Cover StoryFeaturesGayest & GreatestGayest & Greatest 2023

OutSmart’s 2023 Readers’ Choice Awards Winners

These winners contribute to Houston’s diverse culture.

OutSmart magazine is excited to once again honor our community’s best and brightest—individuals and businesses who were this year’s top vote-getters after OutSmart readers cast nearly 100,000 votes. Read on for the complete Gayest & Greatest awards list, as well as profiles on 13 of these talented community leaders.


Best Local Live Music Venue
White Oak Music Hall
Finalists: KIKI Houston Michael’s Outpost, Numbers Night Club

 Favorite Bar for a Happy Hour
JR’s Bar & Grill
Finalists: BUDDY’S Houston, EAGLE Houston, Michael’s Outpost, Pearl Bar, RIPCORD  

Favorite Bar to Shoot Pool
JR’s Bar & Grill
Finalists: Barcode, BUDDY’S Houston, George, RIPCORD, Tony’s Corner Pocket

Favorite Bar to Two-Step
Neon Boots Dancehall & Saloon
Finalist: La Granja Disco y Cantina

Favorite Club for Dancing
South Beach Houston
Finalists: Club 2.0, EAGLE Houston, KIKI Houston, Numbers, Pearl Bar

Favorite Dance Party
Finalists: La Jungla, Track ID

Best Promoter
Finalists: Brutas Dewayne, CURATEDBYCOY,Flawless Oz, Jacklyn Dior

Best Drag Show in Town
Millennial Dolls
Finalists: Hamburger Mary’s, King Show, Laugh Track, Michael’s Outpost, Misfits!, KIKI Houston, Tony’s Corner Pocket

Favorite Karaoke Night at a Bar
JR’s Bar & Grill
Finalists: Barcode, EAGLE Houston, KIKI Houston, Michael’s Outpost, Neon Boots Dancehall & Saloon, Pearl Bar

Favorite Place to Show Off Your Leather
Finalists: BUDDY’S, Eagle Houston, Tony’s Corner Pocket

Favorite Place to Watch Drag
South Beach Houston   
Finalists: Hamburger Mary’s, KIKI Houston, Michael’s Outpost, Pearl Bar, Tony’s Corner Pocket 

Favorite Place to Watch Male Dancers
JR’s Bar & Grill
Finalists: Buddy’s, EAGLE Houston, South Beach Houston, Tony’s Corner Pocket  

Favorite Trivia Night at a Bar
Finalists: Frost Town Brewing, Michael’s Outpost

Favorite Women’s Bar
Pearl Bar

Favorite Men’s Bar
JR’s Bar & Grill
Finalists: BUDDY’S Houston, Crocker Bar, EAGLE Houston, Michael’s Outpost, RIPCORD, Tony’s Corner Pocket

Favorite LGBTQ Bar
JR’s Bar & Grill
Finalists: Barcode, BUDDY’S Houston, Crocker Bar, EAGLE Houston, George Your Country Sports Bar, Hamburger Mary’s, Michael’s Outpost, Pearl Bar, ReBar, RIPCORD, South Beach Houston, Tony’s Corner Pocket

Favorite Drag Show Bar
South Beach Houston     
Finalists: Hamburger Mary’s, KIKI Houston, Michael’s Outpost, Pearl Bar, RIPCORD

Favorite Ally Bar
Finalists: Axelrad Beer Garden, Barbarella

Best Bar Food
BUDDY’S Houston    
Finalists: Cockpit Bar & Grill, Eagle Eats, Hamburger Mary’s, Michael’s Outpost, REBAR

Best New Drag King
Hugh Stone     
Finalists: Barry Mii Dandy, Juecee Flesh, Kian Kismet, M. Balm, Phuc’ken Hi 

Best New Drag Queen
Astrid West Love   
Finalists: Alexa Bouvier, Juliana Ross, Ophelia Tender Flesh

Favorite Veteran Drag King
Hugh Dandy     
Finalist: Damien, Ian Syder Blake, Shawn Michaels

Favorite Veteran Drag Queen
Finalists: Nyxx Laraye, Regina Dane, Regina Thorne Dubois

Best Pageant King
La’darius Mirage Jackson
Finalists: Ian Syder Blake, Phuc’ken Hi, Sir Debonaire

Best Pageant Queen
Angela Mercy 
Finalists: Chloe Knox, Cyn City, Dessie Love Blake, Muffy Blake Vanderbilt, Sasha Frost 

Favorite Drag King
M. Balm
Finalists: Barry Mii Dandy, Damien, Hugh Dandy, Hugh Stone, Nibblez Zon Bits, Preston Steamed

Favorite Drag Queen
Chloe Crawford Ross     
Finalists: Alexa Bouvier, Carmina Vavra, Persephone, Thee Blackberri, Violet S’Arbleu

Favorite Nonbinary Drag Entertainer
D’Addie D’Vine     
Finalists: Allure Gic, Malevolent

Favorite Drag Show Host/Emcee
Queen Persephone   
Finalists: Amanda Anne Houston, Blackberri, Carmina Vavra, D’Addie D’Vine, Hu’Nee B, Lady Shamu, Violet S’Arbleu 

Favorite Local (Non-Drag) Female Entertainer
Christina Wells
Finalists: Amanda Marie Parker/Belle Be Damned, Angie Moon Mercy, Dawn Sugarbaker Whitney, Kitty Kontour, Lauren Salazar 

Favorite Local (Non-Drag) Male Entertainer
L’Darius Mirage Jackson   
Finalists: Alex Lafemme, Angel Oxl, Borque Whitney Bouvier, Eddie Divas, Ty Frazier  

Favorite Local (Non-Drag) Nonbinary Entertainer
Brutas Dewayne
Finalists: DaddyPrincess, Valencia St. James Monro 

Favorite Adult Film Performer
Silver Steele
Finalist: Ryan St. Michael

Favorite Local Musician or Band
Owen Orion    
Finalists: Isaac Niaz, Space Kiddettes, Uncle Tino

Favorite Female DJ
DJ Rosez
Finalists: DJ Amarji King, DJ Athenz, DJ MLE, DJ VonKiss

Favorite Male DJ
Joe Ross
Finalists: DJ Alex T, DJ Atreyu Frausto, DJ Dicc, DJ Easton Santos, DJ stupid bitch

Favorite Nonbinary DJ
Mel Frausto
Finalists: DJ Kitty, Hyperfemme, Nibblez Zon Bits

Favorite Music Producers
Dirty Disco    
Finalists: DJ Von Kiss, GNDRBNDR, IIRIIS


Favorite Female Local Politician
Lina Hidalgo
Finalists: Abbie Kamin, Ann Johnson, Jolanda Jones, Lesley Briones

Favorite Male Local Politician
Mario Castillo
Finalists: Adrian Garcia, Christian Menefee, John Whitmire, Robert Gallegos

Favorite Nonbinary Local Politician
Ethan Michelle Ganz

Best Female LGBTQ Business Person
Julie Mabry
Finalist: Tammi Wallace

Best Male LGBTQ Business Person
Christopher Barry
Finalists: Charles Armstrong, Doug Smith, Grey Stephens, Tony McClelland

Best Nonbinary LGBTQ Business Person
Chip Ware
Finalist: Shawn Michaels

Favorite Female LGBTQ Community Hero
Tammi Wallace
Finalists: Alexa Bouvier, Courtney Sellers, Heather Tolleson

Favorite Male LGBTQ Community Hero
Brad Pritchett
Finalists: Brandon Mack, Christopher Barry, Ian L. Haddock, Jacques Bourgeois, JD Doyle

Favorite Nonbinary Community Hero
Ethan Michelle Ganz (tie)
Kevin Nguyen (tie)
Finalists: Mike Webb, Nibblez Zon Bits 

Favorite Female Trans Community Hero
B’Yancha Foxx 
Finalists: Alexis Nicole Whitney, Atlantis Narcisse, Joelle Espeut 

Favorite Male Trans Community Hero
Dylan Forbis
Finalists: Emmett Schelling, Ian Syder Blake, Lou Weaver

Favorite Nonbinary Trans Community Hero
Ethan Michelle Ganz 
Finalist: Cameron Stodghill 

Favorite Female LGBTQ Elementary School Educator/Teacher
Samantha Pisarski-May
Finalist: Pam Straker

Favorite Male LGBTQ Elementary School Educator/Teacher
Julio Palacios
Finalists: Jhory Buskey, Matthew Tharp, Paul Fox Gonzales

Favorite Nonbinary Elementary School Educator/Teacher
Damon Whitley   
Finalist: Korrie Bowers

Favorite Female LGBTQ High School Educator/Teacher
Brandi Lira
Finalists: Joan Cotton, Michelle Palmer

Favorite Male LGBTQ High School Educator/Teacher
Austin Dean
Finalist: Roger Woest

Favorite Nonbinary High School Educator/Teacher
Harrow Horst   
Finalist: Brandi Lira

Favorite Female LGBTQ Post-Secondary Educator/Teacher
Maria Gonzalez
Finalist: Eliz Markowitz

Favorite Male LGBTQ Post-Secondary Educator/Teacher
Brian Riedel
Finalist: Brock Taylor

Favorite Nonbinary Post-Secondary Educator/Teacher
Juliann Losey   

Leading Senior-Living Professional
Fred Renninger

Favorite Local LGBTQ Journalist
Zach McKenzie
Finalists: Andrew Edmonson, Ian L. Haddock, Sam Byrd

Favorite Local LGBTQ Influencer
Ryan St. Michael
Finalists: @broadwayhusbands, Connor Dunwoodie “Rye the Guy,” Parents of Trans Youth

Best Local LGBTQ Social-Media Presence
Ryan St. Michael
Finalists: JD Doyle, Montrose Center, Parents of Trans Youth

Favorite Local LGBTQ Instagram Account
Parents of Trans Youth (tie)
Ryan St. Michael (tie)   
Finalist: @Drakeunleashed

Favorite Local LGBTQ Facebook Page
JD Doyle
Finalists: First Christian Church Katy, Montrose Center, Montrose Softball League Association

Favorite Local LGBTQ TikToker
Ryan St. Michael
Finalists: Connor Dunwoodie “Rye the Guy,” Terri Joe

Favorite Local LGBTQ Twitter Account
Finalists: BUDDY’S, Montrose Center, Ryan St. Michael 

Favorite Male (Community) TV Personality
Ernie Manouse

Favorite Female (Commercial) TV Personality
Pooja Lodhia
Finalists: Brani Smith, Cathy Hernandez, Cheryl Mercedes, Debra Duncan, Lauren Kelly, Melanie Lawson, Miya Shay

Favorite Male (Commercial) TV Personality
Derek Shore
Finalists: Chaz Miller, Frank Billingsley, Jacob Rascon, Matt Dougherty, Pat Cavlin, TJ Parker, Travis Herzog, Zach Lashway

Favorite Nonbinary TV Personality
Amanda / Andy Wolfe

Favorite Female (Commercial) Radio Personality
Sarah Pepper
Finalist: Theresa Rockface

Favorite Male (Commercial) Radio Personality
Special K
Finalist: Amir Diamond, Jay Michaels, Rod Ryan

Favorite Female (Community) Radio Personality
Deborah Moncrief Bell   
Finalist: Biconic, Judy Reeves

Favorite Male (Community) Radio Personality
Bryan Hlavinka
Finalists: Andrew Edmonson, Brett Cullum, Jay Michaels

Favorite Nonbinary (Community) Radio Personality
Amanda Wolfe  

Favorite Local LGBTQ Podcast
Queer Voices
Finalists: Let’s Talk About Gay Stuff, Space Case, Y’all Out

Favorite Local LGBTQ Writer
Zach McKenzie
Finalists: Andrew Edmonson, Ian L. Haddock, JD Doyle, Sam Byrd, Scott Damon

Favorite Female Community Photographer
Nora Dayton
Finalists: Chandrayee Soneja, Kali Deming

Favorite Male Community Photographer
Dalton DeHart 
Finalists: Connor Hart, Emilio Coochie

Favorite Nonbinary Community Photographer
Chiugo Akujuobi 
Finalist: Ash Guest

Leading Female Fundraiser
Meleah Jones
Finalists: Angela Mercy, Angie Moon Mercy, Atlantis Narcisse, Courtney Sellers

Leading Male Fundraiser
Roger Woest
Finalists: Borque Whitney Bouvier, Dan Cato, Don Gill, Jacques Bourgeois, Mykey Whitney

Leading Trans Community Fundraiser
Atlantis Narcisse    
Finalists: Alexis Nicole Whitney, Pete Makopoulos-Senftleber

Leading Nonbinary Fundraiser
Kevin Nguyen
Finalist: Nibblez zon Bitz

Leading Female Entertainer Fundraiser
Angela Mercy 
Finalists: Alexa Bouvier, Dawn Sugarbaker Whitney, Ivanna Cupcake 

Leading Male Entertainer Fundraiser
Roger Woest    
Finalists: Borque Whitney Bouvier, Geary Whitney, Mykey Whitney

Leading Nonbinary Entertainer Fundraiser
Nibblez zon Bitz    
Finalist: Chastity St. Cage

Most Prominent Female LGBTQ Activist
Alexa Bouvier   
Finalists: Joelle Espeut, Meghan Fairbanks, Meghan Mooney

Most Prominent Male LGBTQ Activist
Brad Pritchett
Finalists: Brandon Mack, Geary Whitney, Ian L. Haddock, Lou Weaver, Mykey Whitney

Most Prominent Nonbinary LGBTQ Activist
Ethan Michelle Ganz   
Finalist: Amanda Wolfe

Most Prominent Female Trans Activist
Kenia Gallardo   
Finalists: Alexis Nicole Whitney, Atlantis Narcisse, Joelle Espeut, Meghan Fairbanks

Most Prominent Male Trans Activist
Landon Richie  
Finalists: Dylan Forbis, Lou Weaver   

Most Prominent Youth LGBTQ Activist
Cameron Samuels   
Finalists: Landon Richie, Paul Fox Gonzales

Most Valuable Intersex Advocate/Educator
Mo Cortez   
Finalist: Koomah

Most Valuable Female Volunteer
Natalie Ferguson
Finalists: Alexa Bouvier, Angie Moon Mercy, Dawn, Sugarbaker Whitney, Donna Junker, Heather J. Taylor

Most Valuable Male Volunteer
Torque Spec
Finalists: Blair Fullerton, Brandon Mack, Denis Kelly, Luis Adame, Mykey Whitney

Most Valuable Nonbinary Community Volunteer
Ethan Michelle Ganz   
Finalists: Amanda Wolfe, Kevin Nguyen, Nibblez zon Bitz

Most Valuable Female Trans Community Volunteer
Meghan Fairbanks  
Finalists: Alexis Nicole Whitney, Joelle Espeut

Most Valuable Male Trans Community Volunteer
Pete Makopoulos-Senftleber 
Finalist: Simon Willis


Best Female Real Estate Agent
Karen Derr  
Finalists: Aubrie Layne, Debbie Levine, Lynette Lew, Poonam Kapoor

Best Male Real Estate Agent
Brooks Ballard (tie)
David Batagower (tie)
Finalists: Colby Wulf, Danny Pleason, Hudson Holmes, Jason Knebel, Jeremy Fain, Joshua Bernal, Mark A Chupik, Richard Ray, Thomas Eickleberry, William Finnorn 

Best Galveston Real Estate Agent
Hudson Holmes
Finalists: David Bowers, Tom Schwenk

Best Houston Real Estate Website

Best Galveston Real Estate Website
Joe Tramonte Realty Inc

Best Mortgage Company
Cody Grizzoffi, NRL Mortgage   
Finalists: John Frels (Mortgage Guru), Riaz Pooran (PrimeLending)

Best Title Company
Alamo Title – Uptown-River Oaks
Finalists: Chicago Title, Old Republic Title

Best Home Builder
Noble Contractor Solutions
Finalists: Loyd Russel Homes, Sandcastle Homes

Best Home Remodeling Company
Noble Contractor Solutions   
Finalists: C House, Handyman Home Services–Texas City, Shelley Kennedy, VCS Construction & Remodeling

Favorite Rental Community
Law Harrington Senior Living Center
Finalists: The Pearl, The Susanne


Best Political Advocacy Group
Houston LGBTQ+ Political Caucus
Finalists: Equality Texas, Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Legacy Takes Action

Favorite LGBTQ Philanthropic Organization
First Christian Church Katy (tie)
Montrose Grace Place (tie)
Finalists: Bunnies on the Bayou, Diana Foundation, Krewe of Olympus, Legacy Community Health, Montrose Center

Favorite Local LGBTQ Community Organization
Krewe of Olympus
Finalists: Bering Memorial United Church of Christ, First Christian Church Katy, Legacy Community Health–Montrose Clinic, Montrose Center, The Normal Anomaly Initiative, The T.R.U.T.H. Project, Inc.

Favorite LGBTQ Social Group
Krewe of Olympus 
Finalists: Executive and Professional Association of Houston, First Christian Church Katy, Houston Gaymers, Trans & GenderQueer Houston 

Favorite Trans Support Organization
Transparent Closet – FCC Katy   
Finalists: Organización Latina Trans in Texas, Parents of Trans Youth, Save Our Sisters United, The Mahogany Project, Trans Legal Aid Clinic Texas, Transgender Education Network of Texas

Favorite Place to Worship
Bering Memorial United Church of Christ 
Finalists: First Christian Church Katy, Kindred, Resurrection MCC, Westbury United Methodist Church, St. Peter United

Favorite LGBTQ Sports Club or League
Montrose Softball League Association
Finalists: Lone Star Volleyball Association, Space City Rugby

Favorite HIV/AIDS Support Organization
Legacy Community Health (tie)
PWA Holiday Charities (tie)
Finalists: AHF Healthcare Center, Allies in Hope, Avenue 360, Montrose Center, Positive Women’s Network

Favorite LGBTQ Benefit Event of the Year
Bunnies on the Bayou (tie)
Krewe of Olympus Ball (tie) 
Finalists: FCC Katy Transparent Closet Fashion and Drag Show, Mint Julep, Montrose Center Gala, The Diana Awards, Unity Banquet

Best Houston Corporate LGBTQ Diversity Group
MD Anderson Cancer Center
Finalist: Amegy Bank, Chevron, Houston Methodist

Local Business Most Supportive of the LGBTQ Community
BUDDY’S Houston
Finalists: Amegy Bank, EAGLE Houston, Hawthorne Capital, Pearl Bar, Silver Eagle Distributors, Tony’s Corner Pocket

National Business Most Supportive of the LGBTQ Community
Amegy Bank
Finalists: Southwest Airlines, Wells Fargo Bank

Best College or University
University of Houston
Finalists: Lone Star College-Houston North, Rice University 

Favorite Professional Sports Team
Houston Astros
Finalists: Houston Dash, Houston Rockets, Houston SaberCats Rugby

Best Local LGBTQ News Source
OutSmart Magazine  
Finalists: Spectrum South, Transadvocate

Best Local LGBTQ Online Resource
OutSmart Magazine
Finalists: JD Doyle Archives, Montrose Center, Parents of Trans Youth Instagram

Best National LGBTQ Online Resource
The Trevor Project   
Finalist: Out Professionals

Favorite National LGBTQ Organization
Finalists: Human Rights Campaign, Out Professionals, The Trevor Project


Best New Restaurant
Low Tide Kitchen & Bar
Finalists: Citizens of Montrose, Picnik Montrose

Best Food Truck
Eagle Eats
Finalists: Houston Sauce Pit Food Truck, The Pupusa Pocket Food Truck

Best LGBTQ Caterer
NaTosha Barber
Finalists: Chris Legacy, Larry Fogarty

Best 24-Hour Restaurant
House of Pies
Finalists: Katz’s, Shokku Ramen

Best Bakery
Dessert Gallery Bakery & Cafe
Finalists: Common Bond Bistro & Bakery – Montrose, La Sicilia italian Bakery & Cafe, Leona’s Bakeshop, Three Brothers Bakery, Urban Eats

Best Barbecue
The Pit Room
Finalists: Brookstreet BBQ, Demeris Bar-B-Q, Gatlin’s BBQ, Truth BBQ

Best Breakfast
Baby Barnaby’s
Finalists: Empire Café, Epicure Café, Urban Eats

Best Brunch
Brennan’s of Houston (tie)
Riva’s Italian Restaurant (tie)
Finalists: Tex-Orleans, Hamburger Mary’s, Southern Yankee Crafthouse, Urban Eats

Best Lunch Spot
Barnaby’s Cafe (tie)
Urban Eats (tie)
Finalists: Harold’s Restaurant, Bar & Terrace; Hobbit Cafe; Low Tide Kitchen & Bar; Southern Yankee Crafthouse

 Best Deli
Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen
Finalists: Katz’s, Urban Eats

Best Desserts
Dessert Gallery Bakery & Cafe
Finalists: Leona’s Bakeshop, Michael’s Cookie Jar, Niko Niko’s, Urban Eats

Best Hamburger
Barnaby’s Cafe
Finalists: Burger Joint, Lankford’s Grocery & Market, Southern Yankee Crafthouse, Trill Burgers, Urban Eats

Best Hot Dogs
Barnaby’s Cafe
Finalist: Good Dog Houston

Best Dumplings
Dumpling Dudez  
Finalists: Auntie Chang’s Dumpling House, Wanna Bao

Best Pizza
Star Pizza
Finalists: Bambolino’s, Love Buzz, Pepperoni’s, Pizaro’s Pizza

Best Seafood
BB’s Tex-Orleans    
Finalists: Acme Oyster House, Low Tide Kitchen & Bar, Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen

Best Steak House
B&B Butchers & Restaurant
Finalists: Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Laurenzo’s, The Lexington Grille

Best Steak Night at a Bar
BUDDY’S Houston
Finalists: Free Grillin’ at George, Pearl Bar, Southern Yankee Crafthouse

Best Sushi
Finalists: Kata Robata, MF Sushi, Nippon

Best British
The Red Lion
Finalist: Rudyard’s

Best Cajun
BB’s Tex-Orleans
Finalists: Boudreaux’s Louisiana Seafood & Steaks, Ragin’ Cajun

Best Central/South American
Gloria’s Latin Cuisine  
Finalists: El Pueblito Patio, Morfi Argentino

Best Chinese
Mala Sichuan Bistro
Finalists: China Garden Restaurant, P. King Authentic Chinese Food, Pepper Twins

Best Cuban
El Rey Taqueria
Finalist: Cafe Piquet Cuban Cuisine

Best Greek
Niko Niko’s
Finalist: Raja Mediterranean Food & Sweets

Best Indian
Tarka Indian Kitchen
Finalists: Khyber North Indian Grill, Kiran’s, Pondicheri

Best Italian
Giacomo’s Cibo e Vino (tie)
Riva’s Italian Restaurant (tie)
Finalists: Carrabba’s, Damian’s Cucina Italiana

Best Japanese
Osaka Japanese Restaurant  
Finalists: Kata Robata, Oishii

Best Mexican
Chapultepec Lupita (tie)
Tacos Doña Lena (tie)
Finalists: Candente, El Tiempo Cantina, Spanish Flowers, Teotihuacan Mexican Cafe

Best Middle Eastern/Mediterranean
Aladdin Mediterranean Cuisine
Finalists: AL Quick Stop, Phoenicia Specialty Foods

Best Thai
Nidda Thai Cuisine
Finalists: Nara Thai, NUA Thai, Street Food Thai Market

Best Vietnamese
Mai’s Restaurant
Finalists: Cali Sandwich & Pho, Kau Ba, Pho Saigon

Best Restaurant for Outdoor Dining
Giacomo’s Cibo e Vino  
Finalists: Hobbit Cafe, Riva’s Italian Restaurant, Southern Yankee Crafthouse

Best Vegetarian/Vegan
Soul Food Vegan
Finalists: Chef Kenny’s Asian Vegan Cuisine, Korny Vibes, The Ginger Mule 

Best Restaurant for Affordable Eats
Barnaby’s Cafe (tie)
Tacos Doña Lena (tie)
Finalists: Harold’s Restaurant, Bar & Terrace; Urban Eats

Best Place for a Romantic Date
Brennan’s of Houston
Finalist: Riel

Best Restaurant for Elegant Dining
Finalist: Pappas Bros. Steakhouse

Best Restaurant for Happy Hour Food
BB’s Tex-Orleans (tie)
Urban Eats (tie)
Finalist: El Tiempo Cantina

Best Local LGBTQ Chef
NaTosha Barber
Finalists: Gregory Montelaro, Levi Rollins

Best Cooking Class
Dumpling Dudez
Finalists: 210 Fusion Cuisine, Central Market, Sur La Table–River Oaks

Favorite Local LGBTQ-Owned Restaurant
Barnaby’s Cafe
Finalists: Hamburger Mary’s; Harold’s Restaurant, Bar & Terrace, Tacos Doña Lena, Urban Eats

Friendliest Restaurant Staff
Barnaby’s Cafe (tie)
Riva’s Italian Restaurant (tie)
Finalists: BB’s Tex-Orleans, Urban Eats


Favorite Wine Bar
Postino Montrose  
Finalists: Boheme, Montrose Cheese & Wine

Favorite Happy Hour
BUDDY’S Houston
Finalists: Crocker Bar, EAGLE Houston, JR’s Bar & Grill, Michael’s Outpost, RIPCORD, Urban Eats

Favorite Place for Drinks on a First Date
BUDDY’S Houston
Finalists: Eagle, JR’s Bar & Grill, Michael’s Outpost, Urban Eats

Favorite Female Bartender
Jolina Moore
Finalists: Dema Jeter, Kristina Prats, Lareyna Rodriguez

Favorite Male Bartender
Michael Milam (BUDDY’S Houston)
Finalists: Aaron Latour, Bryan Wade, Charles Garibay (EAGLE Houston), Chris Contello, Marteen Gutierrez

Favorite Nonbinary Bartender
Crystal Murley
Finalists: Lucid, Piero Arevalo, Uly Money

Favorite Cocktail
BUDDY’S Houston    
Finalists: Crocker Bar, EAGLE Houston, JR’s Bar & Grill, KIKI Houston, Michael’s Outpost, Neon Boots Dancehall & Saloon, Urban Eats

Favorite Margarita
El Tiempo Cantina
Finalists: BUDDY’S Houston, JR’s Bar & Grill, KIKI Houston, Michael’s Outpost, EAGLE Houston

Favorite Mocktails
BUDDY’S Houston
Finalists: Hamburger Mary’s, Southern Yankee Crafthouse

Favorite Local Brewery
Frost Town Brewing
Finalists: Eureka Heights Brew Co., Karbach Brewing Co., Southern Yankee Beer Company

Favorite Local Craft Beer, Cider, or Seltzer
Frost Town Brewing
Finalists: Eureka Heights Brew Co., Karbach Brewing Co., Southern Yankee Beer Company

Favorite National Brand of Beer, Cider, or Seltzer
Bud Light
Finalists: High Noon, White Claw Hard Seltzer

Favorite Brand of Liquor
Tito’s Vodka
Finalists: Bombay Sapphire, Don Cosmé Tequila


Best Community Health Services Provider
Gordon E. Crofoot (tie)  
Legacy Community Health (tie)
Finalists: Abel Flores, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Ronald R. Buescher

Best Men’s Health Clinic
CrofootMD  (tie)
Wellness Bar by Legacy (tie) 
Finalist: AHF Wellness Center

Best Women’s Health Clinic
Wellness Bar by Legacy

Olga Swanson
Finalist: Kristen Garcia

Best Urgent or Emergency Care Center
Memorial Hermann Greater Heights Hospital (tie)
SignatureCare Emergency Center (tie)   

Best Pharmacy
Legacy Pharmacy 
Finalists: AHF Pharmacy, Avita Pharmacy, Scott Read Pharmacy

Best Female Physician
Julia Kovacs (tie)
Sandra Scurria (tie)    
Finalists: Jennifer Feldmann, Natalie Vanek

Best Male Physician
Gordon Crofoot
Finalists: Abel Flores, James Carroll, Norris Tran Duc, Octavio Barrios, Terence Chang

Best Female Physician’s Assistant/Nurse Practitioner
Maggie White
Finalist: Chichy Nwachukwu

Best Male Physician’s Assistant/Nurse Practitioner
Derek Smith
Finalists: David Nasser, John Chapman, Jose Lara, Kendrick Clack

Best Female Nurse
Christina Wells
Finalist: Molly Cook

Best Male Nurse
Christopher Cox (tie)
Bert Zumaya (tie)
Finalists: A.J. Sarabia, Quincy Jennings

Best Nonbinary Nurse
Adam Sirico

Best Mental Health Practice
Ajana Therapy and Clinical Services (tie)
Southwest Psychotherapy Associates (tie)
Finalists: Legacy Community Health, Montrose Center, Vada Counseling

Best Mental Health Therapist/Psychiatrist
Dan Garza    
Finalist: Jay Tarnow

Best Male Mental Health Therapist/Psychologist
Ks Stanley    
Finalists: Denis “Woodja” Flanigan, Meghan Mooney

Best Female Mental Health Therapist
Lori Fiester
Finalists: Andrea Washington, Denise O’Doherty, Jessica Eiseman, Meghan Mooney

Best Male Mental Health Therapist
Shane Hennesey   
Finalists: Andrew Tessmer, Ks Stanley, Matt Trietsch, Ty David Lerman

Best Nonbinary Mental Health Therapist
Ks Stanley   
Finalists: Candice Holloway, Thomas Owsley

Best Female Dentist
Cynthia Corral
Finalists: Carol Price, Daniella Farias, Lauren Brownfield

Best Male Dentist
Marcus De Guzman (tie)
Sam Carrell (tie)
Finalists: Alex Barrera, Austin Faulk, Jeff Tollett

Best Female Dental Hygienist
Jacquelyn Clemmer    
Finalists: Chriszelda Luna, Kate McGraw

Best Male Dental Hygienist
Tu Tuu    

Best Female Eye Doctor
Nancy Lo
Finalist: Juliet Farmer

Best Male Eye Doctor
Paul Lovero  
Finalists: Gary Nguyen, Stewart Zuckerbrod

Best Chiropractor
Fernando Franco
Finalists: Brandant Cruz, Jackie Doval, Sean Beukelman

Best Foot Doctor
Vanessa Barrow
Finalists: Gian Steinhauser, Maria Buitrago

Best Yoga Studio
BIG Power Yoga – Montrose 
Finalists: Black Swan Yoga, SPENGA Houston – Montrose

Best Fertility Clinic/Surrogacy Services
Aspire Houston Fertility Institute

Best Physical Therapist
Roy Rivera    
Finalist: Patrick Lucas

Best Female Massage Therapist
Kasie Tedrick   
Finalists: Afton Macaione, Robin Mack 

Best Male Massage Therapist
John Aaron Villarreal  
Finalists: Tom Zeppelin

Best Nonbinary Massage Therapist
Cameron Stodghill

Best Female Personal Trainer
Shana Ross
Finalists: Danielle Sampey, Monica Earnshaw, Viviana Alzate

Best Male Personal Trainer
Andrew Hayes (tie)
John Aaron Villarreal (tie)
Finalist: David Thompson

Best Nonbinary Personal Trainer
Monica Earnshaw
Finalists: Exy-Fable Mars

Best Gym
Body3 Personal Fitness
Finalists: Life Time, Tellepsen Family Downtown YMCA

Best Cycling Studio
for the people. 
Finalist: RYDE  

Best Female Hair Stylist
Electa Hazenstab
Finalists: Ashlee Amano, Isabel Ferry

Best Male Hair Stylist
Angel Chapa
Finalists: Fabian Espinoza, Geno O’Quinn, Reza Nouri, Timothy Silmon, Kenny Slack

Best Nonbinary Hair Stylist
J. Bookie     
Finalists: Alecia Farrar, Katie Roome

Best Hair Salon
Smokin’ Mirrors     
Finalists: Green Apple, Hair By St. Rose, Hue Hair Lounge, NuCuts

Best Makeup Artist
Aubrie Layne
Finalist: Edward Sanchez

Best Nail Technician

Chelsea Garcia
Finalist: William Medrano

Best Nail Salon
Heavenly Nails
Finalists: Mason’s Nails Salon, Q Nails – Weslayan

Best Tattoo Artist
Julian Solis  
Finalists: Chino Feliciano, Stephanie Purnell

Best Tattoo Parlor
The Electric Chair Tattoo & Body Piercing
Finalist: Corazones Tattoo + Beauty

Best Cosmetic Skin Care Center
The Skin Renewal Center
Finalist: Skin Renassance

Best Cosmetic Surgeon
George Washington
Finalists: Forest Roth, Peter Chang

Best Aesthetic Physician
Patrick McNamara    
Finalists: Octavio Barrios, Van Tran


Best Female Insurance Agent
Christyna Lewis
Finalist: Kelli Lines

Best Male Insurance Agent
Lane Lewis
Finalists: Dustin Harwell, Jacob Creadeur, Jeremy Henry

Best Heating & Air Conditioning Company
New Balance A/C, Inc.    
Finalists: Air Tech of Houston AC & Plumbing, Cooling Specialists, Newport Air

Best Plumber
Metro Plumbing  
Finalist: In the Loop Plumbing

Best Electrician
Leo Llanos    

Best Floor Covering Company
Floor Coverings International
Finalist: Carpet World

Best Interior Designer
Eklektik Interiors    
Finalists: Brad Brandt Designs, Jacob Medina Interior Design

Best Landscaping Company/Landscaper
Aj’s Landscaping & Design (tie)
Fire and Flora – Will Skinner (tie)

Best Pool Company
Venture Pool Co.

Best Furniture Store
Eklektik Interiors   
Finalists: BeDesign Houston, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams

Best Furniture Store on a Budget
Finalist: The Guild Shop

Best Home Furnishings Store
Eclectic Home
Finalist: Eklektik Interiors

Best Gardening/Nursery Supply
Joshua’s Native Plants & Garden Antiques
Finalists: Aj’s Landscaping & Design, Another Place in Time, Buchanan’s Native Plants, Fountains & Statuary, Orchid Express & Leasing

Best Florist
In Bloom (tie)
Robert Shipman Flowers & Events (tie)   
Finalist: Perfect Petals by Geo


Best Bank
Amegy Bank
Finalists: Bank of America, Wells Fargo 

Best Credit Union
Houston Federal Credit Union (HFCU)
Finalists: PrimeWay FCU, TDECU – Houston Heights

Best Female Accountant 
Christyna Lewis   
Finalists: Britt Kornmann, Kimberly Shockley, Nadinna Simonette

Best Male Accountant 
Joseph Werle
Finalist: Gary Gritz 

Best Bookkeeper
Sandra Medrano   
Finalist: Gennifer Ratliff 

Best Female Financial Planner/Advisor
Grace Yung   
Finalists: Britt Kornmann, Christyna Lewis

Best Male Financial Planner/Advisor
Richard Dickson

Best LGBTQ Fund Manager
Doug Smith   

Best Business Attorney
Cameron Rivers   
Finalist: Charlie Hunter

Best Female Family Attorney
deborah lawson   
Finalist: Peggy S. Bittick

Best Male Family Attorney
John Suarez   
Finalist: Jim Evans

Best Female Probate Attorney
deborah lawson    
Finalist: Marlyn Schultz

Best Male Probate Attorney
Jeff Watters    
Finalists: Charles Hunter, Coleton Mayo, Jose Luis Cuellar

Best Human-Rights Attorney
Luis Ruiz    
Finalists: Chelsea Klumpp, Mitchell Katine

Best Female Immigration Attorney
Ana Schwartz   

Best Male Immigration Attorney
Luis Ruiz (tie)
Raed Gonzalez (tie)
Finalist: John Nechman

Best Female Personal Injury Attorney
Lena Laurenzo
Finalists: Jessica Rodriguez-Wahlquist

Best Male Personal Injury Attorney
Lucas Walker
Finalist: Greg Nassar


Best Female Veterinarian
Danielle Rosser (tie) 
Kristy Kyle (tie) 
Finalists: Carolyn Oben, Kristen Olson, Meredith Perry  

Best Male Veterinarian
Eric Cagle 
Finalists: David Doherty, Richard Clive 

Best Veterinary Clinic
The Montrose Vet Clinic  
Finalists: Bayou City Veterinary Hospital, Urban Vet, West Alabama Animal Clinic

Best Pet Emergency Care Center
Vergi 24/7    
Finalists: Animal ER of Northwest Houston, Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists, Veterinary Emergency Group

Best Doggie Day Care
Dogtopia of Houston – West Alabama St.
Finalists: Molly’s Mutt House, Wag’n World, You Lucky Dog Pet Resort

Best Place to Board Your Pet
Wag’n World
Finalists: Dogtopia of Houston–West Alabama, Molly’s Mutt House, Rover Oaks Pet Resort  

Best Pet Walking/Pet Sitting Service
Wag’n World    
Finalists: Happy Puppy, Pet Nanny’s Pet Sitting, WAGS Dog Walking + Pet Sitting 

Best Place to Buy Pet Supplies
Pet City Houston  
Finalists: Chewy, Molly’s Mutt House, Natural Pawz–Montrose, PetSmart, The Pet Stop

Best Pet Food or Treats
Nutri Source    
Finalists: Baked Bones, Woof Gang Bakery–West U. 

Best Pet Grooming Service
Dogtopia of Houston – West Alabama St.
Finalists: Demi’s Dog House, Molly’s Mutt House, Wag’n World

Best Pet Park
Congressman Bill Archer Dog Park
Finalist: Johnny Steele Dog Park

Best Place to Adopt a Pet
Houston SPCA    
Finalists: 632 Canine Rescue, BARC Animal Shelter and Adoptions, Friends For Life

Best Place to Buy Exotic Animals
Pet City Houston    

Favorite Pet-Friendly Restaurant/Bar
Barnaby’s Cafe
Finalists: Axelrad Beer Garden, Frost Town Brewing, Pearl Bar 


Best LGBTQ Community Performing-Arts Organization
Houston Pride Band (tie)
Pride Chorus Houston (tie)

Best Community Theater
Art Factory
Finalists: Dirt Dogs Theatre Co., Theatre Suburbia

Best Experimental Theater Company
The Catastrophic Theatre

Best Local Equity Theater Company
Stages Theatre
Finalists: Alley Theatre, Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS)

Best Regional Equity Theater Company
Alley Theatre
Finalists: 4th Wall Theatre Company, Stages, The Ensemble Theatre

Best Regional Musical Theater Company
Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS)
Finalist: Art Factory

Best Dance Company
Houston Ballet
Finalists: Pilot Dance Project, Urban Souls Dance Company

Favorite Local Female Actor
Tamarie Cooper
Finalists: Amanda Marie Parker, Christina Wells, Holland Vavra

Favorite Local Male Actor
Abraham Zapata
Finalists: Joel Sandel, Kyle Sturdivant, Mark Ivy, Wesley Whitson

Favorite Local Nonbinary Actor
Clarity Welch
Finalists: Chess MacElvaine, Sam Lank

Favorite Local Poet
Stephen Schwei
Finalists: Aaron Coleman, T Lavois Thiebaud, Tiffany Scales

Favorite Local Dancer
Angelina dm trails
Finalists: Adam Castaneda, choreobyjai, Kristina Prats

Favorite Local Female Comedian
Timely Rain
Finalists: Keisha Hunt, Slim Bloodworth

Favorite Local Male Comedian
Arron Michaels
Finalist: Dayton Faulker 

Favorite Local Nonbinary Comedian
Payton Herbert
Finalists: Crystal Murley, Julz, Mackenzie Jewell

Favorite Local LGBTQ Musician
Noel Freeman
Finalists: Emilio Coochie, Monet J Love, Uncle Tino

Favorite Local Female Fine Artist
Tracey Meyer
Finalists: Katharine Ligon, Michelle Huff

Favorite Local Male Fine Artist
Robin Baker
Finalists: Hugo Pérez, Wood Fancher Anthony

Favorite Local Nonbinary Fine Artist
Mackenzie Jewell
Finalist: T Lavois Thiebaud

Favorite Local Painter
John Slaby (tie)
Wood Fancher Anthony (tie)
Finalists: Katharine Ligon, Robin Baker, Carl Palazzolo

Favorite Local Sculptor
Joe Haden

Favorite Local Visual Artist
Tracey Meyer
Finalists: Hugo Pérez, Robin Baker, Wood Fancher Anthony

Best Art Center
MATCH – Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston
Finalists: Color Factory (Houston Interactive Art Museum), Lawndale Art Center

Best Art Gallery
Archway Gallery
Finalists: Art Is Bond, Bug in The Box, RobinWood Art Studio

Favorite Local Museum
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Finalists: Art Car Museum, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Holocaust Museum Houston, Houston Museum of Natural Science, Menil Collection


Best Auto Body Shop
Collision Lab
Finalist: Montrose Automotive

Best Auto Mechanic
Active Auto Car Care
Finalists: Montrose Automotive, RMS Auto Care, Tech Auto

Best Mobile Auto Repair/Service
Dion & Manny’s Interiors (tie)
POZ Impact (tie)
Finalist: Montrose Automotive

Best Car Salesperson
Tony McClelland
Finalists: James Vanya, Michael Shallis

Best Car Wash/Auto Detailing
Aqua Hand Car Wash & Detail
Finalist Car Spa Car Wash, Detail & Oil Change

Best Domestic Auto Dealership
Central Houston Cadillac
Finalists: Planet Ford, Randall Reed’s Planet Lincoln

Best Import Auto Dealership
Fred Haas Toyota (tie)
Westside Kia (tie)
Finalist: Audi Central Houston


Best Female Life Coach
Meg Ellis

Best Male Life Coach
Nathan Herrington

Best Female Astrologer
Lilly Roddy

Best Male Astrologer
Kevin Casey  

Best Funeral Services

Best Grocery Store
Finalists: Kroger, Trader Joe’s

Best Specialty Food Store
Phoenicia Specialty Foods  
Finalists: Central Market, Trader Joe’s

Best Liquor Store
Finalist: Total Wine

Best Place to Buy Cellular Phones
Finalists: T-Mobile, Verizon 

Best Commercial Photographer
Victor Contreras 
Finalists: Robyn Arouty, Sandy Flint

Best Commercial Videographer
TV I.M.A.G.E. Productions
Finalist: Jay Clark Films

Best Copy/Print Shop  

Best Creative Agency
Mad Hat Maven Creative
Finalists: Like Minds Communications, REFUGE Marketing & Consulting, Strike Marketing 

Best Place to Buy Eyewear
Eye Gallery (tie)   
Montrose Eye Care (tie)
Finalists: Eye Elegance, Eye Impact

Best Jewelry Store
Tenenbaum Jewelers    
Finalists: Houston Jewelry, J. Landa Jewelry

Best Leather Store
Montrose Forge
Finalist: Sir Rat

Best Local Clothing Designer
Finalists: Mark Chupik (URS WearBear), Offensive But Cute

Best Online Clothing Store
Generation DNA (tie)   
MANBUNS (tie)  
Finalists: Offensive But Cute, URS WearBear

Best Local Resale or Thrift Store
Out of the Closet  
Finalist: The Guild Shop

Best Place to Buy or Rent a Costume
Finalist: Electric Love

Best Men’s Intimate Clothing Store
Hollywood Super Center   
Finalists: Offensive But Cute, Sir Rat Leather–Montrose

Best Place to Buy Erotic Playthings
Hollywood Super Center   
Finalists: Montrose Forge & Lilith’s Way, Sir Rat Leather Montrose


Best Place to Pop the Question
Houston Botanic Garden
Finalists: Hermann Park Japanese Garden

Best Wedding/Event Planner
Shaun Gray Events
Finalists: Event Elementz, Robert Shipman Flowers & Events

Best Wedding Officiant
Rev. Diane McGehee
Finalists: Johnny Peden, Rev. Heather Tolleson

Best Wedding/Event Venue
Bering Memorial United Church of Christ
Finalists: First Christian Church Katy, Magnolia Hotel Houston

Best Wedding/Event Cake Bakery
Who Made the Cake!   
Finalists: Angel_TheCakeChef, Leona’s Bakeshop

Best Wedding/Event Catering Firm
City View Catering (tie)
Event Elementz (tie)  
Finalists: Chef Larry Fogarty, Leona’s Bakeshop

Best Wedding/Event Florist
Robert Shipman Flowers & Events
Finalist: Dream Bouquet

Best Wedding/Event DJ
DJ Crazy V
Finalist: DJ Jamie Waymire

Best Wedding/Event Live Musicians or Band
Harmony Strings   
Finalists: David Caceres Orchestra,
Space Kiddettes

Best Wedding/Event Photographer
EventSmith Productions
Finalist: Davis Mendoza Darusman

Best Wedding/Event Videographer
EventSmith Productions   
Finalists: Jay Clark Films, TV I.M.A.G.E. Productions 

Travel & Vacations

Best Local LGBTQ Travel Agency
Concierge Travel   

Best LGBTQ Land Tour Company
Concierge Travel   
Finalist: BrandG Vacations

Best Travel Insurance Services
AIG Travel

Favorite LGBTQ Travel Destination
New York City    
Finalist: Palm Springs

Favorite LGBTQ-Friendly Campground
Rainbow Ranch

Best Airline
Southwest Airlines (tie)
United Airlines (tie)

Best LGBTQ Cruise Company
Finalists: Aquafest Cruises, BrandG Vacations

Best Place for a Staycation
The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa 

Best Local Hotel
The Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa 
Finalists: Hilton Garden Inn–Medical Center, Hilton–Houston Plaza/Medical Center

Best Local Hotel Restaurant
Quattro–Four Seasons Hotel   

Best Local Hotel Bar
La Colombe d’Or   

Best Local Hotel Pool
Marriott Marquis – Houston   

Favorite Place to Take Out-of-Town Visitors
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens

Thank you to all of our readers, advertisers, and sponsors—as well as everyone who voted—for making our 26th annual Readers’ Choice Awards possible!

This list appears in the October 2023 edition of OutSmart magazine.

FB Comments

Back to top button