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Businesses honored at Best of Lehigh Acres luncheon

October 25, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO (news@breezenewspapers.com) , Lehigh Acres Citizen

Whether they have won it once or 20 times, being named the Best of Lehigh Acres is an honor that is greeted with excitement.

On Oct. 24, dozens of winners came for lunch at El Tarasco Mexican Restaurant and to receive the award determined by readers of The Lehigh Acres Citizen as the best in their given category.

This year's award was especially significant, as it came on the heels of Hurricane Irma. These businesses helped return to a feeling of normalcy an area that was hit hard by the storm.

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CHUCK BALLARO
The big winner was EmJay’s Tavern & Grill, which picked up five awards at the Best of Lehigh Acres luncheon held Oct. 24 at El Tarasco Mexican Restaurant. Accepting the awards were bartender Nicole Smith, left, and Murielle Lallave, owner.

Jim Konig, general manager and advertising director of Breeze Newspapers, said it was important to get together after the Irma hit to celebrate what a great community Lehigh is.

"We went through the adversity of this hurricane, and yet we're going to have record-breaking attendance," he said. "We're having more than 100 people here and, for Lehigh, that's incredible."

The Best of Lehigh awards include numerous categories, everything from the best restaurant, plumber and hair salon, to the best sleep disorder center, window tinting, handy man and more.

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Among the big winners were the Lehigh Regional Medical Center and EmJay's Tavern & Grill, which each culled five awards, along with Country Roads Cafe, which won three awards.

For EmJay's, the Best of awards are an indication of how a new business can become well recognized in the community in less than two years.

Murielle Lallave, the owner of EmJay's, said winning five Best of awards - best burger, chicken wings, bar, sports bar and happy hour - is an indication of what the business has become.

Fact Box

- Pet Grooming: A + Pet Grooming

- Title Company: Aaccurate Title Services

- Hardware Store: Ace Hardware

- Commercial Real Estate Broker: Kyle Deodat

- Commercial Real Estate Team: Achievers Realty

- Pet Care/Veterinarian: Animal Medical Center

- Building Lot Sales: American Heritage Real Estate

- Buffet: Asia Buffet

- Hair Salon: At The Top Salon

- Nail Salon: At The Top Salon

- Day Spa: Tropical Beauty Shop

- Massage: Tropical Beauty Shop

- Accountant: Robert Bowers

- Accounting Firm: Bowers Accounting

- Liquor Store: Buy Right Liquor & Wine

- Chinese Restaurant: China Star

- Breakfast Place: Country Roads Cafe

- Live Entertainment: Country Roads Cafe

- Cafe: Country Roads Cafe

- Ice Cream: Country Style Ice Cream

- Barber Shop: Cutting Edge Barber Shop

- Seafood Market: Deb's Seafood

- Mexican Restaurant: El Tarasco

- Burger: Emjay's Tavern & Grill

- Chicken Wings: Emjay's Tavern & Grill

- Bar: Emjay's Tavern & Grill

- Sports Bar: Emjay's Tavern & Grill

- Happy Hour: Emjay's Tavern & Grill

- Auto Body Repair: Expert Auto Body

- Sleep Disorder Center: Florida Lung & Sleep Associates

- Lung Cancer Diagnostic Center: Florida Lung & Sleep Associates

- Independent Living Retirement Community: Fountain Crest

- Italian Food: Friend's Pizza

- Pizza: Friend's Pizza

- Auto Repair: Frog's Automotive

- Auto Service: Frog's Automotive

- Insurance Agent: Teresa Goodlad State Farm

- Insurance Agency: Goodlad Insurance Agency State Farm

- Financial Services: Goodlad Agency State Farm

- Auto Oil Change: Grease Monkey

- Tire Service: Grease Monkey

- Construction: Gulf Coast Construction & Design

- Guns & Ammo: Gunsmoke and Lead

- Bakery: Havana Bakery

- Health Food Store: Healthy Gourmet

- Funeral Home: Hodges Funeral Home

- Window Tinting: In Your Ear Stereo Gear

- Plumbing Company: Katz Plumbing

- Home Builder: Adams Homes

- Community Organization: Kiwanis Lehigh Acres

- Thrift Shop: Kiwanis Lehigh Acres

- Association Property Management: Landex International Corporation

- Hospital: Lehigh Regional Medical Center

- Emergency Care: Lehigh Regional Medical Center

- Medical Group: Lehigh Regional Medical Center

- Medical Center: Lehigh Regional Medical Center

- Health System: Lehigh Regional Medical Center

- Air Conditioning Service: Livingston Air

- Air Conditioning Sales: Livingston Air

- Community Humanitarian: Liz Eilf

- Handy Man: Matthew Powell

- Pharmacy: Medicine Shoppe

- Golf Course: Mirror Lakes Golf Course

- Roofing Company: Nastar Roofing

- Soffits & Gutters: Nastar Roofing

- Kitchen & Bath Remodeler: New Look Resurfacing

- Day Care: Open Doors Day Care

- Preschool: Open Doors Preschool

- Sports Medicine & Rehab: Optimum Wellness Center

- Charter School: Palm Acres Charter High School

- New Business: Pelican's SnoBalls & Mini-Golf

- Family Entertainment: Pelican's SnoBalls & Mini-Golf

- Grocery Store: Publix

- Out Patient Radiology: Radiology Regional Center

- Women's Imaging Radiology Facility: Radiology Regional Center

- Real Estate Rental & Property Management: Real Estate Executives Inc.

- Real Estate Team: Real Estate Executives, Inc.

- Personal Trainer: Sam Trawick Frostbourne Fitness

- Fence Company: Security Fence

- Residential Real Estate Broker: Sonia Rios

- Real Estate Agency: Sonia Rios Team

- Pool Construction: South Florida Pools

- Pool Renovations: South Florida Pools

- Print Screening/Graphics Design: Southern Style Graphics & Tees

- Tax Preparation: J. Nathan Stout

- Landscaping: Tilling Eden

- Electrical: Tri City Electric

- Shipping Store: Your Neighborhood Shipping Store

- Veteran's Organization: VFW Post 4174

- Dentist: Loven Litchmore

- Dental Office: Westminster Dental

- Fitness Center: World Gym

- Best New Restaurant: Yummy's Chinese Restaurant

"Lehigh needs good places to go to, and I'm happy to be a part of this community. I support the local businesses here and it's great they're doing this," she said. "We put pride in our product. We put quality and customer service as number one, and we have a lot of regulars as a result."

While it was EmJay's first year winning the awards, Livingston Air was celebrating its 18th straight year as a Best of company for air conditioning.

"It never gets old because you have to keep on top of things. You treat people the way you want to be treated, and they appreciate it and recommend you," owner John Marcantonio said. "We've had people we installed air conditioners for and 20 years later they want us to replace it."

Janet Barger, hospital administrator for the Animal Medical Center of Lehigh Acres, won Best Vet for a third straight year. She said in a growing community, it is important for their company and people to stand out.

"We practice quality medicine, we have our staff educate and reach out to our clients," she said. "Animals are amazing. The gratification from what we do and helping clients and saving animals is a huge part of what we do."

David Deetscreek, who owns and helps run several Best of businesses, including Mirror Lakes Golf Club, World Gym and Robert Bowers Accounting, said there is a lot of opportunity in Lehigh.

"People don't see that possibility, but people who live here understand this is a wonderful place and there are a lot of things we can use. We're trying to make those things happen here," he said.

Francisco Solis, co-owner of El Tarasco, said it was an honor to host the event and be a winner.

"When they said we would host it, that was amazing. When they said that we won, that was even more amazing," he said. "It's great to be involved in the business and the community."

El Tarasco was named Best Restaurant for the third straight year.

The restaurant is at 1320 Business Way.

 
 

 

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