Better Than The Best 2019

Every year keeps getting BETTER.

Ocala Magazine recognizes our community’s best businesses and service organizations, voted by our readers, with all new categories among time-tested favorites. The people have voted. Here are YOUR 2019 Better than the Best finalists!


Best Aesthetician

First place: Beyond Skin

Second place: OFMC Dermatology and Aesthetics Institute

Third place: Nirvana Medical Spa

Best Barber Shop

First place: Big Al’s

Second place: Roland’s Barbershop

Third place: Parker Barbershop

Best Hair Salon

First place: Face The Day
Salon & Spa

Second place: Hello Gorgeous

Third place: Envé @ Salon 209

Best Nail Professional

First place: Azulene Day Spa

Second place: Face The Day Salon and Spa

Third place: Happy Nails Spa
and Salon

Best Place to Get Pampered

First place: Face The Day
Salon & Spa

Second place: Azulene Day Spa

Third place: Breeze Day Spa @ Agapanthus


Amusement + Recreation

Best Annual Event

First place: Light Up Ocala

Second place: Symphony Gala (Reilly Art Center / Ocala Symphony Orchestra)

Third place: Appleton Gala

Best Band

First place: Left On Broadway

Second place: Humans in Disguise

Third place: Shine and the Shakers

Best Caves

First place: Ocala Caverns

Second place: Scott Springs

Third place: Hitchhiker’s Cave

Best Cultural Activity

First place: Symphony
Under The Stars

Second place: Fine Arts for Ocala

Third place: Appleton Museum Family Day

Best Equestrian Event

First place: H.I.T.S. — Horse Shows in the Sun

Second place: Live Oak International

Third place: Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association Horse of the Year Gala

Best Gallery

First place: MCA — Brick City Center for the Arts

Second place: Studio B

Third place: CF Webber Center Gallery

Best Golf Course

First place: Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club

Second place: Ocala Golf Club

Third place: Ocala Country Club

Best Members-Only Club

First place: Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club

Second place: Country Club of Ocala

Best Place for Live Music

First place: Pi on Broadway

Second place: Bank Street Patio
Bar & Grill

Third place: O’Malley’s Alley

Best Place to See a Show

First place: Reilly Arts Center

Second place: Ocala Civic Theatre

Third place: Marion Theatre

Best Place to Swim

First place: Rainbow Springs

Second place: KP Hole

Third place: Jervy Gant

Best Radio Personality

First place: Lewis Stokes (K Country)

Second place: Jen Ryan (Q.92)

Third place: Larry & Robin (WOCA)

Best Solo/Duet Act

First place: Jeff Jarrett

Second place: Miranda Madison

Third place: Caly & Megan Music

Best Visual Artist

First place: Teddy Sykes

Second place: Leslie Peoples

Third place: Mark Emery

Automobile Dealer + Services

Best Auto Dealership

First place: DeLuca Toyota

Second place: Jenkins Auto

Third place: Ford of Ocala

Best Automotive Repair

First place: Don’s Garage

Second place: Firestone Complete Auto Care

Third place: Pep Boys

Best Car Wash

First place: Soapy’s Car Wash

Second place: Caliber Car Wash

Third place: Danny’s Car Wash

Food + Drink

Best Bartender

First place: Ben Payne (Pi)

Second place: Adam Volpe (Infinite Brewery)

Third place: Lauren Marcucci (The Keep)

Best BBQ

First place: Big Lee’s BBQ

Second place: Brick City Southern Kitchen and Whiskey Bar

Third place: Sonny’s

Best Caterer

First place: The Mojo Grill & Catering

Second place: 3’s Catering (Latinos y Mas, Ipanema, Craft Cuisine)

Third place: Brick City Catering

Best Chef

First place: Patrice Perron
(La Cuisine)

Second place: Tony Deras
(Katya Vinyards)

Third place: Rick Alabaugh
(Golden Ocala)

Best Family-Friendly Restaurant

First place: Mojo’s Grill and Catering

Second place: Brooklyn’s Backyard

Third place: Sonny’s BBQ

Best Food Truck

First place: Big Lee’s BBQ

Second place: Curbside Cuisine

Third place: Farmer In The Deli

Best Pizza

First place: Blue Highway

Second place: Pi on Broadway

Third place: Brooklyn’s Backyard

Best Place for a
Romantic Dinner

First place: La Cuisine

Second place: Ipanema

Third place: Katya Vineyards

Best Place for Breakfast

First place: Scrambles

Second place: First Watch

Third place: Darryl’s Diner

Best Place for Dessert

First place: Betty Cakes

Second place: Ocala’s Chocolates & Confections

Third place: Twistee Treat

Best Place for Tacos/Burritos

First place: Latinos y Mas

Second place: Las Margaritas

Third place: La Hacienda

Best Place to Get a
Cup of Coffee

First place: Starbucks

Second place: Symmetry Coffee
& Crepes

Third place: Chelsea Coffee Co.

Best Place to Order a Cake

First place: Betty Cakes

Second place: Sugar Rush

Third place: Stella’s Modern Pantry

Best Southern Food

First place: Ivy on the Square

Second place: Brick City Southern Kitchen and Whiskey Bar

Third place: Cracker Barrel

Health + Fitness

Best Alternative Wellness

First place: Faithfully Guided Health Center Integrated Medicine

Second place: Absolute Health Ocala

Third place: Erica Olstein Better U Acupuncture

Best Chiropractor

First place: Fakhoury Medical and Chiropractic Center

Second place: Pitts Family Chiropractic

Third place: Downtown Chiropractic and Wellness

Best Dentist

First place: Ocala Family Dentistry

Second place: Chandra Smile Designs

Third place: Dr. Quinn Family Dentistry

Best Gym

First place: The Zone Health
and Fitness

Second place: Planet Fitness

Third place: YMCA

Best Medical Facility

First place: AdventHealth Ocala

Second place: Ocala Family Medical Center

Third place: Ocala Regional Medical Center

Best Personal Trainer

First place: Andre Palmer of Zone Health and Fitness

Second place: Mohamad Aysheh of Zone Health and Fitness

Third place: Amber Toole Sanford of The Training Toole

Best Physical Therapy

First place: Strive Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation

Second place: Fakhoury Medical and Chiropractic

Third place: Mid-Florida Physical Therapy

Kids + Education

Best Civic Organization

First place: Rotary Club

Second place: Kiwanis

Third place: Junior League

Best Pediatrics

First place: Ocala Pediatrics

Second place: Children’s Health of Ocala

Third place: Heart of Florida Medical Center

Best Place for Kids Summer Programs

First place: YMCA

Second place: Discovery Center

Third place: Appleton Museum of Art


Best Pet Groomer

First place: Perfect Paws Grooming Salon

Second place: Prefurred Pet Wash and Grooming

Third place: Doggy Bubbles Pet Grooming

Best Vet

First place: Magnolia Animal Hospital

Second place: Maricamp Animal Hospital

Third place: UF Pet Emergency Treatment Services

Real Estate

Best Realtor-Commercial

First place: Van Akin (Foxfire Realty)

Second place: Nolan Galloway III (Gus Galloway Realty)

Third place: Philip Glassman (Birkshire Hathaway)

Best Realtor-Residential

First place: Roberts Real Estate

Second place: Ocala Horse Properties

Third place: Showcase Properties


Best Attorney

First place: Doc Blanchard

Second place: Cannon Law Firm

Third place: Miriam, Adele, and Kirkland

Best Electrician

First place: Mid State Electric

Second place: Ciraco Electric

Third place: Kuhn Electric

Best Event DJ

First place: DJ Joe Ortiz

Second place: DJ Jesse (Hi-Fi DJ Service)

Third place: Just Joel

Best Event Planner

First place: Golden Ocala Wedding & Event Planning

Second place: Party Time Rentals

Third place: Marge Felix Events

Best Financial Planner

First place: Nick Navetta (Edward Jones)

Second place: John Moody (Ocala Capital)

Third place: Greg Ergle (Ergle Financial)

Best Hotel

First place: Ocala Hilton

Second place: Holiday Inn Express & Conference Center

Third place: SpringHill Suites

Best Insurance Agency

First place: Angie Lewis State Farm

Second place: Ocala Insurance Agency

Third place: The Nation Group

Best Lawn Care Professional

First place: A Cut Above Lawn Care

Second place: Marion Precision Lawn & Landscape

Third place: Jason Schmidt Landscaping

Best Place to Network

First place: Ocala Business Leaders

Second place: CEP After Hours

Third place: TEDxOcala

Best Tattoo Shop

First place: Fat Katz

Second place: Crawling Panther

Third place: Cobra Classic

Shopping + Retail

Best Antique Stores

First place: White Elephant

Second place: Two Sisters

Third place: Diggers Antique Mall

Best Boutique

First place: Ivy On The Square

Second place: Marly Mae

Third place: Pink Hanger

Best Jeweler

First place: Gause & Sons Jeweler

Second place: Lady Jeweler

Third place: Silver City

Best Thrift Stores

First place: White Elephant

Second place: The Mustard Seed Collection

Third place: The Monkey Cage


Best Dressed

First place: Beth Cassi

Second place: Olivia Ortiz

Third place: Angie Lewis

Best Assisted Living Facility

First place: Hawthorne Village

Second place: The Bridge at Life Care Center

Third place: Camelot Chateau Assisted Living Facility

Best Retirement Community

First place: On Top of The World

Second place: Del Webb Spruce Creek

Third place: Oak Run

Best Place for a Picnic

First place: Sholom Park

Second place: Greenway Trail

Third place: Tuscawilla Park

Best New Business

First place: Bank Street Patio
Bar & Grill

Second place: Big Hammock Brewery

Third place: Rita’s Italian Ice

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