Best Of Payson Results Revealed

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It's the little things that make the difference in a winning business -- the clerk who offered a genuine smile, the salesperson who treated you as a human being rather than a commission opportunity, the restaurant server who truly apologized for an error in your order and then surprised you with a free dessert.

The dessert, the smile and the sincerity are not huge innovations that launch a business far ahead of the competition, but they do help provide that winning edge -- an edge often overlooked by big businesses.

Every year, Roundup readers are asked to share their choices of favorite people, places and businesses in Rim Country.

The Roundup reader poll is not scientific. It doesn't involve demographic research, computer statistics or calculated margins of error. It simply asks residents for a recommendation -- like a friend might ask where to find a good steak or a tasty donut.

The top three recommendations from our readers are listed.

Often in life, it's the simple things that make a memory or create a cherished moment with friends and family.

The poll results provide an opportunity for residents to get out and share something new -- whether it's an appetizer, a cheesy slice of pizza, a shredded beef burrito or a good place to fish. The section also recognizes some of the people who serve the community in different ways, such as our police and firefighters, local artists and musicians.

They are just one more part of what makes the Best of Payson and what makes Payson the best.

SHOPPING AND SERVICES

BEST ANTIQUE SHOP

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Mary Goddard welcomes antique lovers to Granny's Attic, a multi-dealer antique emporium where you're sure to find just the right piece for your collection. Granny's Attic is a repeat winner in the category Best Antique Shop.

First Place: Granny's Attic

Second Place: The Carpenter's Wife

Third Place: Tie -- Somewhere in Time Antiques & Collectibles/Moose Mountain Gifts and Antiques

BEST THRIFT SHOP

First Place: Time Out Thrift Shop

Second Place: Payson Senior Center Thrift Store

Third Place: Almost New Shop

Item of interest: The Pine Senior Center Thrift Store placed fourth in this category. The readers' favorite thrift stores all raise funds for charitable endeavors including a domestic violence shelter, hospital equipment and the Rim Country's elderly.

BEST GROCERY STORE

First Place: Safeway

Second Place: Bashas'

Third Place: Wal-Mart

BEST MASSAGE

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Debra Hooper is just one of the talented massage therapists at Payson Day Spa. When our readers want to leave the stresses of the day behind, they prefer the magic hands and soothing theme rooms, like the sea room, at Payson Day Spa.

First Place: Payson Day Spa

Second Place: Body Elegance Day Spa

Third Place: The New Ewe

Note: The Garden of Eden received fourth place in this new category.

BEST PAINT STORE

First Place: Payson Paint & Supply

Second Place: Main Street Paint and Decorating

Third Place: Ace Hardware

Note: The Home Depot was the fourth-place vote-getter in this category.

BEST AUTO REPAIR SHOP

First Place: Wicks Auto Service

Second Place: Fletcher's Tire and Auto Service

Third Place: Payson Driveline

Note: Other big vote-getters in this category were Steve's AC Delco and Chapman Auto Center.

BEST AUTO PARTS STORE

First Place: Checker Auto Parts

Second Place: Auto Zone

Third Place: NAPA Auto Parts

Note: This was a very close race.

BEST HARDWARE STORE

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Harvey Clifford is just one of the ‘helpful hardware' men and women who are a big part of the reason Ace Hardware was again voted Payson's Best Hardware Store by Roundup readers.

First Place: Ace Hardware

Second Place: The Home Depot

Third Place: Foxworth-Galbraith Lumber Company

Item of interest: Once again, Ace Hardware dominated this category, proving "Ace is the place" for Roundup readers who participated in our poll.

BEST HEALTH FOOD/VITAMIN STORE

First Place: Back To Basics

Second Place: GNC

Third Place: The Herb Stop

Note: Back to Basics received a big majority of the votes in this category. Bashas' finished in fourth place.

BEST INSURANCE AGENCY

First Place: Simmons Crabdree Insurance Agency, Inc.

Second Place: American Family Insurance/Geoff Wolf

Third Place: State Farm Insurance/Ted Pettet

BEST FLORIST

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Owner Marilyn Dedman (center) and designers Jackie Scott (left) and Gale Gardner of Payson Florist and Gifts can create a floral arrangement or gift basket for any occasion. That's why their shop is tops with our readers.

First Place: Payson Florist & Gifts

Second Place: Flowers by June and Gifts

Third Place: Finishing Touch Flowers and Gifts

Item of interest: Even though it's primarily a grocery store, the Safeway floral department received enough votes to finish in fourth place again this year.

BEST BARBER SHOP

First Place: Payson Barber Shop

Second Place: Rim Barber Shop (Al's)

Third Place: Twin Pines Barber Shop

BEST BEAUTY SALON

First Place: Payson Day Spa & Salon

Second Place: Lemon Tree Hair Design

Third Place: Back Street Salon

Note: With more than two dozen beauty salons competing, these were the top shops in our annual readers' poll. Swiss Beauty Connection finished in fourth place.

BEST BANK

First Place: Chase (formerly Bank One)

Second Place: Bank of America

Third Place: Wells Fargo Bank

Note: Chase (formerly Bank One) climbed to the top spot from a third-place finish last year. The Stockmen's Bank received fourth place.

BEST TIRE STORE

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Big O Tires was the top vote-getter this year in the Best Tire Shop category. Service manager Bob Lessard, manager Brian Bowman and staff work hard to provide quality tires at reasonable prices for Rim Country motorists.

First Place: Big O Tires

Second Place: Fletcher's Tire and Auto Service

Third Place: SWJ Tires

BEST CONVENIENCE STORE/GAS STATION

First Place: Maverik

Second Place: Safeway Gas

Third Place: Giant

Note: With gasoline prices soaring to record highs all across the nation in 2005, our readers found the best gas prices in town at these stations. Circle K finished in fourth place.

BEST GIFT SHOP

First Place: Payson Candle Factory

Second Place: The Carpenter's Wife

Third Place: Moose Mountain Gifts and Antiques

BEST HOTEL/MOTEL

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Scott Nadel, general manager of Majestic Mountain Inn, is proud to be our readers' favorite in the first-time category Best Hotel/Motel.

First Place: Majestic Mountain Inn

Second Place: Best Western Inn of Payson

Third Place: Tie -- Days Inn/Holiday Inn Express

Note: In this debut category, readers chose the elegant Majestic Mountain Inn as the lodging they most recommend to out-of-town guests.

BEST PHARMACY

First Place: Walgreens

Second Place: Tie --Safeway/Wal-Mart

Third Place: The Apothecary Shop

Note: Walgreens dominated this category again this year, while Bashas' pharmacy earned fourth place.

FOOD AND DRINK

BEST PLACE FOR BREAKFAST

First Place: Beeline Cafe

Second Place: Crosswinds Restaurant

Third Place: Cedar Ridge Restaurant

Note: Country Kitchen finished in fourth place.

BEST PLACE FOR LUNCH

First Place: Macky's Grill

Second Place: Chili's

Third Place: Crosswinds Restaurant

Note: Fourth place is Cedar Ridge Restaurant inside Mazatzal Casino.

BEST RESTAURANT FOR DINNER

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Chef Gerardo Moceri knows the recipe for pleasing the palates of Roundup readers. Fresh ingredients and authentic Italian specialties brought Cucina Paradiso a victory in the Best Restaurant for Dinner category.

First Place: Cucina Paradiso

Second Place: Diamond Point Shadows

Third Place: Cedar Ridge Restaurant

Note: With a multitude of choices for dinner spots, these restaurants made the best impression on our readers. Chili's was the fourth-place favorite.

Best RESTAURANT FOR CHILDREN

First Place: McDonald's

Second Place: Tie -- Chili's/Crosswinds

Third Place: Denny's

BEST APPETIZER

First Place: Chili's

Second Place: Macky's

Third Place: Fargo's Steakhouse

Item of interest: Cedar Ridge Restaurant finished in fourth place. If you'd like to sample some of our readers' favorites, here they are: Chili's serves up several tasty appetizers including Awesome Blossom, Southwest Eggrolls and Boneless Buffalo Wings. Readers recommend Macky's Texas Toothpicks and Chicken Wings. The favorite appetizers at Fargo's are Coconut Shrimp and scallops. Coconut Shrimp and Shrimp Cocktail were favorites at Cedar Ridge.

BEST SANDWICH

First Place: Arby's

Second Place: Tie -- Macky's/Subway

Third Place: Crosswinds Restaurant

Item of interest: Our readers chose Arby's Market Fresh and Roast Beef as their favorite sandwiches. Macky's burgers and Cowboy Melt tied for second place with Subway's turkey sandwich. The Crosswinds Special and Turkey Melt came in third. A fourth-place finish in this category went to the Cousins club sandwich.

BEST COOKIE

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Bashas' bakers Vickie Rackley, Peggy Vaughn and Dawn Baker were a hit with our readers. They won again this year for Best Donut/Pastry, and claimed the new category, Best Cookie, too.

First Place: Bashas' Bakery

Second Place: Safeway Bakery

Third Place: Subway at Wal-Mart

Note: In this first-time category, our readers' fourth-place choice was Wayne's Donut and Deli.

BEST FRENCH FRIES

First Place: McDonald's

Second Place: Wendy's

Third Place: Macky's Grill

Note: The fourth-place winner in this category was a surprising choice -- Del Taco.

BEST PIZZA

First Place: Pizza Factory

Second Place: Pizza Hut

Third Place: Domino's

Item of interest: The brick-oven pizza at Cucina Paradiso was the fourth-place favorite.

BEST STEAK DINNER

First Place: Diamond Point Shadows

Second Place: Fargo's Steakhouse

Third Place: Cedar Ridge Restaurant

Note: These were the top three vote-getters in the Best Steak Dinner category last year as well.

BEST BAR/TAVERN/ SALOON

First Place: The Ox Bow Saloon

Second Place: Mad Dawg's and Mel's

Third Place: Tie -- Buffalo Bar and Grill/Famous Sam's

Note: The Ox Bow Saloon often features live entertainment, making them a reader favorite. Chili's finished in fourth place.

BEST CHINESE FOOD

First Place: Sesame Inn

Second Place: Tie -- The Mandarin House/Wok Express

Third Place: Great China Buffet

BEST MEXICAN FOOD

First Place: El Rancho

Second Place: La Sierra

Third Place: Alfonso's

Note: Fiesta Mexicana earned fourth place.

BEST PLACE FOR A BUSINESS LUNCH OR DINNER

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Tiny's Family Restaurant was our readers' choice for Best Place for a Business Lunch or Dinner. Owner Teresa Sellis invites you to try Tiny's for your next meeting or party.

First Place: Tiny's

Second Place: Country Kitchen

Third Place: Crosswinds Restaurant

Note: Another reader-recommended restaurant for a business lunch or dinner was fourth-place finisher Cucina Paradiso.

BEST FAST FOOD RESTAURANT

First Place: Wendy's

Old-Fashioned Hamburgers

Second Place: Burger King

Third Place: Tie -- Arby's/McDonald's

Note: Jack in the Box received fourth place among Rim Country readers on the go.

BEST HAMBURGER

First Place: Macky's Grill

Second Place: Burger King

Third Place: Tie -- Crosswinds/Wendy's

Note: Chili's finished in the fourth spot for best burger.

BEST TACO

First Place: Alfonso's Mexican Restaurant

Second Place: El Rancho

Third Place: Taco Bell

BEST BURRITO

First Place: Alfonso's Mexican Restaurant

Second Place: El Rancho

Third Place: La Sierra

Item of interest: Alfonso's dominated our readers' choice for Best Burrito. Taco Bell came in fourth.

BEST FISH FRY

First Place: Diamond Point Shadows

Second Place: American Legion

Third Place: Crosswinds Restaurant

Note: Rye Bar and Grill was the fourth-place favorite for best fish fry.

BEST CUP OF COFFEE

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From a simple cup of coffee to a half caf/decaf carmel macchiato, Roundup readers prefer the fresh-brewed taste of Starbucks -- winner of the Best Cup of Coffee category again this year. Barista Elizabeth Olson will whip up your favorite with flair.

First Place: Starbucks

Second Place: Fireside Espresso

Third Place: Tie -- Beeline Cafe/Roadrunner Espresso

BEST DONUT OR PASTRY

First Place: Bashas' Bakery

Second Place: Wayne's Donuts & Deli

Third Place: Safeway Bakery

Note: With a big win in the new Best Cookie category, Bashas' is a clear favorite for baked goods.

BEST MARGARITA

First Place: El Rancho

Second Place: Chili's

Third Place: Fiesta Mexicana

Item of interest: El Rancho was the hands-down favorite in this category, winning by a large margin.

PEOPLE

BEST LOCAL MUSIC GROUP OR SOLOIST

First Place: John Carpino and the Hot Cappuccinos

Second Place: Junction 87

Third Place: Bob Morgan and Fay Lumley

BEST ARTIST

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Ruth Overton was named Best Artist by Roundup readers this year.

First Place: Ruth Overton

Second Place: Don Harmon

Third Place: Tie -- Rock Newcomb/Cori Richman

BEST LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER

First Place: Don Engler

Second Place: Tie -- Donny Garvin/Todd Bramlet

Third Place: Bob Bonney, Sheriff's Office

BEST FIREFIGHTER

First Place: Gary Vohs

Second Place: Mike Brandt

Third Place: Tie -- Toby Waugh/Henry Jandayan

BEST STORE CLERK

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For a cheerful check-out experience, Roundup readers recommend Wal-Mart cashier Terry Gould. He rang up a win in the Best Store Clerk category this year.

First Place: Terri Gould, Wal-Mart

Second Place: Ken Lenzi, Roadrunner Espresso

Third Place: Tammy Stevens, PostNet

Item of interest: George Nusshart of Safeway was the fourth-place winner.

RECREATION

BEST PLACE TO FISH

First Place: Woods Canyon Lake

Second Place: Roosevelt Lake

Third Place: Green Valley Park Lakes

Item of interest: Blue Ridge Reservoir finished in fourth place.

BEST PLACE TO HIKE

First Place: On the Mogollon Rim

Second Place: Tonto Natural Bridge

Third Place: Fossil Creek

BEST ARIZONA DAY TRIP

First Place: Tonto Natural Bridge State Park

Second Place: Sedona

Third Place: Grand Canyon

BEST HISTORIC SITE IN RIM COUNTRY

First Place: Zane Grey Cabin

Second Place: Tonto Natural Bridge

Third Place: Strawberry Schoolhouse

Item of interest: Other historic sites recommended by readers were Shoofly Ruins, Tonto National Monument and The Ox Bow Saloon.

BEST PLACE TO CATCH UP ON GOSSIP

First Place: Wal-Mart

Second Place: Beeline Cafe

Third Place: Roadrunner Espresso

Note: Other popular places to gossip were beauty shops, barber shops, the Senior Center, the post office and Your Roundup online discussion board.

BEST PLACE TO MEET SINGLES

First Place: Ox Bow Saloon

Second Place: At church

Third Place: Famous Sam's

Item of interest: Many ballots listed answers such as "nowhere," "none," "not in Payson."

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