Best of Utah 2015 | Welcome to Year 26 of Best of Utah | Best of Utah | Salt Lake City

Best of Utah 2015 

Welcome to Year 26 of Best of Utah

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Goods & Services

Best Passive-Aggressive Greetings
The Mandate Press
Business cards are fine for business, but handing them around at social occasions is gauche. In eras past, people of good breeding used calling cards. The Mandate Press, owned by Ben Webster (pictured), has brought back this time-honored convention, adding a snarky twist: Sometimes an insult is just what is needed. Available in sets of 25, insult cards are printed on Crane's Lettra 110-pound stock in letterpress black ink impugning the recipient's parking skills or suggesting an anatomically unlikely act. Offend someone in style! Compliment cards ("You kick ass!") and pickup cards ("Breakfast?") are also available.
1077 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-359-4868,

Best Adult Store
The Blue Boutique
At The Blue Boutique, love is love—no one is hung up on orientation, race, kink or fetish. Whatever scene you're into, be it classy, furry, superhero, mega-racy or just about anything imaginable, Blue Boutique strives to meet your needs. Blue Boutique does piercings, too. But even if you're as vanilla as the cake at an Osmond birthday party, this friendly shop is a great place to suit up for a costume party, Valentine's Day or a bachelor/bachelorette bash. Of course, once you try on your gear in private, you might look so good, you'll want to take it for a night on the town at Area 51.
Multiple locations,
2. The Dahlia Room
3. Cahoots Cards & Gifts

Best Antiques/Collectibles
Capital City Antique Mall
One of the best things to come out of the Granary District's gradual revitalization is the Capital City Antique Mall, a corner shop full of oddities and random treasures you just know will make some lucky soul very happy. Read the shop's blog beforehand for a thoughtful perspective on seemingly any item that happened to inspire the owners' imaginations. You might not realize how much you need a porcelain chef spice rack or a Bakelite-handle umbrella until you see one—then you'll wonder how you ever got along without it.
959 S. West Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-521-7207,
2. Now & Again
3. The Green Ant

Best Bike Shop
The Bicycle Collective
As cities all along the Wasatch Front transform themselves into bicycle communities, bike shops are more than happy to sell a new set of wheels to anyone who walks through the door. But how many take the time to teach customers how to care for their bikes properly? The Bicycle Collective has led the charge to build a biking community that is not just bigger, but better and more resourceful. The wisdom of this strategy stands to reason: Cyclists educated about maintenance and safety are customers who remain healthy and stay on the road.
Multiple locations,
2. Contender Bicycles
3. Saturday Cycles

Best Clothing Boutique
The Stockist
Everything about The Stockist is thought-out and stylish, with something for everybody: The women's selection is well curated, up-to-date and stylish, and it's men's department is redolent with a manly fragrance of pine and leather-bound books. The Stockist sells cosmetics for both ladies and gents, along with a surprising selection of accessories: watches, boots ... even motorcycle helmets. Whether the look you seek is hipster or woodsy, badass or Bohemian, The Stockist can help you out with brands like Iron & Resin Outpost, Scotch & Soda and dRA.
875 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-532-3458,
2. Apt. 202
3. Fice

Best Vinyl/CD Shop
Graywhale Entertainment
It's tough being a music lover these days—everywhere you go, the record labels seem to dictate our nation's increasingly narrow (and shallow) musical tastes. That's why independent record stores are still the way to go. Graywhale offers new and used CDs and vinyl, as well as "offload" music—those gems customers listened to in their misspent youths, and later cleared off the shelves to make room for more grown-up selections (which explains the existence of that curiously large Limp Bizkit section). Every life has a soundtrack and, with its vast selection and knowledgable staff, Graywhale can help you choose the best possible soundtrack for your life.
Multiple locations,
2. Randy's Record Shop
3. Diabolical Records


Best Comic Book Store
Black Cat Comics
For the comic-savvy, Black Cat has the largest selection of back issues in the valley. Monday through Saturday, the store is busy keeping a well-rounded collection of both popular and independent materials fully stocked. With its friendly, knowledgeable staff, you'll feel right at home. And, who knows? Those hours you spent poring over every detail of the Fall of Cthulhu or Sensation Comics No. 1 Featuring Wonder Woman may pay off should you strike up conversations with Black Cat clientele. Some of the world's best-loved graphic-novelists come here for signings, including DC Comics' Chad Hardin and Ben Templesmith of Dagon fame. Locals such as Ryan Ottley (Haunt, Image Comics) might show up, too.
Sugar House Shopping Center, 2261 S. Highland Drive, 801-461-4228,
2. Dr. Volt's Comic Connection
3. The Nerd Store


Best Smoke Shop
Smoke Break Huka Outlet
Are you confused by diffusers? Mixed-up about Medwakhs? Don't know your dokha from your shisha? Talk to the folks at Smoke Break Huka Outlet—they'll set you aright without judgment or ridicule. If hookahs aren't your thing, incense sticks, beeswax candles and hand-blown glass items are on offer. Much of the glass is made locally, blown using lungfuls of that Salt Lake City air. Other locally made items include hemp wick—a sustainable alternative to cigar and cigarette lighters. It's easy to find: Just look for a larger-than-life mural depicting the hookah-smoking caterpillar from the 1951 Disney adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.
418 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City; 854 S. State, Salt Lake City; 801-532-9000
2. Borosyndicate Productions
3. Jeannie's Smoke Shop

Best Pet Store
The Dog's Meow
Expert staffers at The Dog's Meow know pet food. And, with such an extensive store inventory and just about every variety imaginable on the shelves, they've got to know their stuff. Pets with special dietary needs might benefit from corn-free, gluten-free or other options for pets with food sensitivities. Pick up some herbal supplements to put the pep in your pooch; and, if you and your cat are more apt to hug trees than climb them, why not try some environmentally friendly litter? The selection of pet toys and treats is fully stocked—who's a good boy?!—and the shop even offers a range of candles and gift items for the two-legged set. You're a good boy! 2047 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-468-0700; 866 E. 12300 South, Draper, 801-501-0818;
2. Paw Paw's Dog Wash & Boutique
3. Mark's Ark Pet Store


Best Swimwear Label
Sapphire Coast Swim
Nyssa Pack had a dream to create swimwear that is fashionable and made with expert craftsmanship to stand the test of time. So, in 2012, Pack and her mother created Sapphire Coast Swim. Pack's designs run the gamut from modest to flashy, from sporty to chic. So, whether it's a red-white-and-blue two-piece, or a single in sea-foam with black highlights, you're sure to find a Sapphire Coast swimsuit that will fit both your personality and your smokin' swimmer's bod. You'll look so good, you may never want to go back to dry land.

Best Bookstore
The King's English Bookshop
Spending a quiet afternoon browsing bookshelves and leafing through the pages of a likely-looking volume is an activity ideally suited to a cool and comfortable bookstore. And The King's English Bookshop is Salt Lake City's bookstore par excellence. From outside, it resembles a cottage residence, and in this case, appearances do not deceive: Once inside, you find the shop divided into rooms stacked floor-to-ceiling with books. And what an extensive selection of books it is! New releases rub spines with classics, while a robust selection of nonfiction keeps good company with early-edition and antique gems. The shop's domestic coziness lends an air of intimacy to book signings and author appearances—it's the next-best thing to attending a private soirée with your favorite author.
1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City, 801-484-9100,
2. Weller Bookworks
3. Ken Sanders Rare Books


Best Consignment/Thrift Store
Sensing a void aching to be filled downtown, IconoClad transformed a wasted strip-mall space on 300 South into one of the hottest consignment shops in Salt Lake City. Always looking to expand its appeal, store buyers often look to local creators to discover what new trends might be brewing. To shoppers, this means IconoClad has a fantastic selection of men's and women's clothing in unique styles and patterns, and a wide range of sizes. In cold weather, the shop also helps the lung-conscious public breathe easier with its line of respirator masks—the sort used by cyclists and graffiti artists—to help make winter inversions a bit more bearable.
414 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-833-2272,
2. Pib's Exchange
3. Namedroppers

Best Myron Floren Incarnation
Paul Pasquali, Accordions International
Among the best accordion stores anywhere is Accordions International, operated by Paul Pasquali, co-founder of the Las Vegas International Accordion Convention. Pasquali, plus Larry Pino and John Tibolla, are a trio of Italian accordionists with Bingham Canyon roots. At age 8, in the early 1960s, Pasquali began performing for his Copperton Elementary schoolmates. And he kept it up, performing in every talent assembly at West Jordan Junior High and Bingham High School. While attending BYU, he began performing professionally. Later, he opened his own store, selling not just accordions and accessories, but a world-class, handcrafted digital/acoustic accordion—the Concerto—developed by Pasquali himself. Too few people still play this most expressive of instruments. But if you feel a polka or serenade moment coming on, Pasquali is there for you.
1760 S. 450 West, Salt Lake City, 801-485-5840,


Best motorcycles With Soul
Salt City Builds
Created by brothers Seth and Jason "Rev" Clark, this South Salt Lake motorcycle shop has been building some of the finest cycles you'll find anywhere. The Clarks have the passion and single-minded drive of true motorheads, painstakingly crafting the parts they need to put together their sweet custom builds. At the shop, experienced riders can find plenty that will enhance the ride, while new owners can get a better idea of what a bike can become under the hands of inspired craftsmen. From the dirtiest dirt bike to the flashiest Harley, the Clarks work wonders on every beast that rolls through their garage.
2212 S. West Temple, No. 17, Salt Lake City, 801-810-9794,

Best Relief Society
The Matrons of Mayhem
It's hard to believe, but there was a time when people played church bingo and no drag queens were involved. In those days, bingo was a tedious game all about letters and numbers and cards and prizes. Yawn. Fortunately, in recent decades, the Matrons of Mayhem have rescued that pastime from its own inertia. Now it's about the wigs and the balls and, especially, the "party fouls!" Third Friday Bingo at First Baptist Church is a monthly charitable event that goes to help all sorts of worthy causes—and, even though it's a fundraiser, the Matrons are on hand to ensure that everybody has a fabulous time. So forget everything you thought you knew about bingo. That was "B-4."
First Baptist Church of Salt Lake City, 777 S. 1300 East, Salt Lake City, held the third Friday of each month, 7 p.m.


Best Punk Records
Raunch Records
Raunch Records is known for its broad selection of gritty punk, as well as dub and reggae, recordings. All the accoutrements you need to maintain your rock & roll lifestyle—posters, hoodies, stickers, skateboards—are on offer. You'll need to devote at least an hour to browse through the records and admire the vintage '80s vinyl covering an interior wall. But when owner Brad Collins gets to talking, it's easy to lose track of time. Friendly and well-informed, with a long history in the record business (in 1983, he began selling records out of his apartment, and opened his first official store in 1998), Collins can enlighten you on just about any music-related topic.
1119 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-6077

The ParkSLC app
OK, now that those parking monoliths have been around for a while, and the city got most of the bugs pretty much worked out, the mere sight of a blue kiosk doesn't automatically propel the average Salt Lakers into a state of blind rage anymore. But, admit it: Every time you plug coins or slide a card into one of those slots, you die a little bit inside, right? Fortunately, there's an app for that. ParkSLC streamlines pay-parking downtown and makes life a little bit more convenient. The app is available for iPhone from the App Store, and from Google Play for Android, once you download the app and authorize a payment method, you'll never have to touch one of those infernal blue things again.

Best Spun Wonderment
Blazing Needles
Sure, you want a wool Pendleton sweater as much as the next lumberjack, but it will run you a couple bills—and $200 can buy a lot of beer, aka "the lumberjack's friend." But what alternative is there to plunking down that kind of cash? You can either call Grandma or knit your own. However, if you're more comfortable wielding an ax than a pair of needles or a crochet hook, Blazing Needles provides free beginning knitting classes on Saturday mornings. Once you get the hang of "knit one, purl two," check out the store's wide selection of fibers, particularly wool and wool blends. There's just something about rows upon rows of yarn that warms a lumberjack's heart.
1365 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-487-5648,


Best Homegrown Backpacks
Velo City Bags
That North Face backpack you just dropped $180 on? Sad to say, it's not the coolest thing in town, despite what the sales rep told you. No, that honor goes to Velo City Bags, a homegrown messenger-bag and backpack shop. Ranging in price from $150 to $200, Velo City Bags are a gear junkie's dream come true. Made from damned tough Cordura fabric and lined with waterproof vinyl, the bags can stand up to the harshest elements. Custom colors and designs are available—options that founder, designer and bagmaker Nathan Larsen can provide—because, well, he's that good.
341 W. Pierpont Ave. Ste. 2, Salt Lake City, 385-202-4181,

Best Bookstore for Dissent
Ken Sanders Rare Books
The shelves at Ken Sanders Rare Books—packed with historic tomes and hidden gems—would never be mistaken for the stacks at an ordinary, run-of-the-mill bookstore. Lifesize cardboard cutouts of George Washington Hayduke, Bonnie Abbzug, "Seldom Seen" Smith and Doc Sarvis stand guard in a mezzanine, while monkey wrenches placed near the Edward Abbey section lend the place an air of dissent. That feeling was reinforced this fall when a mural commemorating the 1915 execution of labor organizer Joe Hill appeared on the building. From the Wobblies to the Monkey Wrench Gang, Sanders has everything a dissident could want to read.
268 S. 200 East, Salt Lake City, 801-521-3819,

Best Park City Boutique Lodging
Washington School House Hotel
During the Sundance Film Festival, area hotels and glam resorts are always booked to the brim. But the hardest room in town to rent is at a place you've probably never heard of: Washington School House Hotel. Return clients book rooms here years in advance because they appreciate the ultra-classy, very private boutique hotel and its 12 luxurious rooms. Care for a glass of wine? Just ask; it's gratis. Need to borrow an iPad? They've got you covered. The service here is as spectacular as the view. The only drawback? You'll want to live here, not just lodge here.
543 Park Ave., Park City, 800-824-1672,


Best Wax
There's no need to fear the pain at LunchBox, a waxing salon that specializes in quick and painless hair removal. LunchBox's estheticians are friendly and professional, disarming even the most nervous client with charm and humor. A split-second of stinging is absolutely worth that smooth skin reward. LunchBox also makes its own products, including waxes, body scrubs, ingrown-hair tonic and hygiene wipes.
1135 E. Wilmington Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-485-9299,

Best Downtown Car Wash
A Car Wash on Broadway
When mud and road salt threaten to corrode your ride's paint job, there's only one thing to do: Wash that sucker. But—unlike the proliferation of fancy shops, restaurants, bike lanes and condos—we don't see a whole lot of DIY car washes in downtown Salt Lake City these days. But there's one: Named, descriptively, "A Car Wash," it's easy to find: Just look for the corner sign bearing an iconic American Indian and the words "Super Pressure." Just bring a pocketful of quarters.
301 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City

Best Local Loaves
Prairie Grain Bread Co.
To Omar Khayyam, "a loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou" was paradise enough—but it wouldn't have been had he been eating the insubstantial, fluffy bread that's all too common these days. In fact, bread might be losing all credibility as the staff of life were it not for Prairie Grain Bread Co. Throughout the past two decades, Prairie Grain has been baking artisan loaves of every style and with every hearty grain imaginable. Its bakers stone-grind wheat daily in the shop, and never add chemical preservatives. Man may not live by bread alone—but once you try Prairie Grain's honey & whole-wheat loaf, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it.
211 W. 3680 South, South Salt Lake, 801-281-4076,

Best Neighborhood Ski Shop
Sports Den
Back before many of the present-day generation of skiers and snowboarders was born, a crew of local snow experts was fixating on all things rad at the Sports Den. Aside from the skyrocketing prices of lift ticket and measurably less snow, nothing much has changed. Diehards and beginners alike still entrust their boots, bindings and skis to the crew at Sports Den. And more than one person has remarked over the years that they trust a single authority on snow conditions in the Cottonwood Canyons: The first-hand word from anyone employed at Sports Den.
1350 S. Foothill Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-582-5611,

Best Mormon Figurine Waystation
The Corner Station, Fairview
Next time you're speeding south on Highway 89 through the Sanpete Valley, hellbound for anyplace but Salt Lake City, slow down a bit and keep an eye out for the town of Fairview, where you'll find this charming gift shop located in a former service station. The shop has any number of interesting items on offer, including wooden toys for the kids, typewriter ribbons and Book of Mormon figurines—including Nephi, Samuel the Lamanite, Capt. Moroni and a stripling warrior., 111 S. State (Highway 89), Fairview, 435-427-5500


Best Aurolite Crystals
Turiya's Gifts
First off, you should know the women at Turiya's Gifts are serious about crystals. They are regulars at the famed Tucson gem show, and each year they bring home some of Arizona's finest crystals and minerals. One of Turiya's newer offerings is the Auralite crystal, which could be mistaken for an amethyst at first glance. But upon closer inspection, these raw, natural crystals start to look and feel like they came from another dimension. Formed more than 1 billion years ago during the Mesoproterozoic Era, Auralite is hand-mined from northern Ontario's Cave of Wonder. Its crystal matrix contains up to 23 distinct minerals. Because of this, it is thought to generate a unique energetic vibration. Check out the vibes for yourself.
1569 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-531-7823,

Best Fancy Paper
Tabula Rasa Social Stationers
From fine leather-bound diaries and journals to Christmas cards, stationery and elegant writing implements, Tabula Rasa offers everything the discriminating scribe might need. The entire Trolley Square shop is an ode writ large to the act of putting pen to page. In the era of touch pads and finger-swiping, the art of fine penmanship is in danger of dying out, and not many people will grieve its passing. But setting words down on paper is an act that defines us uniquely as human. So, in a very real way, Tabula Rasa remains so that we may maintain a vital connection to our own history, and to humanity's collective soul.
330 Trolley Square, Salt Lake City, 801-575-5043,

Best Sandy Time Warp
Sandy Antique Mall
You're adrift in Sandy, when all of a sudden, you see a polar bear! And then—phew!—you realize you're at that treasure trove of nuance and wonder, the Sandy Antique Mall. Home to more than 5,000 square-feet of gorgeous antiques and collectibles on three floors, even the speediest of adventurers would need at least two hours to sift through it all and contemplate how much dough they were willing to blow to turn their home into a wondrous curio cabinet. But after only five minutes, you realize you are better off buying the rare 1980s plush Moishe monster for that certain someone who likes your apartment just the way it is—and you also know such a gift is all that's needed to entice that significant individual into a return trip, where together, you will dive the depths of thrift heaven, home of divine dust and mesmerizing mementos.
8672 S. State, Sandy, 801-568-984,

Best Meridian Magic
Kris Justesen, O.M.D., L.Ac.
Never underestimate how much electricity flows through your body's meridians. When "Dr. Kris" inserts an acupuncture needle into the right spot (really, it doesn't hurt), you often feel an electrical jolt. Then she leaves you alone for a few minutes during the treatment to relax and let the needles do their magic. It's hard to say why it is, but you can almost feel your body saying, "Thanks, I needed that." Dr. Kris is a Utah native who has received advanced training from Chinese doctors. She brings her nearly 30 years of acupuncture experience to bear to help manage pain, heal injuries and improve overall health. Her alternative treatments (among them trigger-point and cold-laser therapies, cupping, gwa sha, moxa and herbal medicine) are a fascinating departure from conventional Western treatments. Plus, her location in the south valley is a boon for canyon recreationists whose strains, bumps and owies often require immediate meridian magic.
Alpine Wellness Center, 1664 Dawn Drive, Cottonwood Heights, 801-263-9380,


Best DIY Auto Parts
All you need at this sprawling auto recycler is a wrench, some elbow grease and little bit of time. Next thing you know, you're walking off with that hard-to-find carburetor or like-new bumper. Need to replace a transmission, but don't want to pay new-transmission prices? Just tear one out of the thousands of neatly aligned autos in the Tear-A-Part yard. Used to be that auto-recycling yards were called junk yards (with the obligatory big guy in bib overalls and even bigger German shepherd). Tear-A-Part is an environmentally sound and sustainable operation, especially when it comes to all those potentially unsafe auto fluids, since Tear-A-Part boasts its own award-winning fluid-extraction system. Its employees are dedicated to sharing their know-how with buyers, sellers and hobbyists alike. Pass the WD-40, please.
652 S. Redwood Road, 801-886-2345, Salt Lake City; 763 W. 12th St., Ogden, 801-564-6960;

Best Ninja Hoodie
Hoodlands & Co.
For those of us who live in environs where the weather stays cold half the year, hoodies are more than functional garments—they're practically a necessity. Utah's icy-cold winters have helped Simone Gordon turn her small enterprise into a thriving clothing line. Whether you need a standard ninja hoodie for your everyday walk in the park, a cowl-hooded hoodie for those discreet moments when you'd prefer to pass unnoticed, or an upscale, custom-designed original to wear at the swankest hoodie occasions, Hoodlands will protect not just your head and face—it'll protect your cred.

Best Women's Gnar Shredding Gear
She Shreds
The brainchild of outdoor-sports enthusiast Gina Duffy, She Shreds bridges the clothing gap for the woman seeking warm winter wear that just fits—both when she's on the slopes, and later when she's hanging out in the lodge. Rather than trying to conform to a one-size-fits-all world, Duffy's designs are tried and tested specifically for active women. Both badass and stylish, Duffy's casual wear blows mainstream designers out of the water. Don't go for what's around; go for what really works.


Best Bull-Penis Putters
Ross Taylor Originals
If you're looking for that special penis present—and who isn't?—look no more. Ross Taylor Originals in West Jordan can fashion your penis—well, of course it's not really your penis; it's the penis of a bull who, for whatever reason, no longer needs it—into a putter, a customized walking cane, a shoehorn, or a hiking staff, plus other specialty products. Ross Taylor can put a sizzle in your pizzle with custom accoutrements such as elk-horn handles, gold and silver coins, arrowheads, American flag emblems and rattlesnake rattles. Each piece is uniquely distinct from all others covered in shiny marine varnish and guaranteed to be sterilized and rock hard stable. Just visit the website and specify the size and measurement that suits your purpose. And you'll be doing it in the knowledge that you're not alone: Jack Nicklaus, David Letterman, Toby Keith and Kenny Chesney are all said to own Ross Taylor Originals.

Best Original Eyewear
The Spectacle
For the past 30 years, John Cottam has been selling all manner of eyewear out of his small shop in Trolley Square. His stock of Ray-Bans was impressive long before the pop singer Taylor Swift turned them into hipster eye candy. The shop has something for everybody, though: In addition to killer sunglasses, Cottam also keeps a range of prescription eyewear in stock. The Spectacle's fine cache of vintage and antique frames and related optical treasures is something to behold. Cottam also does repairs, so if you ever do have an eyewear accident, consult him before purchasing a replacement—oftentimes, he can work wonders, even in cases where the damage appears irreparable.
456 Trolley Square, Salt Lake City, 801-359-2020,

Best Movie Rentals
Tower Theater
OK, we get it: Technology is our friend—the key to solving all the world's problems and ushering in a new, better age. But what happens when technological innovation kills off institutions that exist to make life better—for instance, video stores? With all your RedBoxes and Netflixes, you may be able to find entertainment at the drop of a hat, with little effort, but that gaggle of on-demand stuff has no soul. For that, you have to go to the Tower Theatre. With its lobby walls stocked with DVD titles by offbeat, foreign or just plain weird directors—and a staff who are all movie buffs happy to share their knowledge—this venerable old theater remains an archeological time capsule of human interaction and browsing.
876 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-321-0310,

Best Pet Massage
Loving Your Pets Health Coach
Stroll through the booths at a local pet festival or fair, and it's obvious that dog-walking and pet-sitting have become viable career paths. While many folks now offer those services, one woman, in particular, is ahead of the pack: A decade ago, Aimee Hetzel began working as a veterinary tech when pet owners, sensing the connection that Hetzel had with animals being treated by the vet, began asking her to care for their pets while they were away. She soon got a business license, became insured and bonded, and her pet business was born. Now, in addition to offering traditional pet services—neighborhood hikes, home visits, pet taxi, overnight stays, training and socialization—she works as a health coach for pets, extolling the benefits of pet massage. Just as with humans, massage helps animals relax, heal and more easily cope with life's inevitable aches and pains.

Best Way to Get Cracking
The Joint
When your back starts aching, most often you're told to rest, use ice and take pain pills. Surgery might be recommended in extreme cases. Little wonder so many seek chiropractic adjustments. With two locations, in Sugar House and Cottonwood Heights, The Joint can help—you only need drop in—no appointment needed. After a few good cracks, courtesy of a qualified and capable chiropractor, you may find it's easier to get crackin' yourself. Easy freeway access to both locations and affordable prices, too (only $19 for the first visit), make it easy to get back on track.
6910 S. Highland Drive, Cottonwood Heights, 801-943-3163; 1126 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-8683;


Best VIP Pet Package
Brickyard Kennel
Your four-legged furry friends deserve the best, but you can't take them with you on every vacation and business trip. So why not send Fido on his own glamour getaway? At Brickyard Kennel, canine clients receive cageless day care and private play sessions. Does your Very Important Pup appreciate extra pampering? VIP packages include luxury dog beds, TV or radio noise and additional one-on-one attention. And that very special cat, bird or ferret in your life doesn't have to miss out—Brickyard can board almost any pet.
1221 E. 3300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-486-6007,

Best Shop for Vinyl Collectors
Randy's Record Shop
Old-time party people remember Randy from halcyon days of Sunday parties at the Bongo Lounge. While remaining at home, Randy spun oldies from the '50s, '60s and early '70s, transmitting the mix via telephone. Bongo patrons sung along with wild abandon. Eventually, those patrons grew old, but the music didn't. Over the past 45 years, Randy has developed what started as his own record collection into a grand tribute to all things vinyl. With tens of thousands of LPs and 45-rpms, it's certainly the most impressive collection in Salt Lake City, if not the West. Serious collectors have Randy on speed-dial. So, if you wake up in a sweat 'cuz your collection lacks the 1969 Led Zeppelin debut album with turquoise lettering (a $5,000 or so value), you'll know Randy's the man to call.
Randy's Record Shop, 157 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-532-4413,

Best Leather Love
G's Sole Express
This family-owned shoe-repair shop has been in the business for more than 30 years—getting its start working at the old Broadway Shoe Repair. Ever willing to help those with shoe challenges, G's has been known to stay late to ensure that a desperate customer is properly shod, or to fix a broken heel on the spot. G's repairs handbags as well, and offers a wide selection of shoe polishes, laces and insoles. You'll find a smile here and a "sole mate," to boot.
2239 E. Murray-Holladay Road, Salt Lake City, 801-424-3551


Best Advocate For LGBT Families
Chris Wharton Law
Whether you're LGBT or you put the A in "ally," Chris Wharton wants to give you affordable help with your legal problems. Wharton helps members of the gay community negotiate child-custody arrangements, get birth certificates that reflect their accurate gender, finalize adoptions and fight discrimination. In 2013, he helped lead the team of attorneys that filed an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court arguing for the equal treatment of LGBT families. So when you need someone who understands not only your legal issues, but the value you place on human dignity and respect, Chris Wharton is your man.
10 W. 300 South , Suite 500, Salt Lake City, 801-649-3529,

Best for Bookaholics
Weller Book Works
If you're in an argument over the exact number of wins the Utes football program had in 1976, Google will settle your hash quickly and efficiently. But the Internet doesn't always offer instant gratification. Order a book online, and it could take several days to arrive. Even if you're willing to pay for overnight shipping, you have to wait a whole day. But Weller Book Works will place a book in your hot little hands right now, when you want it. If you're a dyed-in-the-wool bibliophile, there's no sweeter sensation. Bookseller Tony Weller stocks top-notch new and used books, including a large children's selection. Weller also maintains a comprehensive rare-book collection that includes LDS relics, such as a first-edition Book of Mormon.
607 Trolley Square, Salt Lake City, 801-328-2586,

Best Hobnobbing on the Job
Impact Hub
Salt Lake City recently opened one of now 73 worldwide Impact Hubs. These communal office spaces offer collaborative workspaces as well as a venue for events. In 2015, Salt Lake City's Impact Hub relocated from a temporary site to a new 13,000-square-foot space on State Street. Here, you'll find entrepreneurs and nonprofit leaders as well as state workers, lawyers, freelancers and designers mingling, coaching and shoulder-rubbing. Members pay a monthly fee to access the building and have their enterprises housed in the large open space. They can also utilize private offices and conference rooms as needed. The vision, developed locally by Dustin Haggett and former Salt Lake City Councilman Søren Simonsen, was to provide a flexible space for co-working and networking, while incubating new ideas and innovations—yep, some of the best hobnobbing on the job.
150 S. State, Salt Lake City,


Best Boozy Bric-a-brac
In a state where alcohol consumption isn't exactly a mainstay of the dominant culture, you gotta give the folks at Boozetique a big huzzah! for their chutzpah. This cheeky little shop at E3 Modern is a booze-imbiber's delight, with every imaginable item a wine or cocktail connoisseur could need. From standard required equipment like cocktail shakers, wine keys, aerators, wine bags and such, to luxury items such as a gold-plated flask, Boozetique has the booze bases covered. Let's just keep it between us about the flask disguised as a tube of sunscreen ...
315 E. 300 South, Salt Lake City, 801-363-3939,

Best RECORD-STORE Concerts
Diabolical Records
Sometimes, you meet someone who has a dream; sometimes, that dream is to own a record store; and sometimes, that someone is cool enough to make the dream a reality. Diabolical Records was the dream for its owners, Adam Tye and Alana Boscan. Since opening its doors in July 2013, Diabolical Records has found a place in many a music-lover's heart, hosting more than 200 intimate concerts, featuring local and touring artists spanning multiple genres. This record store/venue brings an energy and opportunity to Salt Lake City that's worth supporting, even if it means having to curtail the party until after the show. It's just doing our part to respect the dream. Meanwhile, enjoy the music!
238 S. Edison St., Salt Lake City, 801-792-9204,

Best Skateboards
There's something to be said about having a board that feels just right. But boards break or wear out, and a skateboarder might go through dozens in a lifetime. That's why Goldcoast works hard to craft boards that are sleek and stylish for those just looking to cruise around, while tough enough to withstand punishment from heavy grinders. The style of the boards has garnered national recognition, and Goldcoast's longboards have become a highly desirable commodity among skaters who want that something extra.
150 W. Commonwealth Ave., No. 2, Salt Lake City, 801-521-2480,

Best Hip Replacement
Benjamin Hansen MD
Mick Jagger once sang: "What a drag it is getting old." And "Mother's Little Helpers" can only dull the pain of hip and knee joints that are past their prime. For a permanent fix, you need a talented orthopedic surgeon such as Dr. Benjamin Hansen. He and his team at Salt Lake Orthopedic Clinic have the laser focus to perform what looks to be a grisly procedure (power saws, metal parts and hammers are involved). Yet, they're so skilled that most patients are walking out the hospital doors within days of the operation, blissfully unaware of the training and feats of engineering that made such modern miracles possible. Walk tall, my friend. You just got your stride back, thanks to Dr. Hansen.
Salt Lake Orthopaedic Clinic, St. Mark's Hospital, 1160 East 3900 South, No. 5000, Salt Lake City, 801-262-8486,

Best Photo Resource
Photo Collective
The Photo Collective's interactive photo booths add fun at social events and help create lasting memories. And after five years on the scene, it's expanded into a full-service photo studio and a resource for amateur and professional photographers alike. The new 6,000-square-foot creative space is a fully equipped production studio and is available for social and educational events. With its film- and digital-printing facilities, Photo Collective serves as home studio for its resident photographers. With so much going on at the Photo Collective, we'll just have to watch to see what develops next.
561 W. 200 South, Salt Lake City, 801-364-0104,

Best Herbs in the Burbs
Millcreek Herbs
In 1998, Merry Lycett Harrison established Millcreek Herbs, a resource for those wanting to know how to use herbs. A trained herbalist, Harrison maintains an herbal practice, has written for the Catalyst magazine, and teaches how to grow and use medicinal and culinary herbs. She also leads summertime herb trips in the wild. Her business, Millcreek Herbs, sells botanical tonics such as Thrive. As Harrison goes out in the world, she says she always notices plants growing around town and knows how they can be used to promote health and well-being. The rest of us may be oblivious about such things. Maybe it's time to think green and learn about herbs from a teacher par excellence.
P.O. Box 9534, Salt Lake City, 801-466-1632,


Best Heirloom Tomatoes
Traces Organic Garden
This charming garden center is located in a stately old house on 1100 East, and it hasn't lost its air of domesticity. Here—while shopping for garden implements or organic heirloom seeds, soil, fertilizer, pest control and compost—customers might lose sight of the fact they're in the city, as cats emerge from the bushes to greet them, honeybees buzz among the flowers and birds chatter in the trees. As you wander your way through different paths and shelters, you begin to realize the one-acre garden out back is extensive and full of more organically grown flowers and vegetables than you thought. Next time you're back by the grape arbor, perhaps you'll reach down and give one of the cats a comforting little scratch.
Traces Organic Garden, 1432 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-467-9544,

Best Auto Shop
Clark's Auto & TIRE
Everyone with a car and an eco-conscience should check out Clark's Auto & Tire, a full-service auto-repair and maintenance shop. Owner Alan Boyer has long been interested in sustainable business practices, ever since his days in the Peace Corps in the 1990s, when he witnessed the devastation wrought by commercial deforestation. That experience inspired his passion about sustainable conservation. Clark's Auto & Tire recycles most of its materials—including batteries, tires and metal—and all products sold are ecologically sound. Customers concerned about air quality will find it's easy to talk to the staff at Clark's—they're always willing to spend time and share expertise with customers.
506 E. 1700 South, Salt Lake City, 801-485-2858,

Best Gourmet Crunch
Rooster's Gourmet Popcorn
Locally owned Rooster's Gourmet Popcorn sells more than 50 mind-boggling, scrumptious flavors of popcorn at any given time. Order a custom tin or box of popcorn to ship as a gift for a faraway loved one—and, while you're at it, take a bag home with you to munch on when no one is looking (it's yours; you don't have to share!). Flavored blends such as Brittany's, aka the Chicago mix—a mixture of caramel and cheddar-cheese popcorn—prove that sweet and salty combinations rock! Then there is the truly decadent Rooster's Crunch: caramel popcorn with layers of white and milk chocolate. No wonder these are handed out to celebrities when they attend Sundance or Comic Con. Try Rooster's "flavor boosters" to bring that delicious cheese flavor to your home-popped corn. Go ahead, pop until you drop.
11560 S. District Drive. No. 100, South Jordan, 801-495-4505,

Best Local Athletic Wear
Albion Fit
There's something about looking good that makes heading to the gym a little easier. For unique styles and locally designed athletic wear, check out Albion Fit. Albion produces high-quality swimwear, active wear, lounge wear and children's clothing. Patterns and styles change frequently, and clothes are designed with comfort and durability in mind—so you'll look stylish while you get your sweat on.
50 E. South Temple, Salt Lake City, 801-355-3365,

Best Handmade Dog Collars
Functional is fine, but there's also something within us that responds to flair—that unique individual and personal touch—even when purchasing something as mundane as a dog collar and leash. WoofWare's handmade specialties incorporate colorful, woven nylon, ribbons and all manner of other materials, set up with durable rings and buckles, and in a wide range of sizes. There's even a unique collar made from a recycled (and up-cycled) bicycle inner tube.

Best Up-Do
The Hive on Main
Nothing matches the beauty and glamour of upstyle hair. And if you want to pull it off right, see the artists at The Hive on Main. They'll tease your hair until it whimpers, until Joan from Mad Men turns green with envy. Founded by Dacia Peterson, an esthetician with more than 13 years of hairstyling experience, The Hive is the place to go when you need a special look for a wedding, party or prom.
2150 S. Main, No. 107, Salt Lake City, 801-651-5199,

Best Eclectic Sugar House Bookstore
Central Book Exchange
Old books, new books, cult classics, instruction manuals from the 1960s, Central Book Exchange has it, but you'll have to dig for it. This charming shop has a system of organization all its own. Categories can be oddly specific: "Antiques & Collectibles: Clocks & Watches," "Unexplained Phenomena" and "Veterinarian Medicine" are all in evidence, and for those hard-to-classify titles, you might search through "Miscellaneous." The shop is so magnificently stuffed that it's like navigating a particularly good antique store—and, since it's an exchange, it's constantly bringing in additional titles rescued from attics, garrets and hoarder apartments. Watch for its parking-lot sales, held at regular intervals whenever inventory reaches the bursting point. Bring your own bag, fill it with books, and take it home for $5.
2017 S. 1100 East, Salt Lake City, 801-485-3913,

Best Facial
Avenues Day Spa
Avenues Day Spa is a charming, full-service spa in a remodeled Victorian residence, surrounded by beautiful xeriscaping and red stone steps. Upon stepping through the front door, clients are immediately ensconced in a peaceful, comfortable waiting area before being led to a private spa-treatment room. The spa offers a wide range of facials: European, hot stone, glycolic, peptide peels and more. Services of 30-, 60- and 90-minutes are available—so prepare to be pampered.
455 Seventh Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-519-8181,

Best Eyelash Extensions
S3 Salon
When you need to look extra glam, visit Sarah Schissler at S3 Salon. Schissler can apply eyelash extensions that are so realistic, no one will be able to guess they're synthetic. A stylist for more than six years, Schissler worked at several salons and taught cosmetology at the Paul Mitchell School before opening her own Salt Lake City salon. You'll be able to bat those baby blues (or browns, greens or hazels) with confidence, knowing that Schissler gave you the most gorgeous lashes nature never made.2006 S. 900 East, Suite 112, Salt Lake City, 801-510-3116,

Best Rolling Stones|
Rockpick Legend Co.
Some wrongly imagine they need to be on a road trip to seek out a rock shop. Little do they know how close at hand those rocks really are—and they don't even have to leave Salt Lake City to visit a legendary lapidary. On its Facebook page, Rockpick Legends describes itself as a convenience store offering geologic services and arts & craft supplies. But Rockpick is really just a great place for rock hounds and mineral collectors. Owners Rick & Anita share their love of lapidary work; custom bead work; appraisal and identification; and offering classes, presentations and tours for students and other groups. They also create custom jewelry using sturdy rocks and minerals that you dig up. All you crystal swingers out there, get in here to renew your vibratory forces.
1017 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-355-7952,

Best "Eat Local" Twofer
East African Refugee Goat Project of Utah
Attention gardeners: You can say goodbye to snarled weed trimmers, poison herbicides, ineffective grub hoes and controlled burns apt to turn to conflagrations. When it comes to clearing out brush, poison ivy and pesky invasive plants, nothing works like a goat. Coming soon: A rent-a-goat service, courtesy of the East African Refugee Goat Project. Located west of the Salt Lake City International Airport and sponsored by the International Rescue Committee, this microenterprise is run by refugees from Burundi and Somalia. In addition to providing rental income, the goats can also be butchered and sold for meat.
IRC, 221 S. 400 West, Salt Lake City, 801-328-1091,

Best Refuge for Flower Children
Dancing Cranes
Calling all unrepentant New Agers: This family-owned wonder is a sanctuary of healing, a shrine to creativity and a celebration of art and culture. Uplift the vibes in your home by shopping Dancing Crane's selection of tapestries, wall hangings, ethnic fabrics, yard ornaments, wind chimes and housewares. Its selection of imports from around the globe will match any taste. And, of course, there are crystals, stones, jewelry, musical whimsies, essential oils, trinket boxes, books, incense, calendars, greeting cards tie-dye and batik goods, and sling bags. And best of all, you can top off your fabulous shopping excursion with a bountiful and healthy meal at Solstice Café. Namaste, baby!
673 E. Simpson Ave., Salt Lake City, 801-486-1129,

Best Little Black Dress
Katie Walkman has long been known for her handmade wedding-day jewelry and bridal gifts, but venture into her store at 9th & 9th, and you discover a vision of clothing that is the height of elegance with a touch of European grace. The store opened in May 2013, and makes extraordinary use of the small space to create an intimate and pleasurable shopping experience. Walkman's take on printed blouses and little black dresses is exquisite, mixing simplicity with gorgeous lines. Unlike other stores in the neighborhood, her prices won't chase you out the door. There's also a location in Provo at the Shops at Riverwoods.
962 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 385-227-8977; 4801 N. University Ave., No. 460, Provo, 801-981-4639;

Best Doggie Sleepover
Desert Dog Daycare
Getting your mutt into Desert Dog Daycare is a little like getting your kid into a private school. You need to demonstrate that little Fido or Fifi doesn't bite, has up-to-date shots and socializes well with others. For mutts who pass the entrance exam, this is one of the best-run dog daycare and boarding facilities in town. It's a 9,000 square-foot doggie getaway where pets can run, play, wrestle and relax, all under professional supervision. Having separation anxiety? There's a "dogcam" app available, which streams a live-image feed of that beloved pup to your computer, tablet or smartphone. Hey, even if you don't have a dog at Desert Dog Daycare, it's fun to watch!
1765 S. 900 West, Suite 77, Salt Lake City, 801-886-0364,

Best Eccentric Nostalgia
Albatross Recordings & Ephemera
Buying music on vinyl is on the rise among trendy audiophiles, but in today's digital world, it's not always easy to satisfy one's vinyl urge. Albatross offers a funky selection of music in a broad range of categories, in a setting filled with quirky art and trinkets of all kinds. Collections of old books and movies are sure to grab your attention. It's a little corner of analog individuality in a morass of digital conformity.
870 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City,

Best Female Support
BraBar Boutique
Tucked away in the Foothill Village, the family-owned-and-operated BraBar Boutique helps you on your intimate foray into the brassiere revolution. BraBar's mantra is this: You're wearing the wrong bra. Forget about letters and numbers; what really matters is comfort. We admire the boutique for its inventive cheekiness and the pleasure its experts take their jobs. And, if you're looking for an unusual spot for a birthday party, think how surprising a lingerie shop would be! BraBar is truly a breath of fresh air.
1352 S. Foothill Drive, Salt Lake City, 801-582-2727,

Best Insta-Campfire
EZ Fire
For those of us who never got the appropriate Girl Scout training, starting a fire—whether in a fireplace, a backyard pit or on a camping trip—can seem like it requires an engineering degree. Wouldn't it be much simpler if you could simply drop a match onto a stack of firewood, without the need of crumpled-up newspapers and mountains of kindling? That's what the resourceful people at Holladay-based EZ Fire thought, too—and now we can all live the dream. EZ'a top-lighting firestarter creates a cascade of flame that flows down the firewood, safely igniting everything that should be ignited. Now you can keep your cool while getting warm.

Best Kayak Shop
Wasatch Touring
The Wasatch Front may be well-known for its myriad outdoor sports, but abundant whitewater is not among them. There are plenty of whitewater junkies who reside along the Wasatch Front, though, and anyone itching to drop $1,000 on a spanking-new Jackson Rockstar (you know what I'm talking about),$250 on that sick Astral Greenjacket PFD or $7 on a pair of nose plugs, need not turn to the Internet because Wasatch Touring has, for decades, kindly stocked a clutch selection of paddling gear, despite our high, dry location in the West.
702 E. 100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-359-9361,
Best Marrakesh Market

International Gypsy
Stephanie Panos and Allison Navar decided to take the idea of selling imports in a unique direction: by traveling to international destinations, selecting one-of-a-kind items, and providing those items online during limited-time "flash sales" while they were in those cities. In September, they journeyed to three cities in Morocco and offered artisan merchandise that would be impossible to find elsewhere. And as they traveled, they gathered the stories of the local craftsmen and women for their travel blog, adding a human touch to beautiful work from half-way around the world.

Best T-Shirt Slogan
Bone'n Five Wives
Start with a glass of ice and pour in oodles of Ogden's Own Distillery's award-winning Five Wives Vodka. Fill nearly to the brim with original or spicy Boneyard's Bloody Blend, and you have three things: 1. A helluva cocktail; 2. A bit of ribald fun saying its name aloud; and, 3. A marketing coup for two of Utah's favorite local companies—which is clever enough to stand on its own merits here.
Boneyard's Bloody Blend, 1933 W. 2425 South, No. 25, Woods Cross, 385-777-5425,; Ogden's Own Distillery, 3075 Grant Ave., Ogden, 801-485-1995,

Best Throwback Gifts
Retro Betty
Shoppers are bound to find something extra special at Retro Betty—a Boston terrier-print dress, a plaid bow tie, vintage cameras, glittery birthday candles, pastel cake pans, pineapple-print sneakers, lighted marquee signs and more. Featuring both fashions and home items that hail from a bygone era, Retro Betty provides customers with a singular shopping experience. The shop features items for both women and men, with a huge selection of classic men's shirts, fedoras and cufflinks alongside the racks of vintage dresses with a rockabilly edge. Retro Betty's clothing sizes run from extra small to double extra large, so there's something special there for everyone.
2821 S. 2300 East, Salt Lake City, 801-467-2222,

Best One-Stop Chinese Shopping
Chinatown Market
The largest Asian market in Utah, Chinatown in a Chinese-dedicated plaza in South Salt Lake, offers a wealth of Asian products, jewelry, cooking implements and fresh produce. Along with Chinese food, it can satisfy cravings for Korean and Japanese specialties as well. Surrounding the market is a shopping center where you can also find a tea stand and the Szechwan-style Hot Dynasty restaurant, whose sumptuously long menu includes hot pots and dim sum. With the potential for hours upon hours of dining and shopping pleasure, South Salt Lake's Chinatown is an exotic treasure waiting to be discovered.
3390 S. State, South Salt Lake, 801-906-8788,

Best Sunscreen
Beyond Coastal Sun Care
Utah's high altitudes and Utahns' active lifestyles make sunscreen a highly valued commodity in the Beehive State. Not all sunscreens are created equal, however. Noting that many inactive ingredients in most commercial sunscreens are not beneficial (and may even be harmful), Shawn Biega upgraded that formula using clean, natural ingredients that are less likely to irritate skin or trigger allergic reactions. Beyond Coastal products still offer that crucial, water-resistant UVA and UVB protection, but it also contains extracts and oils not found in major brands. Plus, it's never tested on animals.

Best Friendly Bicycle Shop
Crank SLC
Most cyclists will tell you that all they want from a bike repair shop is to get in and out and back on the road as quickly as possible. Not only do they seek efficiency, but customers also want to feel like they matter. When Crank opened up its location on State Street earlier this year, the shop made a point to get to know its customers and help them out in any way possible. That Crank SLC is a partner in the Green Bike plan also gave the shop the opportunity to introduce the its services to new customers who were just discovering the shop. It's an awesome mentality to have in a growing cycling community.
749 S. State, Salt Lake City, 385-528-1158,

Best All-Encompassing Geekery
End Zone Hobby Center
There are places for people to gather over all kinds of obsessions: comic books, games, sports, toys and more. There are, however, few places where people who love all these things can be satisfied under one roof. That's the allure of End Zone Hobby Center in Clearfield. It gives customers a chance to play new games and even refamiliarize themselves with complicated classic games like Settlers of Catan. End Zone also offers sports cards and sporting memorabilia, as well as vintage collectibles. That LEGO Star Wars set you've been dreaming about? Yeah, they've got it. Think of End Zone as Utah's nerd-vana.
133 S. State, Clearfield, 801-774-5050,

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