Meet the winners and finalists in our annual Best of maple grove survey.
Asking for directions is an attempt to make a destination more of a reality. We asked our readers for directions of a sort. We asked them to point us to the “best” in our community by voting online. And you can find your way around town by visiting these people, places and things that readers have declared to be Maple Grove’s greatest—those who have reached their own summit of success.
45.113017, -93.464749 are the GPS coordinates for Maple Grove. Knowing this coordinate may tell you where we are located on the globe, but it doesn’t tell you what you’ll find once you get there.
We share our special Editor’s Picks by pinpointing their GPS coordinates. But beyond their physical landmark, we dug deep to shine light on the stories of three inspiring people and a business that deserves a side trip. They underline the reality that any ultimate peak experience is made possible by the people along the way. And some of them offer priceless direction.
BEST PATIO DINING
The Lookout Bar & Grill
Runners up: 3 Squares Restaurant, Redstone American Grill
Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse
Runners up: 3 Squares Restaurant, Redstone American Grill
Malone’s Bar & Grill
Runners up: Omni Brewing Co., The Lookout Bar & Grill
The Original Pancake House
Runners up: 3 Squares Restaurant, Lynde’s Restaurant
A Good Year for Breakfast
The Original Pancake House shares some of its spectacular numbers for 2017.
By the numbers:
15 ways eggs can be made in the kitchen
63 hours open per week (6 a.m.–3 p.m. daily)
198 number of seats since remodeling was finished in April
7,500 gallons of buttermilk batter used
675,000 eggs used
Get to know chef Nate at Malone’s, the bar voted Maple Grove’s Best.
What drew you to Malone’s?
I have been fortunate enough to have worked in this industry for 24 years, with experience from washing dishes to executive chef of several high volume, successful restaurants. In the two years I have been with Malone’s, I have truly seen why I love working here. The Arbor Lakes area has always been a favorite of mine. The fast-paced, highly populated area has always made me feel at home. The amount of support Malone’s gives the Maple Grove community definitely does not go unnoticed. Finally, the staff and the front and back of the house management teams are the best I have had the privilege of working with.
What is the most popular item on the menu?
Anything with our firecracker sauce. Whether it’s wings, shrimp tacos or our signature firecracker shrimp, it is one of the best things we have going. A close second would have to be burgers with our new brioche bun.
What’s new on the menu?
We recently added an Ahi Tuna Poke bowl, which consists of sesame ginger marinated raw tuna over steamed jasmine rice, topped with cucumber, avocado, scallions, sesame seeds and drizzled with a Thai chili vinegar sauce. It’s only been on the menu for a short time, but it is quickly become a customer favorite.
How do you make menu decisions?
AJ Stevens (owner) and I together decide what changes are made on the menu. We try and keep it fresh by updating it three to four times a year based on the seasons and current trends. We do take a lot of feedback from our guests on things they see or would like to see. After all, they are the reason we are so successful.
How does Malone’s differ from other restaurants in Maple Grove?
Malone’s always has such a great vibe when you walk in the door. From the abundant regulars to first timers, not to mention the great welcoming staff, there is always such a good energy … just an overall friendly place to be. Our Happy Hour is definitely the best in town. If you haven’t been, come check us out. You won’t be disappointed.
What can we look forward to this month?
Summertime always calls for delicious salads and wraps, so keep an eye out for our great weekend specials and enjoy them on our amazing patio. Also, Malone’s will soon be offering the option to order from the convenience of home or on the go.
BEST LANDSCAPE DESIGNER
Lynde Greenhouse & Nursery
Runners up: Matt’s Lawn and Landscape, Patio Town
BEST SENIOR LIVING RESIDENCE
Arbor Lakes Senior Living
Runners up: SilverCreek on Main, Rose Arbor & Wildflower Lodge
Runners up: J Brothers Home Improvement Inc., Hanson Builders
J Brothers Home Improvement Inc.
Runners up: Alan Johnson Construction, Turnkey Restoration
BEST INTERIOR DESIGNER
Kennedy Rose Design
Runners up: DeAnne Koppendrayer (Designs by D), Shelly’s Interior Concepts
BEST HOME FURNISHINGS STORE
Runners up: Becker Furniture World, Kirkland’s Home
Behind The Scenes at Lynde Greenhouse & Nursery
By the numbers:
12 types of herbs available
17 types of vegetables
20 full-time employees (20-30 additional for spring and summer)
20 types of roses available
30 types of trees, including maple, birch and apple trees
50+ types of annuals grown on site
90 types of shrubs, including barberry, weigela, hydrangea, lilac and spirea
260 types of perennials in three different sizes, including hosta, echinacea, sedum, lilies and grasses
HEALTH & WELLNESS
BEST ORTHODONTIC PRACTICE
Runners up: Kottemann Orthodontics – Maple Grove, TC Orthodontics – Maple Grove
BEST DERMATOLOGY PRACTICE
Associated Skin Care Specialists, P.A.
Runner up: Park Nicollet – Maple Grove Clinic
BEST DENTAL PRACTICE
Park Dental Maple Grove
Runners up: Maple Grove Family Dental Clinic, Grove Health Dental
BEST FITNESS STUDIO & GYM
Life Time Fitness
Runners up: Orangetheory Fitness, Farrell’s eXtreme Bodyshaping -Maple Grove
Simonson’s Salon & Spa
Runners up: Kalla Lily Salon & Spa – Maple Grove, Willow Salon
BEST CHIROPRACTIC PRACTICE
Broman Chiropractic & Wellness Center
Runners up: Maple Grove Chiropractic, Trillium Chiropractic
BEST PEDIATRIC PRACTICE
Children’s Minnesota Partners in Pediatrics Maple Grove Clinic
Runners up: Park Nicollet – Maple Grove Clinic, South Lake Pediatrics – Maple Grove
BEST EYE PRACTICE
Northwest Eye Clinic
Runners up: Pearle Vision – Maple Grove, Bass Lake Family Eye Care
Simonson’s Salon & Spa – Maple Grove
Runners up: Belladerm MedSpa, Massage Envy
New classes at Life Time Fitness – Maple Grove:
You can escape the heat outdoors but still get the heat on, on a stationary cycle. A warm-up period lets you find your aerobic threshold before continuing the peddling and adding upper body drills with bands. A brief time off the bike focuses on strengthening with dumbbells and abdominal work is added before ending with a heart pumping, cardio/strength total-music-pumping finish. 45-minute sessions Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. with Tamara in the cycle studio.
It’s 45 minutes of fun and … effort; a no nonsense total body strength and sculpting session. Half of the time is spent lifting barbells and plates (weighted disks with hand grips), and the other half focuses on a glute max out lower body tone, including quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. There’s a definite caloric burn during a couple of segments of this one that will challenge your cardiovascular system. Fridays at 8:30 a.m. in studio 1 with Michelle and Tamara.
Kim Crane Shares Her Experiences at Simonson’s Salon and Spa:
Kim Crane had her first spa experience at Simonson’s Salon and Spa. She had such a great time that she wanted to work there and give her clients the same kind of treatment that she received. She’s been a nail technician at the Maple Grove location since 1999.
“I have always enjoyed doing manicures and polishing my own nails,” she says. “I used to do my step mother’s nails every week when I went to visit.”
Because Crane specializes in artificial gel nails, she says that 95 percent of her clients are women. But, that doesn’t mean that men don’t seek professional care for their nails. In fact, Simonson’s offers a collagen manicure and pedicure, which helps hydrate the hands and feet on everyone.
Crane suggests that if clients wear artificial nails, they should use cuticle oil daily. “If they have natural nails,” she continues, “they should be coming in every two weeks to get a manicure. As for pedicures, they should be coming in every four to six weeks to maintain healthy nails and feet.”
Regular clients know that Crane will be at the salon rain, snow or shine. “They say that I am a real good listener,” she claims. “And, most of them have become good friends.”
Habits to Health with Broman Chiropractic:
When life is busy and stress levels are high, Douglas S. Broman, D.C., refers to what he calls survival mode: sleep, water and exercise. He says: “Research demonstrates that most Americans are sleep deprived. The average amount of sleep required is between seven and eight hours per night. More for young adults and adolescents. A good night sleep helps to restore energy and allows our body to repair.
Water is the body’s natural cleansing mechanism. Water helps hydration of body tissues and facilitates the release of toxins.
Exercise has many benefits, especially when we are under stress. Exercise facilitates the release of endorphins and serotonin, which is the natural “feel good“ neurotransmitter, which helps improve our brain function.
Keeping a positive attitude is also helpful. Research demonstrates that people whose lives are characterized by love, gratitude and forgiveness tend to have less serious illness and live longer.
Remember: sleep, water and exercise. Live well!”
Editor’s Pick: Best Volunteer
Manager of Volunteer Services at Maple Grove Hospital Jennifer Nelson describes Pat Cook as a jack-of-all-trades. She works at the welcome desk, coordinates the creation and stocking of admissions packets for inpatient units, supports daily clerical work in Volunteer Services, stocks baby hats in the Nursery and NICU, trains new volunteers and covers Family Birth Center tours in a pinch. A volunteer since 2016, she has donated more than 1,000 hours of her time, showing up daily and averaging 20 hours a week.
“While what she does and the time she has contributed is outstanding, what really makes an impact is Pat’s approach to everything she does,” says Nelson. “Always pleasant, constantly smiling, a true leader who takes ownership of processes and outcomes … Pat is the total team membership package. We are grateful to have her on our team!”
For Cook’s part, she seems the one grateful. “The most rewarding part of volunteering is helping each and every guest that comes through the door in any way I can. In some cases, I see fear in their eyes when they arrive, and after I talk to them or escort them to the location they are scheduled to be at, I see the smile on their face,” she says. “Some days, I get a hand shake or maybe a hug, but for sure a big smile. I feel so blessed when they tell me, ‘It’s so wonderful to see a smiling face to greet us.’ Let me tell you, money can’t buy this!”
SHOPS & RETAIL
BEST SPECIALTY FOODS/KITCHEN STORE
Runners up: Nothing Bundt Cakes, Lunds & Byerlys
BEST APPAREL BOUTIQUE
Runners up: Evereve, Apricot Lane Boutique
BEST GIFT SHOP
The Woods Gifts — Maple Grove
Runners up: GoodThings, HomeGoods
Runners up: Bachman’s, Maple Grove Floral
We have seen a huge interest in our new ‘Farm House Inspired Collection.’ The look is more of a casual feel as if you picked it from a garden wrapped in a burlap bag. We also arrange a beautiful selection of hand-picked flowers that we artfully design into a lower style arrangement that is usually in a destressed-look wooden box or possibly a galvanized steel container. This ‘farm house’ feel has been extremely popular. It’s more of a natural, simple look without coming short of abundance of beautiful flowers.”
—Maria Donato, owner Donato’s Floral
Take Note: Donato’s has a new address in the Eagle Lake Business Center II.
Editor’s Pick: Best Cut
Brothers Meat & Seafood
One of our areas oldest family businesses, Brothers Meats and Seafood, says that one of its best-sellers is a bottom sirloin called Brother’s Supreme Grillers. While regulars may not know from where the cut comes, they know the fresh taste. Check out Brother’s massive fresh cuts case, where you get a hint of how many different cuts come from a single animal.
Hunters, take note. Brothers processes wild game, which come back to you already freezer wrapped, and consider homemade sausage made from your hunting yield. All items are made in a timely manner, so you can go from field to table in no time! Brothers is also a member of the deer donation program. Visit its website for additional details.
Before You Cook, Grill, Fry or Roast, Know Your Cuts of Meat:
Chuck – Some of the most economical cuts come from the shoulder and neck area. Anyone for pot roast?
Rib – Ribs six through 12 are some of the juiciest, most tender cuts available.
Loin – The hindquarter of the cow holds the filet mignon, porterhouse, T-bone and KC strip. Yum!
Sirloin – A popular, tender cut from the back, this has no bones and little fat.
Round (or rump) – From a constantly used area near the rear legs, this cut can be tough but makes a lot of different steaks and roasts.
Brisket – A favorite of barbeques everywhere, this one comes from the breast area, which has a lot of connective tissue, so it’s important to cook it properly.
Plate – Fatty and tough, from the front belly, this one boasts a rich, beefy flavor.
Flank – Best as stir-fry or fajita beef, this is a long flat cut that’s lean.
Shank – Leg cuts are good for stew and beef stock.
KIDS, FAMILIES & PETS
BEST VETERINARY PRACTICE
Corcoran Pet Care Center
Runners up: VCA Animal Wellness Center of Maple Grove, Heritage Animal Hospital
District 279 Early Childhood Family Education
Runners up: St. John’s Lutheran School Pre-kindergarten, Primrose School of Maple Grove
BEST LEARNING/TUTORING CENTER
Sylvan Learning of Maple Grove
Runners up: Huntington Learning Center, LearningRx – Maple Grove
BEST PLACE FOR KIDS’ ACTIVITIES
Maple Grove Community Center
Runners up: Foss Swim School – Maple Grove, Color Me Mine
BEST LAW FIRM
Henningson & Snoxell Ltd.
Runners up: Kruse Law Firm, PLLC, McGee Kugler Family Law
BEST DOGGY DAYCARE/KENNEL
Adogo Pet Hotel
Runners up: VCA Animal Wellness Center of Maple Grove, Stone Mountain Pet Lodge
What’s in a name?
If you visit Corcoran Pet Care Center, you may get a glimpse of the clinic cat, Callie. “She had urinary accident issues, and when we discovered bladder stones, the owners decided not to pursue treatment,” says chief of staff, Ian Drummond, D.M.V. “We adopted her, put her on a special diet and dissolved the stones. She has a good life here but truly dislikes all other cats. She tolerates dogs.”
Callie shares her office space with four veterinarians and 13 other staff members. Catch their animals’ names and some of their stories.
Joy, receptionist/vet assistant, has dogs Millie, Halle and Lundy, and cats Spot, Iris and Aurora. Joy is a veterinary student at the University of Minnesota. Her adopted cat, Aurora, was born with severe congenital deformities. She cared for Aurora, including hand feeding for five months through a tube, until she was able to get surgery to help her eat on her own.
The three cats, Spot (18), Iris (12) and Aurora (1) are often cuddling on the couch or bed together. Aurora has brought a lot of kitten energy into the house in the last year, which has helped keep the other two “young” and active.
Joy’s dogs Millie (11) and Halle (8), and Lundy (7) are all retired German Shepheard champion show dogs. “Millie and Halle are a mother and daughter and adore each other. Lundy prefers to hang out with his humans,” Joy says.
The Art of Reaching The Young Brain
Dan Prody has been shaping young minds for eight years at Osseo Senior High (OSH). He has taught drawing, graphic design, jewelry, sculpture and ceramics. His ceramic class is so popular, the number of classes offered per semester has tripled. “As a ceramics instructor, I teach my students the fundamentals of clay, but I also emphasize how the creative process is a life metaphor,” Prody says.
That may give you an inkling of why he has been plucked out of the sea of very good teachers in our district, to be highlighted as the “best” teacher. He instructs beyond art, builds strong relationships with students and bridges the gap between today and their vision of their future. He also encourages students to show their work outside of school and this year had 38 ceramics students accepted to show their work in juried shows and galleries.
Introduced to ceramics by mentors, Jim Loso and Rana Nestrud, Prody was taught to think in the abstract. “There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer to each question,” he explains. “Art lives in a gray area. This is what life is like. There can be multiple solutions to solve the same problem. The different ideas and perspectives make my job very fun, especially because of the diversity that OSH has in its building. In fact,
I learn more from the kids than they do from me.”
His average class size is 36 students in each of six class periods. “One thing that is unique to my class is, during the lab time, students will practice difficult skills and will most likely not get it the first time. However, by being willing to try and try again, students can masterthe craft. It teaches them that good things often do not come easy. It’s okay to fail, as long as you get back up and go at it again,” he says.
A late bloomer, Prody did fine in high school but describes it as “going through the motions,” and college was “what I thought you were supposed to do.” There was no magic moment when art became the clear answer, but these experiences helped him become a better educator; he understands that underachievers have much to offer. “They just may need a different approach, outlet, encouragement or a strong push,” Prody says.
When the last bell rings, he heads to the weight room to coach weightlifting to a group of 30 to 40 kids. He’s been coaching for the past five years, serving as weightlifting coach, football strength and condition coach and head tennis coach. Ever promoting confidence in self and a healthy lifestyle, Prody excels at the art of molding bodies and minds, inside and outside of the studio.