Readers Shed Light on the Best of SW Lake

Bonnie Conte’s labor of love is Avalon Salon & Spa in Deer Park. Her labors, and those of a talented team of 50 strong stylists and staff members, have been recognized by voters in the first two editions of the Best of SW Lake Awards. For the last two years, not only has Avalon been chosen as Best Women’s Hair Salon, but it also was swept to victory this year in a second category as Best Day Spa/MedSpa.

The readers have the power as evidenced in the Best of SW Lake Awards program this year and last; nearly 80,000 votes have been cast for hundreds of businesses across the region. The final results are revealed for the first time in their totality in this issue, including companies that received Runner-Up and Honorable Mentions.

A few items of note this time-around:

  • » In the category of Best Fitness Facility/Gym, Restoration Fitness in Lake Zurich (last year’s Runner-Up) shares the top spot with Advocate Good Shepherd Health & Fitness Center (Barrington).
  • » In addition to Avalon, several businesses are repeat winners, including Motor Werks Group (Best Luxury Car Dealer); Broken Oar (Best Live Music); The Kim Alden Team – Baird & Warner (Best Realtor); Timothy Grant Jewelry (Best Jeweler); Hawthorn Woods Family Dental (Best Dentist); PMG Wealth Management (Best Financial Advisor); 18/8 Fine Men’s Salon (Best Barbershop); and; Walter E. Smithe (Best Home Furnishings & Décor).
  • » Best Casual Dining is the tightest category with just five votes separating the Top 3 finishers.
  • » The top vote getter with a 30%+ margin over the next highest is Wild Onion Brewery (Best Local Brewery).

When it’s time to spend a hard earned dollar, choose any of these businesses voted on by readers for a Best of SW Lake Award. While you’re at it give ‘em a high five, too, for a job well done.

Best Day Spa

Avalon Salon & Spa 

20530 N. Rand Rd | Deer Park

847.726.8855 |

Not only is Avalon Salon & Spa a two-time winner of a Best of SW Lake Award, this year they pulled off a rare feat being awarded by readers in two categories – Best Day Spa and Best Hair Salon. Avalon, open seven days a week and conveniently located in Deer Park Center, continues a tradition of excellence by being named a Top 200 Salon, a recognition they have earned since 2005.

Runner-Up: AMA Med Spa

Honorable Mention: Cara Mia Medspa

Best Women’s Hair Salon (Tie)

Avalon Salon & Spa

20530 N. Rand Rd | Deer Park

847.726.8855 |

With more than 50 trained stylists, Avalon, an AVEDA Salon Spa, is a repeat winner as Best Women’s Hair Salon. Located in Deer Park Town Center, owned and managed by award-winning stylist Bonnie Conte, Avalon in 2018 was honored for the 14th consecutive year as a Top 200 Salon by Salon Today Magazine.

Best Women’s Hair Salon (Tie)

Fleur de Lis Salon

117 Barrington Commons Court Ste A, | Barrington

847.381.1003 |

A newcomer to the Best of SW Lake Awards, Fleur de Lis Salon tied for top honors in the first-ever voting deadlock for “Best of SWL”. FDL offers a full variety of services to help women look and feel their best. FDL bills itself as an AVEDA Concept Salon.

Runner-up: Vickie’s Personal Touch

Best Real Estate Broker

Kim Alden Real Estate

754 W. Northwest Hwy | Barrington

847.254.5757 |

The Kim Alden Team at Baird Warner was proud to assist over 130 homeowners to achieve their dream of selling or purchasing a new home in 2017, using the latest digital and traditional marketing methods to help buy or sell a home. Kim Alden has been the #1 agent in the Barrington office for the last 12 years, and is known for always putting her clients first.

Runner-up: Renee Clark, @properties

Honorable Mention: Jody Hallan, 
Baird Warner

Best Casual Dining

Middleton’s on Main

110 S. Main St | Wauconda

847.526.6433 |

This restored historic building built in 1847 previously served as a stagecoach stop, a brothel, and the Grand Hotel, and since 2012 is the area’s first GastroPub. They feature over 100 beers and full bar, classic and evolutionary Irish-inspired pub grub, live music Thursday-Saturday, big screens to watch the game in the bar, and the most engaging, energetic Team Trivia contest in the area every Monday night.

Runner-up: Scoreboard

Honorable Mention: Bobbers

Best Local Brewery

Wild Onion Brewery 

N. Pepper Rd. | Lake Barrington

847.381.7308 |

Two-time Best of SW Lake Awards winner Wild Onion Brewery, now entering their third decade of production, continues to be a local innovator. Did you know that they grow hops adjacent to their brewery for use in a seasonal favorite, Otis Wet Hops IPA? Wild Onion beer is widely available throughout the Midwest, but tastes its very best when it’s personally poured for you at the Onion Pub in Lake Barrington. 

Runner-up: Tighthead Brewery

Honorable Mention: Side Lot Brewery

Best Chiropractor

Deignan Family Chiropractic

777 N. Lake Zurich Rd Ste 105 | Barrington

847.277.2990 |

In Barrington the Deignan Family Chiropractic Client provides quality care to patients through the expertise of Dr. Nicholas Deignan & Dr. Delphine Deignan. In addition to a full range of chiropractic treatments, the Deignans offer simple, common-sense tips to preventing disease and living a fuller, healthier lifestyle.

Runner-up: Van Ness

Honorable Mention: Hope Chiropractic

Best Landscaper

Acres Group

610 W. Liberty St | Wauconda

888.231.1300 |

Since 1983, family owned Acres Group has been providing premium quality landscape maintenance, landscape installation, custom design build projects, and snow removal.  From their headquarters in Wauconda, with three facilities and two nurseries providing service to all Chicagoland, Acres has an expert staff of certified horticultural professionals trained for all types of landscaping work. 

Runner-up: Natural Environments 

Honorable Mention: A.M. Woodland Outdoor Design

Best Insurance Agent

Ryan Messner Insurance

437 Robert Parker Coffin Rd |  Long Grove

847.793.0041 |

State Farm agent Ryan Messner does more than provide a full-range of insurance services to local families and small businesses; he’s also a passionate patron for the revitalization of downtown Long Grove. The mission of the Ryan Messner team “is to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected and realize their dreams.”

Runner-up: Larry Stern (Farmers Insurance Group)

Honorable Mention: Patricia Pipkin (Allstate)

Best Jeweler

Timothy Grant Jewelry

155 N. Rand, Rd | Lake Zurich

847.726.1556 |

A two-time Best of SW Lake Award winner, Timothy Grant Jewelry specializes in custom jewelry design, from sketch to a finished creation of a customer’s dreams. Now located in their showroom on North Rand Road (with a second location in Schaumburg), under the leadership of Tim Siefert, Timothy Grant jewelers are experts at repurposing existing jewelry into dazzling new pieces.

Runner-up: Michael J. Miller

Honorable Mention: Celine Jewelers

Best Luxury Car Dealer

Motor Werks Auto Group

1475 Barrington Rd | Barrington 

847.381.8900 |

Since 1971, Motor Werks has grown to become one of the largest multi-line car dealers in the United States, with three locations in Barrington and Hoffman Estates. They are a repeat winner of the Best of SW Lake Awards, and currently are ranked as one of the Top 100 Privately Owned Businesses in the Chicago area.

Runner-up: Wickstrom Lincoln

Honorable Mention: Marquardt Buick GMC

Best Live Music

Broken Oar

614 Rawson Bridge Rd | Port Barrington

847.639.9468 |

Once again, Broken Oar’s fans voted them to the top of our fine list of music venues, touting its panoramic views, spacious skydeck, Oar stage and party tent, year-round riverfront dining, and the largest beer garden in McHenry County featuring outdoor entertainment and daily special events all summer long.

Runner-up:  Copper Fiddle


Best Fitness Center (Tie)

Restoration Fitness

728 S. Rand Rd | Lake Zurich

847.847.1837 |

Restoration Fitness offers personalized and small group personal training, fitness, and weight loss programs in a private, comfortable friendly and family-like environment. Their caring and devoted team of fitness professionals is committed to helping clients achieve their goals, improve their health, and regain confidence and energy using Restoration’s complete lifestyle approach of mindset, exercise, nutrition, accountability, and coaching.

Best Fitness Center (Tie)

Advocate Good Shepherd

1301 S. Barrington Road | Barrington

847.620.4500 |

Open to all, this community wellness facility enables members of all abilities to improve their lives. Services include a private Pilates studio, massage therapy, acupuncture, esthetic services/hair/nails, personal training by degreed professionals, group classes (yoga, Zumba, strength classes, aquatic classes), aquatic center with heated therapy pool, lap pool, dry sauna, hot whirlpool spa, air conditioned indoor track, and free Kids Club area.

Runner-up: Foglia YMCA

Best Financial Advisor

PMG Wealth Management

60 Landover Pkwy, Ste D | Hawthorn Woods

847.550.6100 |

Run by Phil Guerrero, CFP, PMG Wealth Management works with affluent clients, their families and businesses in long-term consultative relationships. A two-time Best of SW Lake Award winner, for more than 20 years PMG has helped clients develop strategies to meet their financial goals.

Runner-up: Mark Hornok, Edward Jones

Honorable Mention: Rob Strobel, Wells Fargo

Best Barbershop

18/8 Fine Men’s Salon

120 S. Hough St | Barrington

224.633.2188 |

This upscale salon is the reinvention of the barbershop into an experience that brings out the best in men. In Barrington, 18/8 Fine Men’s Salon is a two-time winner of the Best of SW Lake Awards. Under the leadership of Cathy and Jeff Eggert, 18/8 continues to grow and expand its services, including offering now a partnership with Bosely Hair Restoration.

Runner-up: Sport Clips

Honorable Mention: Nick’s

Best Dermatologist

Derick Dermatology

1531 South Grove Ave Ste 101 | Barrington

847.381.8899 |

Derick Dermatology provides medical, surgical, and cosmetic services with a goal to provide the very best patient experience, emphasizing quality and convenience through state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, highly trained and conscientious staff, offering flexible hours for appointments, and focusing on efficient on-time management of appointments.

Runner-up: Dr. David Van Dam

Honorable Mention: Dr. Vic Khanna 

Best Dentist

Hawthorn Woods Family Dental

60 Landover Pkwy A | Hawthorn Woods

847.550.5000 |

Repeat winners this year, the team at Hawthorn Woods Family Dental Care is committed to sending each patient home with a smile. Dr. Jeffrey Copeland and his staff offer state-of-the-art dental care in a comfortable, friendly environment. Patient questions and concerns are always answered, making sure that everyone feels confident during each step of their treatment.

Runner-up: Northwest Dental

Honorable Mention: Dr. James Gavrilos

Best Travel Service

Lake Zurich Travel

461 S. Rand Rd | Lake Zurich

847.438.5551 |

LZT’s Travel Professionals have extensive and experiential knowledge of destinations because of their personal travel, and direct feedback from thousands of clients in the area. Their team knows the answers to questions you may not even know to ask, has insider connections that offer unique experiences around the world, and has access to amazing destinations and activities. “Don’t be just another click, you deserve a vacation as unique as you are!”

Runner-up: Barrington Travel

Best Veterinarian

All Creatures Animal Hospital

1210 E. Main St | Lake Zurich


The team of experienced Veterinarians at All Creatures promote responsible pet ownership, preventative health care and health-related educational opportunities for their clients, and provide the best possible medical care, surgical care and dental care for their highly-valued patients. 

Runner-up: Lake Zurich Animal Hospital

Honorable Mention: Animal Hospital at the Shores

Best HVAC Provider

All Temp

124 E. Liberty St | Wauconda


An area favorite, All Temp touts their reputation for ethical business practices, fair pricing and the highest level of expertise, with licensed technicians providing installation, maintenance and repair of heating and cooling systems, servicing all makes and models, offering free in-home estimates, and 24-hour emergency service. 

Runner-up: Martin Enterprises

Honorable Mention: Ahrens & Condill

Best Home Builder/Remodeler

Muller Exteriors

554 W Rt 22 | Lake Zurich

847.550.5200 |

Founded by David Muller Sr. in 1980, Muller Exteriors was built on providing quality service at a reasonable price, offering only top quality material and craftsmanship including top of the line warrantees on their work. They provide roof replacement/repair, siding installation/repair, windows, soffit/fascia repair, patio door replacement, and gutter installation/repair.

Runner-up: Bruce Woodbury

Honorable Mention: R Professional Group, & Boone Creek Cabinetry

Best Orthodontist

Foley Orthodontics

325 N. Rand Rd | Lake Zurich

847.438.8899 |

Dr. Kaplin, Dr. Foley and the team at Foley Orthodontics believe in their tagline “Beautiful Smiles… Wonderful Lives”, and do their part to give quality care to each of their patients. Dr. Foley is currently the Midwest Director of the American Board of Orthodontics, and was recently selected to serve as its President beginning in 2022. 

Runner-up: Skopeck Orthodontics

Honorable Mention: Hoffman Orthodontics

Best Home Decor & Furnishings

Walter E. Smithe

280 South Milwaukee Ave | Vernon Hills

847.821.9520 |

Another two-time Best of SWL winner, this family business in its 4th generation provides not only a wide range of quality home furnishing items, but also offers a team of designers who will explore your vision, style, and budget and customize a plan for your room or your entire home, including everything from furniture to floor coverings, art, window treatments, light fixtures, and accessories.

Runner-up: Pink Geranium

Honorable Mention: SCOUT & FORGE, & EPILOGUE

Best Women’s Fashion

Luxe Wearhouse

20771 N. Rand Rd B4A | Kildeer

847.438.4880 |

Luxe was founded in 2013 with a vision of giving customers a luxury boutique shopping experience without the high price tags, and the friendly and knowledgeable Luxe team provides the perfect mix of apparel, accessories, shoes and jewelry ranging from everyday classics to the most current trends, showcased in a spacious and inviting store. 

Runner-up: Threads

Honorable Mention: House of Betty Jane

Best Fine Dining Restaurant

D&J Bistro

466 S. Rand Rd | Lake Zurich

847.438.8001 |

Chef-owned since 1987, D&J Bistro boasts of being the first ever Bistro opened in the NW Suburbs of Chicagoland. They serve a wide variety of largely French-inspired dishes including daily Prix Fixe lunch and dinner menus featuring a range of daily specials; a separate “Le Bar” area features a briefer more casual menu.  

Runner-up: Beelow’s 

Honorable Mention: Farmhouse on North