Best of Miami®

Best Of 2004

Neighborhoods

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  • + Coral Gables/South Miami
  • + Coral Springs/Margate
  • + Cutler Bay/Palmetto Bay
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  • + Davie
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  • + Fort Lauderdale
  • + Hallandale Beach
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  • + Homestead/Florida City
  • + Key Biscayne
  • + Lauderhill
  • + Little Haiti/Liberty City
  • + Little Havana
  • + Miami Gardens
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  • + Midtown/Wynwood/Design District
  • + Miramar
  • + North Dade
  • + North Miami
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  • + Oakland Park
  • + Out of Town
  • + Outside South Florida
  • + Palm Beach County
  • + Palm Beach Gardens
  • + Pembroke Pines
  • + Plantation
  • + Plantation/Sunrise/Tamarac
  • + Pompano Beach
  • + Pompano Beach/Deerfield Beach/Coconut Creek
  • + Riviera Beach
  • + Sea Ranch Lakes
  • + South Beach
  • + South Dade
  • + Sunrise
  • + Sunrise/Plantation
  • + Surfside/Bal Harbor/Bay Harbor Islands
  • + Sweetwater/Westchester/West Miami
  • + Tamiami
  • + Unknown
  • + Upper Eastside/Miami Shores/Biscayne Park
  • + Wellington
  • + West Dade
  • + West Kendall
  • + West Palm Beach
  • + Weston
  • + Wilton Manors
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Best Of :: Shopping & Services

BEST JUICE BAR

Athens is a fructose-drenched local landmark. For 62 years the same family has been squeezing, chopping, and crushing the succulence out of local produce (for the most part) and serving it in a variety of healthy ways. Vegetable and fruit juices, smoothies, and luxurious fruit salads festooned with everything grown under a South Florida sun. Today Athens is owned by John Chavles, who is helped out by his brother George. They are the nephews of the two men who first opened Athens in 1942, brothers-in-law Peter Antonopoulos and Gus Siatis. John and George grew up working weekends for their uncles, scouring Miami Shores and Miami Beach neighborhoods for coconuts and mangoes they could collect and bring to the same Collins Avenue shop they now toil in. Such dedication has paid off. Six decades of doing business with Homestead and Florida City farms means Athens gets first pick of fruits and vegetables. They try to go with tree-ripened, locally grown produce. One of the big sellers is the coconut milk. While other fruit juice vendors sell coco frio, a coconut with a hole chopped in it, Athens mixes coconut water with its meat, creating a refreshing milky beverage. Athens is open from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Collins Avenue, and 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Washington Avenue, Monday through Saturday. Sundays the hours are 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Collins and 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Washington.

BEST WINE STORE

Jeffrey and Christie Wolfe opened their boutique wine store in January 2001, bringing to the enterprise substantial experience. Christie had been marketing manager for Augustan Wine Imports while Jeffrey had worked as sommelier and general manager at Norman's restaurant. But experience alone does not guarantee survival for new business ventures. Furthermore, when you want to sell wine and nothing but wine, and you refuse to stock supermarket brands, relying instead on small, family-owned wineries, you need a lot more than experience -- you probably need to have your head examined. But the Wolfes have beaten the odds. Not only was their store anointed last year as America's Best New Wine Shop by Food & Wine magazine, the husband-and-wife team have managed to attract a loyal and growing clientele that includes everyone from novices to collectors. In their postindustrial-cool store you won't find Kendall-Jackson or Beringer or Yellow Tail. You will, however, find expert assistance guiding you to new discoveries in your price range. Bargain bottles from $10 to $20 crowd the floor while pricier labels are stacked floor-to-ceiling along one wall. With an active e-mail list and regular, affordable tastings that draw crowds, the Wolfes can raise a glass to that most elusive of business goals: success.

BEST WINE STORE
Wolfe's Wine Shoppe

Jeffrey and Christie Wolfe opened their boutique wine store in January 2001, bringing to the enterprise substantial experience. Christie had been marketing manager for Augustan Wine Imports while Jeffrey had worked as sommelier and general manager at Norman's restaurant. But experience alone does not guarantee survival for new business ventures. Furthermore, when you want to sell wine and nothing but wine, and you refuse to stock supermarket brands, relying instead on small, family-owned wineries, you need a lot more than experience -- you probably need to have your head examined. But the Wolfes have beaten the odds. Not only was their store anointed last year as America's Best New Wine Shop by Food & Wine magazine, the husband-and-wife team have managed to attract a loyal and growing clientele that includes everyone from novices to collectors. In their postindustrial-cool store you won't find Kendall-Jackson or Beringer or Yellow Tail. You will, however, find expert assistance guiding you to new discoveries in your price range. Bargain bottles from $10 to $20 crowd the floor while pricier labels are stacked floor-to-ceiling along one wall. With an active e-mail list and regular, affordable tastings that draw crowds, the Wolfes can raise a glass to that most elusive of business goals: success.

124 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, 33134
MAP
305-445-4567
BEST SPORTING GOODS STORE

Though Play It Again Sports is a chain, the stores are also franchised, so this particular PIAS, owned and operated by Rich Tere, has the Miamian in mind. The store operates on the principle that after you take the first few checks to the upper lip on the rough grass in the field hockey tournament or sprain your wrist breaking a Rollerblading fall, you'll rethink those weekend passions for something along the lines of speed walking ... and you'll want to unload that gear. At Play It Again, you can buy, sell, or trade everything from boxing gloves to tennis rackets to golf clubs and even luge helmets. The prices are right, so by the time the summer heat drives you to reconsider the walking path, you can pick up a gently used bowling ball -- cheap.

BEST SPORTING GOODS STORE

Though Play It Again Sports is a chain, the stores are also franchised, so this particular PIAS, owned and operated by Rich Tere, has the Miamian in mind. The store operates on the principle that after you take the first few checks to the upper lip on the rough grass in the field hockey tournament or sprain your wrist breaking a Rollerblading fall, you'll rethink those weekend passions for something along the lines of speed walking ... and you'll want to unload that gear. At Play It Again, you can buy, sell, or trade everything from boxing gloves to tennis rackets to golf clubs and even luge helmets. The prices are right, so by the time the summer heat drives you to reconsider the walking path, you can pick up a gently used bowling ball -- cheap.

BEST COMIC BOOK SHOP

Comic book shops used to have a certain smell to them. It was the oft stale but always pleasant odor of hundreds of thousands of newsprint blotter pages, colorfully inked and full of imagination. But that is seldom the case these days as comic shops have gone to the toys, lining their stores with more heroic and villainous action figures than the comics that inspired their creation in the first place. Except for one: A & M Comic Books in West Miami. It's a treasure chest of comics ranging from popular Golden Age Marvel and DC titles to current, avant-garde series from alternative publishers such as Dark Horse. And the guys who work there can always bring you up to speed on the state of the X-Men or the Green Lantern, in case you haven't picked up a copy since just after your discovery that girls don't dig superheroes as much as you do. But when delving into the rows and rows of back issues, take heed: The big guy with the goatee who's always behind the register will explain that "little fairies don't come in here at night and put everything back in order." Hey, we never said it was the most polite comic book shop.

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BEST JUICE BAR: Athens Juice Bar

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