Best of the 'Burgh 2010: Services
Our editors pick the best of the best in Pittsburgh services.
Pamper pooch with a photo session from Totophoto, a photography studio owned by Joanna Totolici.
Photo by Joanna Totolici
Best Doggy Photo Op: Haute dog! Book a photo shoot for your pooch with accomplished fashion photographer Joanna Totolici of TotoPhoto, a doggy-centric photography studio with a passion for style and a love of our canine companions. Simple and stylish photographs of man’s (and woman’s) best friend can be arranged in the New York City studio or on location in your home. Majestic, hip or downright silly, Fido will be immortalized for posterity when his antics are captured. For pricing and booking information, call 917/325-5465 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. — Reese Randall
Photo by Laura Petrilla
Best Use of Local Honey: Forget waxing. Honey is the best new product that bees give to spa-goers. ESSpa Kozmetika’s 60-minute Hungarian honey massage, the specialty of Edit Herman, is a one-of-a-kind treatment that exfoliates, massages and improves blood circulation in the back and legs. Warm, locally sourced honey is applied to the skin and then massaged; as the honey dries out, it becomes sticky, which adds additional sensation to the massage. Plus, the skin absorbs the honey as the body absorbs its nutrients, leaving you feeling energetic and refreshed afterward. Sweet. 17 Brilliant Ave., Aspinwall; 412/782-3888, esspa.net. — Kaitlyn Johnston
Readers' Poll: Best Pet Day Care: Camp Bow Wow, Locations in Ross Township, Green Tree, Castle Shannon; 412/276-9247
Readers' Poll: Best Veterinarian: Point Breeze Veterinarian Clinic, 6742 Reynolds St., Point Breeze; 412/665-1810, pointbreezevet.com
Best Green Spa: With an eco-friendly approach to wellness, this full-service salon and spa offers organic and vegan friendly products to patrons. Earlier this year, The Neville Spa introduced its Bumble and bumble (Bb) hair-product recycling program. Turn in your empty plastic Bb hair-product container, and you’ll receive a 5-percent discount on your next purchase of a Bb hair product. All products sold at the spa are cruelty-free to animals, and if they are not entirely organic, then there is a green alternative within the line. Built with eco-friendly construction materials, The Neville Spa uses high-efficiency appliances and has instituted an on-site recycling department, making sure everything in the spa that can be recycled is recycled. 1597 Washington Pike, Bridgeville; 412/278-2500, nevillespa.com — R.R.
Readers' Poll: Best Architect: Desmone + Associates Architects, desmone.com
Photo by Chuck Beard
Best Shoe Shine: A visit to the legendary Nordstrom shoe department is always entertaining. But at Ross Park Mall, Tino’s shoe-shine nook may be the star of the show. For a couple of bucks per pair, you can drop off your shoes for pick-up later or take a seat and relax for a moment. We recommend the latter, since Tino Spagnolo is charming and chatty (“Your shoes are as dry as the Gobi Desert!”). Plus, that way you can continue your shopping expedition, feeling confident that your shoes are up to Nordstrom’s standards. 1000 Ross Park Mall Drive, Suite 29; 412/548-4300, ext. 1505. — Betsy Benson
Readers' Poll: Best Dry Cleaner: Footer's, 5864 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill; 412/421-0400
Best Unexpected Wi-Fi Hotspot: You're sitting on a bench in Schenley Plaza. The sun is shining, the carousel is whirling and Pitt students are sunbathing on the lawn. You open up your laptop, and—what’s this? A free Wi-Fi connection? Where did that come from? We expect wireless signals in certain municipal places, like the airport, but Schenley Plaza is Pittsburgh’s most surprising hotspot. During the warmer months, visitors can tote their laptops to the gazebo, order a plateful of sushi from a Plaza vendor, then write an e-mail and feel a cool breeze at the same time. 4100 Forbes Ave., Oakland. — Robert Isenberg
Readers' Poll: Best New Home Builder: Heartland Homes, 412-221-7990, loveheartland.com
Best Place to Get Your Spa On: Even in a cloudy city like this one, there is always a ray of hope. Sewickley Spa’s “Get Your Tan On” special has been selling like ice cream at the beach since April. It includes a sea-salt body exfoliation, tanning application with instructions and can of take-home tanner for $95. The services would cost $200 if purchased separately. The visit takes about 60 minutes, and the shades naturally adjust to varying skin tones, so you won’t go from looking like Cate Blanchett to Snookie, but you will get some much needed color in your life—thanks to glowing ingredients like retinols, aloe, caramel and barbadensis leaf. 337 Beaver St., Sewickley; 412/741-4240, sewickleyspa.com. — Julie Talerico
Readers' Poll: Best Hair Stylist: Michael B at Michael B’s Gentlemen's Barber Shop, 2991 W. Liberty Ave., Dormont; 412-551-4247, mbgbpittsburgh.com
Photo by Laura Petrilla
Best Singing Telegrams: There’s something inherently wacky about sending someone a singing telegram, so Wacky Jack’s gets props just for the spot-on name alone. But living up to the name is what Wacky Jack’s does best: The company has an entourage of characters to deliver the message and song, including Ugly Olga, Nerdy Ned, Clipper the Clown and Nurse Noodle to name a few. Any signing telegram is better in person, but Wacky Jack’s also offers telephone-singing telegrams for $19.99 and e-mail-singing telegrams for $9.99 that include an MP3 file and lyrics. wackyjacktelegrams.com. — Jonathan Wander
Readers' Poll: Best Law Firm: K&L Gates, 412/355-6500, klgates.com
Best Place for a Quick Massage: Pittsburghers work hard—and at the end of the day, all that toil leads to knotted shoulders. Massage Envy is a national chain, but the Squirrel Hill branch has become the perfect spot for pedestrian clients. With its corps of therapists, Envy can usually reserve guests within the hour. You get in, you get a Swedish rubdown and you get out—all for a reasonable price. Day spas may be more luxurious, and localvores may prefer unique businesses like Healing Touch (downtown) or the Xie LiHong Wellness Center (South Hills), but for relaxation on a whim, this place hits the spot. 5836 Forbes Ave., Squirrel Hill; 412/420-5188, massageenvy.com. — R.I.
Readers' Poll: Best Plumber: Michael Ulicny Plumbing & Heating, 3226 Valewood Drive, Homestead; 412/461-5772