The Odds Were in Their Favor: Maple Grove Has Fun Recognizing the Best in Their Community.

by | Jul 2015

Prize-worthy treats from Nadia's Cakes, winner of Best Bakery.

Prize-worthy treats from Nadia’s Cakes, winner of Best Bakery. Photo: Marissa Martinson

Maple Grove is a fun place to live, work and play.

But when it comes to voting, there is no playing around. When area residents want to make their voices heard concerning the greatest people, things and services available close to home, they are passionate and serious. Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun while telling you about this year’s winners.

Here you will find a lot of familiar names, some repeat winners from past years (when you are good at something, there’s a strong chance you stay good at it) and some new names, sometimes in categories that are new to the voting list this year. You might also get a kick out of hearing, in their own words, why these winners thought they were named the best in Maple Grove. If a winner matches your own vote, see how close they were to your reason for voting for them.

While the competition might have been heated, the final recognition is pure celebration. Join us as we review the playfulness of our community along with the serious strategies employed to reach the pinnacle of perfection. Let the games begin!

Food and Restaurants

Food provides a unique arena of competition since Maple Grove’s food options are ever-growing. Throw the dice on any given night and you may end up choosing cuisine styled after that of a foreign land, eating organic, munching while observing a volleyball match, slicing through a juicy steak accompanied by a specially-paired wine, grabbing a fast food slice of pizza or delighting in a gourmet cupcake. Whatever the lot, you’re sure to find variety.

Best Bakery

Nadia Cakes
Is that a bacon and eggs cupcake at Nadia Cakes? Why, it most certainly is. Owner Abby Jimenez operates her bakery with the philosophy of “what’s the next thing?” Certainly an April Fool’s bacon and eggs cupcake is a creation few have ever felt inspired to create, let alone consume. But just because it is strange doesn’t mean it’s less delicious. In addition to creating new flavors, Nadia Cakes was voted the best bakery for their customer service dedication. “’Throw cupcakes at the problem’ is a saying of ours,” says Jimenez, referring to a customer who may have forgotten to order a certain cupcake, or isn’t satisfied with the ones they received. The staff at Nadia Cakes is “empowered” to take the extra step and ensure the customer leaves with the order they requested and the service they deserve.
11650 Fountains Drive, Suite 207; 763.575.8885
Runners up: Byerly’s, Chez Arnaud

Best Burgers

Maple Tavern
A delicious burger is like a work of fine art. Sure, it’s easy to toss a bunch of colors on a canvas like ingredients on a bun, but it’s the artist and the care of their craft that creates a masterpiece. The most memorable burgers take a bit of courage as well as delicious flavor, and Maple Tavern’s offerings of burgers like the PB&J, wild rice and black bean, and maple jalapeño bring tastes to the table that ordinary burger chefs wouldn’t dream of putting on a plate.
9375 Deerwood Lane N.; 763.425.2700
Runners up: 5 Guys Burgers and Fries, Malone’s Bar & Grill

Best Tavern/Bar

Malone’s Bar & Grill
Malone’s Bar & Grill—where everyone knows your name. Well, not quite, but the friendly wait staff and smiling bartenders have made it their mission to make you feel like one of the regulars. Manager Michele Bell says a key to Malone’s success is the variety of activity in the restaurant. “Malone’s is a great mix of rowdy and quiet. We have our dining room for people looking for a quiet dinner, and we have our sports bar for the opposite.” Throw in a three-hour-long happy hour with discounted appetizers, and it’s easy to see why there are plenty of new faces at Malone’s every day. It’s simple adult fun.
12635 Elm Creek Blvd. N.; 763.447.6500
Runners up: The Lookout, Maple Tavern

Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant

3 Squares Restaurant
At 3 Squares, age comes with no preferential treatment. Just don’t expect your youngster to pick up the check. General manager Tim Walker loves operating a restaurant catered to the whole family, and has taken special care to ensure that the pickiest little eaters can find something delicious on the 3 Squares menu. “We have a large variety for the kids to choose from. We love having options and we make everything from scratch,” says Walker of delicious meals such as mini-pizzas and spaghetti tacos. Each meal comes with a menu for coloring and a choice of crayons to get the job done. The kids’ menu runs all day, so don’t be ashamed to order yourself a Mickey Mouse pancake for breakfast. You’re never too old for a little breakfast magic.
12690 Arbor Lakes Parkway; 763.425.3330
Runners up: The Lookout, Dave and Buster’s

Best Patio Dining

Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse
A delightful patio setting is often a strong indicator of first-class dining. The sun is out, the air is crisp with a slight breeze, and a juicy steak simply tastes better outdoors. Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse strives to improve customer service by following cues from its peers. “Quite honestly, we really don’t say that we are different than other restaurants; it’s the fact that we learn from other restaurants and bring the best experience back to the store,” says general manager Felipe Navarro. Whatever the formula is, Pittsburgh Blue has found a way to capture it and take it outdoors, creating the best fresh air dining in the neighborhood.
11900 Main St.; 763.416.2663
Runners up: The Lookout, Highlander at Rush Creek

Best Bartender

Justine Olsen, Mama G’s
After going toe-to-toe with competition as stiff as her drinks, bartender Justine Olsen can proudly say that, after ten years in the business, she is Maple Grove’s Best Bartender of 2015. “I know a lot of the people that come in, and I often have their drink ready before they sit down. If I serve you once, I know your drink,” she says. The family business has become a way of life for Olsen, and she loves seeing familiar faces every day and welcoming new customers into the “bar family.” Thinking of visiting Mama G’s, but not sure what to order? Ask her for a fruit punch: an alcoholic Shirley Temple-like shot created by Olsen herself.
9705 County Road 101; 763.420.2588
Runners up: Dale Jossart (Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse), Jack Borchardt (3 Squares)

Best Date Night Spot

Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse
Nothing says romance quite like a nice steak dinner and a glass of red wine. Simple, yet effective. Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse has been voted by readers as the best place to bring a sweetheart or a first date. “It’s the combination of our high quality food, vast wine list and excellent service that makes the date exciting and memorable,” says general manager Felipe Navarro. True, but let’s not forget the most important ingredient for romance: good conversation. Pittsburgh Blue can keep your wine glass and belly full until the cows come home, but it’s up to you to win the favor of your partner by spending time together and keeping the romance alive.
11900 Main St.; 763.416.2663
Runners up: Redstone Grill, Biaggi’s

Best New Restaurant

Patrick’s Bakery & Cafe
What is it about French cuisine that is so delicious? Equal parts ingredients, passion and reputation allowed this French powerhouse to burst onto the Maple Grove scene and snag the award for Best New Restaurant. Manager Christian Hille says “It’s all about the desserts.” Every good meal needs a delicious cherry on top, and Hille’s favorite is chef Patrick Bernet’s mouth-watering Rhine cake. It’s a pecan brownie base with vanilla bean crème brulee, chocolate mousse, and caramel glaze; it’s no coincidence that Patrick’s Bakery & Café is also a finalist for best dessert spot on our list this year. While the award for New Restaurant can only be won once, we suspect we’ll see more from Patrick’s in other categories for years to come.
12489 Elm Creek Blvd.; 763.420.7770
Runners up: Punch Neapolitan Pizza, Teresa’s Mexican Restaurant

(At Patrick's Bakery & Cafe, you can enjoy the newest French cuisine; Photo courstesy of V. Jay Ojeda)

(At Patrick’s Bakery & Cafe, you can enjoy the newest French cuisine; Photo courstesy of V. Jay Ojeda)

Best Dessert Spot

Nadia Cakes
With its second appearance on the Best Of list, Nadia Cakes is taking home the award for Best Dessert as well. The name of their cupcake game is variety, and it’s a challenge to name them all. Cookie Dough Monster, Minnesota Nice and The Fudgy Wudgy are all created with natural ingredients and made from scratch. “We also have a very extensive menu for our gluten-free customers,” says owner Abby Jimenez. Being gluten intolerant shouldn’t mean you have to sacrifice dessert. Nadia Cakes is pleased to announce their recently opened Woodbury location; they will also start offering Sebastian Joe’s ice cream.
11650 Fountains Drive, Suite 207; 763.575.8885
Runners up: Patrick’s Bakery & Café, Pittsburgh Blue Steakhouse

Best Place for Craft Beer

Granite City food & Brewery
Craft beer is like baseball cards for grown-ups. They come in a six-pack, everyone has an opinion on their favorite, and they’re best when shared with friends. Turns out Granite City has been voted the best place to sit down, have a pint and hash out which regional brew best suits your palate. Bartender Jen Tresise says beer and Granite City are her passions, and she favors the double IPA Batch 1000. “We brew all our own beer on site, and tap a new one every month,” Tresise says. Best of all, Granite City offers take-home growler containers, so you can fill up until your thirst is quenched.
11909 Main St.; 763.416.0010
Runners up: 3 Squares, Claddagh

(Granite City Food & Brewery leads the pack with a variety of craft beers; Photo courtesy of ian aizman.)

(Granite City Food & Brewery leads the pack with a variety of craft beers; Photo courtesy of ian aizman.)

Home and Garden

The aging of the Baby Boom generation has changed the way we think about living arrangements. This year, we added a Senior Living category as Maple Grove continues to be a hot spot for seniors living in community in the best accommodations. There are also many design and furnishings options for homeowners of all ages that make everyday life enjoyable, not to mention maintenance-free and beautiful.

(J Brothers Home Improvement regains first place in the Builder/Remodeler category.)

(J Brothers Home Improvement regains first place in the Builder/Remodeler category.)

Best Builder/Remodeler

J Brothers Home Improvement
There seems to be something in the water in Maple Grove that spawns successful family businesses. J Brothers Home Improvement is run by the Johnson family, with owner Chuck at the helm and his wife Teri running the office. “We want it to be the home of [clients’] dreams,” says Teri. “We go the extra mile to make sure it’s exactly how they want it.” Experts in bathrooms, basements and any other room of the house, J Brothers can transform even the most miserable fixer-upper into a luxury listing.
10550 County Road 81, Suite 206; 763.732.8731
Runners up: Mattamy Homes, LDK Homes

Best Senior Living Residence

Arbor Lakes Senior Living
In a new category this year, we celebrate the special care offered to our greatest generation. The voters may have been the families of residents or the seniors themselves, but it was obvious that the care that Arbor Lakes Senior Living provides in independent living, assisted living and memory care is top-notch.
12001 80th Ave. N.; 763.575.7021
Runners up: Rose Arbor & Wildflower Lodge, Woodland Mound

Best Home Retail/ Furnishings

Becker Furniture World
A home has only as much character as its furnishings. Pieces of furniture can be some of the most valued items in our home, like our beds, or that recliner reserved for an evening of lazy television after a long day of work. Some pieces are filled with memories, and Becker Furniture World is in the business of memories. Marketing coordinator Ken Nichols says Becker succeeds because “we have the largest selection in Minnesota, and the lowest prices.” Yet we don’t buy furniture simply because it’s affordable; we buy it to reflect our homes, our personalities and our own level of comfort. Becker specializes in custom orders to reflect these needs.
16625 County Road 30; 763.447.6200
Runners up: HOM, Pottery Barn

Best Interior Designer

Sandy StrattoN, Floor Coverings
“I treat every project as if it were in my own home,” says Sandy Stratton of her business, Floor Coverings International (FCI). Their mobile in-home service means that they come to you. “We bring the samples to you in your own home, at your convenience, so they can be viewed with your own lighting and furniture,” she explains. The headache of redecorating is the back and forth from store to house, and FCI has simplified that.
311 First Ave. NE; Osseo; 763.416.5667
Runners up: Deanne Koppendrayer (LDK Homes), Karen Benson (Karen Benson Interiors)

Best Landscape Designer/Architect

Lynde Greenhouse & Nursery
Not only is Lynde Greenhouse & Nursery the best in landscape design for 2015, but they may have a claim at being one of the oldest businesses in Maple Grove. Family run since 1896, Lynde strives to be professional and accommodating while making clients’ needs come to life. Landscaper Joe Annis has been with Lynde for five years, and says that his latest initiative has been working with customers to re-use items or objects they already have to create a new design or layout. “It’s a more sustainable form of landscaping,” Annis says. He encourages this practice as a way to save the customer money on their project, while saving on resources at the same time.
9293 Pineview Lane N.; 763.420.4400
Runners up: Ben & Eddie’s Landscaping, Luxury Lawn & Landscaping

(Lynde Greenhouse & Nursery was afloat in leading votes in the landscape category; Photo courtesy of Lynde Greenhouse)

(Lynde Greenhouse & Nursery was afloat in leading votes in the landscape category; Photo courtesy of Lynde Greenhouse)

Best Heating/AC Company

Air Mechanical- Brad Link
When someone comes to your home to provide their services, it often means that you get to know them well. After all, you trust them to enter your house, and can you really have someone in your home without at least knowing their name? Brad Link serves the entire Maple Grove area for Air Mechanical, which offers a wide variety of solutions for everything from indoor air quality to geothermal. Link can show up at your house seven days a week, 365 days a year at the very hour you need him. What more can you ask for…except a second player for a game of gin rummy? He might be up for that too!
16411 Aberdeen St. NE, Ham Lake; 763.634.8030
Runners up: Marsh Heating & Air Conditioning, Heating and Cooling Two

Best Yard Service

David’s Lawn Service
It’s saying something when a business based out of Plymouth can swoop in and claim the title of Best Yard Service for its work in Maple Grove. Open seven days a week for nearly 12 years, owner David Haxton rarely finds himself short of work. So what does Haxton find most rewarding? “Making the grass look really nice,” he says. Mowing makes up the majority of their business, but they also do landscaping, aerating, spring and fall clean-up, and winter plowing. If the driveway is covered, Haxton and one of his two crews have the answer.
12220 60th Ave. N; Plymouth; 612.805.7392
Runners up: Mark’s Lawn Service, Matt’s Lawn and Landscape

Health and Wellness

In this category you will recognize many returning favorites. Great health professionals have a tendency to build strong bonds with satisfied, long-term clients. They become doubles partners on the tennis court, so to speak, returning each ball that illness serves up. From spine to skin, teeth to eyes, the gym to the youngest member of the family, Maple Grove not only has top notch health and wellness care, but we have a lot of options, so repeat wins, year after year, is a true achievement.

Best Chiropractic Clinic

Broman Chiropractic
Douglas Broman has been a practicing chiropractor for 28 years, so it’s safe to say he knows what it takes to keep the body healthy. His mission is to integrate chiropractic services, massage therapy, acupuncture and nutrition for optimal health. “We believe in the body’s inborn potential to heal itself under the right circumstances,” Broman says of his methods. Broman Chiropractic is also proud to announce new changes for 2015, including a third doctor and a series on detoxification and weight loss. The class will be available free of charge to patients and community members seeking to improve their overall health.
7237 Forestview Lane N.; 763.420.8595
Runners up: Johnson Chiropractic, Chiroway

Best Pediatric Clinic

Partners in Pediatrics
“We’re ready for you, just come on in,” says clinic administrator Mary Jenkins. She is referring to Partners in Pediatrics’ Ready Care service, a stress-free way to see the doc immediately for unanticipated illnesses and bouts of pain. Partners in Pediatrics has been a Maple Grove establishment since 1981, and with 38 care providers on staff, they are well equipped to help your kids return to good health. What is the best part about the treatment at Partners in Pediatrics? “We’re in the neighborhood,” says Jenkins.
12720 Bass Lake Road; 763.559.2861
Runners up: South Lake Pediatrics, Park Nicollet Clinic

Best Dental Clinic

Maple Grove Family Dental Care
Going to the dentist can be a nightmare for some children. The chair is cold and uninviting, and oh my, what do they use that drill for? The doctors and staff at Maple Grove Family Dental have perfected that gentle, unintimidating touch for creating a fun dental office environment. Adults can be just as frightened by a day at the dentist, and that’s why Drs. Chang, Grinde and Alwin provide good “chair-side” manner, as they call it, to keep you smiling.
12000 Elm Creek Blvd., Suite 220; 763.420.4421
Runners up: Metro Dentalcare, Park Dental

Best Orthodontic Clinic

Accorde Orthodontists
Going to the orthodontist is no walk in the park. That’s why it’s a true testament to the skill of the staff at Accorde Orthodontists who have managed to establish a strong foundation of trust with their clients, and help them achieve that award-winning smile. As the longest practicing orthodontic group in the Northwest suburbs, Accorde has treated more than 20,000 patients.
6810 Hemlock Lane N.; 763.425.9888
Runners up: Kottemann Orthodontics, TC Orthodontics

Best Fitness/Yoga Studio

Life Time Fitness
General manager Theresa Ohme says the key to Life Time’s success is that “we take the extra time to know our members and their needs. We try to help them reach their goals.” At Life Time, that doesn’t mean good health comes at the price of countless weeks on a treadmill. Rather, they offer a number of classes catered to your fitness level with a variety of yoga, spin, Pilates and strength training options. The idea is to provide all the tools so the customer can use them as they see fit. After all, nobody knows your body better than you do.
12601 82nd Ave. N.; 763.420.8282
Runners up: CorePower Yoga, Orange Theory Fitness

Best Eye Clinic

Northwest Eye Clinic
As we age, vision is often the first sense to fade. The dedicated staff at Northwest Eye Clinic is committed to keeping your vision a perfect 20/20, or at least providing you with the right tools to finish the last chapter of your favorite bestseller. The clinic specializes in LASIK as well, in case you decide that a pair of sharp spectacles no longer suits your style. Maple Grove Magazine readers have seen the writing on the wall, and it is clear that this year Northwest Eye Clinic is the best place to treat your browns, blues and greens.
12000 Elm Creek Blvd. N.; 763.416.7600
Runners up: Pearle Vision, Bass Lake Family Eye Care

Best Dermatology Clinic

Associated Skin Care Specialists
The epidermis is the largest organ in the human body, and often the most temperamental. It can take on painful characteristics like acne and warts, and can certainly make you feel uncomfortable in your own skin. Luckily, the caring and dedicated staff at Associated Skin Care Specialists is here to help. However, a skin check isn’t a simple one-and-done procedure. Dermatologists recommend annual examinations to ensure that there are no strange moles or abrasions on the body, and that your skin is cancer-free.
9600 Upland Lane N.; 763.416.2380
Runners up: Fairview Clinic, Park Nicollet Clinic

Best MedSpa / Rejuvenation Clinic

Belladerm MedSpa
Being you can be tough. Keeping a smile on for work, family and friends can get exhausting. Belladerm MedSpa is there for you when you’re not feeling like your brightest, most beautiful self. Clients tell owner Robin Bernens that she is extremely honest. “Hands down, the clients are the most rewarding part about the job,” she says. They sometimes come in for a specific treatment and are told that it’s not the best option for them, “but they leave happy.” Dr. Gregory Mesna, supported by a strong staff of RNs and aestheticians, can make your beauty wishes come true.
7940 Main St.; 763.494.9905
Runners up: LifeSpa at Life Time Fitness, Massage Envy

(Belladerm MedSpa is the place to get your best look back; Photo by Emily J. Davis)

(Belladerm MedSpa is the place to get your best look back; Photo by Emily J. Davis)


One thing our area is known for is retail. It might be a new car or just a morning cup of coffee you want to score—you rarely need to venture beyond the Maple Grove game board to get the things you need. We enjoy high-end retail options as well as thrifty outlets. The vibrancy of our retail sector lies in its ability to grow and change. While some of the leaders this year are new, most have been around for a while, offering the shoes, clothes, gifts, accessories and home furnishings we crave.

(Clothes Mentor definitely knows how to win the votes from our pocketbooks.)

(Clothes Mentor definitely knows how to win the votes from our pocketbooks.)

Best Consignment Shop

Clothes Mentor
Clothes Mentor doesn’t sell clothes. That’s what owner Mark Hoom claims. “We want you to sell to us. If we have the inventory, it will sell,” he explains. Eighty percent of their sellers also buy from them in a store that always has a fresh feeling about it. “We are [fanatical] about cleanliness,” Hoom adds.
13641 Grove Drive; 763.494.45842
Runners up: Once Upon a Child, Turn Style

Best Boutique

Mainstream Boutique
At Mainstream Boutique, you never need to spend time looking through racks of clothing in order to shop. They famously feature pictures of their shoppers modeling new arrivals on their web page. You can see what something will look like on a real body, then give them a call to have the item pulled in your size for purchase or trying on. This is a good idea if you ever see something you like, because their one-of-a-kind items come in limited numbers and when they are gone, they are gone!
15501 Grove Circle N.; 763.315.0812
Runners up: Francesca’s, Juniper

Best Small Business Customer Service

Willow Salon
It could be said that the key factor in a successful customer service experience is the level of comfort experienced by a client. Were their needs met? Did they have a positive experience at your business? And, would they recommend your business to a friend? At Willow Salon, their clients have answered, “yes,” “yes,” and “absolutely.” Owner Nicole Buske says her number one priority is “making sure our clients feel comfortable.” That includes matching a client to a stylist best suited to his or her personal style of haircut. After all, a haircut is a statement, and Willow Salon strives to make each statement as unique as possible.
13555 Grove Drive; 763.494.0399
Runners up: First Class Mortgage, Nadia Cakes

Best Gift Shop

The Woods
You might expect to find great Minnesota-centric gifts at The Woods, like rustic wall decor and candles, wooden toys and wild rice soup mix. But did you know they also carry handbags and olives, salt and boxer shorts? You’ll be surprised by the array of creative gift items in this woodsy log cabin store. The unique scent of The Woods greets you at the door and follows you until you find just the right item for that special person.
15825 95th Ave. N.; 763.416.9663
Runners up: Good Things, Stone Crop

(Gifts that celebrate Minnesota fun are a specialty at The Woods; Photo courtesy of The Woods)

(Gifts that celebrate Minnesota fun are a specialty at The Woods; Photo courtesy of The Woods)

Best Jewelry Store

Mark Michael Diamond Designs
Mark Lauer has done it again. With his unique custom jewelry designs, he seems to have garnered the affection of many adorned residents. While you may not be ready for a custom designed piece, nearly everyone has jewelry that needs a fix. Rest assured that Mark Michael Diamond Designs can make it look new again.
7897 Main St. N.; 763.494.5700
Runners up: Jared, Wedding Day Diamonds

Best New Shop

New Uses
Among all the “new” stores in Maple Grove, New Uses gets the attention this year for their thrifty business model. Owner Mark Hoom says they sell a lot of home décor items, but especially move a lot of appliances, wall art and furniture—which they could always use more of. You can bring in your headboard and dresser and arrive home an hour later with an entirely new look for your bedroom.
13777 Grove Drive; 763.273.4917
Runners up: Whole Foods, Hockey Performance Center

Best Florist

Donato’s Floral

At Donato’s, they are good at listening to the needs of their customers, and are known for delivering “above and beyond.” They’ve also started classes on making holiday centerpieces, which have been so popular, they’ve had to add additional class times. Owner Maria Donato says, “Sometimes I wonder if this is really a job. We love it so much. I mean, we get to work with flowers all day long!”
7351 Kirkwood Lane N. Suite 118; 763.416.0488
Runners up: Maple Grove Floral, Lynde Greenhouse

Best Coffee Shop

Daily Dose
When Ben Havn and Curt Medina opened their neighborhood shop, they knew they wanted it to be a place where people felt comfortable hanging out. “Because we are locally owned, we have a very loyal following,” Havn says. Regulars can pick up their morning Joe, drop back in for a midday hot panini and soup, and show up again in the evening for wine and locally brewed craft beer while meeting for book club. Daily Dose seems to have the “daily dose” covered.
15517 Grove Circle N.; 763.657.0919
Runners up: Starbucks, Caribou

(Daily Dose delights with whimsical designs in your morning brew; Photo by Amanda Gahler)

(Daily Dose delights with whimsical designs in your morning brew; Photo by Amanda Gahler)

Best Liquor Store

Since opening in Maple Grove, Haskell’s has made quite the impression with its 20,000-square-foot superstore. The store is twice as large as any of Haskell’s other locations and is the largest liquor store in the state. There’s lots of selection and lots of help when it comes to picking just the right bottle. Check out their Tuesday night wine tastings.
15304 Grove Circle N.; 763.400.7888
Runners up: Princeton’s Liquors, Star Liquors

Best Shoe Store

Schuler Shoes

A March 2015 Maple Grove Magazine article details the long history of this storied company with deep roots in Maple Grove. At Schuler, it’s not solely about looks—the team truly believes that “the right shoe fit can lead to a healthier, more joyful life.” We do know the scowl that an ill-fitting pair of shoes can put on someone’s face, so we tend to agree.
7835 Main St. N.; 763.494.0011
Runners up: DSW, Little Feet

Best Foodie Shop

Love that Olive

Formerly the Oilerie, this store offers product so unique that you truly can’t get it anywhere else, unless you travel to Italy. Their extra virgin olive oil has a dizzying aroma, and their flavored balsamic vinegars, nut oils, spices, marinades, pestos and packaged noodles mean you will never lack a great destination to find gifts. Although the products are fabulous, owner Terri Chaffer claims, “Our customer base is our greatest asset.”
13551 Grove Drive; 763.657.0857
Runners up: Byerly’s, Trader Joe’s

Best Car Dealership

Cornerstone Auto
This is the first year we’ve included a category for Car Dealership. Although there are no dealerships within the city limits, residents still buy cars, and they are more likely to go looking at a lot nearby. This has proven true for Cornerstone Auto. It’s a dealership with an extra dose of integrity.
3901 Vinewood Lane, Plymouth; 763.559.5300
Runners up: Superior Ford, Morrie’s


If you draw an unfortunate Monopoly chance card and go to jail (go directly to jail, do not pass GO, do not collect $200), you may need the help of a number of people: a financial advisor, a bailiff, an insurance agent who can assure you that “you’re covered.” You may even wish you could call on a massage therapist during this stressful period! Service professionals in our area know how to make the often tedious details of life much easier. Here are some stellar pros who can help you stay in the game and draw your next card.

(Ashli Roberts delivers stellar style with a simple pair of scissors at Willow Salon.)

(Ashli Roberts delivers stellar style with a simple pair of scissors at Willow Salon.)

Best Hairstylist/Barber

Ashli Roberts, Willow Salon
Ashli Roberts feels like a winner. “I love every aspect of hair. Making a person feel good about themselves is my favorite reason for doing my job,” Roberts says. She claims that being a great hairstylist is about establishing a rapport with her clients, and making sure they feel comfortable. Once the groundwork is laid, a professional relationship with a hair stylist is something that few take for granted.
13555 Grove Drive; 763.494.0399
Runners up: Sharayah Stammeyer (Willow Salon), Jewels Erwin (Salon Sartor)

Best Financial Advisor

Tony Kieffer, Edward Jones
Tony Kieffer is another popular candidate who often shows up in this category. This year, he has “made [his] clients’ visits a more consistent experience,” he says. Kieffer wants to lead them to be able to meet their goals—for example, helping people retire on their own timeline.
7835 Main St. N., Suite 210; 763.494.0151
Runners up: Jim Bear, Christopher & Joe Yard

Best Massage Therapist

Jamie Lawless, Flawless Care
Sometimes finding a good massage therapist means you can finally stop bouncing around between massages with different levels of effectiveness. Lawless has been one of the finalists in this category for four years running, and 80 percent of her patients are returning customers, which means that she must be doing something right. “For many of my clients, I am more than a massage therapist. I also see to fitness and nutritional needs,” she says. After 12 years in Maple Grove, Lawless has laid hands on a lot of people and we are a more relaxed, healthy community because of it.
9505 Blackoaks Lane N.; 763.463.9444; jamielawless.
Runners up: Jennifer Baker (Simonson’s Salon and Spa), Ross Bergfalk (Broman Chiropractic)

Best Real Estate Agent

Brian Marcus, Re/Max

When Brian Marcus finds you the perfect house, his relationship with you is only beginning. His Facebook page features the ongoing stories of families and their new homes as well as home-purchase anniversaries, and he posts recipes, too.
13784 83rd Way, Ste. 200; 612.234.2973
Runners up: Jarrod Peterson, Christine Smith

Best Salon / Spa

Simonson’s Salon & Spa
Simonson’s beautiful Maple Grove building is an outward example of the sophisticated style inside. You can spend an entire day here creating the ultimate spa experience that includes anything you can imagine for the body, hands, feet, hair, etc., including gift purchases and a café lunch. It’s no wonder Simonson’s ends up the winner in this category on a consistent basis.
13950 Grove Drive; 763.494.4863
Runners up: Kalla Lily, MarcDaniel Salon

(Simonson’s Salon & Spa takes another turn at being the best; Photo by Joel Koyama)

(Simonson’s Salon & Spa takes another turn at being the best; Photo by Joel Koyama)

Best Learning / Tutoring Center

Center director Beverly Erbert explains what they do at Mathnasium as “filling in the gaps to help students be able to better understand what is being taught in the classroom.” They’ve got “learning the language of numbers” down to a science.
13720 83rd Way N.; 763.220.2525
Runners up: LearningRx, Sylvan Learning

Best Insurance Agent

Jeff Greene, Farmers Insurance
From auto to life, Jeff Greene can offer protection for you and your family, priding himself on providing quality customer service.
9676 63rd Ave. N.; 763.533.2854
Runners up: Greg Sniezek, Jim Miller

Best Nail Salon

Nails & Spa

When it comes to beautiful nails, Maple Grove offers a lot of options. Nails and Spa is a family-owned business that’s been making hands look their best for more than a decade, and they’ve recently added waxing to their list of services. Although they can apply acrylics and gels with an array of colors for everyday or for a special occasion, don’t overlook the value of a classic manicure (or pedicure) for both women and men.
7794 Main St.; 763.420.9000
Runners up: Simonson’s Salon & Spa, Peony Nail Salon

(When it comes to nails, Nails & Spa has it nailed; Photo by Amanda Gahler)

(When it comes to nails, Nails & Spa has it nailed; Photo by Amanda Gahler)

Kids, Family and Pets

Many former residents concur with current residents who declare that Maple Grove is a great place to grow up. With many opportunities for community involvement and the honing of important skills, this is a place where talent can bloom and aptitude can propel anyone into the world of serious competition. And don’t forget, your pet can be a truly happy member of the family. Maple Grove is one of the most pet-centric cities in the state, with veterinarians, pet products and daycare facilities to rival a city with a much larger population. Here are the ones that residents felt were the best of the numerous offerings.

(Animal Wellness Center's Dr. Carolyn Apker makes every feline feel healthy and pampered.)

(Animal Wellness Center’s Dr. Carolyn Apker makes every feline feel healthy and pampered.)

Best Veterinary Clinic

Animal Wellness Center

Dr. Carolyn Apker and the team at Animal Wellness Center are a perennial favorite in this category. Since the Animal Wellness Center is a one-stop shop for behavior training, luxury boarding, day care, chiropractic, acupuncture and grooming services, not to mention veterinary care, including dentistry, you hardly need look anywhere else.
7000 E. Fish Lake Road; 763.420.7958
Runners up: Heritage Animal Hospital, Paws & Claws Pet Hospital

Best Preschool / Childcare

Step by Step Montessori
Familiar for many years as the winner in this category, Step by Step offers an alternative for families who are looking for a Montessori program for the price of regular child care. They also offer full-time or part-time, including before- and after-school care.
11601 73rd Ave. N.; 763.315.3602
Runners up: Ave Maria Academy, Primrose School

Best Doggy Daycare / Kennel

Adogo Pet Hotel
Adogo is new to the neighborhood, but they’ve already settled right in. Owner John Sturgess says, “We know the name of your dog,” which he says is what people love about Adogo. The facility is also designed for the unique interests of their four-legged customers. Sturgess tells us about one particular dog that enters each day, runs to the front office staff for a greeting, then knows exactly where to go and find his friends. “Our well trained staff also has great chemistry,” Sturgess says. “They know the temperament and personality of each dog, and that makes for a wonderful experience.”
7400 Kirkwood Court; 763.951.2220
Runners up: Animal Wellness Center, All Seasons Canine Country Club

Best Dance Studio

Dancin’ on Broadway
Each time we have a dance studio or dance class category, Dancin’ on Broadway seems to come out the winner. They just celebrated their 30th year: Congratulations!
9465 Garland Lane N.; 763.425.3623
Runners up: Kincade Dance Industries, Escalate Dance & Theatre Studio

Best Place to Spoil Your Pet

Chuck & Don’s
Another new business joins the abundant pet-centric environment of Maple Grove. At Chuck & Don’s, you can find nearly anything you need for nearly any animal you love. They also promote quality nutrition for animals, so if you’re looking to improve your pet’s health, the staff will be especially glad to see you pop in, with or without your best friend.
8115 Wedgewood Lane; 763.416.4877
Runners up: Animal Wellness Center, Shaggy Dog Grooming

Editor’s Picks

Some people and places defy categorization. As editor of this fine magazine, I have the pleasure of annually recognizing those who go above and beyond. These are people who do their jobs in a way that has an extraordinary effect on the way we live our lives. They’re the best players of their own game and we are the ones who hit the jackpot.—Cyd Haynes

Best Service to the Public

Al Madsen
When tracing the development of the city of Maple Grove, there are key people responsible for its careful growth. At the heart of these carefully laid plans, you’ll find city administrator Al Madsen. He’s been in the position long enough to bring a lifetime of understanding to our critical needs and has the smarts to know how to get things done. His consistent presence at city council and planning commission meetings, his informational spots on Channel 12 and his writing in blogs and newsletters shows an insightful, practiced hand when it comes to the inner workings of one of the most dynamic areas in the Twin Cities. His service to each one of us will have lasting impact for years to come.

Best Elementary Teacher

Barbara Weist
Barbara Weist is a 5th grade teacher who has taught at Oak View Elementary School since it opened in 1991. She is known for her exceptional ability to build relationships with both students and families. Above and beyond her daily classroom duties, she attends students’ dance recitals and sports games. Her passion for teaching is long remembered by students and she is often invited to their high school graduations and honored at National Honor Society inductions.

“A few years ago, a very special student had cancer,” says principal Ann Mock. “Barbara rallied for the family to raise money to help them. She tutored the student at home to keep up her studies; she attended a re-entry class at Children’s Hospital, and arranged for herself and students to stay in at recess with the student who could not go outside. She was in constant communication with the family and still is. This is just who she is all day, every day,” Mock says. Now that’s genuine dedication well worth celebrating.

Best Support of Education

District 279 Foundation
Funding for education is always strained, so a group of citizens, staff and teachers took up the cause in 1991 to make a difference in the school district by establishing the District 279 Foundation and raising funds for educational projects, programs and other learning opportunities for students district wide. Over the years, the Foundation has awarded more than $2 million and served as a model of encouragement and support, proving that there are many ways to achieve what is most important in a community.


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