Inside Columbia


Best Of Columbia 2021

By Inside Columbia

In honor of the 15th anniversary of Best of Columbia, let’s take a little trip down memory lane. In the first year of Best Of, our March 2007 issue, Sycamore won Best New Restaurant, Jim Riek won Best Male TV News Anchor and Gumby’s won Best Use of Ranch Dressing (shoutout to Pokey Stix)! And in remembrance of people and places no longer with us, Darwin Hindman won Best Local Politician, Boone Tavern won Best Brunch and Lucy’s Corner Café won Best Breakfast.
Fast forward to 2013 and David Spear won Favorite Visual Artist — you may just see him have another brush with fame as part of our Editors’ Picks in this issue —well-known Nascar native Carl Edwards won Favorite Athlete and the Food Bank’s can-do Peggy Kirkpatrick was the Favorite Do-Gooder.
But, perhaps a trip back to the past isn’t what you were looking for on this page. Maybe it’s more of a trip back to the future, to dig in and find out who the Best of Columbia is this year.
After more than 23,000 votes across 68 different categories, we are so excited to share this year’s winners with you. We tried to give you our best — hope we don’t disappoint!

Food & Drink

Gold: Como Smoke & Fire
Silver: Lutz’s BBQ
Bronze: D. Rowe’s Restaurant & Bar

Best Local TV Personality weather-wise winner Kenton Gewecke of KOMU and Best Social Media Influencer winner Cortney Bohr Vogel enjoy a creative craft brew with Best Bartender Molly Sutton at Logboat Brewing Co.

Gold: Shakespeare’s Pizza
Silver: Pizza Tree
Bronze: G&D Pizzaria

Gold: Just Jeff’s
Silver: Booches Billiard Hall
Bronze: Billiards on Broadway

Gold: Café Berlin
Silver: The Broadway Diner
Bronze: Ernie’s Café & Steakhouse

Gold: Las Margaritas
Silver: Taqueria Don Pancho
Bronze: Casa Maria’s Mexican Cantina

Ice Cream/Frozen Custard
Gold: Andy’s
Silver: Sparky’s
Bronze: Randy’s

Gold: Logboat Brewing Co.
Silver: Flat Branch Pub & Brewing
Bronze: Les Bourgeois

Best Historic Mural David Spear’s newest pièce de resistance, the Blind Boone Mural on College Avenue, pays tribute to John W. “Blind” Boone. Spear’s artwork was originally chosen as a poster in 2015 for Columbia’s annual commemorative poster. This time Spear morphed that design to turn Boone into a giant, 100-foot, piano slamming icon intended to pay tribute to Boone as a man of extraordinary talents, worldwide fame and endless generosity, who overcame great obstacles and fought through adversities with love, kindness and faith, and who can serve as an key inspirational figure to us all.

Gold: CC’s City Broiler
Silver: G&D Steak House
Bronze: Chris McD’s

Outdoor Dining
Gold: Flat Branch
Silver: Las Margaritas
Bronze: Les Bourgeois

Gold: The Grind
Silver: Lakota
Bronze: Love Coffee

Food Truck
Gold: Ozark Mountain Biscuit
Silver: Lilly’s Cantina
Bronze: Big Daddy’s BBQ

Gold: Gooey Butter Cake – Murry’s
Silver: White Choc Strawberry Pie – Peggy Jean’s
Bronze: Crème Brulee – Chris McD’s

Curbside Takeout
Gold: Hoss’s Market & Rotisserie
Silver: Flat Branch Pub & Brewing
Bronze: The Pasta Factory

Gold: Lime Margarita – Las Margaritas
Silver: Mango Habanero – Casa Maria’s
Bronze: Tiger Blood – 44 Canteen

Vegan/Vegeterian Eatery
Gold: Main Squeeze
Silver: BeetBox
Bronze: Nourish Cafés & Market

Onion Rings
Gold: Murry’s
Silver: Just Jeff’s
Bronze: D Rowe’s Restaurant & Bar

Asian Restaurant
Gold: Bangkok Gardens
Silver: Jina Yoo’s
Bronze: House of Chow

Best & Brightest Star Columbia-born country music artist Halle Kearns has performed at venues such as The Blue Note and Rose Music Hall in the past, but now as a Nashville natural, she has made her way to the top of country music charts. Her debut EP “Finally” has had more than 3.6 million Spotify streams since its release in 2020 and charted at number 7 in the U.S. Country iTunes charts and number 5 in the U.K. Keep an eye out for Kearns as a performer at this year’s Roots N Blues N BBQ festival, and an ear out for her on Clear99!


Gold: Dustin Norem – CC’s City Broiler
Silver: Chris McDonnell – Chris McD’s
Bronze: Myah Greene – Park Restaurant

Radio Personality
Gold: Scotty Cox
Silver: Shags
Bronze: Cosmo

Local TV Personality
Gold: Kenton Gewecke – KOMU
Silver: Emily Spain – KOMU
Bronze: Deborah Kendrick – KMIZ

Best Social Media Influencer
Gold: Cortney Bohr Vogel
Silver: Natalie Wier
Bronze: Polly Conner & Rachel Tiemeyer

Volunteer/Community Influencer
Gold: Jane Williams –
Love Columbia
Silver: John Wampler – Lizzy’s Walk of Faith
Bronze: Jen Wheeler – City of Refuge

Gold: Molly Sutton –
Logboat Brewing Co.
Silver: Eddie Mendoza – Delia’s Mexican Grill
Bronze: Andrew Ruth – Barred Owl

Gold: Adam Wheeler –Big Tree Medical Home
Silver: Nic Parks – Silverball/Level Up
Bronze: Francisco Esquivel – Las Margaritas

Gold: Nate Long –
Veterans United
Silver: Jabbok Schlacks – Equipment Share
Bronze: Matt Moore – Shelter Insurance

Wedding Photographer
Gold: Schaefer Photography
Silver: SilverBox Photographers
Bronze: Art & Soul Photography

Radio personalities Liz and Scotty prefer to dodge the question of who is more responsible for their win as Best Local Radio Show with some fun at this year’s Best Kids’ Activities winner, SkyZone. Although Scotty took a little time to warm up to the idea for the photo, Liz made sure he had a ball.

Fitness Instructor/personal trainer
Gold: Jen’s Get Fit Group
Silver: MacKenzie Wells Fitness
Bronze: Jerrell Jackson – API Project Fitness

Gold: Katie Wagner & Erin Hendershott – 573 home team
Silver: The Klempkes – Iron Gate Real Estate
Bronze: Megan Walters – Homes by Megan

Financial Advisor
Gold: Jared Reynolds – WR Wealth
Silver: Denise Nelson – Accounting Plus
Bronze: Gina Mauller-Crane – Edward Jones

Gold: Jeff Hilbrenner – Harper, Evans, Wade
& Netemeyer
Silver: Tyson Mutrux – Mutrux Family Law
Bronze: Andrew Popplewell – Eng & Woods

Tattoo Artist
Gold: Cassandra Stokes – Stone Crow Studio
Silver: Roxane Jeffries – Living Canvas
Bronze: Casey Paul Maddox – Iron Tiger

Insurance Agent
Gold: Phyllis Nichols – State
Farm Insurance
Silver: Nancy Allison – Shelter Insurance
Bronze: Cody Thorne – Naught-Naught
Insurance Agency


Towing Company
Gold: Tiger Towing
Silver: Doug Perry Towing
Bronze: I-70 Towing

Lawn Care
Gold: Columbia Lawn Guys
Silver: Rost Landscaping
Bronze: Salter Lawn Service

Auto Repair Shop
Gold: Mutrux Automotive
Silver: Big O Tires
Bronze: Plaza Tire

Construction Company
Gold: Emery Sapp & Sons
Silver: Coil Construction
Bronze: Hemme Construction

Pet Day Care/Boarding
Gold: Creekside Pet Center
Silver: Woof’s Play & Stay
Bronze: Dog Daze Playcare

Customer Service
Gold: Macadoodles
Silver: Central Bank of Boone County
Bronze: Mutrux Automotive

Home Remodeling
Gold: TrueSon Exteriors and Interiors
Silver: Precision Construction
Bronze: Heartland Home Remodeling

Gold: Columbia Farmers Market
Silver: Logboat Brewing Co.
Bronze: BeetBox

Most Unique Photo Op The Sunset Camper Photobus, a vintage chrome yellow Volkswagen Bus, is the perfect combo of fun and functional. The popup photo tent allows on-site printing for events of any size, owner Karl Bussen says. “We support any event, small or large!” Pretty picture perfect, right?

Wait Staff
Gold: CC’s City Broiler
Silver: 44 Canteen
Bronze: Angelo’s Pizza & Steak House

Pet Supplies/Groomer
Gold: Lizzi & Rocco’s
Silver: Treats Unleashed
Bronze: All Dogs N Cats

Home Repair
Gold: Chapman Heating and Air
Silver: Star Heating and Air TIED with MasterTech
Bronze: Brian Wear Plumbing

Insurance Agency/Group
Gold: Shelter Insurance
Silver: State Farm Insurance
Bronze: Columbia Insurance Group

Pest Control
Gold: Steve’s Pest Control
Silver: Wingate Pest and Lawn LLC
Bronze: Atkins Inc.

Car Wash
Gold: Club Car Wash
Silver: Gaines Car Detailing
Bronze: Columbia Mall Car Wash

Best Tattoo Artist Cassandra Stokes of Stone Crow Studio sips on a cider at Waves Cider Co., our Editors’ Pick winner for Best Bubbly Beverages. Waves opened in the fall of 2020, the result of Logboat Co-owner Judson Ball’s diagnosis with a severe wheat and barley allergy a few years prior. Keep a brewery-founder from his craft beer, and he’s sure to find an alternative craft. In Ball’s case, it was finding a new wave to ride.


Best Chiropractor
Gold: Chelsey Aitken-Wren – Columbia Chiropractic Center
Silver: Arminta Phelps – Achieve
Balance Chiropractic
Bronze: Ashley Emel – Compass Chiropractic

Retirement Living
Gold: Lenoir Woods
Silver: Bluff Creek Terrace
Bronze: The Terrace

Hair Stylist
Gold: Colissa Nole – Salon Nefisa
Silver: Melissa Kinkade – One Seven Hair and Permanent Cosmetics
Bronze: Allie Linder – Bella Salon

Mental Health Resource
Gold: Compass Health Network
Silver: Burrell Behavioral Health
Bronze: CenterPointe Hospital of Columbia

Place for a Massage
Gold: Riversong Spa and Salon
Silver: Massage Luxe
Bronze: Hands of Healing Touch

Gold: Steve Taylor – Central Missouri Orthodontics
Silver: Kent Willett – Willett Dental Associates
Bronze: Chase Patton – Chase Patton DDS

Gold: Boone Health
Silver: Women’s and Children’s Hospital
Bronze: University Hospital

Specialty Health Care
Gold: Columbia Orthopaedic Group
Silver: Advanced Radiology
Bronze: Liberty Family Medicine

Eye care
Gold: Columbia Eye Consultants
Silver: Eye Care of Columbia
Bronze: Andrew Stone Optometry

Gold: Clover’s Natural Market
Silver: Supplement Superstore
Bronze: NutriShop

Local Favorites

Place to take a visitor
Gold: Cooper’s Landing
Silver: Rock Bridge Memorial State Park
Bronze: Flat Branch Pub & Brewing’s Patio

Local Radio Show
Gold: Liz & Scotty In The Morning
Silver: Cosmo & Lauren Y107 Morning Show
Bronze: The Morning Shag with Shags and Trevor

The 573 Home Team Realtors Katie Wagner and Erin Hendershott, winners of Best Realtors, seem right at home as they enjoy a photo op with Best Wedding Photographers, Scott and Shannon Schaefer of Schaefer Photography.

Place to Hear Live Music
Gold: The Blue Note
Silver: Rose Music Hall
Bronze: Cooper’s Landing

Girls Night Out
Gold: Les Bourgeois Bistro
Silver: Paint the Town
Bronze: The Roof

Place to Buy Women’s Apparel
Gold: My Sister’s Circus
Silver: Fringe Boutique
Bronze: The Southern Rose

Place to Buy Shoes
Gold: Dryer’s Shoe Store
Silver: American Shoe
Bronze: Fleet Feet Sports

Best Place to Buy Jewelry
Gold: L.C. Betz Jewelers
Silver: Buchroeders Jewelers
Bronze: Poppy

Winners of Best Wait Staff, CC’s City Broiler’s employees, can’t “wait” to enjoy a show at Ragtag Cinema, winner of Best Place you Missed During COVID.

Best Place you Missed During Covid
Gold: Ragtag Cinema
Silver: Rose Music Hall
Bronze: Midway Golf & Games

Best Place to buy home décor
Gold: Plume
Silver: Poppy
Bronze: Hockman Interiors

Best Place to Work
Gold: Veterans United home loans
Silver: Equipment Share
Bronze: MFA Oil

Best Kids’ ActivitIes
Gold: Sky Zone
Silver: Cosmo Park
Bronze: Level Up

Best Place to Buy a Car
Gold: Drewing Automotive
Silver: Bob McCosh
Bronze: Columbia Honda




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