Best of 417 Awards 2007

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

(page 10 of 11)


Editors' Picks

Best Ozark Mountain Daredevil happening

The pieces began falling into place when original roots-rocker Daredevils Randle Chowning and Larry Lee met up in Nashville to produce a new album of original music, including the nostalgia-inducing song “My Old Band,” and then both moved back to 417-land within weeks of each other. They lured other founding Dares John Dillon, Steve Cash and Supe Granda to Wildwood Spring Lodge in Steelville, where they performed three sold-out shows with a heavy dose of fresh material. There’s talk of a series of reunion concerts at the Gillioz Theatre next month, a DVD of the event, a new album and more touring.

Best Place to Celebrate

Best restaurant to celebrate a promotion, raise or mistake by the IRS in your favor: Clary’s. Expensive, yes, but always worth the scratch. New owners Dave and Lynée Fender have been consistent with founder James Clary’s attention to quality by remodeling the private dining room and keeping the dessert soufflés on the menu. Our suggestion for taking this high-end jewel even higher? Put your platinum designer touch to the bathrooms.

Best New Chain

Best new chain restaurant: Sullivan’s. Open since Thanksgiving, this steak, martini and jazz haven gives out-of-towners the most cosmopolitan slice of Branson ever. For us 417-landers, the best reason yet to brag about Branson Landing. Its prime location next to the fire and water show completes the deal.

Best Chocolate Satisfaction

Take your inner chocoholic to Candy House. Double the pleasure in Springfield now with the second location on East Sunshine.

Best Delayed Gratification

Refurbishing and reopening of the Heer’s building. Sort of like tantric urban renewal. Close runner-up: Commercial Street (unofficial motto of which is “Coming Soon!”).

Best Car-Fixing

Best place to have our car operated on when surgery is the best option: Rick’s Automotive. Have you seen this place? The floors are spotless; the grease monkeys are, well, without stain. Rick Hughlett’s garage looks as sterile as the operating rooms at CoxHealth and St. John’s. Any coincidence that he also maintains the ambulances for the hospitals?

Best People-Watching

Riad restaurant. Street-side dining on Park Central Square offers a passing parade of characters from all walks. A visit to your table from the man himself adds to the experience. Ask about his charity work, which has included donated proceeds to groups such as Convoy of Hope. Or, gossip about the latest off-the-record news about downtown Springfield.

Best Fellini Moment

Best place to imagine yourself a cast member in a Fellini movie: The Shake It Up Show Club the Horn Dawgs play. On any given night you might get to dance with a real-life bride, a dwarf or muscle man from Cirque Branson, an Elvis, Buddy Holly or Marilyn Monroe lookalike from Legends in Concert, or a real-life member of the Platters.

Best Modern Wonder

Andy Williams Moon River Theatre is the best place to experience a wonder of the modern world. Nope, Andy’s not lip synching: That’s really his voice. After throat trouble and surgery, it’s as strong and uplifting as it has ever been. Hurry, no one lasts forever.

Best Theatrical Moment of 2006

The final bare-it-all climax of The Full Monty. It didn’t go THAT far, but it still broke new ground for the performing-arts scene in 417-land. Unfortunately, that best moment also cost Jeff Jenkins of the Skinny Improv his adjunct-faculty position at Evangel University. Our advice? Jeff, don’t look back.

Best Foot Massage

The proper term is reflexology, and Brian Vega is the fellow who does it. He calls his one-man operation Kneadful Things, but in between counseling trouble young people he takes the kinks out of even the most stressed client with a one hour precision massage of your feet. It’s like a two-week vacation in 60 minutes.

Best Church Music

Note we’re saying Best Church Music, not Best Church. It’s a tie: James River Assembly in Ozark and Fellowship Bible Church in Rogersville. JRA gets the nod in the large-group, rock-n-roll extravaganza category, while FBC is best at small venue coffee-house rock. Where else can you hear the Young Rascals’ “How Can I Be Sure” done prayerfully on a Sunday morning?

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