Best Week Ever

The results of the 2010 Best of Plymouth readers’ survey reveal your picks and pans for the year, and something else: We’ve compiled your top choices into seven perfect ways to spend a Plymouth day.


There are so many ways to start a perfect day, you could literally fill 24 hours with them. From a.m. exercise to ways to pamper yourself and your pooch, we’ve got a plethora of ideas straight from the keyboards of our loyal readers. And the old stand-by, breakfast? Yep, we’ve got those results, too.


Champions of Breakfasts

1. Perkins: Home of the Mammoth Muffin

A breakfast in itself, Perkins’s mammoth muffin won the hearts of breakfast lovers in Plymouth this year. In addition to fresh bakery items, deliciously large omelets served with pancakes and hash browns make this breakfast menu one of the finest—and most well-known—around. Arguably the best part? It’s open 24 hours. Breakfast at 2 a.m.? We think so. 2945 Empire Ln. N.; 763.559.0270;

2. Original Pancake House: The Whole Menu Looks Good

Apple pancakes, Dutch babies, French crepes with strawberry filling, fluffy omelets and more than a dozen types of pancakes. Are you hungry yet? Don’t say we didn’t warn you, because you’ll want one of everything on the Original Pancake House’s menu. And with batters and sauces made fresh daily, you know you’re getting the best of the best. 901 E. Lake St., Wayzata; 952.475.9151;

3. Panera: Breakfast on the Run

Busy schedules require breakfast to-go. And Panera is that one-stop-shop for a quick bagel with cream cheese, a baked egg soufflé or even a granola parfait. Don’t forget that cup of steaming coffee! (Never forget the coffee.) 16875 County Rd. 24; 763.551.0954;


Biking’s Best

Start your day off with a little exercise. According to you, Plymouth residents love to hop on the Luce Line Trail to get the blood flowing. Starting in Plymouth, the Luce stretches west 63 miles on a former railroad line to the small town of Cosmos in west-central Minnesota. The first 30 miles of the trail from Plymouth to Winsted is limestone surfaced—perfect for biking (or blading, for that matter). 10th Avenue North and Vicksburg Lane;

Runner up > French Park


Pedi Up

You might ask,”Why start out the day with a manicure and pedicure?” And our response: “Why not?” Hair for All Seasons wants to pamper you for sandal season with cuticle-teasing packages this summer. Basics include a soak, filing and shaping, a hand or foot massage and polish ($20 for a manicure, $39 for a pedicure). Pedicures are held in a private room for a spa-like experience, according to salon owner Kathryn Simpson; here you’ll even get to take a seat atop the pedi-throne. Hair for All Seasons doesn’t have a website, so make sure to check out the Facebook page for upcoming specials. 4190 Vinewood Ln. N. #108; 763.559.1886

Runners Up: Simonson’s Salon & Spa, Christopher J. Salon


Walk the Dog

With beautiful scenery and more than 4 miles of walking trails, French Park is good for you and good for the dog (everybody wins!). “It’s a great place to take a leisurely hike with your dog with views of Medicine Lake,” park operations supervisor Lynn Stoltzmann says; 4.6 miles of well maintained, paved trails meander along the entrance road. But for a more leisurely trail, try the one that passes the picnic area and beach. Your dog will thank you (especially if you let him take a dip). 12605 Rockford Rd.; 763.694.7750;

Whoever thought of a park for dogs was onto something. Located in northwest Plymouth, your dog can run free at Egan Off-leash Dog Park’s mowed open play area. Native plants create a natural barrier around the perimeter of this 10-acre doggy heaven. 17105 County Rd. 47; 763.509.5000;

Runner up: Medicine Lake






(Birthday) Party Central

You know how your kids’ eyes light up every time they see one of those giant inflatable bounce houses? Well, become the parent of the year by planning the next birthday at Pump it Up, the biggest and bounciest place in town (and the best place for parties, too). With slides, bounce houses, obstacle courses and the coveted “Slippery Slope,” your kids will be on cloud nine all afternoon. Known as “the inflatable party zone,” this is the perfect place for those little party-goers to burn off all the sugar from that Hannah Montana birthday cake (as opposed to your living room). 3500 Holly Ln.  N.; 763.553.0340;

Runners up > The Paint Pot, Cowboy Jack’s


Where Kids Want to Eat

1. Joe Senser’s Restaurant & Sports Theater

The game is on, and you’ve got the kids. So take them where any Plymouth sports fan would—Joe Senser’s. This mecca of baseball and football aficionados has a fool-proof kids menu: mini corn dogs, chicken strips, cheeseburger, crustless grilled cheese and Kraft macaroni and cheese (each $4.95). 16605 County Rd. 24; 763.559.1990;

2. Smashburger

Smashburger’s laidback atmosphere is the perfect place for lunch with the wee ones, not to mention a tasty treat for Mom and Dad, too. Kids can order up a junior version of the smashburger or smashdog, chicken strips or grilled cheese (each just $3.99); they can sip on milkshakes while the ’rents sip a cold brew or chilled wine. 3225 Vicksburg Ln. N.; 763.252.1496;

Runners up > Solos Pizza, Wendy’s, Buffalo Wild Wings


Play All Day

Fact: kids love playgrounds. And there’s a lot to love about the French Park playground in Plymouth. With cargo nets, suspension bridges, climbing structures and slides galore, you’ll be in for a full day of fun (and a carload of happy campers). 12605 Rockford Rd.; 763.694.7750;

Runners up > Parkers Lake Park, Zachary Park


If Your Dog Is Your Child

It might sound funny but we know it’s often oh-so-true: Our pets are family. And what do kids do when the parents are away? Play, of course, at one of the area’s most decked-out doggie daycare facilities and overnight boarding kennels: Camp Bow Wow. For the over-protective parent, there’s 24-hour live feed available online, as well.

2067 East Center Cir.; 763.383.9585; 


Runners-up > Petsmart, Animal Wellness Center


Editor’s Tip: Consider becoming a member of the VIP (Very Important Pets) club for special puppy perks.




If you’re like so many of us, the thought of something new is daunting, to say the least. But we’re here to expand your comfort zone. And the winners of three of our shops can show you how—in just minutes a day—you can embrace the novelty and newness in your space/cuisine/shopping habits, et al.


5 Tips for a Quick Fix

From your pick for Best Interior Design

HOM Furniture

1. Add color.

2. Accessorize. Whether it’s a vase or a new desk set, consider the finer (and by finer, we don’t necessarily mean smaller) things in life.

3. Throw a throw. ’Nuf said.

4. Illuminate your possibilities, and space, with a designer table or floor lamp.

5. Splurge: Sometimes the only solution to design doldrums is to let your piggy bank do the talking. If you love, Love, LOVE that $160 Standing Elephant, then your appetite for décor will be satisfied for years to come. 4150 Berkshire Ln. N.; 763.744.2888;


Runners Up > J. Roux Design, Joni Czura, Koi, Leah Kovar, Mary Baude, Mary Hoff, Schneiderman’s Furniture, Shelia Hanson


Editor’s Tip: Considering a small-room re-do? Check out mudrooms by Gayle Crummer (763.458.3812; The creative solutions she comes up with for maximizing a small space (think bump-outs into attached garages and sliding walls to hide bathtubs in powder rooms) makes me rethink selling our home.


Changing Tastes

Top off a busy day of expanding your comfort zone with a trip to the best ethnic cuisine spot in town. Ming’s Garden offers the flakiest, cream-cheesiest fried wontons around. But that’s mild fare for the culinary curious: Manager Vicky Liu suggests Szechuan Shrimp, or Kung Pao Chicken or Scallops, all for a fiery result. With 35 different entrees and aps on the lunch buffet alone, every plateful’s a new experience. 4190 Vinewood Ln. N.; 763.559.3131;


Three Specialties

  • Empress chicken, “the mayor’s favorite,” according to managers at Ming’s, like sesame chicken but without the sesame seeds and a little spicier, $10
  • Orange chicken, $10, a citrus chicken marinated in lemon and orange juice with brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and ginger
  • Sesame chicken, $10, breaded chicken in sesame seeds and a sweet spicy sauce

Runners up > Tea House of Plymouth, Red Pepper


Editor’s Tip: We think the real reason Ming’s Garden is a smashing success with our readers is the free delivery with an order of $25 or more.


The New Old

The Foursome’s family history says it all; while this menswear boutique is new to us in its Plymouth digs, the business is a whopping 75 years old. 3570 Vicksburg Ln.; 763.473.4667;


The Foursome: By the Numbers

  • This fall, The Foursome celebrates 75 years in business (est. 1935).
  • Its sales staff combines for 460 years of experience.
  • Since opening in Plymouth, the store serves, on average, 750 customers per week or just more than 100 people a day.
  • The cost of a good necktie ranges from $55–$125.
  • In the men’s and big and tall departments, shoppers are 50% male, 25% female and 25% shopping as a couple. Shoppers in the shoe store tend to be 50% female (shopping for kids shoes, too!) and 50% male.
  • As of the end of March 2010, The Foursome has 214 fans on Facebook ( and 83 people participated in the store’s March Madness pool.
  • Since re-opening in November, the store has sold more than 2,500 pairs of Smartwool socks; 900 of these were sold on our website.
  • The Foursome tailor shop alters, on average, 200 slacks and 100 suits each week.


Runners up > VisionSmith, Sticks and Bricks





Any one of these favorites is sure to soothe your senses and brighten your life—but just think what all in one day could do!


Get Your Rub Down

If you’re in a quandary about where to get your next best massage, we can narrow the plethora of options down to at least two. That’s because even Plymouth readers couldn’t pull a favorite between Lanier Elliott’s Swedish and deep-tissue massage at Simonson’s Salon & Spa, and Jessica Anderson’s customizable therapeutic and deep-tissue massage at Lake West Chiropractic. (If any of you care to compare and give us your feedback, we’ll definitely consider them in a future Letters to the Editor.) Simonson’s: 4315 Peony Ln. N., 763.550.1121,; Lake West Chiropractic & Natural Health, 4190 Vinewood Ln. N., 763.550.1205,

Runner up > Massage Envy


In the Mood?

For jewelry, of course. Match your current mood with gem picks from your pick for Best Jewelry, Artelle Designs. “People buy jewelry for many reasons,” owner, designer and master goldsmith Stuart Adelman says, “and what they buy is almost always determined by emotion.” 3555 Plymouth Blvd. Ste. 216; 763.559.0044;

Curious = Staring into a dreamy Australian Opal will either satisfy or sustain your curiosity. Or, if you’d rather, try to figure out the twists and turns of Artelle’s 18 karat yellow gold bangle bracelet; very curious indeed.

Happy = When you’re happy, you want to keep feeling happy, and earrings are just the way to show and maintain that emotion. Consider some diamond circles in 14k gold or flower earrings in sterling silver.

Downright Dull = As in the mood you’re in around February when winter seems like it will never end, easily is cured with a different kind of snowflake. Artelle’s patented Snowflake Piercette is a gorgeous bit of icy warmth around your neck, or a rich cinnamon red stone like Spessartite Garnet will chase away those doldrums.

Flirty = Celebrate the flirt in you with fun silver flower wallpaper earrings, or complement that Snowflake gem with the stiletto earrings to match.

Frustrated = There’s no frustration like the kind kids can cause, and yet this modern mother’s ring will keep even the most frazzled mom grounded. Or consider a simple diamond pendant to keep you calm and centered, kids or no.

Runners up > Graham Jewelers, Tesa Jewelers, Jewelry World



Look out, Cold Stone Creamery—winner of the 2009 and 2010 Best Dessert category: This year, Truffles and Tortes caught you in one of the closest races ever (in the six years we’ve held it) for this category. While we’re officially calling it a tie, it’s clear Plymouthites’ sweet teeth are not limited to the frozen dessert delicacies. Consider these tantalizing temptations from both Cold Stone and Truffles:

> Best Truffle: The salty caramel truffle is a longtime local favorite. Best Torte: Chocolate mascarpone is to die for.

> Create Your Own To-go: As they say, “If you can dream it up, we can scoop it up,” and the fine staff at Cold Stone Creamery will do just that—customize a pint, quart or gallon of your favorite flavors and mix-ins.


@ Find a decadent Truffles & Tortes recipe exclusively at


Cold Stone Creamery: 3505 Vicksburg Ln. N., 763.694.8903,; Truffles and Tortes: 72 Nathan Ln., 763.512.0944,

Runner up > Applebee’s


Don’t Forget Fido

Even Fifi needs a pedi and a blow out once in a while. For the best pet grooming in town, consider Petsmart, a second-year winner when it comes to dolling up your dogs (or cats, or hamsters, if you really want to go there.) 4190 Vinewood Ln. N.; 763.551.8999;

Runner up > The Doggie Salon


Editor’s Tip: Go outside the box (and organic). Some products are found at the previously mentioned locales, but at It’s A Pet’s Life, all-natural is what it’s all about. 1115 Vicksburg Ln. N.; 763.476.7372;





Of course, every day can be all fun and play, but not when there’s some “home and help, health and self” upkeep to catch up on. As your choices for the best in town, even the maintenance can be enjoyable.


Car Needs a Wash

Driving around in a squeaky clean car exudes an inner pleasure unlike any other, and Holiday Gas Stations make it easy with unlimited wash passes. The basic ticket gives you an unlimited number of wash, rinse and dry packages for $19.99/month. If you want to pamper your ride, you can upgrade to $29.99 for conditioner, polishes, clear coats and more.


Holiday has not one, but nine, Plymouth locations:

1. 10100 County Rd. 9; 763.559.1889

2. 9705 Schmidt Lake Rd.; 763.694.9712

3. 2725 Campus Dr.; 763.551.2501

4. 16825 County Rd. 24; 763.551.3914

5. 4075 Vinewood Ln.; 763.553.0565

6. 9700 Betty Crocker Dr.; 763.546.1900

7. 189 Cheshire Ln.; 763.404.0599

8. 10900 Hwy. 55; 763.544.8836

9. 3020 Fernbrook Ln.; 763.559.3690


Editor’s Tip: Notable runners up include Gerring’s Carwash in Wayzata, which has been keeping cars clean since 1989. Gerring’s surplus of services range from $8.95 for an exterior wash to $20.45 for a Works Wash, a full-service exterior and interior cleaning. 1405 E. Wayzata Blvd., Wayzata; 952.473.4535

            Mister Carwash also turned out to be a favorite of yours with its full service and express car washes. Make sure to check out the website for coupons and discounts!11318 Hwy. 55; 763.541.1419;


Lawn Needs a Grooming

Keep the yard and garden looking good this summer with the help of your favorite Plymouth Landscaper, Dundee Nursery & Landscaping. With a design staff accumulating more than 60 years of experience, you know your yard is in good hands. Dundee specializes in landscape planting (think trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals) and hardscape construction features like retaining walls, patios and walkways. Looking to put in a fire pit or a water feature? They’ll do that, too. 16800 Hwy. 55; 763.559.0385;

Runners up > Heidi’s Lifestyle Gardens, Indigo Landscape Design


Home Needs an Update

No one understands the need to refurbish your living space better than K.C. Chermak, owner and president of Pillar Homes in Plymouth. Though the construction of new homes isn’t what it used to be, Pillar continues to see a steady amount of new home construction starts and renovation projects. Chermak is also committed to environmentally healthy and sustainable building practices (as a member of Minnesota Greenstar, which works to promote environmentally sustainable, high performance homes, he sure should). Pillar celebrates its 15th year in 2010. 1700 Niagra Ln. N.; 763.475.1700;

Runners up > Streeter & Associates, Kevin Kartak, Jeff Johanson, Ed Sontowski, Dan Vanderheyden, Dan Strum, Anderson Custom Homes


Body Needs a Workout

It’s no surprise that Life Time Fitness is still your favorite place to sweat (it was last year, too). And it’s probably the kids’ favorite as well, thanks to the play maze and outdoor swimming pool waterslide. It seems when it comes to the world of workouts, you name it and Life Time’s got it: cardio equipment, resistance training, an indoor climbing wall, a yoga and Pilates studio, and the LifeSpa, just to name a few. You’ll also want to check out the group fitness schedule with classes like kickboxing, cycling, aerobics and more. But we don’t have to tell you that—you already voted. 3600 Plymouth Blvd.; 763.509.0909;

Runners up > Snap Fitness, Yoga Studio




Thrifty Ways to Have a Ball

Nowadays, more so than ever before (or at least in most of our recent memories), we’ve got to do it on a dime or do nothing at all. The latter, to us, is disagreeable at best, so here are a couple of your picks on how to spend the day in a thrifty way.


Beach It

Parker’s Lake Park is Plymouth’s oldest park, but despite erosion and other acts of nature, the beach doesn’t look one bit its age. From the original Lions Club pavilion to the newer structures, this is a good place to catch some rays. And like so many things in nature, the priceless enjoyment you get is actually not priceless—it’s free. County Road 6

Runner up > Medicine Lake


Consign It

Why shop new when used will do? Or, better yet, turn your shopping extravaganza into a money-making venture at Turn Style, where manager Missy Serier collects a variety of juicy labels including 7 for All Mankind, Uggs, Jones New York and Eileen Fisher, as well as store brands like Gap, Ann Taylor and Abercrombie & Fitch. As your pick for best consignment, we hope you’ll be bringing in your “wears” soon. (Rumor has it Serier is looking for fall transitional clothing as well as shoes, purses and hats for men, women and children.) 15545 34th Ave. N.; 763.694.6173‎;

Runners up > The Wabi Sabi Shop, Clothes Mentor


Editor’s Tip: Pack It, as in pack a picnic, complete with seasonally sliced sandwiches (take a cookie cutter in a favorite shape to your PB&J for a customized lunch the kids will love). Challenge yourself to make a meal completely from what’s hiding in your pantry. Then WALK to the park/lake/empty lot near your house. Consider a free community event, like Music in Plymouth (see page 25 for more details).





Plymouth has everything you might need to prep for a first date, Ladies Night Out, the big game or just about anything in between.


Fix Your Clothes

If you haven’t heard of Cindy’s Designs, you really can’t know what you’ve been missing in professional custom alterations. As owner Cindy Larson says, “If you need something formal and your size is not normal, we customize, no matter what your size!” But even beyond the Big and Tall, Petite and Small sets, Larson’s tailoring prowess is perfect for your next big occasion; she’s been sewing since she finished college and been in business for herself since 1984. And any lady who’s ever been a bridesmaid knows how paramount a good seamstress is when donning those, shall we say, different, dresses. 763.557.0705

Runners up > The Foursome, Needle Trix, Tammy’s Tailoring


Get Your Hair Did

If you asked Lori McCoy at Christopher J. Salon what the newest trend in up-dos is, she wouldn’t tell you. At least not right away. “Everyone’s hair is different,” and thus, she says, she sculpts each style individually based on a combination of what you think you want and what you really do (aka what looks best on you). In just less than two years in business, Christopher J has grown from 7 to 24 employees, and with two full-time massage therapists, four nail techs and two ladies who do nothing but coloring, we expect to see this name popping up in other Best of Plymouth categories soon. 2700 Annapolis Cir. N. Ste. F; 763.404.8606;

Runners up > Hair for All Seasons, Simonson’s Salon and Spa (Kelly Duetsch)


Grab a Bouquet

It’s hard to compete with the regional queen of fauna, Bachman’s. For the second year in a row, you’ve picked their garden center as the best spot for a fresh bouquet. And if you’re a man trying to make a first impression (on a date, meet the parents, the list just goes on and on), don’t miss this stop. 10050 6th Ave. N.; 763.541.1188;

Runners up > Dundee Floral, Lunds


Drinks Anyone?

Whether you’re stopping in for a night cap or just to grab some late-night grub, Jake’s City Grille (another prize-winner for the second year running) is your top place to eat late. Of note is the Monday night special, where you can build-your-own pasta entrée and pair it with half-price wine. On other days of the week, manager Zach Weisman recommends the lobster tacos with a glass of Kenwood Chardonay to really get date-night couples in the mood: “I’m just a huge fan of those,” he says, “I mean, they’re amazing.” We can’t argue with that. 3005 Harbor Ln. N.; 763.559.1595;

Runners up > Applebee’s, Cowboy Jack’s, Joe Sensor’s