The readers have spoken! These lucky winners are Broward's Best People of 2021.

Best Local LGBT Activist / Best Wilton Manors City Commissioner: Chris Caputo

chris

Photo via Facebook.

The last time SFGN readers voted Chris Caputo the Best Local LGBT Activist (Nov. 25, 2020), he was just elected to the Wilton Manors City Commission.

A year later, Commissioner Caputo is Broward’s Best in two categories: Best Local LGBT Activist (for the second year in a row) and Best Wilton Manors City Commissioner. In this dual role Caputo serves two constituencies: his LGBT community and the people who live in his hometown. Here, as in other matters, Caputo has performed admirably.

“I wake up every single day incredibly grateful for the job I’ve been elected to do,” Caputo said. “Being involved in and connected to our community is such an incredible source of happiness for me. Being city commissioner has provided me with a platform to advocate for issues that matter to our community. Whether my advocacy came in the form of an official city resolution, serving on the boards like the Chamber of Commerce and WMBA, or even something more lighthearted like my regular cameo appearances in Ronnie Larsen’s ‘Sauna’ show, I try to say YES to every opportunity to make an impact in this city I love.”

– JM

Best Server (Guy): Charlie at The Alibi

charlie

Credit: SRL Media, Stephen Lang.

For the third year in a row, SFGN readers chose Charlie De La Cruz (Charlie D.) who works the patio at the Alibi, Broward’s Best Server (Guy). Part of the wait staff at the Alibi since 2007, Charlie describes his job as “60% job description [to serve meals and beverage] and the other 40% as the guest connection: to let the guests forget about their day for an hour and enjoy the food, music and laughs at the Alibi-Monkey Bar.”

Like all great servers, Charlie knows what each guest wants and needs. If you are a regular, Charlie knows how you want your burger cooked and what brand of beer you drink.

Always modest, Charlie is “grateful and humbled by the honor SFGN readers, Alibi-Monkey Bar guests and the Wilton Manors community have bestowed upon me. I want to acknowledge the Alibi team because they make our well-oiled machine work. Without our team, there is no me! I am truly blessed.”

Runner-up: Tyler P. at The Pub

– JM

Best Trans Advocate: Misty Eyez

MistyEyez

Photo via Facebook.

Misty Eyez is a passionate activist and advocate for the trans community. At SunServe, she’s the director of the Women's Program, Transgender Services, and the Manager of LGBTQ+ Competency Training. Her work is more of a calling than a job.

“When you’re an advocate, your responsibility is to be the voice of communities that don't have the courage to stand up for themselves and the wherewithal to stand up for themselves,” Eyez said. “Often marginalized communities feel they deserve their oppression. And that's where activists and advocates come into play, to help fight for the communities that just need a little help.”

In the last year, Eyez graduated on the Dean's List with a Bachelor’s Degree in Supervision and Management; and is currently enrolled in FAU’s Executive MBA Program.

She remains humble about this year’s acknowledgment.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by the community that I love, support, and belong to,” she said. “We don't do this for recognition. But it’s a privilege to know people are noticing.”

Runner-up: Carvelle Estriplet

– DR

Best Barista: Harlie D. at Storks

HarlieStorks

Photo via Facebook.

For the first time ever, Harlie at Stork’s Bakery has won Best Barista.

Stork’s has been in Wilton Manors since 1997 and is a favorite to locals. Harlie has been with Stork’s for four years.

“When she’s not giving excellent service to our customers, she is entertaining them with her beautiful singing voice, as she sings along to whatever music is playing through the sound system,” said Pasquale Rizzo, Catering Manager.

According to Rizzo, Harlie said she just always tries to “keep a smile,” when it comes to interacting with customers.

“She always makes an effort to provide personal and thorough customer service,” Rizzo said.  In fact, she makes a point to address all of our regular customers by name.”

Runner-up: Matthew at Starbucks 

- KS

Best Bartender (Gal): Brooke F.

BrookeF

Photo via Facebook.

Brooke F. is on a roll because she won Best Bartender in 2019, 2020, and this year.

She was hired by the Alibi as a bartender in 2011 but had to change jobs when COVID began. She started working at DrYnk Bar as assistant manager.

“I have lost numerous friends to the [COVID-19]. I have been absent in my family's lives due to not wanting to expose them, and endured financial hardship,” Brooke said in 2020. “But throughout these challenging times, it's imperative to remind ourselves that we are all in this together and always try your best to be a good human being.”

Brooke spoke about how there is no comparison between working at DrYnk and working at Alibi.

“DrYnk Bar and Alibi are entirely different dynamics. DrYnk Bar is a craft cocktail environment, while Alibi is a nightclub/restaurant, in which both serve their purpose within the Wilton Manors community. However, I will say that my DrYnk Bar family has embraced me with arms wide open and has made me feel nothing but love and appreciation.”

Runner-up: Ali @ Apt. 9F

- KS

Best Bartender (Guy): Shane C. at the Pub

The Pub 2283 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors

ShaneC

Photo via Facebook.

Shane C. must be mixing drinks well because he won the Best Bartender for the second time in a row.

Shane moved to the area a decade ago to open up The Village Pub that is now The Pub. 

“I love what I do and I love my extended family at The Pub and in Wilton,” he said in 2020.  

He describes his bartending skills as “honest,” “direct” and “super goofy.”

More recently he said: “There are so many amazing people on that list and also so many who never get recognized. I feel honored to win again. Also I want to thank the owners of the Pub for allowing me to be myself and to do what I love. I truly love going to work."

“Whether meeting new people or shooting the shit with the regulars, I try to make everyone feel special, laugh, and want all to have a positive experience,” Shane said. “I love to laugh, joke, and have fun behind the bar.”

He doesn’t have a signature drink saying “I like being challenged if someone has an idea and is open-minded to it.” Her personal favorite though is a black cherry white claw and a sweet tea shot with lemonade.

Runner-up: Brandon H. at Hunter’s

- KS

Best Chef: Nate at Nate’s Bar

2045 Wilton Dr., Wilton Manors 33305

chef-nates.com

  ChefNate

Photo via Facebook.

For the first time in SFGN’s Best Of, Nate at Nate’s Bar has won Best Chef of Broward. 

Chef Nate has been in the restaurant business for 40 years. He owned the Tropics Restaurant for 20 years as well as Le Dome of the 4 Seasons and Primavera, according to his bio

He is committed to cooking quality food and customer service provided by dedicated employees at his new place: Chef Nate’s.

“Had dinner at Chef Nate’s for the first time this week and will definitely be back. Friendly and efficient staff, great menu and prices and delicious food. This is a great addition to the Drive,” wrote a reviewer on their Facebook page.

Runner-up: Howie at Formerly at The Pub (Now Hamburger Mary's)

- KS

Best Local DJ: Mark Rivera

Mark Rivera | Facebook

   MarkRivera

Photo via Facebook.

The “Best Local DJ” goes to Mark Rivera this year.

Born in Illinois, he moved to Oakland Park sometime later. He also used to be a video jockey at Boom Wilton Manors, a gay bar. He wears Pride accessories and clothing as he performs.

On his Facebook, he posted a photo of him and Drag Queen TP Lords at Boom Wilton Manors.

You can catch Rivera DJing at a variety of places and events such as Sistrunk Marketplace and Marlin Beach Tea 2.0.

Runner-up: DJ Drew

- KS

Best Massage Therapist: Robert Nocifora at Grand Resort

Roberto Nocifora Lmt | Facebook

  RobertNocifora

Photo via Facebook.

The Best Massage Therapist of Broward goes to Robert Nocifora at the Grand Resort, who has won three times now.

With more than 20 years of experience, Nocifora helps bring relaxation and relief to his clients, a job he loves doing.

“I pick up on people’s energy. I can tell when my clients are going through things. We connect in a good way,” he said in 2020. More recently he said: “Thank you so much I am truly honored and grateful for everyone who voted for me 3 years in a row. Wow. And thank you to the Grand Resort And Spa. Five years working there now doing Swedish, deep tissue massage and exfoliating body scrubs.”

Runner-up: Dale Mowery at Spa Cabanas

- KS

Best New LGBT Activist: Terry Dyer

TerryDyer

Photo via Facebook.

Terry Dyer has won Best New LGBT Activist this year.

Dyer has a passion for helping others for over 15 years working in both profit and nonprofits, according to his bio. He wrote a book in 2020 “Letters to a GAY BLACK BOY,” a memoir structured in the form of letters to his younger self.

“I had a choice to make,” Dyer said. “While COVID was a horribly bad thing, the shutdown ultimately gave me the opportunity to finish the book.”

As an activist, he has advocated for a number of gender and HIV/AIDS issues. He is also a classical singer and works on stage or at cabaret performances via live streaming on the internet.

Dyer is also the director of the Development-Administrative and Executive Department for SunServe.

Runner-up: Cory David (Mr. Eagle)

- KS

Best Server (Gal): Ali at Apt. 9F

Aliapt9

Photo via Facebook.

For the first time ever, Ali at Apt. 9F has won Best Server. 

“Wow. Awesome for Allie, she is amazing!” said Carol Moran, owner of APT 9F.  

Apt. 9F, a cocktail bar in Wilton Manors, describes itself as “an unpretentious place for inventive drinks, a good glass of wine, some delicious nibbles, and most importantly love, laughter, and good juju.”

Ali is also a mixologist at the bar. In 2020, Apt. 9F shared a photo of a special sauce she mixed for a Sunday Funday Bloody with crispy bacon and Blue cheese olive. 

Runner-up: Kimberly at Courtyard Café

- KS

Best Hair Stylist: Darren at Dick’s Service Station

3528 NE 12th Ave., Oakland Park

Dicks954.com

DarrenatDicksService

Photo via Facebook.

For the third time in a row, Darren Thompson at Dick’s Service Station has won Best Hair Stylist of the year.

He’s been cutting hair since 1998 and lived in Fort Lauderdale since 2012. He’s been working at Dick’s since it opened in 2016. 

“I am really glad to have won this again. I keep winning. Because of this I am becoming a better barber and better in the community,” Thompson said. “I’d like to dedicate my third win to the loss of my co-worker Bob. I am grateful that Dick’s was there for him in his final years of work. He was in a bad place before becoming a barber. I will miss him very much.” 

As for what makes Thompson a great barber?

“Half of my job is executing. The other half is listening. It’s like therapy behind the chair,” he said. “I celebrate a lot with people. I find out what’s going on with the community. I’m very good at what I do.” 

The pandemic was hard on Thompson but there was a blessing in disguise.  

“Suddenly I couldn’t touch people. I always thought my job was recession proof,” he said. “I did a lot of painting.” 

He explored his creative side so much so during the last year a local art gallery, 9Muses Art Center, will be displaying his work.  

Runner-up: Shane M. at Ron’s

- KS

Best Local TV Personality: Craig Stevens

Craig Stevens – WSVN 7News– WSVN 7News

CraigStevens

Photo via Facebook.

The Best Local TV Personality award goes to Craig Stevens, who has won three times now.

According to his biography on the WSVN website, Stevens is an NATAS Silver Circle and Emmy Award winner and has been on TV for more than 30 years. He co-anchors 7NEWS at 5, 6, 10 and 11 p.m. weeknights with Belkys Nerey.

“It’s an honor to have a front row seat on history,” said Stevens in 2014 when SFGN named a part of their annual OUT50 list.

He has covered a number of remarkable events such as the 1995 bombing of a federal building in downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma — the largest act of homegrown terrorism.

Stevens also led Pride parades, AIDS walks and hosted fundraisers for the Harvey Milk Foundation and the Pride Center.

“I think I’m pretty outgoing, extroverted, but there is a reserve at a certain point, chalk that up to my New England upbringing,” Stevens said in 2020.

Runner-up: Brandon Orr

- KS

Best Drag Queen/Local Celebrity: Daisy Deadpetals

DaisyDeadpetals

Photo via Facebook.

She works hard for the money. Donna Summer sang it and Daisy Deadpetals lives it.

Her weekly performing schedule is almost impossible to follow. On Wednesdays, she hosts dirty bingo at Tats and Tacos in Oakland Park.

“It’s a hoot and holler,” she said. She does another bingo on Thursdays at Lit Bar WM. “It’s a great time too. We give away naughty prizes.”Friday, she’s at Hullabaloo in West Palm Beach for cabaret shows at 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

“A girl’s gotta eat,” she quips.

Saturday she’s at Lips and Sunday, she starts the day by hosting brunch at Holy Mackerel. Then she finishes the day at the Eagle Wilton Manors. For many people, it could be hard to keep up with such a hectic schedule, but not for Miss Deadpetals.

“I have an old lady calendar that’s paper,” she said. “I write everything down and I’m kind of anal about it, so I know what the hell I’m doing.”

Amid all of that performing, there’s still time for some writing for Helix.

Regular SFGN readers know that Daisy Deadpetals is a repeat winner on this list in both categories.

“I think like the older I get the more I realize this is amazing coming from the community that I love and am privileged to be a part of,” she said. “It means that the thing that I've dedicated my life to for the past 27 years means something. Hopefully it means putting a smile on people's faces and laughter in the belly.”

Runner-up for Local Celebrity: Jennifer McClain

Runner-up for Drag Queen: Jessica Channing

– DR

Best Artist: Claudia Castillo 

2215 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors 

Art Gallery

ClaudiaCastillo

Photo via Facebook.

For the third year in a row, Claudia Castillo has won Best Artist.

“I am honored that people chose me as the best artist again for three years in a row. I love what I do and it makes me happy that I am fortunate to be able to do it every day,” Castillo said.

Located in Wilton Manors, her art is influenced by nature. She loves rich earth tones but also creates abstract and flowing water scenes. Castillo also owns an art studio and gallery which she opened up in 2017. 

“The opening of my studio was a life-long dream for me, especially here in the community that has appreciated my work and given me such a great opportunity,” she said in 2020.

Castillo’s studio also hosts children’s exhibits for Wilton Manors Elementary school.

Castillo recently attended the Florence Biennale International Contemporary Exhibition in Florence, Italy that took place in October. 

According to her biography, Castillo is passionate about helping the community and serves on the Wilton Drive Improvement District, Island City Art Advisory Committee and other non-profit organizations to expand culture and art diversity.

Runner-up: Avi Ram

- KS

Best Real Estate: Jimmy Cunningham at Remax

remax.com

JimmyCunninghamRemax

Photo via Facebook.

Jimmy Cunningham at Remax has won the Best Realtor in Broward for at least three years.

“I have been privileged to make South Florida my home for over 15 years and become friends with so many in our community,” Cunningham said. “Every day I wake up knowing that we are helping people in our community find their next dream home and move to a new chapter in their lives. I truly appreciate the trust that our community places in me and am committed daily to exceeding their goals.”

He began his career in 2009, but in 2020, he faced some challenges. However, instead of looking at problems, he saw them as opportunities.

“I see the future as extremely positive with new government changes, low-interest rates, strong demand to live in South Florida and the hopes of vaccines and immunity,” Cunningham said in 2020.

Cunningham stays connected by supporting The Pride Center, Equality Florida, Island City Stage, and many more.

Runner-up: Ed Vincent at Remax

- KS

Best Business Owner: Mark Hunter

Hunters

MarkHunter

Photo via Facebook.

Hunters took the title as Best Bar again this year, extending its winning streak to seven consecutive years. Additionally, Mark Hunter successfully defended his Best Business Owner crown. 

An accomplished ballroom dancer and instructor, Hunter was quick to credit his team for this year’s awards.

“I am thankful to Patrick Volkert and Bruce Howe for their dedication and hard work that keeps Hunters Wilton Manors a popular destination,” Hunter said. “Also, huge thanks to all the members of our Hunters family. Without the assistant managers, bartenders, barbacks, doormen, security personnel, DJ's, lighting technicians, media specialists, graphic artists, cleaning crews, bathroom attendants, florists, accountants, performers, product salesmen, contractors, promoters and last but not least our beloved patrons the dream cannot become reality.”

Located in the Shoppes of Wilton Manors, Hunters is a multi-level club open seven days a week. Hunters hosts and sponsors many community events along with offering karaoke, trivia contests and a classic Sunday T dance. Known for its #SpiritsElevated atmosphere, Hunters has a nearly identical operation in Palm Springs, California.

Runner-up: Michael Connell at The Pub | Wilton Manors

- JMCD

Best Local Actor and Entertainer: Jennifer McClain

JenniferMcClain

Photo via Facebook.

The Best Local Actor and Best Local Entertainer go to Jennifer McClain, who also won it in 2020 as well.

She’s been performing in South Florida for the LGBT community for over 20 years.

“I'm again so honored and grateful. Maybe I should retire my name from the entertainer/ musician category? There are so many amazing singers, musicians, and actors in South Florida that are equally deserving of this award. In fact winning Best Actor in 2020 encouraged me to do more theater this year! I just closed Minnie Behind Bars, I am in rehearsal for Double Trouble, and will be playing dual roles in Grease in January! Thank you again to the SFGN readers for their votes.”

Before the shutdowns the flamboyant cabaret singer maintained a busy schedule belting out show tunes, pop standards and gay anthems at bars along Wilton Drive and beyond. Her top three most requested songs are“Defying Gravity" from Wicked, “Seasons of Love” from RENT, and Lily Allen's “Fuck You.”

McClain is also the runner-up for “Best Straight Ally.” 

Runner-up: Ronnie Larsen

- KS

Best Politician & Straight Ally: Debbie Wasserman Schultz

DebbieWassermanSchultz

Photo via Facebook.

A nine-term congresswoman representing Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz has consistently supported her LGBT constituents. The University of Florida graduate, breast cancer survivor and married mother of three was voted Best Straight Ally and Best Politician in this year’s contest.

“I am truly honored to receive this award, and given the great work other peers do, I am humbled to be in such esteemed company as my fellow nominees,” said Wasserman Schultz, in a prepared statement. “And while I am heartened that America has made tremendous strides with LGBTQ+ rights, the recent attacks on LGBTQ+ folks — especially the record violence aimed at the transgender community — tells me our work is far from over. The LGBTQ+ community continues to face everyday discrimination and violence that no American should ever confront. That is why the Senate must pass the Equality Act now, just as the House did. I am proud to stand with you and other allies in our common mission to make the United States a more just and equal nation, and I will never waver in defending LGBTQ+ rights, whenever and wherever they are threatened.”

Congressional District 23 includes parts of Fort Lauderdale and 17 other municipalities. Born in Forest Hills, Queens, New York, Wasserman Schultz, 55, resides in Weston. She won reelection to the House in 2020 with 72% of the vote.

Runner-up: Dean Trantalis, politician, Jennifer McClain, straight ally.

- JMCD

Check out the rest of the winners at SFGN's Best of 2021 Winners.


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