Life is full of choices: where to go for dinner, how to make your home more welcoming, when to get your eyes checked, what to get dad for his birthday, who can best help bring the kid’s grades up, where to get good advice. Take it from us, you’re not the first to ask.
A lot of your friends, neighbors and fellow Maple Grove area residents were faced with the same choices before you happened upon them. They have their favorites and they probably look like the cool kids, all following the same path, but think of them as your own personal beta testers. They’ve spent their money and time to unearth the best and brightest people, places and businesses in the Maple Grove area. They may have left a Yelp review, but most of the time their advice comes by word-of-mouth. That’s time and energy saved—for you.
So, when you need advice, dial a friend, or refer to the collective wisdom of the community in this year’s Best Of Maple Grove issue.
Here, we offer recommendations, tried and true, because crowdsourcing life’s many choices leaves more time to enjoy them.
FOOD & RESTAURANTS
When you’re looking for a great bite, Maple Grove boasts some of the “coolest” with a wide array of culinary styles. Your favorites this year echo familiar tastes and popular hangouts. Here’s the list of the area’s best eats.
Best Tavern / Bar
Malone’s Bar & Grill
Winning again in this category, Malone’s is breezing by. They support many Maple Grove community programs and they’re a hot place to grab a drink and happy hour nosh. With a 2 a.m. closing time, they definitely get the last word.
Fly finalists: Lookout Bar & Grill, Claddagh Irish Pub
Malone’s Bar & Grill
Not only do they deliver a chill tap, they bring game when it comes to food. Malone has crisscross-applesauced its way to the top in two categories this year, making a frosty impression on the competition.
Fly finalists: Redstone American Grill, 3 Squares Restaurant
Editor's Pick: Longest Lasting Froyo Bar
When it comes to frozen yogurt, Maple Grove has seen its share of froyo bars come and go. They are immensely popular in the warm months, but not as appealing during the frigid Minnesota winter, so they come with their own set of challenges.
Cherry Berry was the first to set roots in the area in 2013 at The Fountains at Arbor Lakes, and they hold the record for longest staying power. Beyond their popular 50 rotating flavors of yogurt and sorbet, and more than 50 toppings to choose from, I believe they have garnered loyal customers because they have a strong program for fundraising within the community, allowing groups of all kinds to earn a percentage of sales on a specific day that they sponsor.
Looking to add a protein punch to your frozen yogurt treat? Try their Greek option, including flavors such as java caramel, berry and honey vanilla, depending on the day. —Cyd Haynes
3 Squares Restaurant
We hate to say that 3 Squares was so “last year,” but it seems they were. And, they’re also all the rage THIS year, especially for breakfast. It’s clear that Grovites dig their hash and chilaquiles, oatmeal and frittatas.
Cool Factor: Need more greens in your diet? Try their tempura green beans with plum dipping sauce. They’re like nothin’ else in town.
Fly finalists: Original Pancake House, Lynde’s Restaurant
Best Patio Dining
The Lookout Bar & Grill
They’ve been around since you were a kid and they still offer one of the best places to stay cool (and entertained) on a hot summer afternoon. While your eyes are absorbing the view, you can relax, eat and socialize with the entire family at The Lookout. Also, an artist from Surly Brewing Company just finished painting a giant mural in their new outdoor patio bar.
Cool Factor: “We are preparing for 60 years of business next year,” says owner Mike Kinnan.
Fly finalists: 3 Squares Restaurant, Redstone American Grill
HEALTH & WELLNESS
With its plethora of clinics and fitness facilities, Maple Grove leaves little excuse for anything but excellent health. If we’re not on the way to a yoga class, then many of us can be seen out walking or pushing a jogging stroller on one of the city’s many paved paths, exposing healthy skin and sparkling smiles to the sun and passersby alike. Here are some of the places that make all that possible.
Best Orthodontic Clinic
Accorde recently remodeled their offices. “We think it looks great and we’re so proud of it,” says business manager Allison Obrovac. They’re so popular that they’ll be carving out an additional location in Albertville by the end of the year. In a word: Dynamic!
Fly finalists: Kottemann Orthodontics, TC Orthodontics
Best Fitness / Yoga Studio
This is a studio known for putting its members’ needs first. “Every day brings us the opportunity to offer a bright spot to every client’s day…to be a guiding light and change people’s fitness, health and their life. How cool is that? Every day!” explains owner John Finn.
Fly finalists: Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping, LifeTime Fitness
Best Dental Clinic
Usually a finalist, this year they slide into first place for being one of the most chill places to have work done that usually sets a person on edge. The dentists and staff here are friendly and never give patients cause for worry.
Fly finalists: Grove Health Dental, Park Dental
Best Chiropractic Clinic
Broman Chiropractic & Wellness Center
Dr. Doug Broman has been frozen in the lead in this category for many a year. He provides an integrated clinical environment where all modalities, including chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, rehabilitation and nutritional/life counseling are engaged to help patients achieve wellness.
“The coolest thing that has happened this past year is that I am celebrating my 30th year in practice and I have enjoyed the blessing, and the privilege, of working with my son, Dr. Paul Broman , who graduated from Northwestern Health Sciences University in 2015,” says Dr. Doug Broman.
Fly finalists: Maple Grove Chiropractic, DC Wellness Center
Best Eye Clinic
Northwest Eye Clinic
Northwest Eye Clinic has cinched the title of coolest Eye Care from last year’s winner (Pearle Vision), who took it from Northwest that year, preceeded by another do-si-do before that, and so on and so on. So, Northwest gets to be king of the hill this year. The royal title comes after serving the Maple Grove community for 30 years. With 16 doctors and a full staff of professional eye care support personnel, Northwest Eye Clinic performs everything from LASIK to dry eye. They also perform the newest inlays procedure that makes pesky readers obsolete.
Fly finalists: Bass Lake Family Eye Care, Pearle Vision
Best Pediatric Clinic
Partners in Pediatrics
This is where all the “cool kids” go for the best medical care in the ’hood. Partners recently implemented a Children’s Comfort Promise that ensures they will do everything possible to help prevent and treat pain for needle procedures. Without the dread of shots sending an arctic chill down the spine of every youth 18 and under, the doctor’s office just became a much easier place to visit.
Fly finalists: Park Nicollet Clinic, South Lake Pediatrics
Best Dermatology Clinic
Associated Skin Care Specialists
Visible alterations to the surface of the skin are not simply about aging. Moles, red patches, hair replacement, acne, shingles, dandruff, poison ivy and melanoma are all issues dealt with by dermatologists. Associated Skin Care has a staff of five physicians to take care of your epidermal needs, no matter how serious.
Fly finalist: Park Nicollet Clinic
Owner Robin Bernens says that one of the coolest things to happen to them was to be chosen last year by Maple Grove Magazine readers as the “Best of.” Their business has seen steady growth and it looks like their quality service shows. It’s another winning year for Belladerm MedSpa. In a word: Uplifting
Fly finalists: Massage Envy Spa, Simonson’s Salon & Spa
Editor's Pick: Healthiest Meal
Research published in the British Medical Journal found that healthier options for food (including meats and proteins) cost an average $.29 more per serving than less healthy options. Healthy snacks (sweets and grains) also cost an average of $.07 more, for a total of up to $1.50 per day. However, the price difference is small compared to the cost of diet-related chronic diseases.
So, my pick for the healthiest meals is the newest, most interesting place in town: Grabbagreen. They make it easy to eat super clean and healthy. You can grab an organic…anything here because there are no unhealthy choices. They use locally farmed foods whenever possible and everything is fresh; never frozen or precooked before your order. Think of it as a food and juice fast food restaurant.
You can also get special juices for a quick detox. There are 13 juices and four elixirs that offer a nutrient-dense cleanse. After a cleanse, it only feels right to eat the cleanest food possible. So, grab lunch or dinner on the go and feel good about what you’re eating. —Cyd Haynes
Editor's Pick: Best Reason to Order Soup (even in summer)
The lobster bisque at Zupas is a creamy, rich experience that I never tire of enjoying. The sandwich can change, the salad can toss differently, but the soup’s gotta stay with lobster. It’s mild enough to pair with anything and flavorful enough to stand on its own. —Cyd Haynes
Maple Grove is a fun place to spend a night out, but time at home is the best. Whether you’re looking to improve your space-inside or out- or looking for the next place to call home, these are the spots recommended by readers.
J Brothers Home Improvement
Winning in two categories this year, J Brothers Home Improvement continues to make an impact on the Maple Grove area. This family-owned and -operated business is the epitome of the coolest “kid” on the block: They built the block!
Fly finalists: Lennar & Hanson Builders
Best Landscape Designer
Lynde Greenhouse & Nursery
If Maple Grove Magazine had started taking readers’ input back when the Lynde family first began getting their hands dirty, no doubt this greenhouse and nursery would have been voted the best through each of its five generations. It started with poinsettias and lilies and now they create and sell hundreds of types of plants as well as making landscapes look like the latest thing. Nothing freezes them out of being No. 1.
Fly finalists: Matt’s Lawn and Landscape, Patio Town
Best Interior Designer
Shelly’s Interior Concepts
Shelly Reilly shot up out of the shadows to grab the a la mode award this year. She’s fast, reliable and affordable for Maple Grove home owners, especially those looking for new window coverings. Swank service turns out to be smart.
Fly finalists: DeAnna Koppendrayer: LDK Homes, Enhance with Style
J Brothers Home Improvement
As their success rises, voters take notice. “We had a 32.7 percent increase in revenue from 2015 to 2016,” says marketing assistant Chelsey Olafson. That’s a lot of homes and the sign of a healthy market. In one word: Quality
Fly finalist: Alan Johnson Construction
Best Senior Living Residence
Arbor Lakes Senior Living
Arbor Lakes Senior Living just opened a second building, adding to their memory care capacity. “We now have 91 units of memory care just on this campus alone,” says residence director Bjorn Horgen. Arbor Lakes Senior Living focuses on family and community, and although you’ll find no kids living there, you’ll meet many who remember their childhoods well.
Fly finalists: Rose Arbor & Wildflower Lodge, SilverCreek on Main
SHOPS & RETAIL
When you need that special something for the important people in your life (not excluding yourself) each of these shops is stellar at offering personal attention, so your perfect buy is a sure thing. Here are your top picks for the coolest shops in town.
Flowers only bloom in spring, but for Donato’s Floral, that’s not a problem. Who doesn’t love flowers in every season? “Recently, a man came into our shop,” co-owner Maria Donato tells us. “He had just flown home from active duty overseas in the military and was on the way to surprise his sweetheart at home. He stopped here to get flowers to bring her. It was an honor to be a part of such an incredible and heartfelt moment.”
Fly finalists: Bachman’s, Maple Grove Floral
Best Gift Shop
Locally made gifts are not the only thing The Woods has to offer. It’s in a cool looking log cabin building and the atmosphere inside warms your spirit—gifts include unique and handmade options. Dave Looney, the owner, describes the place as “phantasmagorical or eye-opening.” He’s right, it’s hard to put into just one word. “We were able to bring our first grandchild to see Santa at our store [last season],” says Looney. The Woods offers gifts from nature and gifts of the heart.
Fly finalists: Goodthings, Home Goods
Best Apparel Boutique
Another two-time winner, Mainstream Boutique seems quite popular with Maple Grove women. Personal stylists guide you in the right direction when it comes to their unique fashions. They carry a wide variety of clothing, so bring your grandma and your mother to grab the one-of-a-kind styles before your daughter starts wearing them.
Fly finalists: Evereve, Francesca’s
Best Specialty Foods Store
The beautiful creations from Nadia Cakes have won the audience over. They can add Best Specialty Foods Store to the other titles they’ve garnered since opening in 2012. Owner Abby Jimenez says the coolest thing that’s happened recently is they’ve started shipping nationwide. You just can’t keep a good thing to yourself.
Fly finalists: Trader Joe’s, Nothing Bundt Cakes
Editor's Pick: Best Thrill
Holiday Inn Venetian Waterpark
Hands down, the two slides at the Holiday Inn waterpark are awesome. It’s a blast to watch kids shoot out the end of one or other of the tubes with saucer-sized eyes and a gaping mouth, but the adults are even funnier to watch. Any cynicism about how fun a water ride can be completely melts away and they usually have to take a few minutes in the exit pool, looking around, trying to get their bearings, a Cheshire cat grin spread across their face.
I’m told that inside the tubes it is pitch black and that the ride seems to go on and on for an impossibly long time. Each tube is a slightly different length and ride. You can see them winding their way outside the building as you drive by on Hwy. 694.
I get dizzy easily so I didn’t chance feeling sick for the remainder of the night. But, believe me, every time someone emerged with a “whoop!” to immediately climb out of the water and ascend the stairs just one more time, the deceptively calm ride would call my name.
I know I’ll bring Dramamine next time I visit. The one catch is that you must be a guest at the hotel, during weekend hours, when the pool is open. —Cyd Haynes
Sometimes you just need someone who has your back to make you look great, to help you relax, to defend you and make life feel a bit safer. These top providers promise prompt and detailed attention. Their support will never melt away!
Best Hairstylist / Barber
Molly Holmgren:The Hair District
Molly Holmgren really cares about her work and customers. She enjoys getting to know them on a personal level and wants to leave the customer feeling cool and motivated. She describes her job in one word: “passion.”
Fly finalists: Lisa Herman: Simonson’s Salon & Spa, Kelsey Schwartz: Salon Sartor
Best Insurance Agent
Joe Liedl: State Farm
If Joe Liedl had to describe his business in one word, he’d pick “value.” Valuing customers is exactly what he does at State Farm and says he “really values” being nominated for this honor.
Fly finalists: Steve Riebel: State Farm, Jeff Petersen: American Family
Best Law Firm
Kruse Law Firm
Jayme Kruse has developed a highly loyal clientele. She specializes in helping people get their paperwork in order. “Ms. Kruse made us feel very at ease, in that all of our complicated past could easily be resolved in a trust document to protect our intended beneficiaries and yet avoid challenges to our estate by unnecessary probate court,” say clients Mark and Ruth W.
Fly finalists: Henningson & Snoxell, Donohue McKenney
Best Salon / Spa
Simonson’s Salon & Spa
Kyle Simonson and her “kids” have been the cool ones on the block often over the years. But, did you realize that Simonson’s offers services for men, too? Sure, you can get a haircut, a beard or mustache trim, but hair removal isn’t limited there. Trims are offered for brows, ears and nostrils, too. Follow that with a male manicure, pedicure and a relaxing massage. If not for yourself, then for the sake of someone else in your life!
Fly finalists: Willow Salon, Kalla Lily Salon and Spa
KIDS, FAMILY & PETS
Where to entrust our next generation and the pets we adore? There are lots of choices, from basic services to the special extras that bring satisfaction felt in smiles or nuzzles. Here are trustworthy and trendy options that lead the pack.
Best Doggy Daycare / Kennel
ADOGO Pet Hotel
Since they opened in Maple Grove, Adogo has rolled in like an arctic blast. Think upscale hotel, only for dogs. They care for each tail-wagger as if it were their own, so you can relax. Fido will even get a mint on the pillow. The facility was designed to mimic human hotels, so your pooch will be pampered to the utmost degree.
Fly finalists: All Seasons Canine Country Club, VCA Animal Wellness Center of Maple Grove
Best Place for Kids’ Activities
Maple Grove Community Center
A variety of different things to do might constitute whether a location is truly the coolest place for a kid to hang, and the Maple Grove Community Center meets the requirement big time. From swimming pools to ice rinks to a giant maze playground, a free day to play is a full day at the Center. Kids are sure to have a ton of fun and apparently already do!
Fly finalists: Foss Swim School, World Taekwondo Academy
Best Preschool / Childcare
Primrose School of Maple Grove
This is always a hotly contested category and Primrose climbed their way to the top again this year; they make kids happy and parents can be assured their child is having a quality learning experience.
According to owner Joe Piket, additional improvements have been made to the learning environment. “We rolled out an upgrade to our curriculum that contains notable STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) components,” he says.
Fly finalists: District 279 Early Childhood Family Education, St. Vincent de Paul Preschool
Best Learning / Tutoring Center
Mathnasium of Maple Grove
Welcome to a friendly learning environment that adds up. “When math makes sense, kids leap way ahead—whether they started out far behind or already ahead in math,” says center director Beverly Erbert. While giving students their full attention, instructors understand how to figure out what helps.
Fly finalists: Sylvan Learning, Huntington Learning Center
Best Veterinary Clinic
VCA Animal Wellness Center of Maple Grove
VCA Animal Wellness values the comfort of their clients. “Our staff has been certified in Fear Free veterinary visits and certified in Low Stress Handling this past year,” says medical director Dr. Katie Ambrose. In a word: Compassionate
Fly finalists: Heritage Animal Hospital, Corcoran Pet Care Center
Editor's Pick: Best Elementary Teacher
Marcia (“Marci”) Rahne
Can you remember the name of your kindergarten teacher? Marcia Rahne is a kindergarten teacher at Oak View Elementary. She’s been teaching for more than 20 years and has had a profound effect on the early years of education for hundreds of students.
Ann Mock, principal at Oak View, says Rahne “has a unique ability to connect with her students and their families, many of which she’s stayed in touch with until the students graduate from high school.”
“Mrs. Rahne speaks the language of kindergarten,” says Beth Horsch, mother of twin boys who had Rahne as their teacher three years ago. “We knew the first time we met her that it was going to be a special year. In both words and in her presence, she teaches and shapes kids for this path of education and life…the class becomes a little community full of learning adventures. There may be seven wonders of the world, but I would add one more—listening to Marci Rahne read the book Tikki Tikki Tembo aloud.”
There are always a couple of teachers that stand out through life. They could use a quick note of thanks for their investment in you—consider it! —Cyd Haynes
*Are you one of this year's winners? Find information on how to order a plaque and other materials HERE.