Best Of 2021

Best of San Antonio 2021

Best of San Antonio 2021

Enduring the past 16 months has required superhuman patience and perseverance. No mincing words here: it sucked. It was a historic climb — one that required all of us to step up to big challenges. Whether it's those of us who run the restaurants, bars, nonprofits, art galleries, retail shops — you name it — that make San Antonio tick. Or those of us who support and patronize those places and keep them thriving.

In other words, it's been a time for superheroes.

With that in mind, this edition of Best of San Antonio lauds the superheroes in our midst — the local businesses, personalities and institutions that make our city a fun and rewarding place to put down stakes.

And, as per usual, we asked you — superheroes in your own right — to let us know who the winners should be. There are no critics' choice entries this year. You picked them all.

As we look over the winners, we're reminded of the positive impact they have on our daily lives. Whether they kept us cool with an afternoon ice cream, visually inspired us with an artistic creation or kept us healthy through the pandemic, these winners flew to our rescue again and again.

Hats off to you, Current readers, for continuing to fly to theirs as well. Together, we make a super team.

Food & Drink

Food & Drink

People

People

Shopping

Shopping

Around Town

Around Town

Nightlife

Nightlife

Winner: Tim Duncan

It's really no surprise that The Big Fundamental landed at the top spot on this list for his incredible 19-year-career with the San Antonio Spurs. While former players like David Robinson, George Gervin, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker would probably round out the top five, there's no denying Duncan was a once-in-a-lifetime player who transformed a small-market franchise into a sports juggernaut. Not only did Duncan deliver five NBA championships to San Antonio, he won back-to-back NBA MVP awards in 2002 and 2003, was named Finals MVP three times and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this year. Duncan's No. 21 jersey was retired by the Spurs in 2016. He's the Spurs' GOAT, hands down.

2. David Robinson

3. Patty Mills

Winner: Ashley Morgan

soyarsmorganlaw.com

2. Joseph "Joe" Hoelscher

hgclaw.com/joe-hoelscher

3. Andrew Borrego

www.jca-law.com/team/andrew-borrego

Winner: Pastie Pops Burlesque Revue

pastiepops.com

It would be remiss to congratulate the Pastie Pops on this win without first taking a moment for S.T. Shimi — a beloved performer who helped build the local burlesque scene and died in a tragic accident last December. As leader of the pioneering local troupe Stars and Garters, Shimi (who performed as Black Orchid, the "Transoceanic Tropical Tease") rallied her gals each year for a bit of playful rivalry with the Pops in this very category. Orchid, we miss you and the tireless creative energy you brought to San Antonio! Without further ado, onto the Pops: Comprised of Jasper St. James (The Big and Tall That Bears It All), Mary Annette (The Doll With No Strings Attached), Vixy Van Hellen (The Bare Bottom of Bexar County), Camille Toe (She's the One You Wanna Pick), Elle Du Jour (The Contemporary Tease) and Mustang Ryder (The Self-Made Man), the Pops are a deliciously diverse, body-positive troupe known for performances that fuse burlesque with elements of vaudeville and stand-up. Rolling with the pandemic punches, the Pops presented three virtual shows during lockdown and are currently dusting off the tassels for "The Big Strip," a live performance showcasing Mary Annette (with support from a live band) at the Bonham Exchange on July 31.

2. Stars and Garters Burlesque

starsandgartersburlesque.com

3. Haus of Erotique

instagram.com/hausoferotique.tx

Winner: Johnny Hernandez

chefjohnnyhernandez.com

Celebrity chef, entrepreneur and general boss-man Johnny Hernandez has snagged yet another Best Of award in this category since his first in 2019. Though the pandemic made 2020 a tough year for chefs nationwide, Hernandez rolled up his sleeves and worked diligently to create a larger footprint for his Grupo La Gloria, which includes the not just the business' namesake Mexican street-food spots but Burgerteca and Fruteria locations. Perhaps the most innovative development of Hernandez's during the health crisis, however, was his introduction of margarita trucks to whisk SA's favorite beverage directly to consumers.

2. Sofia Sada

Frida Mexican Restaurant & Bar, Savor at The Culinary Institute of America 

ciachef.edu/ana-sofia-sada-cervantes

3. Jason Dady

Jason Dady Restaurant Group 

jasondady.com