High 5 to Best of the Best

By on March 6, 2013

It’s not easy to rise to the top of the pack. It’s even tougher to stay there once you’re king of the hill. So we salute the men and women and business entities that hit the ground running in 2009 when we launched our very first “Best Of” and never looked back. These are the best of the best; the elite from our annual survey who struck Gold five straight years.


Third-generation realtor, Mack Mendenhall, has an infectious smile. The type that shows you he’s a real down-to-earth kind of guy. Our voters love him for that. He was voted Best Real Estate Agent.

With athletic prowess and acrobatic grace, Travis Rice redefined big mountain snowboarding and put Jackson Hole on the map as THE place to huck your meat on a snowboard. He’s been voted Best Athlete.

Smarter than a fifth-grader question: Who is the only mayor you’ve ever known? Mark Barron, the town’s six-term local leader is entering bronze statue territory as a five-time winner of Best Elected Official.

Capt. Bob Morris has been slowing down of late, but the Capt.’s $2 tips, enormous cycling hat, and letters to the editor/radio spots championing the legalization of marijuana are still stuff of legend. Again, he wins Best Politician (that does not hold an office).

Another year, another restaurant added to the Fine Dining chain, and Gavin Fine is up to five Best Of winnings as Best Entrepreneur. He’s up to six restaurants in the Hole and one in Park City.

Affable and entertaining on the street, a bulldog in the ring – David DeFazio was voted Best Lawyer. The “Faz” is the one guy everyone wants on their side when facing a bum rap or a fuzzy land development regulation.

It’s not easy being the best in a profession everyone loves to hate – dentisry, but Scott Larsen and staff make a root canal seem like, well, slightly less terrifying than it could be. Voted Best Dentist yet again.

JH Underground wins the Best Local Website with its odd mix of outdoorsy stuff, music appreciation, and breaking news, making Jim Stanford’s blogspot a daily check-in ritual.

Rena Trail’s been rubbing people the right way for years, even through her own traumatic injury, winning her Best Massage Therapist five years straight.

Mark “Fish” Fishman KMTN morning host has been waking up valley radio listeners for decades and logs in his fifth Best Radio Personality winning.

There are two types of women in Jackson Hole: Those who get their hair “did” at Frost and those who will, all because of Best Hair Stylist Rob Hollis at Frost Salon.

Dr. Dan Forman and wife MJ LaRue continue to set the bar in animal care bringing in five time Best Ofs for their Spring Creek Animal Hospital as Best Veterninary Clinic.

The Bank of Jackson Hole has a small town touch with worldwide clout. You’re a name and a face at BOJH, not a number. It’s no wonder it was voted Best Bank.

They just try harder. And the flowers know this. They bloom more brilliantly for Lily & Co. than anywhere else. Really. Winning Best Florist again. Really.

Out of the ashes of a dying grocery store rises a niche market with specialty diet options and high-end choices. Jackson Whole Grocer wins Best Produce and its upcoming move could guarantee five more years at Gold.

Kevin Humphreys at Cascade Grille wins Best Chef. Will the makeover (to the “Spur”) threaten Humphries’ five consecutive years as top chef? Early reviews at TripAdvisor would indicate not.

Service is friendly and lightning fast at Chinatown. The food is as authentic as you’ll get this far from San Fran… or Beijing, winning Best Chinese Restaurant again.

Best Mexican Restaurant five years in a row, Pica’s Mexican Taqueria is THE outdoor summer seating place to be and be seen. And the margs are two-handers.

They talk about this place in Bangkok. Teton Thai is a favorite with the jet set crowd that knows their Thai and it might be why it won Best Thai Restaurant.

At II Villaggio Osteria the food is superb; the atmosphere: romantico. Voted the Best Italian Restaurant, you’ll come for the pasta; you’ll stay for the wine bar.

Down On Glen wins again. Its downtown location is a hole-in-the-wall with limited parking. The Wilson location is wedged in the corner of a gas station. So why do people keep coming back to D.O.G.’s burritos? Bite into one and see why they are a five-time gold winner of Best Breakfast Burrito.

Watch the early evening sun duck slowly behind the shark-toothed Tetons while the Snake rolls gently by at your feet from Dornan’s outside deck. As Best Restaurant/Bar with a View to dine inside would be criminal.

Salsa is bragging rights, period, and Merry Piglets crafts its homemade and fresh, daily (chips, too), winning gold for Best Salsa once more.

Their sushi bar is mind-boggling and Nikai’s best kept secret: off-the-hook martinis. It has won gold five years running for Best Sushi.

The organic, Fair-Trade, bird-friendly, small-batch roasted coffee cuts it with even the snootiest of coffee snobs. Choose from several regions around the globe at Jackson Hole Roasters, winning Best Locally Roasted Beans.

The Best Cover Band is Mandatory Air. Five years. Two words: Miller sisters. They never turn down a gig. They always play to the audience – something many artists seem to have forgotten.

Trailside Gallery is a destination gallery offering exactly the type of art tourists would expect to find in Jackson Hole. Dazzling works from a roster of more than 100 of North America’s premier Western artists. Voted Best Western Art Gallery, it is bringing in the gold once again.

About Jake Nichols

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