Best of Columbia 2014

Best Weathercaster winner Sharon Ray from KMIZ.

Best Weathercaster winner Sharon Ray from KMIZ.


Well Columbia, you’re a tough crowd to please. This year, we counted and verified nearly 420,000 votes for the people, restaurants, businesses and organizations that lift up our community and bring us together. A few winners continue their uninterrupted reigns, while others are just beginning to break into the cultural fabric of our community.

You voted for the movers and shakers you follow; the businesses, eateries and storefronts you frequent; and the innovators and influencers whose passions drive this city. The winners on the following pages are a hard-working, deserving bunch, but they owe much of their success to you, CoMo.

Although Best of Columbia celebrates the very best Columbia has to offer, it also celebrates the tremendous amount of support and love that Columbians give to one another as an eclectic group of driven entrepreneurs, academics, athletes, restaurateurs, representatives, artists, business owners and citizens. Here’s to you, CoMo. You’re the best!


TV Newscaster
News anchor Meredith Hoenes, KMIZ-TV17, is often reporting the news on the fly, but did you know she also enjoys fly-fishing? And Nutella? This University of Missouri School of Journalism grad is the source for breaking news in mid-Missouri. Before joining the ABC 17 News team in September 2011, Hoenes worked with KRIS-TV in Corpus Christi, Texas, KSHB-TV and WDAF-TV in Kansas City, and KOMU-TV 8 here in Columbia. While in Kansas City, Hoenes was nominated for several regional Emmy Awards. This is her first year winning Best of Columbia TV Newscaster.
Silver: Megan Judy, KOMU-TV 8
Bronze: Angie Bailey, KOMU-TV 8

TV Weathercaster
Mid-Missouri is home to some of the most fickle weather trends in the country, and we’ve just endured one of the most indecisive winters in recent memory. KMIZ-TV 17 Chief Meteorologist Sharon Ray steered Columbia through it all. For more than 10 years, the self-described tomboy has delivered forecasts to mid-Missouri with KMIZ and holds the prestigious American Meteorological Society’s Seal of Approval. When she’s not covering or tracking weather systems, Ray enjoys fishing and spending time with her family.
Silver: Dave Schmidt, KOMU-TV 8
Bronze: Eric Aldrich, KOMU-TV 8

TV Sportscaster
He’s on a roll! KOMU-TV 8 sports director Chris Gervino secures the title for Best TV Sportscaster for the seventh year in a row. After graduating from Mizzou’s journalism school in the late ’80s, Gervino worked as the sports director at KMIZ-TV 17 and KFRU-AM 1400 Radio. He joined KOMU about 13 years ago, and continues to keep mid-Missourians on top of all things sports while also hosting the “KOMU Sports Show” Sunday nights. You’ll also recognize him from the University of Missouri coaches’ shows.
Silver: Rod Smith, KRCG-TV 13
Bronze: Tyler Fulghum, KMIZ-TV 17

Radio Personality/Team
As everyone’s favorite morning DJ duo, you can count on Clear 99’s Scotty & Cara to bring you the best country jams for your morning commute. According to Scotty, the pair’s favorite part of hosting the show on KCLR-FM 99.3 is that they get to do something different every day — or at least, every week. Scotty says he also loves that he and Cara have the ability to support different charities around town through their work.
Silver: Simon Rose, KBXR-FM 102.3/KFRU -AM 1400
Bronze: Cosmo & Whitney, Y107 KTXY – FM 106.9

Gold: Justin Willett, Columbia Daily Tribune
Silver: Caroline Dohack, Columbia Daily Tribune
Bronze: Steve Walentik, Columbia Daily Tribune

Solo Musician
This Chick-fil-A and sweet tea-lovin’ singer/songwriter recently relocated to Dothan, Ala. Originally from Columbia (and a Mizzou alum), Clay Cumbie’s love for all things music began at a young age and blossomed into a country singing career. Cumbie has had the opportunity to travel all over the country and has shared the stage with popular country artists such as Luke Bryan and the Zac Brown Band. When he’s not playing gigs or writing new songs, Clay likes to play golf, snowboard and spend time with his friends and family.
Silver: Tom Andes,
Bronze: Ruth Acuff,

Visual Artist
Drawing from art historical references, painter David Spear chooses aesthetics that resonate with particular viewers. From regionalism to post-modernism, Spear attempts to tie the boundaries of different movements of art together through public works, communal collaborations, gallery showings, teaching and charitable causes.
Silver: Lisa Bartlett,
Bronze: Kate Gray,

Local Band
Blues, R&B, classic rock, big band, jazz and soul music … the Norm Ruebling Band can play it all. You’ll find this rockin’ band at just about every important event in town — including the Best of Columbia party on April 17.
Silver: Man In The Ring,
Bronze: The Hooten Hallers,
Local Athlete
Gold: Carl Edwards, NASCAR,
Silver: Henry Josey, Mizzou football, @I_AM_HJOSEY20
Bronze: Molly Kreklow, Mizzou volleyball, @kreklow1

Ultimate Volunteer
Gold: Cindy Mustard, Voluntary Action Center, Mustard Seed Fair Trade
Silver: Chuck Everitt, Tiger Quarterback Club, Columbia Youth Football League, Columbia Chamber of Commerce
Bronze: Michele Spry, Columbia Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Network, Midway Heights Elementary School Partnership

School Principal
As a former assistant principal, athletic director and student at Rock Bridge High School, current principal Jennifer Mast is no stranger to the school’s inner workings. With 16 years of education experience under her belt, Mast is a more than capable successor to her predecessor, Mark Maus. In her first year as principal, Mast oversaw a huge change: matriculating freshmen into the Rock Bridge student body.
Silver: Tracey Conrad, Hickman High School
Bronze: Kim Presko, Battle High School

Local Coach
After a victory over Oklahoma State University in the 2014 Cotton Bowl, Missouri Tigers head football coach Gary Pinkel is now the winningest coach in Mizzou history. With a recent contract extension (for a cool $3.1 million per year, no less), Pinkel is here to stay at least through Dec. 31, 2020.
Silver: Wayne Kreklow, Mizzou women’s volleyball
Bronze: Frank Haith, Mizzou men’s basketball

Local Author
Gold: Michele Spry, Tom T’s Hat Rack
Silver: William Least Heat-Moon Blue Highways; Prairyerth; River-Horse; Columbus In The Americas;Roads to Quoz; Here, There, Elsewhere; Writing Blue Highways
Bronze: Laura McHugh, The Weight of Blood

Local Blogger
Gold: Mike Martin,
Silver: Scott Rowson,
Bronze: Kate Canterbury,

Elected Official
Long-time Columbia resident and legislator from Missouri’s 45th District, state Rep. Chris Kelly has served in the Missouri House for 18 years. When he’s not working on state budget appropriations, Kelly can be found tweeting, skiing, whitewater canoeing, serving his community or spending time with his two grandchildren — all while wearing a bowtie.
Silver: Mayor Bob McDavid, @bobmcdavid
Bronze: State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, @KurtUSchaefer

Local Physician
With more than 1,000 physicians in Columbia, for one to be named the Best of Columbia is saying something. Dr. Holly Bondurant, who practices with Tiger Pediatrics, is a Tiger through and through. She completed her undergraduate studies, medical school and pediatrics training at the University of Missouri and has been with Tiger Pediatrics for more than 17 years. Bondurant has two Tigers-in-training, and keeps Tiger cubs around Columbia happy and healthy day in and day out. 303 N. Keene St., Suite 404, 573-777-7627
Silver: Dr. Adam Wheeler, Tiger Pediatrics, 303 N. Keene St., Suite 404, 573-777-7627
Bronze: Dr. Marvin Mack, 900 Rain Forest Parkway, 573-449-2216



Overall Restaurant
For the past 20 years, Flat Branch Pub & Brewing has worked its way into the hearts and stomachs of Columbia residents. The restaurant is always overflowing, so it’s no wonder Flat Branch won best overall restaurant for the fourth year in a row and took home awards in two other categories this year. Whether you’re munching on the signature beer bread or sipping on one of the brewed-in-house beers, Flat Branch always serves it up right.115 S. Fifth St., 573-499-0400
Silver: Murry’s Restaurant, 3107 Green Meadows Way, 573-442-4969
Bronze: CC’s City Broiler, 1401 Forum Blvd., 573-445-7772

Outdoor Dining
Gold: Flat Branch Pub & Brewing, 115 S. Fifth St., 573-499-0400
Silver: Les Bourgeois, 12847 W. Highway BB, Rocheport, 573-698-2133
Bronze: Bleu Restaurant & Wine Bar, 811 E. Walnut St., 573-442-8220

Barbecue Restaurant
This local barbecue place does it all: pulled pork, brisket and even turkey. It is no wonder Buckingham Smokehouse BBQ was voted the best barbecue joint for eight years in a row. Owner Mark Brown opened a second location last August on St. Charles Road to spread the barbecue love around town. 3804 Buttonwood Drive, 573-499-1490; 5614 E. St. Charles Road, 573-777-7711
Silver: Lutz’s BBQ, 200 E. Nifong Blvd., 573-636-4227
Bronze: Lonnie Ray’s BBQ, 81 E. Sexton St., Harrisburg, 573-874-0020

Breakfast Place
Gold: Ernie’s Café and Steakhouse, 1005 E. Walnut St., 573-874-7804
Silver: Café Berlin, 220 N. 10th St., 573-441-0400
Bronze: Broadway Diner, 22 S. Fourth St., 573-875-1173

Famous burgers, can’t-beat prices and legendary stories await customers at Booches Billiard Hall. Booches has been a major downtown destination for many years and doesn’t show any signs of changing. From the nondescript storefront to the sheets of wax paper on which the famous burgers are served, Booches has a style all its own. 110 S. Ninth St., 573-874-9519
Silver: Five Guys Burgers & Fries, 2703 E. Broadway Bluffs Drive, 573-777-4568; 233 N. Stadium Blvd., 573-777-4564
Bronze: Billiards on Broadway, 514 E. Broadway, 573-449-0116

Coffee House
Gold: Kaldi’s Coffee, 29 S. Ninth St., 573-874-2566
Silver: Lakota Coffee Co., 24 S. Ninth St., 573-874-2852
Bronze: Starbucks Coffee Co., 2500 Broadway Bluffs Drive, 573-442-4951; 304 S. Ninth St., 573-442-5802; 2901 W. Broadway, 573-445-0367

Ice Cream/Custard/Frozen Yogurt
Located in the heart of The District, Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream is probably best known for its quirky collection of paintings and less-than-traditional flavors such as Figs & Caramel, Biscuits & Gravy and Pumpkin Curry. Sparky’s even offers options for its adult audience with flavors such as White Russian and Les Bourgeois & Ghirardelli. The parlor opens in late February to kick off the True/False Film Fest and keeps on scoopin’ through November; Sparky’s is also open on Fridays, Saturdays and “nice days” during January and February. 21 S. Ninth St., 573-443-7400
Silver: Andy’s Frozen Custard, 610 N. Cooper Drive, 573-442-8866
Bronze: Cold Stone Creamery, 904 Elm St., 573-443-5522

Asian Restaurant
Gold: Bangkok Gardens, 811 Cherry St., 573-874-3284
Silver: Chim’s Thai Kitchen, 3907 Peachtree Drive, 573-777-8626; 210 N. 10th St., 573-355-9590; 11505 Smith Hatchery Road (Cooper’s Landing), 573-657-2544
Bronze: House of Chow, 2101 W. Broadway, 573-445-8800

Mexican Restaurant
Two words that inspire joy in Columbians young (but legal!) and old alike: dollar margaritas. True to its name, every Thursday Las Margaritas offers $1 lime margaritas all day long. Other claims to fame include traditional favorites such as creamy guacamole and fajitas, as well as new favorites such as the Francisco burger or deep-fried pork ribs. If you’re looking for affordable food that doesn’t sacrifice quality, Las Margaritas is a must. 10 E. Southampton Drive, 573-442-7500
Silver: El Maguey, 901 E. Nifong Blvd., 573-874-3812; 21 Conley Road, Suite U, 573-443-7977
Bronze: Agave, 901 Safari Drive, 573-256-5611

New Restaurant Opened In 2013
With new restaurants popping up all over town, Pizza Treestands taller than the rest and has won over Columbia’s taste buds. Originally sold inside Mojo’s, Pizza Tree isn’t your typical bar food, with homemade pretzels and seven specialty pizzas. Sadly, Pizza Tree closed its doors this winter, but don’t start crying yet; we have a feeling there may be a second chance on the horizon for you to get your Pizza Tree fix. Keep your taste buds primed.
Silver: Freebirds World Burrito, 1020 E. Broadway, Suite F, 573-474-1060
Bronze: Cheerleader Pub & Grill, 1400 Cinnamon Hill Lane, 573-442-6066

Late-Night Dining
Gold: Murry’s Restaurant, 3107 Green Meadows Way, 573-442-4969
Silver: El Rancho, 1014 E. Broadway, 573-875-2121
Bronze: Broadway Diner, 22 S. Fourth St., 573-875-1173

Gold: Sub Shop, 209 S. Eighth St., 573-449-1919; 2105 W. Worley St., 573-449-1919; 212 Green Meadows Circle, 573-449-1919; 601 Business Loop 70 W., Suite 203 (Parkade Center), 573-449-1919
Silver: Pickleman’s Gourmet Cafe, 1106 E. Broadway, 573-875-2400; 2513 Old 63 S., 573-886-2300; 3103 W. Broadway, Suite 105, 573-875-0400
Bronze: Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, 1019 E. Broadway, 573-815-0043; 4008 W. Broadway, 573-256-1661; 212 Corporate Lake Drive, 573-499-4442; 912 Rain Forest Parkway, Suite A, 573-256-7600

Gold: Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen, 217 N. Stadium Blvd., 573-443-5299
Silver: CC’s City Broiler, 1401 Forum Blvd., 573-445-7772
Bronze: Chris McD’s Restaurant & Wine Bar, 1400 Forum Blvd., Suite 6, 573-446-6237

Sports Bar
Gold: D. Rowe’s Restaurant & Bar, 1005 Club Village Drive, 573-443-8004
Silver: Trumans Bar & Grill, 3304 Broadway Business Court, Suite D, 573-445-1669
Bronze: Shiloh Bar & Grill, 402 E. Broadway, 573-875-1800

Osaka Japanese Restaurant, Sushi Bar & Hibachi Steakhouse
is one part Hibachi grill, one part sushi bar and one part karaoke bar. If karaoke isn’t your thing, the excitement of watching flames soar up to the ceiling while your food goes through twists and turns on the hibachi grill until it is finished will be enough entertainment. On the menu, Osaka offers something for everyone, from deep-fried Agedashi tofu to beef and chicken teriyaki combinations for meat lovers. 120 E. Nifong Blvd., Suite A, 573-875-8588
Silver: Sake Japanese Bistro & Bar, 16 N. 10th St., 573-443-7253
Bronze: Kampai Sushi Bar & Restaurant, 907 Alley A, 573-442-2239

Beer Menu
Gold: Flat Branch Pub & Brewing, 115 S. Fifth St., 573-499-0400
Silver: 44 Stone Public House, 3910 Peachtree Drive, 573-443-2726
Bronze: 1839 Taphouse, 212 E. Green Meadows Road, Suite 2, 573-441-1839

Happy Hour
The convenient times and buy-one-get-one-free appetizers during The Heidelberg’s happy hour are hard to beat. The Berg offers not just one happy hour, but two, with a late-night happy hour menu as well. 410 S. Ninth St., 573-449-6927
Silver: Houlihan’s, 2541 Broadway Bluffs Drive, 573-815-7210
Bronze: Trumans Bar & Grill, 3304 W. Broadway Business Park Court, Suite D, 573-445-1669

Food Truck
Food trucks are quickly becoming a Columbia staple, and Pepe’s Taco Truck is at the front of the pack. Between burritos, quesadillas, tacos and a wide selection of meats, anyone can find a favorite on the mouth-watering menu. Craving Pepe’s but not sure where to go? Never fear! Pepe’s keeps an updated calendar online that shows the food truck’s location on any given date. Beloved for its inexpensive, versatile and delicious food, Pepe’s is a one-stop shop for authentic Mexican, 573-443-5299
Silver: Ozark Mountain Biscuit Co.,, 573-999-9323
Bronze: Jamaican Jerk Hut,, 573-694-6086

A Columbia favorite, Shakespeare’s Pizza is serving up delicious pies all over town and has captured the Best Pizza title for the seventh year. Columbians enjoy the consistently rockin’ pizzas, friendly service and quirky brand. Did you know Shakes offers a trip for two to the moon? Seriously, visit the online “Giftie Shop.” 225 S. Ninth St., 573-449-2454; 3304 Broadway Business Park Court, 573-447-1202; 3911 Peachtree Drive, 573-447-7435;
Silver: G&D Pizzaria, 2101 W. Broadway, 573-445-8336
Bronze: Pizza Tree, 573-8PIZZA5 (573-874-9925),

Girls’ Night Out
Gold: Canvas on Broadway, 106 E. Broadway, Suite 100, 573-443-2222
Silver: Tropical Liqueurs, 515 E. Broadway, 573-442-8098; 3805 S. Providence Road, 573-256-7141
Bronze: Penguin Piano Bar, 1025 E. Broadway, 573-449-8005

Guys’ Night Out
Gold: 1839 Taphouse, 212 E. Green Meadows Drive, Suite 2, 573-441-1839
Silver: Shiloh Bar & Grill, 402 E. Broadway, 573-875-1800
Bronze: Trumans Bar & Grill, 3304 Broadway Business Park Court, 573-445-1669

Wine List
The Wine Cellar & Bistro serves up farm-fresh cuisine and a wine list that has received The Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator magazine every year since 2005. Diners can enjoy a world-class meal, and the choice of 1,000 different bottles of wine. 505 Cherry St., 573-442-7281
Silver: Bleu Restaurant & Wine Bar, 811 E. Walnut St., 573-442-8220
Bronze: CC’s City Broiler, 1401 Forum Blvd., Suite 6, 573-445-7772

Cheap Eats
This family-owned and operated restaurant does things old-school style. The Aslanidis family’s G&D Steakhouse has been serving a mix of Greek and American classics to Columbians for more than 40 years. Gyros, steaks, sandwiches, fries, pies and salads are go-to fare. Oh, and then there’s the service. Let’s just say when you’re dining with G&D, you’re family. 2001 W. Worley St., 573-445-3504
Silver: Booches Billiard Hall, 110 S. Ninth St., 573-442-4969
Bronze: El Rancho, 1014 E. Broadway, 573-875-2121



Gift Boutique
Gold: Poppy, 920 E. Broadway, 573-442-3223
Silver: Bluestem Missouri Crafts, 13 S. Ninth St., 573-442-0211
Bronze (tie): Mustard Seed Fair Trade, 25 S. Ninth St., 573-449-6166; Tallulahs, 812 E. Broadway, 573-442-9550

Wine & Spirits
Gold: Hy-Vee, 25 Conley Road, 573-442-7703; 3100 W. Broadway, 573-447-0133; 405 E. Nifong Blvd., 573-442-8595
Silver: Macadoodles, 455 E. Green Meadows Road, 573-443-1825
Bronze: Top Ten Wines, 111 S. Ninth St., Suite 160, 573-442-2207

Men’s Clothing Store
Gold: Binghams Traditional Clothing, 827 E. Broadway, 573-442-6397
Silver: Dillard’s, 2300 Bernadette Drive, 573-876-8600
Bronze: Jos. A. Bank, 2300 Bernadette Drive, 573-447-3813

Women’s Clothing Boutique
No matter what type of event you’re dressing for, Elly’s Couturehas it all. Elly’s is Columbia’s favorite closet to shop for everything from cocktail dresses for an evening out with your girlfriends to jeans for your casual weekend to that perfect blazer to rock at your next job interview. Over the past eight years, the locally owned and operated boutique has expanded to carry handbags, jewelry, shoes and independent designers. Elly’s is CoMo’s one-stop shop for women of all ages. 914 E. Broadway, 573-499-4401
Silver: Swank Boutique, 913 E. Broadway, 573-256-4795
Bronze: Envy, 814 E. Broadway, 573-442-0712

Pet Boutique/Pet Supply Store
As a haven for pets and their owners, Lizzi & Rocco’s Natural Pet Market goes above and beyond to make sure the furry family members of all Columbians have everything they need to be happy and healthy — from all-natural shampoos and waterproof aprons at the self-service washing station to regular holiday parties and events. Owners Jessica and Kyle Schlosser and their trained and knowledgeable staff will help you find the best product for your pet. 503 E. Nifong Blvd., Suite J, 573-875-2288
Silver: PetSmart, 229 N. Stadium Blvd., 573-447-0145
Bronze: Treats Unleashed, 1400 Forum Blvd., 573-234-2275

Jewelry Store
Gold: Buchroeders Jewelers, 1021 E. Broadway, 573-443-1457
Silver: L.C. Betz Jewelers, 601 E. Broadway, Suite 303, 573-449-1070
Bronze: Tucker’s Fine Jewelry, 100 N. Providence Road, Suite 103, 573-817-1310

Working to give Columbians better vision for more than 40 years, the optometrists, opticians and staff members at Columbia Eye Consultants are committed to providing patients with the best and most comprehensive eye care possible. 500 N. Keene St., Suite 103, 573-874-2060
Silver: Eyemart Express, 2901 W. Broadway, Suite 101, 573-474-4181
Bronze: Andrew Stone Optometry, 2012 Cherry Hill Drive, Suite 201, 573-445-7750