Best of Plymouth 2011

by | Jun 2011

Photo: Tate Carlson

Your votes decide the 25 best places in town, and we add one more just for fun (aka: the ABCs of what’s best in Plymouth).

As fundamental and basic as the ABCs are to the English language, so too are these places, services and people to Plymouth. We present the winners of our annual readers’ choice survey, the Best of Plymouth. These businesses are the foundation upon which our strong/connected community is built—so named by you, our readers. So without further ado, your alphabet of 2011 finalists.

A is for Abode
From inspiration for places like the Plymouth Ice Arena to the local Famous Dave’s, the design philosophy of Shea Inc. focuses on the whole package, rather than nitpicking individual elements. Tanya Spaulding, a principal for Shea, says, “We look at every space and see what kind of experience we want to create.” For Best Interior Designer, we have David Shea to thank for making area workplaces like second homes; thank goodness employees aren’t stuck in a beige box all day! 100 N. 6th St. Ste. 650C, Mpls.; 612.339.2257
Runners up: Gayle Crummer, Interiors by Mona, Larson Kerrison Interiors, My D’zign

B is for Brain-freeze
As in the delicious kind you get when you indulge in one of Cold Stone Creamery’s many delicious treats. Winner again of Best Dessert, this place shows what dedicated ice cream connoisseurs Plymouthites can be. New in 2010: Gold Cone flavor of the month, which for June is chocolate hazelnut. 3505 Vicksburg Ln. N. #700; 763.694.8903
Runners up: Dairy Queen, Truffles & Tortes

C is for Creative and Colorful
has a wide array of floral offerings, and its bouquet department is a surefire go-to when you’re in need of that live and lively mood freshener (or last-minute gift). That’s why you picked it for Best Florist in town. We present to you the Beach Ball bouquet ($150), 10050 6th Ave. N.; 763.541.1188
Runners up: Dundee, Lunds

D is for Dirt-digging
And it’s for Dundee Nursery and Landscape, too! Plymouth has notoriously heavy clay soil, and landscape designer Sarah Lloyd says concerns about how to deal with it lead to the top three requests you bring to the table: redoing and updating the plantings around the house (foundation plantings), redoing the front entryway and installing back patio space. Since Dundee designers specialize in landscape planting—trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals, hardscape construction—retaining walls, patios and walkways, and novelty features—fire pits, water features and accent lighting. Hot this season are the new dwarf shrubs. “People love dwarf versions of things because they won’t have to spend any time pruning or trimming them to keep them the right size,” Lloyd says. “Everyone wants low/no maintenance these days. If that dwarf shrub can pack a punch of color or have something unique about it, all the better.” Plymouthites also continue to expand their living spaces outside, and thus order outdoor fireplaces.  “These are being made into kits of all shapes and sizes, and are thus getting more and more affordable,” she says. “I just have always been very environmental …  I enjoy designing and installing patios and fire pits because they are elements in the landscape that encourage people to get out in their yards and spend some time enjoying the fresh air and their surroundings.” 16800 Hwy. 55; 763.559.4004
Runners up: Hedberg, Bachman’s

E is for Editor’s Pick
Don’t get us wrong; we LOVE our ice cream. But we really feel we can’t speak of dessert without mentioning Plymouth’s own Truffles & Tortes. In business here 11 years now, owner and executive pastry chef Rhonda Siebert says her secret to local longevity is “paying attention to quality and customer service.” We recommend the lemon raspberry torte, or for you chocoholics out there, the triple chocolate mousse. As Siebert says, “Who can resist chocolate?” Closed Sunday through Wednesday, you have to be planning ahead to indulge in these decadent treats. 72 Nathan Ln.; 763.512.0944
Runners up: The Foursome, Woody’s

F is for Family Fun
When you’re looking to get out of the house for dinner but don’t feel like dragging the kids to a swanky place downtown, Red Robin is the place to be. Voted the No. 1 most kid-friendly restaurant, Red Robin is a place where it’s OK for your kids to make a scene, because guess what? The 4-year-old feasting on the Carnival Corn Dog ($3.99) at the table next to you is doing the same thing. The restaurant boasts an extensive kids menu with many healthy and nutritious options, including main dishes like Cheesy Mac ‘N Cheesy ($4.79) and sides like steak fries, mandarin oranges, melon slices and baby carrots with ranch dip. Red Robin got its start in Seattle in 1969, and Minnesota is home to three locations. So, the next time your little ones are begging for root beer floats ($1.99), you’ll know where to take them. 2669 Campus Dr.; 763.559.7576
Runners up: Perkins, Applebee’s

G is for Grooming
Whether you have dogs or cats, avoid keeping a smelly pet with regular upkeep. In Plymouth, you always can rely on PetSmart for Best Pet Grooming. Academy-trained groomers will go beyond a basic shampoo, blow dry, brush and trim by cleaning your pet’s ears and scissoring feet in their Bath, Brush & More option. 4190 Vinewood Ln.; 763.551.8999
Runner up: The Doggie Salon

H is for Happy Homes
 and Pillar Homes tied for Best Builders because, at their core, they build what clients want. According to LDK’s Scott Koppendrayer, it takes time to go over every desire and need (sometimes as much as 40–60 hours pre-construction), but it’s worth it. Pillar Homes calls upon a team of architects, interior designers and landscape architects in order to address every detail. 8242 125th Ave. Milaca; 763.268.9232 // 1700 Niagara Ln.; 763.475.1700
Runners up: Stonewood, Brent Latuff

I is for the ‘It’ Place
If you’re looking for something more than plain pepperoni pie, Solos has the Best Pizza. To change things up, manager Brian Banick recommends the White Hen, topped with basil, chicken, onion and tomato, and if you haven’t tried it before, the creamy white garlic sauce is amazing. We can’t wait to have a slice of the popular Big Tony, too, chock-full of sausage, mushrooms and green peppers among other fresh ingredients. $7.45 for a regular size, $5.95 for a small. Pizzas less than 500 calories available for $5.95. 2700 Annapolis Cir.; 763.331.0233
Runners up: Broadway, Latuff’s

J is for Jewel Tone
No repair is too small for the in-house goldsmith of 30 years, and no request is too intricate for the knowledgeable and welcoming staff at Tesa Jewellers, which took top honors in the best jeweler category. Customers are encouraged to browse alone or work with an expert to design a custom, creative piece. This season, Tesa is highlighting the Ice watch line: fun, chunky watches in a rainbow of colors and designs to complement your bright summer wardrobe ($85–$250). 3525 Vicksburg Ln., Ste. 400; 763.537.3144
Runners up: Carats, Artelle Designs

K is for Kit Nuebauer
Frequent and new gym-goers are quickly getting to know personal trainer Kit Nuebauer, who in the past two years has made sure clients aren’t falling short on their fitness goals. Join her at Life Time Fitnessthe Best Workout spot in town. Whether you like to hit the treadmill or the lap pool, keep hearts racing and pounds disappearing by doing circuit-style training, of which Nuebauer is a personal fan. “It keeps the boredom out,” she says. 3600 Plymouth Blvd.; 763.509.0909
Runners up: Beyond Fitness, Snap Fitness

L is for Lodging
Conveniently located Cty. Rd. 61 and Industrial Park Blvd., Camp Bow Wow is this year’s Best Doggie Daycare. Owner Nick Netley, a Plymouth resident of 5 years, says his aim since opening Camp Bow Wow in 2007 has been to give clients and pets the best bang for their buck. One way he does this is giving dogs unlimited access to indoor and outdoor play areas, so eight hours can be spent outdoors whereas other boarding facilities might only offer scheduled daily walks and limited outdoor play. 2067 East Center Cir.; 763.383.9585
Runners up: PetSmart, Plymouth Heights Pet Hospital

M is for Munchies
You won’t find any cocktail nuts on the bar at Jake’s City Grille, readers’ choice for Best Bar Food. While you sip on your bloody Mary, or “City Mary” as the bartenders call it, appetizers include sweet and spicy JakeWings, spinach and artichoke dip and beer-battered mushrooms (all $4.95 during happy hour). 3005 Harbor Ln. N.; 763.559.1595
Runners up: Cowboy Jack’s,  Buffalo Wild Wings

N is for Needle and Thread
It’s no trick that Needle Trix Tailors wins your pick for Best Tailor in Plymouth. Owner Bob Penney has had his two-person team stitching away in his Plymouth location for the past 13 years, and he himself brings 25 years in the men’s fashion industry to the table (he’ll be your personal consult for any and all custom menswear). Of course he can’t do it alone. “I’m not the greatest with the buttons, and that’s why I have my talented people to help out,” he says. The rest of the staff spends most of their time on ladies clothing projects—alterations and such—so don’t hesitate to ask. 16725 County Rd. 24 #103; 763.383.1611
Runner up: The Foursome

O is for Outdoors
Three Rivers Park District knows what Plymouthites want, and they deliver smooth, paved trails and stunning sightlines at Clifton E. French Regional Park the Best Place to Walk the Dog. See what flora and fauna nest in this natural escape, and go for miles (4.6 to be exact) with your best furry friend all year round. Just remember the doggie bags and a 6-foot, non-retractable leash. 12605 Rockford Rd.; 763.694.7750
Runners up: Parker’s Lake, Luce Line

P is for Pampering
Setting the bar for Best Manicure and Pedicure is Christopher J Salon. Nail specialists like Amy McVay treat and give your tips some TLC by using Creative Nail Design spa line products, which are “all pretty pampering products,” she says. The polishes in shop are from OPI. Staying on trend, McVay says, “Bright colors are really big for summer.” Here’s to relaxing at the salon and having twinkle toes to show off cute sandals. $20–$25 manicure, $50–$55 pedicure2700 Annapolis Cir., Ste. F; 763.404.8606
Runners up: Simonsons, Hair For All Seasons

Q is for Quirky
Maybe your individual style requires more unique clothes, or maybe you want more bang for your buck. Either way, the Best Secondhand Store is Turn Style. As a consignment shop, bring in your like-new and current clothing, furniture, jewelry and home items to get 45 or 55 percent of the selling price back. While it’s hard for manager Missy Serier to narrow down the coolest thing she’s seen up for sale, couture pieces and a great pair of Tory Burch shoes are among them. 15545 34th Ave. N.; 763.694.6173
Runners up: ARC, The Wabi Sabi Shop

R is for Relaxation
Discover your bliss with a massage from Rita Muillenberg or Lanier Elliott of Simonsons, your pick for Best Massage parlor this year. 4315 Peony Ln.; 763.550.1121
Runners up: Christopher J Salon, LakeWest Chiropractic

S is for Splash
There’s no better way to spend a hot summer day than building sand castles and swimming in the cool water at one of Plymouth’s many beaches. Your go-to place? Parker’s Lake Beach, which offers canoe rentals, concessions, fishing and more, the Best Place to Swim. And it’s always safe to let even your littlest ones splash around because lifeguards are on duty all season (from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily June 5–August 15). Parker’s Lake Beach, 15500 Cty. Rd.
Runners up: Medicine Lake/French Regional Park, Life Time Fitness

T is for Tutu
It must be the dedicated and experienced teaching staff that keeps dancers coming back to Summit Dance Shoppe. Or the expansive studio space. Or the variety of classes. Whatever the reason, you voted it the No. 1 best dance studio in Plymouth (there’s also a location in Wayzata). Summit Dance Shoppe has been local since 1982 and offers a variety of combination classes including tap/ballet and tap/jazz for eager dancers starting as young as 2½ years old. They programs appeal to a more mature crowd, with a “dads” competition group, an adults classical ballet program and more. The outstanding teachers, 25 in all, are also pleased to offer young adult classes for jazz and lyrical competitions. 2800 Fernbrook Ln.; 763.553.1870
Runner up: Deanne’s Dance Studio

U is for Updo
Kylie Anderson
, 2011’s best stylist, has a way with hair. A graduate of the Aveda Institute, Anderson worked in Uptown before making the switch four years ago to Simonson’s Salon & Spa to better serve her client base, who mostly hail from Plymouth, Medina and Buffalo. Among her specialties are natural-looking highlights, men’s cuts and hair extensions, which requires special certification, and she’s also certified in Keratin Complex smoothing therapy treatment, which removes 90 percent of frizz and curl from the hair. 4315 Peony Ln.; 763.550.1121
Runners up: Lori McCoy (Christopher J Salon), Andi Wilt (New Reflections)

V is for Vino
Open since December 2009, Vino 100 nabbed this year’s top spot for Best New Shop in Plymouth—by a nose. When co-owners and longtime friends Phil Miller and Natalia Karebin were scouting around the west metro, they identified Plymouth out of a handful of places as the best place for a wine shop. Business is booming, and while they say there are no current plans to expand, they won’t rule out that possibility just yet. 3224A Vicksburg Ln.; 763.559.5525
Runners up: Vinifera Wines and Ales, The Foursome

W is for Whiny-no-more!
We all know how obnoxiously fussy bored kids can get. So let your pick for the Best Birthday Party Spot in Plymouth fix the problem with Pump it Up, your winner in a landslide. Pop-in playtime is just $7/child, and party prices range from $215 to $275, depending on event, timing and size of party. 3500 Holly Ln. N. Ste. 65; 763.553.0340
Runners up: The Paint Pot, SkyZone

X is for X-Ray
Best Vet this year is the Rockford Road Animal Hospital, and reliable x-rays are just one reason why. Drs. David Brewer, Chalaine Morrow, Jennifer Hanson and Lee Bull ensure all pet priorities are taken care of—even treating walk-ins and emergencies during business hours. “The most common pet issues we see are allergies,” says Danielle Massie, a technician who’s been with the clinic for 14 years. “Obesity is another big medical problem, followed probably by orthopedic issues.” No matter the concern, this well-skilled team gives pets the TLC they need. (Don’t believe us? Just check out the three clinic cats, who are clearly content.) 3900 Vinewood Ln. Ste. 16; 763.559.7554
Runners up: Banfield, TLC Cat Clinic

Y is for Yummy
Ming’s Garden
 has long been known for its quality Chinese cuisine, so it’s no surprise it topped the list of Best Ethnic Cuisine in town. If you haven’t been, consider trying the family-owned business’s lo mein. Frequenters marvel at the speedy service and the notably low prices. 4190 Vinewood Ln. N. #113; 763.559.3131
Runners up: Kobe, El Azteca

Z is for Zachary Playfield
While young ones and the young at heart love climbing the behemoth net structure (never fearing a little rope burn) at French Regional Park, named Best Playground, we have to give a nod to close runner-up Zachary Playfield. When there isn’t a Little League or soccer game, let imaginations run free at its Joyce E. Baker Memorial Playground, where you’ll find a grey dinosaur, a toucan happily teeter-tottering with a toad (or is it a frog?), four slides, six swings and three contraptions for digging. 12605 Rockford Rd.; 763.694.7750;
Runners up: Zachary Playfield, Parker’s Lake Park


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