Shopping & Services

  • Best Caterer

    Adrian's Premiere Catering and Special Events

    We had Thanksgiving catered from Adrian's – delivered to our home, no less – for pennies on the dollar for what it would have cost to cook it ourselves. And could we have duplicated Robert Campbell's succulent turkey or Tina Grimstead-Campbell's perfect po­tato salad? No way! Walk-in customers have learned that they can both place and pick up catering orders… More >>
  • Best Tutor

    Dr. Ellen Clardy

    Mathematician Ellen Clardy, who got her Ph.D. in economics from Rice University, has a love of logic. It shows most astutely when she recommends that potential pupils consider a tutor before October hits — when it's often too late to turn around a lousy semester in algebra. If you really want to conquer algebra (a baffling yet required math course… More >>
  • Best Landscaping Materials

    Natural Earth Products Company

    This rock yard should be a field trip for college geology students. There's a wealth of natural products, all clearly marked and organized, for all of your backyard needs (except maybe grass): limestone, flagstone, gravel, soil, mulch, boulders. They will mentor the do-it-­yourselfer, give guidelines on figuring out how much material you'll need and offer advice on how to lay… More >>
  • Best Sale Rack

    Syms

    There's a television anchorwoman from a nearby state who comes to Houston to spend her annual wardrobe budget in one place. Nope, not the fantastic department store known for its service that begins with "N" (of course, that would be Nordstrom, not Neiman Marcus). It's Syms, that big ol' hulk of a store just outside the beltway. Get beyond their… More >>
  • Best Asian Grocery

    Hong Kong Market No. 4

    There's no place that can compare to Hong Kong Market No. 4. It's probably the best example of the mix of Texan and Asian cultures. Only in Houston can you find an Asian grocery that has adopted the local fetish of building the largest and grandest supermarkets possible. Here you'll find a plethora of products from every Asian country imaginable.… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Coffee Beans

    The Purple Turtle Coffee Company

    Lots of places in the city offer good cups of coffee, but how many offer you a cup or a bag of beans that were roasted that very morning? Take a drive out to La Porte and visit the Purple Turtle Coffee Company, where they roast coffee beans daily. From Ethiopian Genuine Longberry Harrar to Colombian Supremo Huila, this little… More >>
  • Best Bait 'n' Tackle

    Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World

    This sprawling complex in Katy is a sort of Mecca for outdoorsmen. If Armageddon ever comes, this is the only place you'll need. It's your basic one-stop survival shop, selling a variety of guns and hunting supplies and probably everything a man who loves fishing ever needs, and then some. After you've bought your new tackle, you can browse the… More >>
  • Best Convenience Store

    Hollywood Food Store

    This chain of Vietnamese-owned stores has been serving neighborhood patrons with all sorts of needs, at all sorts of hours. No matter if you need to just pick up some milk or want to choose a fresh cigar from the walk-in humidor, this place provides the things commonly found in a normal convenience store and then some. From their fine… More >>
  • Best Hardware Store

    Southland Hardware

    This isn't a mega-size warehouse, and you won't find any people wearing orange aprons here. Instead, you'll find one of the oldest hardware stores in the city and a staff that can help you with the most obtuse of questions. By the time they're done answering you, you'd believe they built the city themselves if they told you so. Making… More >>
  • Best Laundromat

    Haut Wash - CLOSED

    Tucked into a mostly residential part of Montrose, this laundromat is as good as it gets when it comes to laundry day. AM radio nonchalantly fills the place with the music of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, making the chore just a little more digestible. Washers and dryers always seem to be available, so the only waiting you will do… More >>
  • Best Comic Book Store

    Bedrock City

    If you're into comics, anime, action figures, movie posters or goth collectibles, check out Bedrock City. They answer the question "Whadda ya got besides funny-books?" with total logic and verve: "Does the Louvre only house works by Da Vinci?" Owner Richard Evans opened the original location in 1990, and he now sells at three other area locations and online. Bedrock… More >>
  • Best Neighborhood Liquor Store

    Vino's Liquors & Wines

    From bourbons to vodkas, this quaint store holds a well-priced selection of all your boozing needs. But the thing that makes it so great is the incredibly knowledgeable staff. It doesn't matter if you think you know more about drinking than Jack Daniel. Or maybe you just turned 21 and are still trying to figure out how to pour rum… More >>
  • Best Shoe Store

    Premium Goods

    You won't find the latest high heels here, nor will you find ostrich-skin cowboy boots. But plenty of people still line up to buy shoes at this Rice Village-area sneaker boutique. When this sister store of the original Premium Goods in Brooklyn opened in our fine city, it brought with it New York's sneaker-collecting culture. What you'll find here are… More >>
  • Best Toy Store

    Domy Books - CLOSED

    Don't let the name fool you into thinking this Montrose-area store is merely some sort of Barnes & Noble-like local. Domy offers their customers the latest in specialty artist-designed toys. It's one of the only places in town to find a random assortment of Bearbricks or Kid Robot designs. From limited-edition vinyl figures by Kaws and Futura to hand-sewn plush… More >>
  • Best Record Store

    Vinal Edge Records

    For collectors of new and old vinyl, regardless of what genres of music one collects, making the voyage out to this giant music cache near 1960 is like going on a Haj to record Mecca. The first time one visits, it can be more than overwhelming. Cardboard boxes of the most recent store acquisitions cover the majority of the floor.… More >>
  • Best Music Store

    Sound Exchange

    This Montrose-area establishment has been supplying local music snobs with the most epicurean of sounds for years now. No matter if you're looking for the latest vinyl release from an obscure noise band or a self-manufactured CD by a local group, Sound Exchange is the place you're most likely to dig it up. By no means does this little house-turned-record-store… More >>
  • Best Adult Video Store

    Bizarre Times

    Bizarre Times on Richmond lets you cover more vices than most (Houston Press employees excluded) can handle in one night. Of course, there's the porn, with a selection ranging from borderline tasteful to completely horrifying; sex toys, featuring nine variations on The Rabbit; prostitute-esque fetish wear; and "viewing rooms" for "couples." But there's also a wide array of tobacco accessories… More >>
  • Best Bike Shop

    Bike Barn

    So, Bob, heard you need a road bike. You should try Bike Barn. And Emily, I hear you need a mountain bike. You should tag along with Bob. And Frank, you need a cool bike for your kids, right? Dude, go to Bike Barn. Trek, Serotta, Gary Fisher: Bike Barn. Clothes, helmets, parts, repair: Bike Barn. Need anything special-ordered? Yeah,… More >>
  • Best Car Wash

    Bubbles

    Bubbles isn't the cheapest car wash in Houston. But do you want your car to be clean, or do you want it to be kinda clean? The good folks at Bubbles will clean your carriage inside and out, top to bottom, while you chill inside and entertain yourself by looking through merchandise ranging from CDs to books to flip-flops. Or… More >>
  • Best Maid Service

    Maid 4 Texas

    Are you a lazy slob? Do you not like cleaning up after yourself? Well, whether you're lazy or legitimately cleaning-impaired, Maid 4 Texas is your savior. They will tackle your nasty kitchen and your disgusting bathroom. They will disinfect, mop, sweep, dust, vacuum, polish, remove, add and empty. They will undo all of your damage and make your place sparkle.… More >>
  • Best Maternity Clothes

    Mommie Chic

    So there's a tiny, weird-­looking human being living in your body, Alien-style. That's no reason to spend nine months imprisoned in a frumpy muumuu. You have choices, and Mommie Chic wants you to know that. That's why they carry some of the best names in quality maternity fashion, including Olian, Anticipation, Prego, MaMe, Mathew Cole, Belly Basics and Nicole Michelle.… More >>
  • Best Hairstylist

    Mary Catherine Jimenez

    Mary Catherine got her initial training at Toni & Guy when it was still chichi and exclusive — long before you could buy their hair products at, say, a bait 'n' tackle shop in Llano. Though she's worked at several salons and spas during her more than 20 years in the business, a loyal (and gorgeous) clientele follows her —… More >>
  • Best Costume Shop

    Frankel's Costume

    This family-run business has been a Houston institution since 1950. Things have changed a bit since then, and that's a good thing — you can now view costumes and order online. And they have disguises for pretty much everyone — adults, kids, plus-size — from the standard to the more playful. And, of course, pirates! Even if you think you're… More >>
  • Best Novelty Store

    Carmen's Boutique and Video

    So it's two days before Mother's Day and, like an idiot, you forgot all about it again. All the good flowers are probably gone — you need to get her something sweet, and you need it quick. Then you remember: What about that dual vibrating flexidong Mom's always hinting about? And as soon as you think of that, you remember… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Fish

    Central Market

    Are you a fool for flounder? A sucker for salmon? A cuckoo for cod? Ah, well, you probably see where we're going. And that's straight to Central Market, where seafood is delivered fresh six days a week and you'll find one of the biggest selections in the city. And if you're stuck in the same old rut, menuwise, you can… More >>
  • Best Tobacco Store

    The Briar Shoppe

    A past champion reemerges! Nestled in Rice Village, this tobacconist treasure trove has been in business since 1962. Bulk, chewing, rolling, canned — they can meet all your tobacco needs. And if it's a cigar you're after, they have one of the biggest selections in the city. You can find anything from Arturo Fuente to Zino. Ye Olde Shoppe also… More >>
  • Best Resurrected Vintage Shop

    Wear It Again Sam

    If used threads are your bag, baby, then you should know why we're so happy to see Wear It Again Sam...again. The store once graced the vintage strip on Westheimer, but after a dispute with the landlord, owner Sam Van Bibber had to shut it down. These days it's on W. 19th St. in the Heights — the latest hipster… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy CDs by Local Musicians

    Sig's Lagoon

    The perfect bricks-and-mortar store to buy local CDs does not exist. If you wanted to stock everything this city has come up with and continues to churn out — folk, zydeco, hip-hop, blues, rock, jazz, punk, R&B and country — you'd need a store as big as the Astrodome. (Hmm, now there's an idea...) In the absence of that H-Town… More >>
  • Best Apartment Finder

    Adrien Gibson

    We were gonna say Craig's List, but then we found Adrien Gibson, who hangs out on Craig's List and who, despite the inauspicious place for a first meeting, is one helluva apartment hunter. Our friend used Gibson when she was looking for a place a little while back. He asked her what she wanted, where she was looking, what her… More >>
  • Best Candy Store

    The Chocolate Bar/Candylicious

    It's not easy to make high-society, grown-up types look like, well, kids in a candy store, but these sweet slingers manage to pull it off. The Chocolate Bar offers tasty, original-recipe ice cream and cakes along with chocolate-covered everything; and Candylicious sells a variety of traditional and wacky confections, from jelly beans to a plunger sucker that you dip in… More >>
  • Best Florist

    Breen's

    Itís hard to pick a favorite. You have the Bright Day Bouquet, the Mellow Yellow, the Picture Perfect. You could spend quite a long time at Breenís, searching through many beautiful bouquets, looking for the one that expresses exactly what you want to say. And no doubt Breenís will have it, whether itís for graduation, birthday, sympathy, wedding or just… More >>
  • Best Manicure

    Nail'ori

    The camaraderie among the friendly staff — most of whom hail from Vietnam — is a big draw for some of the loyal clientele. But other happy customers, like Thomas Dickerson, who teaches prison inmates how to reduce their risk of catching AIDS, can vouch for something else: "They're so clean," he says. In ten years, we've had the pleasure… More >>
  • Best Fabric Store

    High Fashion Fabric Center

    Four stories of fine fabric is only the beginning of the offerings at High Fashion Fabrics. Besides the yards and yards of silk, velvet, brocade, leather, linen and every other kind of millinery marvel, there's furniture, design books, ribbon, pillows, rugs and design thingamajigs and doodads in just about every corner. The staff is very helpful and, best of all,… More >>
  • Best Local Clothing Designer

    Vanessa Riley

    So she didn't win Project Runway like that other gal in town, but Vanessa Riley has a hot new shop next door to Grotto and across the street from Hotel Derek. If it's a swashbuckling Elizabeth Swann you want to channel, Riley's your frock-maker. With enough ruffled bodices and tight-fitting corsets to make Captain Jack's eyes pop, Riley's clothing is… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy Stuff for a Pirate Party

    Southern Importers

    Want to throw a grog-soaked debauch that would do Blackbeard proud, or a teetotaling little pirates' bash? Either way, Southern Importers has you covered. There, you can not only pick up pirate guy stuff like eye patches, hook hands, sashes, cutlasses and ruffled shirts but also bonny "pirate wench" attire. They'll even hook you up with skull-and-­crossbones tableware, glittering doubloons,… More >>
  • Best Spectacles, Glasses, Optometry

    Reading Glasses To Go

    Getting older ain't so bad when you can do it with flair. The Rice Village outpost of the national Reading Glasses To Go stocks thousands of fashionable reading glasses, including the white ones Meryl Streep wore in The Devil Wears Prada. Quel chic. Wanna look cool while reading Proust at a sidewalk cafe, but need a little help with the… More >>
  • Best Baby Store

    USA Baby

    Packed with high-quality furniture for babies and kids, USA Baby is the place to go when you're looking to outfit your nursery. From beautiful and delicate bassinets to rough-and-tumble bunk beds, from rocking chairs to car seats, it's all at USA Baby. It doesn't matter if you want to create a fairyland for your little princess or a touchdown zone… More >>
  • Best Dentist

    Bruce Smith, DDS

    Bruce Smith is a great believer in "no pain" dentistry. That alone should qualify him for an award, but that's not all Dr. Smith has done to deserve our notice. The dentist, who began his career by doing service work in rural Waller County, came to Houston in 1981 — the beginning of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. When Smith saw the… More >>
  • Best Computer Store

    Apple Store, Houston Galleria

    Okay, all you PC lovers, put up your dukes! It's on! The PC vs. Mac argument has been going for years. It will be years still before that particular consumer struggle is decided, but inside the Apple store in the Galleria, Mac has won. A haven for Mac lovers who are usually relegated to some back corner of the PC… More >>
  • Best Bookstore

    Butler & Sons

    Houston book lovers were crushed a few years back with the closing of Colleen's Books, the ramshackle used book store out on Telephone Road. But good things have sprung from the closure: Now, if you enjoy a little country drive, you can head to Butler & Sons in Rosenberg. Owner William Butler purchased Colleen Urbanek's stock, has added his own… More >>
  • Best Seaside Store

    Gulf Coast Market

    If there is a hub in Crystal Beach, the long, narrow strip of often ramshackle beach houses, tumbledown seafood restaurants and dive bars along the Bolivar Peninsula's Highway 87, the Gulf Coast Market is it. Known locally simply as "the Big Store," this gas station/supermarket/bait camp/hardware store/book­shop/souvenir emporium is as close to big box retail as anything gets in this… More >>
  • Best Barber

    Matt Wright

    Men frequent barbershops less for the trim than for the banter, the testosterone and the taxidermy. The best barbers fall into two categories. There's the cutter who jawbones nonstop on everything. Then there's the quiet man, usually a stooped old-timer, who lets the customer do the yakkety-yakking. Matt Wright falls into the latter category, except he's a young fella who… More >>
  • Best Quilting Store

    It's A Stitch

    Whether you've been quilting for years or are just starting out, It's A Stitch is the place to go. The three Houston-area locations offer the best selection of materials, patterns and threads, not to mention instructional books, movies and loads of fun accessories. The stores also offer classes for every experience level, attracting quilters of all ages.… More >>
  • Best Spice Shop

    Penzey's Spices

    Hang out in Penzey's Spices and a customer will inevitably open the front door and gush, "My, it smells good in here." And it does. The large, austere storefront in the Heights is a sensuous delight with hundreds of varieties of herbs and spices, each with its own smelling jar. And it's none of that stale, MSG-filled stuff you find… More >>
  • Best Aquarium Fish

    Napoleon Wrasse at the Downtown Aquarium

    Originally from the coral reefs of the Pacific, the Napoleon wrasse living in the confines of the Downtown Aquarium is truly a wonder to behold. He looks as if he'd like to strike up a conversation with you – and that he could formulate a good sentence with those huge lips, given the chance. There's a conscious awareness lurking behind… More >>
  • Best Liquor Store

    Spec's Liquor Warehouse

    They call it Spec's Liquor Warehouse because, well, calling a liquor store the size of a large supermarket just a store wouldn't exactly do it justice. This Mecca offers it all, no matter what you're looking to down. If you need a keg for a frat party, they have over 200 different types and sizes to choose from. If for… More >>
  • Best Native Texas Plants

    Joshua's Native Plants and Garden Antiques

    Walking through the maze of plants at Joshua's immediately slows the heart rate, as you lose yourself in a mini-Garden of Eden. Two zebra finches, Dot and Dash, hold court in a faux bois birdcage, stuttering the soothing Morse code that inspired their names. We've seen Joshua Kornegay throw in an extra herb plant, say, as a lagniappe, and his… More >>
  • Best Pet Psychic

    Lai Ubberud

    Lai won "Best Psychic" two years ago, so it's no cowinky-dink that she'd move on to animals once she got people down. Whether she's working with two-, four- or no-legged creatures, she has a freaky way about her, seemingly bridging three worlds — past, present and future. While any pet owner — or, shall we say, anyone owned by a… More >>
  • Best Facial

    Mahssa at Enchanté Day Spa

    Maybe Halliburton can't run a war — much less a country — but one of its former civil engineers can whip your skin into shape! Mahssa burned out on her former career but, lucky for us, became an esthetician and makeup artist. She's as bubbly as you'd expect for someone in the glamour trade, but her grasp of science and… More >>
  • Best Place to Buy a Jolly Roger

    Kronberg's Flags and Flagpoles

    Want to strike terror into the heart of that idiot doing a mere 75 miles an hour in the fast lane on the Katy Freeway? Hoist a Jolly Roger from your car's mainmast — that ought to get them the hell out of the way. Kronberg's Flags and Flagpoles carries the classic, black skull-and-crossbones banner in stock. The real pirates… More >>
  • Best Vet

    West Alabama Animal Clinic

    What can we say about Dr. Danielle Rosser and the staff at WAAC? Woof! What's not to like about a clinic that sports free, adoptable puppies in the waiting room, tiny canine T-shirts with rhinestone sayings like, "My Mother's a Bitch!," premium pet food, a 20-plus-pound cat on the reception desk and Tag, the Golden Retriever who's always ready with… More >>
  • Best Wine Store

    The Tasting Room

    From a single Uptown location to three Tasting Rooms and the überhip Max's Wine Dive, TTR has spread like barnacles on the Black Pearl. It's a wine bar-cum-cafe-cum-super-chic eatery (Max's), but we still like it just as a wine store — a perfect place to pop in after work and grab a bottle to take home for dinner. The walls… More >>
  • Best Thrift Shop

    Value Village Super Store

    While Value Village Super Store has plenty to offer anyone stocking an apartment on a budget, the best part of the thrift store is its stock of weird crap to buy for stupid reasons. You can get an old computer screen to throw off a building for a YouTube movie. You can pick up a VHS preview of CBS's 1991… More >>
  • Best Massage

    Massage Envy

    It had to happen — a chain offering massages at discount rates. And we tired, poor, huddled masses say, "Bring it!" Of 660 clinics nationwide, 20 or so are in the Houston area, lending credibility to the rumor that our city's traffic really does suck. We go to the one in Meyerland; a coworker swears by a skilled masseuse's Swedish… More >>
  • Best Farmers' Market

    Bayou City Farmers' Market

    Farmers' markets are hard to come by in Houston, which is why Bayou City Farmers' Market is such a find. It's tucked away on a side street in the Upper Kirby district, and growers and artisans alike come to peddle their goods every Wednesday and Saturday. Aside from produce, you can find grass-fed beef, fresh baked goods, organic salads, artisanal… More >>
  • Best Antiques Store

    Antique Warehaus

    "Trash and Treasure since 1947," the slogan for Antique Warehaus, says it all. The Montrose-based dive is stacked from dirty floor to raftered ceiling with everything from leather couches and ottomans to flatware and glassware, lamps, old cameras, bar stools and picture frames. It's the city's best, most affordable and unpretentious antiques store.… More >>
  • Best Auto Mechanic

    Shepherd Square Tire & Auto

    We know a driver who fell victim to one of Houston's notorious potholes, leaving half the front underside of his car dragging ominously. He took it to the nearest garage, where they helpfully jury-rigged a solution but told him to get a permanent fix at his regular mechanic. So he took it to Shepherd Square Tire & Auto, near Shepherd… More >>
  • Best Pet Adoption

    Houston SPCA

    If you want to snap up a cute lil' chihuahua, get a really big dog for protection or even snare one of the new hybrids, like a Puggle, for cheap from the Houston SPCA, first you gotta pass muster with the gentle folks there. The organization has you undergo a bit of counseling and education. You'll also have to cough… More >>
  • Best Pool Service

    David's Pools & Spas

    Don't service people generally just scare the crap out of you? They reel off a judgmental tirade laden with technological jargon designed to make you feel like a worm. Where to go, if you're a new pool owner flummoxed by the summertime care and feeding that rivals a newborn baby's? Long before hot weather hits and algae threaten to take… More >>

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