Gift Shop | The Zoo Gallery
The Emerald Coast is wild about The Zoo Gallery, with shops located in Destin, Sandestin and Grayton Beach. Each store offers an eclectic and unique menagerie of books, home accessories, jewelry, framed art and pottery. The perfect gift can always be found at The Zoo Gallery.
Best Jewelry Store | Destin Jewelers
Emeralds and sapphires and diamonds, oh my! Destin Jewelers, located in Sandestin and Miramar Beach, offers designs by some of the country’s top artists, including Phillip Stein, Yvel, and Gregg Ruth. With a large selection ranging from fine jewels to fun trinkets, this jewelry store is a true Emerald Coast gem.
Best Locally Owned Retailer | Today’s Boutiques
Dressing to impress comes easy while shopping at Today’s Boutique in Destin. For more than 25 years, this locally owned business has offered contemporary styles on the Emerald Coast, including clothing, shoes, purses, scarves, hats and even jewelry.
Best Men’s Clothing | The Blue Marlin
Carrying resort and island wear for men, the Blue Marlin, located in the Market Shops at Sandestin is just the place for locals and tourist alike. It won’t take long to spot the fun and casual patterned shirts alongside the dressier monochromatic clothes and brands, including Tommy Bahama, Weekendz Off and Riscatto.
Best Nursery/Garden Center | Home Depot
How does your garden grow? If it’s a blooming success, chances are you have been to the Home Depot Garden Center in Destin. The expert team is available to help customers make plant selections and solve gardening problems. The center also offers a gardener’s bounty of supplies, including tools, mulch, insecticides, planters and patio furniture.
Best Shopping Complex | Destin Commons
This open-air lifestyle center features upscale and casual dining with indoor/outdoor seating, a 14-screen RAVE motion picture cinemaplex, more than 70 retailers, and a variety of entertainment options. Located on 25 acres along U.S. Highway 98, Destin Commons is a shopper’s paradise.
Best Sporting Goods Store | Bass Pro Shop
A true fisherman’s lure. Located in Destin Commons, this two-story, 50,000-square-foot Bass Pro Shop is a leader among Florida hunter outfitters. The shop features a comprehensive collection of outdoor gear, from tents to canteens to freshwater, saltwater and fly fishing equipment.
Best Wedding Shop | Simply Elegant
The Simply Elegant bridal shop has been making bridal dreams come true for more than 14 years. This Fort Walton Beach boutique carries a large selection of wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, veils, mothers’ dresses, flower-girl dresses and a variety of tuxedos. Quality, style, elegance and affordable pricing make Simply Elegant simply perfect.
Best Women’s Accessories | Coldwater Creek
Located in the distinctive new Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, Coldwater Creek offers women’s apparel in misses, petite and women’s sizes. The store, which is open seven days a week, also offers stylish fashion accessories, including handbags and totes, belts, hats and scarves to complement everything from jeans to dresses.
Best Women’s Clothing | Cache
This women’s specialty retailer, located in Destin Commons, brings its own level of luxury to the Emerald Coast with its distinctive casual sportswear, stunning evening wear and contemporary accessories. Cache clothing can take a woman from work to a cocktail party in style.
Best Women’s Shoes | Aldo
Put your best foot forward by shopping at Aldo in Destin Commons. Specializing in the creation of high-quality fashion footwear, leather goods and accessories such as handbags and belts, Aldo makes strides to keep you on the pulse of fashion.
Best AC/Heating | Climate Makers of NW Florida
Family-owned and operated for more than 15 years, Fort Walton Beach’s Climate Makers has experienced technicians who always provide repair, service, replacement or maintenance to your air conditioning, heating and indoor air quality systems. Prompt, reliable and skilled at its trade, it’s no wonder that this local company claims to be the “Masters of Indoor Comfort.”
Best Accounting Firm | Carr, Riggs & Ingram
With a commitment to excellence, Carr Riggs & Ingram, a nationally recognized accounting firm located in Destin, Mary Esther and Niceville, has the Emerald Coast covered. This firm of committed professionals has been ranked No. 36 in Accounting Today’s “Top 100 CPA Firms” in the nation.
Best Architect | DAG Architect
Since 1982, DAG Architects has grown into one of Northwest Florida’s finest architectural firms and recently was awarded “Firm of the Year” by the Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects. DAG’s portfolio of work has earned its reputation with projects such as NatureWalk at Seagrove, Pier 23 at Navarre, Seaside and the Matty Kelly Arts Village.
Best Boat Sales & Service | Galati Yacht Sales
Galati Yacht Sales’ commitment to complete customer satisfaction has earned this local company the honor of being recognized annually by the world’s leading watercraft manufactures. As the largest Five-Star certified dealer in the marine industry today, Galati Yacht Sales is sure to have just the thing to float your boat.
Best Boating Experience | Legendary Marine
One of the top marine dealerships in the country, Legendary Marine offers a wide selection of sport, fishing and cruising boats by some of the most reputable lines, including Silverton, Chaparral, Riviera, Everglades and Cape Horn. Legendary Marine, with five locations, also offers continued customer service with reliable service and parts departments.
Best Builder/Contractor | Compass Builders of Florida
Sound building principles, quality execution and attention to detail make this family-owned and operated business a success. Compass Builder’s highly experienced team, headed by Terry Jones, a licensed contractor with more than 34 years’ experience, strives to provide dedication and inspiration through all phases of construction, from concept to design to creation.
Best Chiropractor | Dr. Alan Payne, C.D.
Dr. Payne focuses on family health-care through natural services. At Payne Chiropractic Life Center in Destin, the mission is to educate and assist as many people as possible toward optimal health through natural chiropractic care.
Best Customer Service | Destin Appliance Service
This local business has been meeting the needs of residents along the Emerald Coast since 1979. Repairing all major electric household appliances from ice makers to stoves, Destin Appliance Service strives to meet its business motto: “Service is our business; your satisfaction is our goal.”
Best Dentist | Dr. Dennis Lichorwic, D.M.D.
Dr. Lichorwic has given the Emerald Coast something to smile about for more than six years with his practice, located in Destin, Fort Walton Beach and Panama City. Lichorwic is a “Best Of” reader’s choice repeat winner because he utilizes the most advanced cosmetic dentistry techniques and materials available and provides clients with warm and friendly service in a comfortable atmosphere.
Best Dry Cleaner | Bangkok Dry Cleaners
Bangkok Dry Cleaners has established a first-rate reputation for caring for the finest clothing, including wedding gowns, suede, sweaters, military uniforms and draperies, with fast and professional service. As Northwest Florida’s largest dry cleaner, Bangkok keeps many Emerald Coast residents looking their very best.
Best Event Planner | DESTINation Management LC
Creating and coordinating custom meetings, conventions and parties has made Destination Management the premier special-events firm from Pensacola to Panama City Beach. The firm focuses on personalizing each event, with a focus on total customer satisfaction.
Best Eye Doctor | Dr. Sam Poppell, M.D.
Founder of Emerald Coast Eye Institute, one of the most rapidly growing and progressive eye care facilities in the South, Dr. Sam Poppell is a leader in his field. Specializing in the latest, most advanced eye-care procedure, such as sutureless cataract surgery, corneal transplants, laser surgery and reconstructive surgery Poppell is committed to providing the best long-term vision care possible.
Best Flooring (Carpet/Tile) | Musco
Musco of Destin carries the leading brands of floor covering in a wide array of styles and colors. But this local flooring company also is known for its friendly and knowledgeable sales staff, which is dedicated to helping customers choose the perfect tile, vinyl, carpet, wood or stone material for their home or business.
Best Florist | Destin Floral DeSigns
Master floral designer Joy Segno and her son, Ralph Segno, have been sharing their talents and passion for flowers along the Emerald Coast for more than 20 years. From a single red rose to an elaborate bouquet, Destin Designs by Gifts of Joy can help you celebrate any special occasion in style.
Best Good Corporate Citizen | Michelle Anchors, Esq.
Fort Walton Beach attorney Anchors is a fourth-generation resident of Okaloosa County who is working hard to leave her own lasting legacy on the Emerald Coast. Over the past several years, Anchors’ involvement in the community has had a positive impact, and she continues to dedicate her time to many new ventures. Most recently, she was appointed to the Committee for a Sustainable Emerald Coast.
Best Gym/Health Club | Gold’s Gym
Part of a worldwide health club organization, Gold’s Gym, located in Destin and Fort Walton Beach, offers state-of-the art equipment, the latest techniques, classes, and physical training for all your workout needs. Are you a busy parent? Don’t sweat it – Gold’s offers convenient, on-site child care.
Best Hair Salon | Avantgarde Salon Spa
Voted repeatedly as one of the top 200 salons in the nation by Salon Today, Avantgarde offers a team of cutting-edge stylists, aestheticians and nail technicians who are committed to helping you achieve the look you desire. And with their talented staff of massage therapists, finding your inner peace has never been so easy.
Best Interior Designer/ASID | Duce May
May, owner of Duce & Company, a full-service design firm, is committed to creating functional yet artistic home designs. Known for incorporating traditional style with a twist, this designer always pushes the envelope. With a combination of texture, color and mixed mediums, May’s designs have offered individualized interiors for residents along the Emerald Coast since 2001.
Best Interior Design Firm | Lovelace Interiors
Located in Destin and WaterColor, this nationally recognized interior design firm and home-furnishing retailer focuses on customer’s specific needs instead of a one-size-fits-all approach. With a true understanding of art, architecture and textiles and an appreciation for detail, the award-wining design team, lead by Susan Lovelace, excels at creating fresh, personalized interiors that complement each client’s lifestyle.
Best Landscaping/Lawn Service | Barefoot Lawn Care
Relax, enjoy your weekends, and let Barefoot Lawn Care handle the yard work. Offering full-service landscaping management for residential and commercial properties, Barefoot can do it all – design, installation, maintenance, water fountains and more. With Barefoot Lawn, you will find professional lawn care with a personal touch.
Best Limo Service | 654-LIMO
With 654-LIMO, you can rest assured that you will be riding in style. Offering an elaborate car selection, including stretch Hummers, Navigators and Escalades, as well as top-notch customer service, 654-LIMO will make your arrival one they won’t soon forget.
Best Massage Therapist | Neil Senn
With a background in sports medicine, Neil Senn, a massage therapist at Avantgarde Salon & Spa in Destin, understands the therapeutic and recuperative value of a massage. Senn specializes in deep-tissue and sports massage, as well as scar tissue removal.
Best Medical Group/Provider | Sacred Heart on the Emerald Coast
Since opening in 2003, this not-for-profit hospital continues to accomplish its mission to improve the health of the community at large. The state-of-the art hospital offers a wide range of medical and surgical services, including an intensive care unit, general and orthopedic surgery, cardiology, cancer care, comprehensive radiology and laboratory services, rehabilitation and 24-hour emergency care. Sacred Heart on the Emerald Coast also offers specialized women’s health and maternity care with the recent opening of its Family Birth Center.
Best Pest Control Service | Bryan Pest Control
Offering the best possible quality in pest management service while maintaining a responsibility to the environment is the mission at Bryan Pest Control. With more than 30 years of experience and locations in Fort Walton, Niceville, Gulf Breeze, Destin and Crestview, this family-owned business guarantees your satisfaction.
Best Photographer | Trish Waddle
Trish Waddle, owner of Portrait Photography by Trish in Destin, is known for her artistic approach to capturing the important moments of families’ lives through creating fine-art portraits.
Best Plastic Surgeon | Dr. William R. Burden, M.D., FACS
William R. Burden, M.D., FACS, with Destin Plastic Surgery, holds a dual board certification in plastic and reconstructive surgery as well as general surgery. Burden’s years of experience and dedication to staying on the forefront of his field have made him a widely respected plastic surgeon with referrals from across the United States and abroad.
Best Pool Building/Service Company | Cox Pools
Cox Pools is a family-owned and operated business that has served Northwest Florida for more than 50 years. Cox begins meeting each customer’s needs through product design and construction; it continues its commitment to quality service by providing a full line of pool maintenance accessories, as well as a solid warranty.
Best Real Estate Agency | Legendary Realty Inc.
Specializing in both commercial and residential real estate, Legendary Realty Inc., owned by Destin’s Legendary Inc., has played a significant role in the Emerald Coast’s amazing evolution. The company’s current developments include Regatta Bay, HarborWalk Village and Destin Commons. For sales and rentals of homes condos, office, retail and industrial space, Legendary Realty has the Emerald Coast’s real estate needs covered.
Best Real Estate Agent | Brent Lamb
As respected Realtor at Sea Sotheby’s International Realty in Destin, Brent Lamb is dedicated to helping you celebrate your dreams of buying or selling property on the Emerald Coast. Striving not only to meet his client’s expectations but to exceed them, Lamb provides the specialized real estate service you deserve.
Best Rug Retailer | Rug Décor
Rug Décor, located in Destin, is affiliated with the country’s largest national rug specialty company. The showroom features a variety of colors, sizes and styles to complement almost any interior theme. And Rug Décor offers a best-price guarantee to ensure that it won’t be undersold.
Best Spa Services | Serenity by the Sea
Welcome to paradise. Offering an extensive list of rejuvenating treatments to suit any mood, Serenity by the sea Spa in the Hilton Sandestin will dissolve your stress in no time. Treat yourself to a gift of relaxation and rejuvenation and visit this 12,000-square-foot luxury spa.
Best Travel Agent | Davis Travel & Tours
Davis is your personal vacation planner, ready to accommodate any travel wishes by offering monthly specials, group tours, fun-filled cruises and even local packages. This Niceville firm offers the assistance of trained agents to make each vacation a special and memorable experience.
Best Vacation Rental Service Firm | Newman-Dailey Resort Properties
Let Newman Dailey Resort Properties help you find the perfect accommodations for your Northwest Florida getaway. This leading Destin-based management company has provided rental homes and condo across the Emerald Coast to thousands of visitors since 1985.
Best Veterinarian | Airport Veterinarian Clinic
Kelly Haeusler, D.V.M., and the staff of Airport Veterinarian Clinic in Destin are committed to providing the best possible care for your furry, four-legged, finned or feathered family members. This full-service animal hospital also offers boarding care and is conveniently located near the Destin airport for travelers.
Best Wedding Planner | It’s A “Shore” Thing Wedding & Event Planning
No matter how simple or complex, the process of planning a wedding can be overwhelming. It’s your day, so forget the stress and discover the possibilities with It’s A “Shore” Thing Wedding & Event Planning. This full-service wedding design firm offers customized planning and coordination services that are tailored to meet your personal needs. You can trust this team of professionals to make your wedding come together seamlessly.
The Best Wedding/Reception Venue | Rutherfords 465
With exceptional service and incredible cuisine, Rutherfords 465, located at the heart of Regatta Bay in Destin, has established a strong reputation for catering some of the finest events in the region. From intimate, quiet weddings to black-tie, gala-style nuptials, Rutherford’s 465’s professional catering and events staff can make your wedding a dream come true.