Skip to main content

Southlake Style

Best of 2017: Southlake Style’s Year in Review

Dec 18, 2017 09:49AM ● By Ashley Madonna

A look back on 45 of our favorite moments...

Best Realtor With Acting Chops

Pure magic unfolded when eight community stars competed for one mirror ball trophy in Carroll Theatre’s second-annual Acting With The Stars. #TeamPennington came away with the win and plenty of laughs when Tommy Pennington channeled his inner Paul Blart. We admit he’s pretty good on a hoverboard!  

 Best Flipping Fun

We took our January fitness issue interactive with Fit Flip. See the page numbers? Flip quickly and watch our character bust a move.

Best Driver of Youth Sports

Former NBA great and Southlake resident Jermaine O’Neal has a passion for training the next generation of athletes. We dropped in on a basketball practice at his home’s private gym, but the training didn’t end there. At Drive Nation, his 90,000-square-foot youth sports facility at DFW Airport, he teaches kids in all sports about winning, losing and recovering from mistakes.

Best Friendly Rivals

Just call them dueling saxophones—Carroll jazz students Kyle Cantrell and Brendan James are the state’s top two high school tenor saxophonists. And in the spirit of Dragon excellence, these friends challenge each other to hone their skills.

Best Guide for Doing Good

Everybody agrees: It’s good to give back. But if you’ve ever wondered just how to get involved, our March issue laid out the steps to plan your volunteer strategy.

Best Palooza

In February, Dragon Baseball hosted the first-ever Dragon Baseball Palooza for Dragon Youth Baseball players. Themed “Dragons United,” the event included baseball clinics, giveaways, an alumni-varsity game and plenty of photo ops in what ended up being an energy-packed season kickoff. 

Best Baller

In today’s competitive youth sports landscape remarkable two-sport athletes don’t come by often. However, Dragon football and baseball fans basked the accuracy of Kole Ramage. The Arkansas baseball signee had sub 2.00 ERA and was 111-112 as an All-District kicker.

Best Drumming Up of Support

Carroll Indoor Percussion put a philanthropic spin on its show “From Dust.” The group kicked off “Dragons For Water,” a charity water initiative to bring clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. The campaign raised more than $5,000. 

Best Compassion in Action

When Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston area, Dragons stepped up to help by donating gift cards—topping a whopping $36,000—to help those affected. Johnson Elementary won Carroll ISD’s Give Back Challenge and was declared the year’s Compassion Cup winner.

Best Kid Culinarians

Taste Buds Kitchen (TBK) in Southlake has uncovered the recipe for compassion. It partnered with HopeKids, a nonprofit that provides events and activities for children with life-threatening illnesses. Through TBK, kids become star chefs and get to experience the simple joys of making pizza and decorating cookies. Let the flour fly!

Best Adults at Play

Give our 2017 Tastemakers a sunny spring afternoon and free reign at Southlake’s North Park, and they’re all just kids at heart. Mayor Laura Hill seized the day in #themayorsshoes, which, for our shoot, happened to be her epic sundae heels.

Best Dreams on the Diamond

The Dragon Dreamers, a Southlake 12U baseball team, had a pretty epic summer. The team, which included two children with special needs—dubbed assistant coaches—got to play at the iconic Cooperstown Dreams Park. Mayor Hill even journeyed to New York to cheer them on.

Best Baseball Insider

The next time you head to Globe Life Park, know that Southlake’s own Rob Matwick is working behind the scenes to ensure you have a phenomenal time. The Executive VP of Business Operations is also at the forefront of the new Texas Live! Entertainment center set to open in 2020.

Best Show of Pink

All of Southlake was tickled pink by Carroll Theatre’s production of Pinkalicious. We couldn’t get enough of the pink-loving enthusiast—or the show, which celebrated family, love and a healthy sprinkling of self-control.

Best Reasons to Rise and Shine

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but brunch is the most important meal of the weekend. We polled readers on their favorite brunch destinations, honing in on best brunch bites, beverages and atmosphere. Readers deemed Another Broken Egg Café as the buzziest brunch hotspot of them all. We’ll raise a mimosa to that.    

Best Remedy for Blazing-Hot Days

When Steel City Pops opened in Park Village just in time to beat the heat, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief. Is there anything better on a hot day than an all-natural, organic, gluten-free, artisanal ice pop? We don’t think so. 

Best Manors

Creating the custom castle of your dreams is all in a day’s work for Southlake-area homebuilder Jimmy Lambert. The visionary master builder has constructed some of the city’s most amazing estates and one stellar reputation for pleasing the most discerning clientele.

Best Backing

This May, Southlake residents answered the call for academic excellence when they passed Carroll ISD’s $208 million bond proposition with a 64 percent majority vote. The bond package includes classroom additions and renovations for each elementary school, a 700-seat performing arts center and maintenance projects district-wide.

Best Cupcake Counter

Cupcakes had their moment but its safe to say that in Southlake 2017 was the year of the macaron. First ‘Lette Macarons brought their dainty Beverly Hills bites to Park Village and then we unearthed the flavors of Southlake’s own macaron maven Stephanie Keusch.

Best Aquaman Impersonation

He may not be a member of the Justice League but Dragon head swim and dive coach Kevin Murphy ought to be. Since his arrival at CISD’s Aquatic Center in 2005 his teams have been nothing short of dominant amassing more state championship wins than any other Carroll sport. For his leadership Murphy was inducted into the Carroll Athletics Hall of Honor.

Best Security System

SafeWise’, an authority on security and home safety, named three DFW cities in their list of the 50 safest cities in Texas. Southlake climbed to No. 25, while Trophy Club and Colleyville topped the annual list at Nos. 1 and 2 respectively. 

Best Bye-Bye

Current and former students, RESPECT choir members, parents, friends and colleagues gathered at White’s Chapel UMC this May to sing the praises of Josie Smith. The beloved Rockenbaugh Elementary music teacher retired after 39 years in education.

Best Meds

Our second annual Top Docs list gathered over one hundred of the areas best physicians to celebrate their achievements. The peer-nominated list was included as a special reference directory in our July issue.

Best Smoking Section

We don’t condone smoking unless you’re seated in a leather booth at Southlake’s own Wildwood Grill. They’ve hit the mark yet again with their inventive Smoked Maple Old Fashioned. Hickory smoke trapped in your glass tableside unleashes one heck of a cocktail.

Best Way to Beat the Heat

If more than 4-acres of indoor air-conditioned gardens aren’t enough, SummerFest at the Gaylord Texan boasts a 10-acre pool, waterslide and a lazy river. Evening fireworks over Lake Grapevine are pretty cool too. 

Best In Class

Each year we spotlight some of the CISD’s brightest students in our Five Ones to Watch feature. This year we amplified the voices of two Carroll seniors Rachel Gitter and Miranda Campin, both of who continue to advance in All-State choir competition.

Best Benefactors

Longtime Southlake residents John Slocum (Citizen of the Year) and Michelle Moore (Volunteer of the Year) took home top honors at this year’s Southlake Chamber Awards Banquet for their efforts behind The Miracle League of Southlake and the Carroll ISD School Board. 

Best Adoption Agency

Working side-by-side with Operation Kindness and Elite Suites each month our Shelter Pet section highlights the furry faces awaiting your famiy’s love at area adoption centers.

Best Slice of Americana

Burgers, booths and Betty Boop were the backdrop for a 1950’s-diner-themed pictorial essay featuring the iconic Big State Fountain Grill in Irving. The diner is a true American classic just like their Steve McQueen Grilled Cheese.

Best Bet

Hundreds of Dragon boosters gathered at this year’s Carroll Education Foundation annual fundraiser. Themed Viva Las Dragons, attendees enjoyed the event’s Las Vegas-styled entertainment, auctions and bites from area restaurants. Proceeds help fund educational grants for the benefit of CISD teachers and students.

Best Debut Duo

From concept to completion John and Elizabeth Huffman, of Southlake-based Black Door Home Co., delight clients with stylish home renovations. The copreneurs also hosted a wonderful watch party for over 200 guests who enjoyed the debut episode of their HGTV series Lone Star Flip.

Best Buzz

Multitalented former schoolteacher Merrilee Kick dropped everything to build her own beverage company in 2009. Eight years later her companies BuzzBallz and Southern Champion are valued at over $20 million. Together from North Texas they supply award-winning and buzzworthy concotions, spirts and wine across the globe.

Best Way To Get Plugged In

Visit the brand new Tesla Gallery in Southlake Town Square. Due to Texas laws prohibiting sales through independent dealers you won’t be able to drive off in a new car. But gallery staff can guide you through the benefits of owning an electric vehicle and connect you with off-site Tesla employees. Wink. Wink.

Best Ponytailed Power Player

Ranked as the No. 1 recruit in the nation amongst the class of 2021, Southlake soccer prodigy Alexis Missimo is a star on the rise. The newly minted high school freshman has already accepted a scholarship to the University of Texas.

Best Fashion Statement

Laura Hill has become Southlake’s most sociable mayor by reaching out to residents through a myriad of community events and giving her honest opinions via social media. Her posts entitled #TheMayorsShoes get quite a bit of traction as well.

Best New Boutique

For a decade, the Southlake Hilton reigned supreme as the city’s only hotel. That was, until Cambria opened its175-room boutique in Kimball Park with a grand opening showing off their brand of upscale hospitality.

Best Lid

Southlake sports fans and bed-headers alike rejoiced over the limited edition Texas Rangers/Carroll Dragons logoed baseball caps given free with Ranger ticket purchases this year. Even better—a portion of the proceeds benefitted CISD’s We Care program.

Best Joy Ride

Army veteran Keith Pardew logs more miles on his bike than many people drive and it’s all in preparation for his annual August jaunt at the Hotter’N Hell Hundred in Wichita Falls. This year marked the 64 year old’s 34th entrance into the 100-mile bike race.

Best Board Appointment

Sheri Mills was selected to fill the open CISD school board president position after former board president Chris Archer was elected to Southlake City Council in September. Mills, a community standout, has been on the board for the past four years and has served as the board’s vice president for more than two years. 

Best Craft Extravaganza

In November, the Southlake Carroll PTO Craft Fair celebrated 25 years. The annual event brings more than 200 vendors to Carroll Senior High School for a holiday marketplace glowing with jewelry, crafts, home décor and more. The event benefits the PTO’s Project Graduation, a drug- and alcohol-free celebration for graduating seniors.

Best of the Web 2017

The year’s top stories at

Best Report Card

Carroll ISD landed on another prestigious list of the country’s smartest public high schools, coming in at No. 49 out of more than 23,000 public high schools. Schools were ranked by key factors including SAT/ACT test scores and graduation rates. 

Best Reflections    

Love it or leave it—our list of 10 Truths About Living in Southlake was a digital dynamo.

Best Second Act

Retired CISD teacher Tony Dirker and his wife Theresa made their dreams come true after opening the Red River Pizzeria in May. 

Best Places To Rub Elbows

Both Southlake (No. 42) and Colleyville (No. 77) made Bloomberg’s 2017 list of “America’s 100 Richest Places.” A total of just six Texas cities made the top 100 led by Highland Park at No. 14.

Best Brown

Reed Brown is the best athlete in his family— one where his older brothers have set records in college and played in the NFL. Even more impressive was the sub 4-minute mile he ran this summer before heading to the University of Oregon.