Best Billboard (2000)

Tony's signage on the Southwest Freeway at Kirby

To grab your attention, billboards should be as explosive as a child's temper tantrum, and just as unsubtle. Vasectomy reversal! Who's the father?! When half's not enough! The best billboards are amusing as much for what they don't say as for what they do. "The church found out about our family planning!" "The asshole won't fess up to fathering the kid!" "I'm going to bleed the cheap son of a bitch for every penny he's worth!" Tony's signage on the Southwest Freeway is the perfect example: "Why fly to MANHATTAN?" it purrs, then shouts. "Tony's. Houston's great restaurant." The subtext smacks of residual boomtown arrogance and insecurity: Doesn't everyone dash off to the Big Apple for fresh Atlantic salmon in béarnaise sauce? Tony's alone will rescue us from our own inferiority complex; it will soothe our frazzled nerves and remind us that we don't have to jet halfway across the country for a decent meal, for God's sake. We can finally stop the insanity and enjoy a four-star meal right here in Houston.READERS' CHOICE: Absolut on West Loop 610


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