These companies have done their best to earn your business and trust, and this was your chance to return the favor. Here are the restaurants, hotels, venues and service providers you picked for the Best of Texas readers’ choice awards.
Billy Bob's Texas
BEST MEETING/EVENT VENUE (in DFW Metro, No Hotel)
THE WINNER IS: Billy Bob’s Texas
» Plano Centre
» Gilley’s Dallas
This Fort Worth venue bills itself “The World’s Largest Honky Tonk,” and with six event spaces, an indoor rodeo arena, and roughly 150,000 square feet of event space, one can see why. The 81 Club at Billy Bob’s is a 10,000-square-foot space, which can host up to 800 guests. The Showroom is available for trade shows, seminars or private concerts with seating for up to 1,900 guests. Featuring amenities such as multiple dance floors, numerous stages, dozens of bars and a mechanical bull that can be rented for private events, Billy Bob’s Texas is ready for your Texas-sized event.
BEST MEETING/EVENT VENUE (outside DFW Metro, No Hotel)
THE WINNER IS: Beaumont Ranch
» Victoria College Emerging Technology Complex
» Brazos Hall
This 800-acre guest ranch and event center is nestled 30 minutes south of the Dallas and Fort Worth metropolitan area. It features two 20,000-square-foot event barns, rustic guest cabins, outdoor adventure activities, amazing views and a working cattle ranch. The Beaumont Ranch can accommodate up to 600 guests with six unique event venues and pastures that can accommodate events for up to 10,000 people. Situated on the old Chisholm Trail and surrounded by rustic buildings reminiscent of an 1880s western town, guests may feel like they have stepped back in time.
BEST RESORT VENUE
THE WINNER IS: Wildcatter Ranch
» Hyatt Regency Lost Pines
» Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas
Wildcatter Ranch features 41 guest rooms in a variety of guest cottages, cabin suites and hotel rooms throughout the 1,500- acre property. Event facilities can accommodate everything from small corporate retreats to large meeting groups. The ranch offers the latest high-tech audiovisual equipment and Wi-Fi, as well as custom catering and on-site team-building activities. A sport clay shooting range, archery, trail rides and historical jeep tours are just a few of the amenities offered at Wildcatter Ranch, where wide-open spaces can lead to big ideas.
BEST COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY VENUE
THE WINNER IS: Texas Christian University
» Southern Methodist University
» Victoria College Emerging Technology Complex
The TCU campus is roughly 280 acres and features dozens of state-of-the-art facilities. The college’s Conference Services department can help you with the details, from event planning to hotel selection to gourmet catering. The beautiful campus is conveniently located just minutes from downtown Fort Worth and approximately 35 miles from downtown Dallas. Whether you need a classroom, an auditorium or a ballroom, TCU will provide an unforgettable experience for your group.
BEST HISTORIC OR CULTURAL VENUE
THE WINNER IS: Stockyards Station
» Sixth Floor Museum
» River Ranch Stockyards
Situated in the middle of the historic Fort Worth Stockyards, Stockyards Station is a distinctly Texas venue. The Stockyards draw more than 2 million visitors to the area annually. Amidst all of that activity, dozens of attractions, retailers and restaurants provide plenty for attendees to see and do at the Stockyards. Event spaces include the Lone Star Room, The Stockman’s Club, the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Stampede Room, which can accommodate from 125 to 650 guests.
BEST HOLIDAY PARTY VENUE
THE WINNER IS: JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa
» Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas
» Four Day Weekend
At roughly 265,000 square feet in size, the resort offers one of the largest meeting spaces in the region. The River Bend Pavilion, one of the resort’s newest venues, features 5,000 square feet of indoor space, a 4,200-square-foot deck and 18,000 square feet of lawn. Amenities at the 917-guest-room resort include a 9-acre waterpark, two 18-hole golf courses, several restaurants and bars, and the Lantana Spa. The resort is just a quick drive from downtown San Antonio, but the city fades away once guests are on property.
Victoria College Emerging Technology Complex
BEST NEW VENUE
THE WINNER IS: Victoria College Emerging Technology Complex
» Canyonwood Ridge
» Oak Point Nature & Retreat Center
The Victoria College Emerging Technology Complex features a 72,000-square-foot Conference & Education Center. The facility offers 18,000 square feet of flexible event space, including classrooms, meeting rooms and a 6,700-square-foot meeting hall. Meetings for up to 500 guests can be accommodated at the venue. The conference center is certified by the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC) and furnishes nonglare tabletops, ergonomic chairs, state-of-the-art technology and flexible configurations to facilitate collaboration. Staging, lighting and catering can all be provided.
BEST RECENTLY RENOVATED VENUE (within Two Years)
THE WINNER IS: Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas
» Westin Downtown Dallas
» Leo J. Welder Center for the Performing Arts
The resort recently completed a two-year, $20 million renovation project, which included a fitness center, restaurant and bar and conference center. The centerpiece of the conference space renovation was the addition of two new event venues: The Terrace and the Lantana Room. The Terrace features an 8,000-square-foot upper deck and 4,000-square-foot lower deck and is blanketed in a custom synthetic grass. The Lantana Room is 4,400 square feet and boasts an entire wall of floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook a beautiful outdoor deck perfect for glimpsing the Dallas skyline.
BEST ROOFTOP VENUE
THE WINNER IS: Reata Restaurant
» DEC on Dragon
» Tacos and Tequila
This restaurant in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square district has numerous private dining rooms that can accommodate groups of 12 to 300. With one look at the restaurant’s Sunset Deck, it’s easy to understand why it is the most popular private dining space at Reata. Elevate your event with the sights and sounds of the city from this fourthfloor rooftop venue. The open-air covered patio can fit up to 86 guests for a seated dinner or up to 100 for a buffet reception.
BEST TEAM-BUILDING VENUE
THE WINNER IS: Circle R Ranch
» JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa
» Top Golf
The 60-acre Circle R Ranch is set among the rolling hills and pastures of North Texas. The ranch features unique event venues and offers several one-of-a-kind team-building activities. The Cowboy Up! Rodeo Challenge is a hands-on event filled with individual western skill challenges, including a 4,624-square-foot cattle pen maze that encourages teams to work together to find their way out. In Buck’s Texas Chili Cook-Off Challenge, participants must collaborate in the kitchen to create a championship chili. As part of the friendly competition, teams fine-tune their recipes in a series of chef-led challenges.
BEST AUDIO-VISUAL PROVIDER
THE WINNER IS: PSAV
» AVTS Houston
PSAV is a leading provider of audio-visual services and event technology, not only across the nation, but around the globe. PSAV has more than 1,200 locations worldwide, including its in-demand Dallas branch. The Dallas team brings decades of industry experience to any meeting, event or conference. If hiring an audio-visual provider were all an event planner had to worry about, the job would be much simpler with PSAV. In addition to audio-visual assistance, PSAV provides a full range of amenities, including event décor, creative, digital, staging and network services.
BEST DÉCOR/FLORAL PROVIDER
THE WINNER IS: Let It Fly Events
» Bella Flora
» Bouquets of Austin
» The Garden Gate
With combined experience of more than 55 years, Let It Fly Events sets the bar high when creating customized events for clients. The Houston event decorations firm specializes in planning, designing and executing events that have a lasting impact. The talented team at Let It Fly Events will help planners coordinate all aspects of any meeting, corporate event or trade show. While the company has long-standing relationships with many prominent Houston area businesses, it’s always ready to help a new client.
BEST ENTERTAINMENT (Performer or Talent Agency)
THE WINNER IS: Lagniappe Productions
» Four Day Weekend
» Bravo Entertainment
This western entertainment company specializes in award-winning old west comedy productions, murder mysteries, stunt shows and team-building events. Lagniappe Productions, founded in 1978, has completed more than 15,000 shows. The company provides cowboys, saloon girls and other wild west characters to create entertaining and memorable events. The performers are professionally trained and experienced actors. Lagniappe’s Tumbleweed Crossing is a self-contained set designed to travel.
BEST PHOTOGRAPHY/ VIDEOGRAPHY
THE WINNER IS: Alexander’s Fine Portrait Design
» Jenny Demarco Photography
» Greg Blomberg Photography
U.S. Presidents, including Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, are just a few of the clients who have sought out the services of Alexander’s Fine Portrait Design. With 42 years in the portrait, wedding and event photography business, Alexander’s has the experience to capture the special moments of your event. This family-owned-andoperated business delivers consistently beautiful images that make event planners and their clients look their best.
BEST CATERER (On- or Off-site)
THE WINNER IS: Blue Mesa Grill, Plano
» Royal Fig Catering
» G Texas
The Blue Mesa Grill restaurant and catering chain was founded in 1988 and offers locally sourced southwestern food at a moderate price point. The award-winning Plano location provides high-quality catering from a vast menu at three different service levels. The No Frills service is available for pick-up or delivery. The Set Up service includes regular plates and stainless flatware, and staff will set up your event and then return after the meal to tear down and clean up. Full-service catering with one staffer per every 35 guests is also available.
BEST HOTEL WITH MEETING/ EVENT SPACE (Fewer than 200 Guest Rooms)
THE WINNER IS: The Joule
» NYLO Plano at Legacy
» Victoria Homewood Suites by Hilton
» Hotel St. Cecila
A variety of sophisticated options are available for meeting and event groups at The Joule. The 161-guest-room boutique hotel is conveniently located in the heart of downtown, within walking distance of the Dallas Arts District, and offers many activities for attendee downtime. The property has 14,000 square feet of flexible indoor event space and more than 16,000 square feet of outdoor event space to host a wide array of events. The hotel’s largest indoor space is approximately 5,000 square feet and can accommodate up to 420 guests. For an outdoor event, the nearby lawn at The Eye on Main Street is a unique venue that can accommodate up to 800 guests, and can be arranged by The Joule staff.
BEST HOTEL WITH MEETING/ EVENT SPACE (More than 200 Guest Rooms)
THE WINNER IS: San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa
» Gaylord Texan Resort Hotel & Convention Center
» Omni Dallas Hotel
The convention and meeting space at the San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa boasts 40 event rooms, with a potential for up to 52 breakout rooms. The largest single space at the 917-guest-room property, the Grand Oaks Ballroom is 40,500 square feet with a capacity of 6,300 guests. The 267,823 square feet of indoor and outdoor event space at this resort provide a multitude of options when planning an event. On-site services such as audio-visual assistance, catering and dedicated event planning will assist in making your event unforgettable.
BEST RESTAURANT WITH PRIVATE DINING SPACE
THE WINNER IS: LAW
» Blue Mesa Grill
» Plano; Steak 48
The new signature restaurant at the Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas, LAW features unique food inspired by Texas flavors and made with the finest ingredients. The name LAW stands for Land, Air and Water, which represents the hearty menu of meats, poultry and fish that is served in a sophisticated, yet entertaining, atmosphere. The restaurant is located on the lobby level of the resort and offers seating for 206 and an additional 16 in each of two private dining rooms.
BEST GOLF RESORT
THE WINNER IS: Four Seasons and Club Dallas at Las Colinas
» JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Sp
» Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort & Spa
The PGA and the world’s top golfers flock to the TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas golf course each year for the AT&T Byron Nelson Tournament, so shouldn’t your event? Leave time for the award-winning 18-hole, par-70 TPC course or the 18-hole, par-71 Cottonwood Valley Golf course. Planners can schedule group lessons for eight to 24 golfers or customize a tournament for up to 200 players. Additional golfing amenities at the resort include a pro shop, driving range, practice sand bunker, and chipping and putting greens.
BEST CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU (Area More than 25,000 Population)
THE WINNER IS: Grapevine CVB
» Dallas CVB
» Greater Houston CVB
The City of Grapevine is centrally located between Dallas and Fort Worth and has a population of just under 50,000 residents. The Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) promotes and markets the hotels, restaurants, recreation facilities, businesses and attractions of this growing North Texas community. The dedicated staff of the Grapevine CVB work continually to make the city one of the most popular meeting and leisure destinations in the region.
BEST CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU, VISITOR CENTER OR CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (Area Fewer than 25,000)
THE WINNER IS: Bastrop County Historical Society Museum & Visitor Center
» Uvalde CVB
» Argyle Chamber of Commerce
The city of Bastrop is roughly 33 miles southeast of downtown Austin. Bastrop is nestled along the bluffs of the Colorado River in the Lost Pines region of Texas. The Bastrop Visitor Center serves as the promotional arm of the charming town and a one-stop shop for all things Bastrop. Conveniently located at corner of Main Street and Pine Street, the visitor center is easy to find and is open daily.
BEST MEETING/EVENT PLANNING COMPANY
THE WINNER IS: Ultimate Ventures
» International Meeting Managers
» Hello! Texas
A well-executed meeting or event can have an important and lasting impact on your business. Creating this result takes planning, experience and professionalism. The staff at Ultimate Ventures has the experience to help make your event a success. With a number of award-winning certified employees, they have the professionalism— and a combined 300 years of experience. And they know how to plan! Whether your company is hosting a special event, a teambuilding activity or a business conference, the team at Ultimate Ventures will ensure your event is one to remember.
BEST RENTAL COMPANY
THE WINNER IS: Shag Carpet Productions
» Premier Events
» TLC Event Rentals
Shag Carpet Productions began by producing 1970s-themed parties in 2001. Since then, it has added props, décor and furniture to match nearly any theme imaginable. Can’t find what you need in the 51,000-square-foot warehouse? Shag Carpet staff will build it in a custom fabrication shop. Additionally, the Shag Sign Shop can add another layer of branding possibilities to your event. Shag Carpet’s customers range from local residents hosting parties to professional event planners for large corporations. All are welcome to visit the company’s warehouse in the Deep Ellum neighborhood of Dallas.
THE WINNER IS: Premier Transportation
» Tie: Elegant Limousine and Charter
» Uptown Valet & Transportation
Founded in 1996, Premier Transportation offers a fleet of vehicles, including limousines, SUVs, vans, limo buses, shuttle buses and coach buses. Premier Transportation can accommodate any size group, from an airport transfer for six people to a corporate event for 200 guests. The company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and was named National Operator of the Year by an industry association and trade magazine. The experienced, professional staff and clean, late-model fleet provide a level of comfort and safety beyond expectation.