Best of Lake Minnetonka 2011

by | Jun 2011

Sunsets famous bloody Mary, perfect at the best spot for weekend brunch.

Sunsets famous bloody Mary, perfect at the best spot for weekend brunch.

We honor the 25 people, places and things you voted as your Best of Lake Minnetonka 2011.

Best Weekend Brunch: Sunsets
Runner-up: Pairings Food & Wine Market
Third place: Maynard’s
Got that hollow feeling in your gut that’s begging for brunch? You’d do well to head to Sunsets. Start with a spicy Bloody Mary bedecked with a zippy pickle-pepper-olive skewer. Proceed to the made-to-order egg station, but don’t forget to stop at the waffle bar and pile on some sweet toppings. Get your greens from a lush salad bar, then graduate to lunch-ish fare like fried chicken, beef tips and Creole shrimp. Eat, refill, repeat. 700 E. Lake St., Wayzata; 952.473.5253

 Best Burger: Maynard’s
Runner-up (tie): Golden Nugget Tavern & Grille and Snuffy’s Malt Shop
Quality, quantity and options—all served on a fresh Main Street onion bun! The most popular is the Combo, groaning with mushrooms, bacon and cheese. You can crank up the health factor with the low-carb portabello burger or a turkey patty, but why would you want to? Go ahead and get the waffle fries, too! 685 Excelsior Rd., Excelsior; 952.470.1800

Best Landscaper: Outdoors Excapes
Runner-up: Creekside Landscape
Third place: Otten Bros.
“We stay in touch post-project,” says Outdoor Excapes owner Hans Frees, “and we’ll return to tweak or fix whenever necessary.” This landscaping company thrives on client loyalty and Frees’s exacting eye. With Outdoor Excapes, you’re not just another job to cross off the list—you’re a new partner! 2345 Daniels St., Long Lake; 952.926.6899

Best Secondhand Store: Clothes Mentor
Runner-up: Hope Chest for Breast Cancer
Third place: Goodwill
Want to feel good about recycling and look good in the process? Clothes Mentor carries women’s “better brand” apparel from size 0–26, including maternity wear, shoes, purses, and jewelry. Increasingly popular in these belt-tightening times, owner Chad Olson admits, “We’re one of those companies that don’t want to see the economy improve!” 14200 Wayzata Blvd., Ste. H, Minnetonka; 952.303.6673

Best New Shop: YoYo Donuts & Coffee Bar
Runner-up (tie): Avanti Shoe Boutique and Quetopia
“We’re really intentional about making sure we’re not just a donut shop,” says co-owner Chris Moquist. He and his staff show their community pride with little things like sprinkle donuts in nearby school colors or patriotic VOTE delicacies on Election Day. 5757 Sanibel Dr., Minnetonka; 952.960.1800

Best Hair Salon: Lili
Runner-up: Mask Hair Designs and Day Spa
Third place: Keiki B.
This salon’s tagline is “Lili loves you,” and apparently you love Lili back! Owner William Anderson credits the salon’s popularity to the staff’s specialization and education. Regular training jaunts to New York and Los Angeles keep creativity fresh. You can also count on enticing promotions, luxurious hair care brands and uncommonly attentive service. 5757 Sanibel Dr., Minnetonka; 952.935.5000

Best Pet Lodging: Top Dog Country Club
Runner-up: ADOGO
Third place: Auntie Ruth’s Furry Friends Away from Home
Top Dog Country Club is just that: a veritable country club, and you’ll be jealous when your pooch gets to stay there when you leave town. “It’s all about the dogs—their fun and enjoyment,” says owner Jean Buening, a veteran of Marriott hotel management. The lucky dog guests get 5–6 hours of daily group play on 24,000 sq. ft. of Astroturf, as well as a heated 44-foot in-ground doggie swimming pool. On any given day, there is one staff member for every five to eight dogs. 5120 Vega Ave., New Germany; 952.353.2600

Best Place to Walk the Dog: Luce Line Trail
Runner-up: Lake Minnewashta Regional Park
Third place: Bryant Lake Park Reserve
Treat your pup to a taste of the country living with a stroll down the Luce Line Trail. Starting in Plymouth, walk as far as your pooch’s little legs can handle and we guarantee there will still be miles of path in front of you; the trail stretches 63 miles in total. Rest assured the first 30 miles are limestone—good for both feet and paws. Trailhead near Vicksburg Ln. and 10th Ave. N., Plymouth; 651.259.5841

Best Kids Birthday Party Spot: Pump It Up
Runner-up: Minnetonka Center for the Arts
Third place: Country Club Lanes
Pump It Up has birthday parties down to a bouncy science. Each party gets the VIP treatment with private arenas to let loose and personal party rooms to celebrate in style. After jumping around on the inflatable slides, bounce houses and obstacle courses, refuel with pizza, cake and drinks all arranged by Pump It Up. Bring the kids and the presents; they’ll take care of the rest. 3500 Holly Ln. N., Ste. 65, Plymouth; 763.553.0340

Best Interior Designer: Leslie Nerenberg
Runner-up: Amalia G.
Third place: The Sitting Room
Leslie Nerenberg is affable, energetic and a darn good listener. Her philosophy—“Designing is about who my clients are, not about who I am”—has won her scores of fans. She cultivates one-on-one relationships, keeps her client base small and knows her strengths. For modern, transitional, shabby chic and more, Nerenberg’s the master of your domain. 2821 Danbury Way, Minnetonka; 952.544.4351

Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests: Lord Fletcher’s Old Lake Lodge
Runner-up: Maynard’s
Third place: Downtown Excelsior
Looking to impress visiting family, friends and dignitaries? Take them for a drink or a meal at Lord Fletcher’s. Your visitors will soon be scanning the real estate section of the newspaper as they contemplate a move to our beautiful haven! 3746 Sunset Dr., Spring Park; 952.471.8513

Best Farmer’s Market: Excelsior
Runner-up: Minnetonka
Third place: Hopkins
With everything from one-of-a-kind jewelry to gourmet cheese, it’s no surprise that the Excelsior Farmer’s Market is a community favorite year after year. “We try to focus on local, handmade and handcrafted; that’s important to people,” says Deb Hoen, who has managed the market for 17 years. Excelsior’s market runs every Thursday from May through October from 2–6 p.m. They will be setting up shop in a new location this year, but all of your seasonal favorites will still be for sale. Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, 301 Cty. Rd. 19, Excelsior

Best Pet Grooming: Shampooch
Runner-up: LuLu & Luigi
Third place: ADOGO
From the adorable name to the online rave reviews, Shampooch has got it going on. They handle every kind of dog grooming you might imagine and some you might not, like doggie nail polish! “We have the best people working here,” says co-owner and three-dog-owner Julie Hiller. 1585 Hwy. 7, Hopkins; 952.746.4777

Best Kid-friendly Restaurant: YoYo Donuts & Coffee Bar
Runner-up: 318 Café
Third place: Perkins
One step instead YoYo Donuts and you’ll know kids are welcome here. From their colorful decor to the child-eye-level donut case, it’s all about the little customers here. What’s even better is that their whole facility is peanut- and tree-nut-free. “I’ve had moms in tears and been bear-hugged by dads,” says owner Chris Moquist. “We’ve had a number of kids who’ve had their first donut in their life right here.” Now’s that special. 5757 Sanibel Dr., Minnetonka; 952.960.1800

Best Playground: Lake Minnetonka Regional Park
Runner-up: Shady Oak
Third place: Wayzata Beach
Before you swim, set sail on the nautical playground at Lake Minnetonka Regional Park. Scurry through submarine tunnels, cross dangerous waters on the monkey bars and be captain at the wheel of this ship-inspired play area. Join in the fun daily from 9 a.m. to sunset. 4610 Cty. Rd. 44, Minnetrista; 763.694.7754

Best Place to Hike: Luce Line Trail
Runner-up: Baker Park Reserve
Third place: Purgatory Park
Spend a warm-weather weekend enjoying the great outdoors right in our own backyard. The Luce Line Trail offers up 63 miles of hiking paths on a former railroad line. The trail begins in Plymouth and stretches as far out as Cosmos in west-central Minnesota. Trailhead near Vicksburg Ln. and 10th Ave. N., Plymouth; 651.259.5841

Best Dessert: YoYo Donuts & Coffee Bar
Runner-up: Redstone
Third place: Yum!
Looking for that little bit of sweetness after lunch? Skip the dessert menu and head to YoYo Donuts for a unique take on the beloved last course. Owner Chris Moquist recommends their Key Lime Bombe: A mini bismark filled with key lime, then topped with angel cream frosting and graham cracker crumbs. Craving chocolate? Their popular Campfire Donut—similar to s’mores from the fire—is sure to do the trick. 5757 Sanibel Dr., Minnetonka; 952.960.1800

Best Coffee Shop: Caribou Coffee
Runner-up: Dunn Bros in Excelsior
Third place: YoYo Donuts & Coffee Bar
Dependable? Yes. Run of the mill? Never! Every Caribou outlet is a welcoming, convenient place to chill for a few hours or grab a latte on your way to work. Of course you can get your Americano or soy chai, but don’t miss the Caribou-specific treats like the Apple Blast: hot cider, caramel, cinnamon and whipped cream. Slurp! 11400 Hwy. 7, Minnetonka; 952.931.3138

Best Beach: Shady Oak Beach
Runner-up: Excelsior Beach
Third place: Wayzata Beach
Shady Oak Beach has everything you need for fun in the sun this summer. With 76 feet of sandy shoreline, you’ll have plenty of room to catch a few rays, hit the court for a game of volleyball or cool off at the concession stand. The beach also boasts a fishing pier and canoe rentals, and a brand new playground area the kids won’t want to miss. 5200 Shady Oak Rd., Minnetonka; 952.908.7083

Best Spa: Lili
Runner-up: Mask Hair Designs and Day Spa
Third place: Keiki B.
Flooded with natural light, bright color and fresh flowers, Lili is a sweet place to while away an afternoon with a facial or a pedicure. Their exceptionally qualified staff includes a wax artist with 20 years of experience—an almost unheard of longevity in the industry! You might also try “sugaring,” a hard-to-find but delightful hair-removal technique. 5757 Sanibel Dr., Minnetonka; 952.935.5000

Best Vet: Gehrman’s Animal Hospital
Runner-up: Excelsior Animal Hospital
Third place: Westonka Animal Hospital
Families and pets are a natural combination, so it’s reassuring that Gehrman’s is family owned since 1940. Owner Dr. Chuck Gehrman downplays the beloved facility as “a cat and dog operation,” but their personal commitment to animals and community involvement is impressive. You can find the Gehrman family teaching vocational programs at area schools, cheering on a local hockey game or sharing your pew in church. 12800 Wayzata Blvd., Minnetonka; 952.545.9161

Best Community Festival: Excelsior’s Art on the Lake
Runner-up: Wayzata’s James J. Hill Days
Third place: Excelsior’s Apple Day
Location, location, location! That’s what sets Art on the Lake apart from the rest. The two-day event, held June 11–12, features live music, art and food all on the breathtaking waterfront at Excelsior Bay. Excelsior Commons, Lake St., Excelsior; 952.474.646

Best Ethnic Food: Yumi’s Sushi Bar
Runner-up: Jade Fountain
Third place: Wang’s Chinese
At this cozy yet inspired sushi bar, you can try something unusual—like four different kinds of fish roe—or enjoy more familiar teriyaki and tempura dishes. The long list of creative specialty rolls includes the cleverly named “Tonka Maki,” made up of tuna, yellowtail, salmon, white tuna, cilantro and jalapeno. 28 Water St., Excelsior; 952.474.1720

Best Place to Meet for Drinks: Scoreboard
Runner-up: Maynard’s
Third place: BLVD
All kinds of folks gather at Scoreboard to whet their whistle: nearby office workers, families, retirees and sports nuts. There are no less than 27 TVs and killer happy hour deals: half-price appetizers! In fair weather, you can choose between two patios—smoking or non—and every day offers an all-you-can-eat salad bar. 5765 Sanibel Dr., Minnetonka; 952.935.6537

Best Builder/Remodeler: Shoreline Builders
Runner-up: Amalia G.
Third place: Landschute
Ninety-five percent of Shoreline’s clientele is referral-based—that says it all. Locals depend on owner Mitch Johnsen to get the job done on budget and on time. “We become part of the family at the home we’re working on,” says wife and sales/marketing director Julie. The full-service outfit promises to take you from design and construction to finishing with craftsmanship, integrity and decades of experience. 2184 Shadywood Rd., Wayzata; 763.506.0629


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