Family Choice Awards 2013

Jevin’s outfit courtesy of Cotton Tails. Designed by Tea. - Marci Lambert

Meet Our Stars!

The 2013 Family Choice Awards

Here it is, the final tally, the news you’ve all been waiting for . . . the announcement of our Family Choice Award winners!

The Family Choice Awards gives you, our readers, a chance to weigh in on who you think is doing the best job in our city when it comes to serving families. When you see our categories, you begin to realize just how many different companies families use in daily life. From the Memphis Zoo and Botanic Garden to pediatricians, retailers, restaurants, and museums, families are consumers. We know you appreciate those businesses that make life a bit easier and more fun.             

With the Family Choice Awards, we like to take this opportunity to salute those organizations providing the best service to kids and parents alike.  

This year, we were excited to offer our voting ballot entirely online, with pull-down menus that gave you a chance to select from our offerings or write in a contender of your own. We hope that made the process easier. More than 1,400 readers had their say, giving thumbs up to a host of businesses in 35 different categories.

We hope our awards give you ideas when you’re looking for new services or places to go with your family. And congratulations to all of our winners; whether gold, silver, or bronze, your excellence has been noted.


Best FREE Family Outing

Gold: Memphis Zoo, Free Tuesdays
Silver: Shelby Farms Woodland Playground
Bronze: Levitt Shell

Parents look for destinations that offer free family fun and these folks deliver. The Memphis Zoo zoomed ahead of Shelby Farms’ Woodland Playground to secure gold this year, but all three attractions are a great place to spend family time.

Best Family Day Trip

Gold: Memphis Zoo
Silver: Cedar Hill Farm  
Bronze: Nashville

Between enjoying the animals, the outdoors, and the attractions in Nashville (we love the Adventure Science Center and the Lane Motor Museum), there’s something here for everyone.


Best Locally Owned Children’s Store

Gold: Village Toymaker
Silver: The Booksellers at Laurelwood
Bronze: Cotton Tails

The intersection of Poplar and Perkins seems to be ground zero for great kid shopping. From a wonderful selection of toys and books to plenty of cute kids’ clothes, shopping local is a snap. Kudos to these fine vendors.

Best Kids Consignment Store

Gold: Once Upon A Child
Silver: TIE: Junior League Repeat Boutique & Plato’s Closet
Bronze: Summer Kids Clothing Exchange

Whether you’re looking for gently worn clothes or a deal on a stroller, these consignment stores are a bonanza, offering quality merchandise at affordable prices.  

Best Local Place to Buy Toys

Gold: Village Toy Maker
Silver: Knowledge Tree
Bronze: The Booksellers at Laurelwood

The Village Toymaker, brimming with goodies, is the gold winner for good reason: they offer a fabulous selection of interesting toys you won’t find in the big box stores. Congrats to them as well to our new silver and bronze winners, The Knowledge Tree and The Booksellers at Laurelwood. Glad you’re part of our community.

Best Maternity Store

Gold: A Pea in a Pod
Silver: TIE: Motherhood Maternity & Target
Bronze: Gap

Whether you need a professional outfit for the office, or something casual for home, you can look stylish anytime when you shop maternity at these winners.

Best Local Store for Baby Gifts

Gold: Cotton Tails  
Silver: Itty Bitty Bella
Bronze: TIE: Spoiled Sweet & More Than Words

Who says babies shouldn’t be spoiled? From cute layette outfits at Cotton Tails to stylish home furnishings at Itty Bitty Bella, here you’ll find the perfect gift.

Best Store for Children’s Gifts

Gold: Village Toymaker
Silver: The Booksellers at Laurelwood
Bronze: Knowledge Tree

Best Local Place to Buy Baby’s Clothes

Gold: Cotton Tails
Silver: Itty Bitty Bella
Bronze: Woman’s Exchange of Memphis

From stylish and hip to traditional togs, each of these vendors have a particular niche which makes them unique. If you haven’t shopped at these stores, put them on your list.

Dixon Gallery and Gardens - © Mkopka |

Tasty Eats

Best Restaurant with Kids

Gold: Chick-Fil-A
Silver: Huey’s
Bronze: Mellow Mushroom

When you’ve got a picky eater at home, it always helps to have a go-to place (besides your kitchen) where the food is plentiful and good. These three offer award-winning dishes that will bring a smile to the crankiest of eaters. Yum.

Best Restaurant without Kids

Gold: Iris
Silver: Flight, Restaurant and Wine Bar  
Bronze: Folk’s Folly

Wow, these three restaurants finished on top again this year. Not hard to believe, though. After herding kids and colleagues all day, you need a place to relax and dine that won’t disappoint. Congrats to these award winners for continuing to serve memorable meals.   

Best Healthy Kids’ Menu

Gold: Jason’s Deli
Silver: Panera Bread
Bronze: Holiday Ham

These winners offer fresh ingredients and food that not only tastes good, but is good for you.

Best Local Pizzeria

Gold: Memphis Pizza Cafe
Silver: Garibaldi’s
Bronze: The Trolley Stop

Memphis Pizza Café continues to be the go-to place for pizza. But this year, Garabaldi’s knocked out Mellow Mushroom for the Silver, and The Trolley Stop zipped in with their fresh, diverse menu to take the Bronze.

Best Barbecue

Gold: Central BBQ Memphis
Silver: Germantown Commissary
Bronze: Corky’s

When it comes to BBQ, Memphis is a tough audience. Kudos to these purveyors, who know how to make the little piggy sing.

Best Ice Cream

Gold: YoLo Frozen Yogurt
Silver: Baskin-Robbins
Bronze: Jerry’s Snow Cones

Sweet treats that can’t be beat.


Best Kids’ Party Destination

Gold: Memphis Botanic My Big Backyard
Silver: Sky Zone Sports
Bronze: Children’s Museum of Memphis  

When you’ve got to throw a party, you want a destination that’s fun and reliable. That what makes these vendors number one. Kudos.

Best Kids’ Party Entertainment

Gold: Sky Zone Sports
Silver: Children’s Museum of Memphis
Bronze: Music for Aardvarks  

Best Bakery for Birthday Cakes

Gold: Muddy’s Bake Shop
Silver: Miss Muff’n Bakery   
Bronze: Costco

Tasty treats that can’t be beat.

NEW • Best Children’s Photographer

Gold: Allison Rogers Photography
Silver: Hal Jaffe
Bronze: Paige Miller

This is a new category this year, because we know how important it is to capture your family’s precious moments. These photographers have the knack.

Best Salon for Kids’ Haircuts

Gold: Sports Clips
Silver: Super Cuts
Bronze: Sweet & Sassy

Looks like the price is right when it comes to finding stylists who will work with squirmy kids. A tip of our hat to these fine outlets, who make bed heads a thing of beauty.

Best Spa for Mom

Gold: Gould’s
Silver: Germantown Day Spa
Bronze: Serenity Day Spa

The next time you need time for you? Follow the three R’s: Relax, rejuvenate, and remember these winners.  

Best Pediatrician

Gold: Dr. Chris Hanson, Laurelwood Pediatrics
Silver: Dr. Ashley Miller, Laurelwood Pediatrics
Bronze: TIE: Dr. Aimee Christian, Memphis Pediatrics, & Dr. Noel Frizzell, Pediatric Consultants

This is always a hotly contested category, with many doctors receiving votes. So we salute the winners. Congratulations, all.

Best Pediatric Dentist

Gold: Dr. Brad Wilkinson
Silver: Dr. Michael Blen
Bronze: TIE: Dr. Betsy Barcroft & Dr. Greg Wilkinson

This category is a slugfest, too. Kudos.

Best Orthodontist

Gold: Dr. Brad Wilkinson
Silver: Dr. Cooper Sandusky  
Bronze: Dr. Danny Weiss  

NEW • Best Pediatric Asthma and Allergy Specialists

Gold: East Memphis Allergy and Asthma
Silver: Allergy and Asthma Specialists of Memphis
Bronze: Allergy and Asthma Care

Since Memphis is a hotbed for allergy and asthma issues, we wanted to salute those in the front line working to keep kids healthy.

Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital -


Best Hospital

Gold: Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital
Silver: Methodist Le Bonheur Germantown Hospital
Bronze: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

We are blessed to live in a city that offers excellent medical care.  

Best Place to Have Your Baby

Gold: Baptist Women’s Hospital
Silver: Methodist Bonheur Germantown Hospital  
Bronze: St. Francis Hospital, Memphis

A good birth experience is what these hospitals deliver.

Best Public School

Gold: White Station High School
Silver: Grahamwood Elementary
Bronze: Campus School

For the third year in a row, White Station High earns Gold as the city’s Best Public School, edging out a host of contenders. Just a handful of votes separated the top finishers, with Grahamwood earning Silver. And this year, we welcome a new school to the winner’s circle; Campus School claims the Bronze. Hats off to these schools and all who were considered.

Best Private School

Gold: Woodland Presbyterian School
Silver: Briarcrest Christian School  
Bronze: Christ Methodist Day School

Woodland Presbyterian must be doing great things, since it won Gold again this year. Briarcrest Christian nosed the competition to gain Silver and we welcome Christ Methodist Day School as the new Bronze award winner.

Best Day Care

Gold: Christ United Methodist Church
Silver: First Baptist Day School
Bronze: Memphis Jewish Community Center Early Childhood Center   

Finding quality day care is among parents top concerns when children arrive. Thankfully, this year’s finishers are among the best.

Best Field Trip for Kids

Gold: Memphis Zoo
Silver: Cedar Hill Farm
Bronze: Children’s Museum of Memphis

Don’t you remember taking field trips as a kid? Who didn’t want a day out of the classroom? These winners offer quality programming and a great escape for kids of all ages.

Best Parent’s Day Out Programs

Gold: Christ United Methodist Church
Silver: Memphis Jewish Community Center     
Bronze: Second Presbyterian PDO

We welcome this new group of winners. Congrats to all!

Best After-school Performing Arts Program

Gold: Music for Aardvarks
Silver: TIE: School of Rock & Briarcrest Performing Arts School
Bronze: Germantown Performing Arts Center

Giving children a place to express themselves creatively is important work. Music, movement, and just plain fun are what these winners provide. Congratulations.

Best After-school Sports program

Gold: Woodland Presbyterian Athletic Program
Silver: Briarcrest Christian School
Bronze: TIE: Memphis Jewish Community Center & the YMCA

Best Overnight Camp

Gold: Victory Ranch
Silver: Camp Bear Track
Bronze: Pinecrest

Camp is the place kids can not only make new friends, but discover new talents in themselves. These winners help them on that road to discovery.

Best Recreational Outing for Families

Gold: Memphis Zoo
Silver: Biking on the Green Line
Bronze: TIE: Memphis Redbirds game & Shelby Farms

Hard to argue with that lineup!

Best Annual Event for Families

Gold: Starry Nights at Shelby Farms
Silver: Memphis Italian Fest   
Bronze: Germantown Festival

It’s not easy to produce a quality event that families anticipate each year. But these organizations (with a lot of volunteer help) manage to do just that. Kudos.

Best Tourist Attraction

Gold: Memphis Zoo
Silver: Graceland
Bronze: Downtown Memphis

Whether it’s hearing live music, learning about animals, or seeing the mighty Mississippi from the trolley or bluff walk, these destinations say Memphis.

Greenline - Andrea Zucker

Best Local Blog

Gold: Two Kids, a Minivan, and a Mortgage (
Bronze: I Love

Three great blogs with distinct identities: Two Kids gives a personal glimpse into the suburban life of a family whose daughter faced down cancer. Eastmemphismoms gathers information from readers looking for activities of interest to families, and I Love Memphis is a great guide to life in the Bluff City. A shout out, too, to Dining with Monkeys, a personal guide to dining with kids, and Living in the Moment at, the go-to source for events listings, parenting info, and more!

Best Local Role Model

Gold: Parents
Silver: Coach Josh Pastner  
Bronze: Justin Timberlake

Parents were the hands-down favorites here and frankly, we couldn’t agree more.

Stay tuned for our annual Parent's Choice 2014 ballot coming in October 2014 to the pages of Memphis Parent and online here at!

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