Meet the winners and finalists in our annual Best of Plymouth survey.
With over 167 miles of city, state and regional trails and 1,671 acres of park land in town, we’re running with that theme as the backdrop for our annual Best of Plymouth 2017 listings. Come for a leisurely stroll to meet the winners and finalists from 30 categories that cover the gamut: food & restaurants, homes, services, health & wellness and shops & retail. There are also five editor’s picks which cover some of the delicious eating options in and around Plymouth and ways to enjoy the outdoors.
SHOPS and RETAIL
Best Apparel Boutique
This menswear shop has a devoted following, and it’s easy to see why. Here you can find clothes and shoes that combine classic styles with the latest trends. Nicole Chose, a vice president at The Foursome, says customers love the shop’s selection of quality clothing, which is hand-picked for each season. “The Foursome’s local flavor, family ownership, and over 80 years of expert service sets us apart as a fine specialty store,” Chose says.
Runners-up: Mainstream Boutique – Maple Grove, Turn Style
Best Gift Shop
Whether you need inspiration, have an idea in mind or just feel like soaking in some whimsy and fun, Patina has you covered. A favorite for holiday gifts, but also great for any time of the year, this shop never fails to present great options for gift recipients of all ages. “Our shoppers constantly tell us how we inspire them,” says store manager Karin Tappero. “We do that by carrying a variety of products and merchandising them in a beautiful and inviting way.”
Runners-up: Bachman’s, Art 2 Heart
Employees enjoy the products as much as customers do, says store manager Renae Chesley. “We have a great time putting things together for gifts or gardens, deciding arrangements, textures, and colors. Bringing beauty to life is our motto, even if it’s a shovel. We can even get excited about a shovel!” she says.
Runners-up: Dundee Nursery, Candlelight Floral
Lunds & Byerlys
Best Specialty Foods Store
Loyal customers find the experience of shopping here goes beyond a humdrum grocery trip. Always-helpful employees, a great selection of products in every department, and a pleasant facility go a long way toward making grocery shopping less of a chore and more of a treat.
Runners-up: Von Hanson’s Meats – Plymouth, Honey and Mackie’s
HEALTH and WELLNESS
Life Time Fitness
Best Fitness/Yoga Studio
Even the most comfortable couch potato is bound to find something at Life Time Fitness to get their blood moving and endorphins pumping. From yoga to Pilates, sweat-inducing cycling, aqua aerobics, cardio kickboxing, fun and energizing Zumba or challenging yourself on the rock climbing wall, the possibilities for burning calories are endless. If you prefer to work out solo, they have free weights and strength and cardio machines on the floor for personal use.
Runners-Up: Orangetheory Fitness, CrossFit SISU, Plymouth
Best Dental Clinic
Like it or not, we all need a dentist in our lives. And Boger Dental offers everything a family would need for a lifetime of preventative and specialty dental care. From routine cleanings and x-rays, to implants and cosmetic procedures, they bring comfort while giving the best service possible. Along with an in-house savings program for those without insurance, they make the experience pleasant for all.
Runners Up: Smile Design Dentistry, Camp Smile Pediatric Dentistry
Northwest Eye Clinic
Best Eye Clinic
“Our goal is to be “eye-wise,” says business development manager Chad Rasmussen. “The idea is that we’re trying to educate our patients. Northwest Eye is a place where people of all ages and conditions can come to learn about, understand, and improve their overall eye health.” This means doctors will give patients comprehensive explanations of diagnoses and take time to answer questions. With the latest in Lasik and advanced cataract technologies, they also have special services like pediatric opthamologists, a retina specialist and a new dry eye center for patients.
Runners up: Plymouth Vision Center, Kennedy Vision Health Center
Best Orthodontic Clinic
Incorporating the latest developments in treatments, a relaxing stress-free environment and patient education, Minnesota Orthodontics of Plymouth is there to assist with your future beautiful smile. Appointments with patient convenience in mind and state-of-the-art technology make the committed journey to the best smile of smiles a confident one.
Runners-Up: Kotteman Orthodontics, Plymouth, Harrington Orthodontics
Partners in Pediatrics
Best Pediatric Clinic
From their first breath to when they become young adults, there will no doubt be numerous bumps, scrapes and illnesses along the way. But thankfully, there’s a clinic like Partners in Pediatrics that makes caring for kids their specialty from birth through age 23. Along with the usual wellness exams and immunizations, the Ready Care service takes walk-ins to treat minor illnesses and injuries. An additional service, the Newborn Place, inside the clinic also gives tailored care to the newest member of your family.
Runners-Up: Park Nicollet Clinic, Plymouth; South Lake Pediatrics, Plymouth Children’s Clinic
Best Chiropractic Clinic
If you feel scheduling chiropractic appointments is a pain in the neck, we suggest you try out The Joint. “Our clinics consist of individually selected Doctors of Chiropractic who deliver quality pain relief and preventative care to the highest standards,” says senior wellness coordinator Abbey Wuollet. This model of chiropractic care makes getting routine check-ups or services easy with no appointments necessary, no insurance requirements, and by offering convenient evening and weekend hours.
Runners-Up: Northern Edge Chiropractic, Plymouth Spine & Health Center
Best Dermatology Clinic
Minnesota Dermatology is a full service, one-stop shop for all of your medical, surgical and cosmetic dermatology needs. Phil Ecker, M.D., says patients appreciate Minnesota Dermatology’s family-oriented approach. “We take the time to sit down with them and listen to their concerns. No one is a number to us here,” Ecker says. “We’re lucky to be able to do it.” Ecker and his staff can perform mole checks, mole and wart removal, skin cancer screening exams, acne management, and evaluate and treat rashes, hair loss and ring worm, just to name a small sample of services.
Runners-up: Park Nicollet Clinic, Skin & Laser Clinic
Simonson’s Salon & Spa
Jennifer Harrington, M.D., works in partnership with Simonson’s as their medical director. She is a board-certified plastic surgeon, so Simonson’s can offer med spa treatments and products previously available only in a doctor’s office, including their latest, “Microneedling with SkinPen” by Bellus Medica.
Runners-up: LifeSpa at Life Time Fitness, Metro Vein Clinic
FOOD AND RESTAURANTS
Original Pancake House
Indulge at the cheerful and welcoming Original Pancake House with creations like their signature apple pancake, with cooked apples in a cinnamon-sugar-glaze, rich buttermilk bacon pancakes, or their delightful Hawaiian pancakes filled with pineapple and sprinkled with powdered sugar and tropical syrup with hints of citrus fruit. You can also enjoy nearly any breakfast craving your heart (or stomach) desires ranging from crepes, French toast and waffles, corned beef hash and eggs to their giant meat or vegetarian omelettes.
Runners-Up: Fat Nats, New Hope; Peg’s Countryside Café, Hamel
Cowboy Jack’s has that perfect homey atmosphere for unwinding after a long day at work. “We’re a very laid back welcoming group,” says marketing manager Kailey Link. The location, serving up cocktails, tap and bottled beers, also cooks up yummy, hit-the-spot American fare. “People love that we have tater tot hot dish,” Link says. “We get people from all over the country who don’t know what tater tot hot dish is ‘til they see it on the menu. Ours comes with ground beef and savory vegetables, then we top it with our tater tots and an onion ring.”
Runners-Up: Rock Elm Tavern & Restaurant, The Sunshine Factory Bar & Grill
The Sunshine Factory Bar & Grill
The Sunshine Factory will brighten up your day with great specials, happy hour deals, and their professional and friendly service. And the concept is truly unique. “We’re privately owned and that appeals to a lot of people; we’re not a franchise or a chain,” says general manager April Hanson. That idea resonates with the restaurant’s loyal following which has resulted in over 40 years of business; customers return for their tasty soups and salads, burgers, sandwiches and dinner specialties, and of course, desserts such as the decadent chocolate chip cookie sundae.
Runners-Up: Jake’s City Grille, Rock Elm Tavern & Restaurant
The Sunshine Factory Bar & Grill
Best Patio Dining
Patrons know the restaurant’s open patio boasts ample seating, two 70-inch TVs, and plenty of shade in the summer to enjoy a cool cocktail with friends. A full patio bar with additional seating serves up drinks and food. “The double-sided fireplace adds a lot of ambiance and it’s practical,” general manager April Hanson says. “Because this is Minnesota, people can sit outside on some of those cooler evenings even into the fall.”
Runners-Up: Jake’s City Grille, Rock Elm Tavern & Restaurant
Fat Nat’s Eggs: Huevos Rancheros Con Papas Favorito
Best Breakfast Dish
This is the perfect huevo rancheros with its many textures and layers of flavor: American fries, black beans, melted Monterey jack and cheddar cheeses, with over easy eggs served on top a crispy tortilla and homemade red salsa and avocado verde on the side. You get your choice of carnitas and spicy salsa verde (very spicy even for this spicy food lover) or chorizo (editor’s preference). Manager Michael Nat, son of owner Jeff Nat, says his father created the dish about 10 years ago after the family had traveled in Mexico trying all sorts of restaurants. “We went around experiencing everything and wanted to find a way to bring
it home,” Michael Nat says.
While eating at the restaurant is a pleasant experience, it’s also a good option for takeout when you’re too busy to cook or just want a night off. It’s easy to call ahead and swing by on your way home from work. You’ll find a wide range of South and North Indian cuisine including grilled foods from the tandoori, vegetarian dishes such as palak paneer, and meat options such as chicken tikka masala. There’s also a five point scale to specify the amount of desired spiciness. A bonus—many of these dishes make for great leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. Not sure what Indian dishes you like? Come on in for the lunch buffet, available every day, to try a wide range of items from the menu.
KIDS, FAMILY and PETS
Camp Bow Wow
Best Doggy Daycare/Kennel
The presence of an owner on-site every day of the year is one standout feature of this pet care facility, where dogs can play both indoors and outdoors during each visit. “We are very hands on as owners and take pride in knowing every single one of our clients’ needs and wants,” Camp Bow Wow co-owner Josh Kruse says. Their approach must be working because the pet care spot is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this fall.
Runners-up: Adogo Pet Hotel, Puptown
The Goddard School
Best Preschool / Childcare
The Goddard School is run by Lisa and Aaron Amic, who understand the needs of local families. “Our distinctive structure ensures that the children in our care are known and appreciated for their individual talents and personalities,” Lisa Amic says. The school’s approach to guiding kids’ learning through play-based activities has proven very popular over the years, making the school a perennial winner in this category.
Runners-up: Primrose School of West Plymouth, Wayzata Early Learning School/Peppermint Fence
Northwest Animal Hospital
Best Veterinary Clinic
People aren’t usually excited to bring their pet to a veterinary clinic, but Plymouth residents are clear: Northwest Animal Hospital takes the prize for making the experience more pleasant. A welcoming atmosphere, along with caring staff who know your pet is part of your family, make this clinic the choice for many Plymouth pet owners.
Runners-up: Rockford Road Animal Clinic, Plymouth Heights Pet Hospital
Huntington Learning Center
Best Learning/Tutoring Center
Building skills and confidence, Huntington Learning Center focuses on helping students reach their full potential. Tutoring and test preparation are available for students from elementary through high school, and Plymouth parents’ feedback is very positive for all areas, especially Huntington’s friendly and knowledgeable staff. “We hire highly qualified licensed teachers to work with our students,” says Lane Rossiter, operations manager. “Sixty percent of the families who use our services are referred to us by friends or family who have been very pleased with their experience at Huntington-Plymouth.”
Runners-up: College Nannies & Tutors, Mathnasium
Sky Zone Park
Best Place for Kids’ Activities
Toddler time and kids’ birthday parties are two of the most popular children’s activities at Sky Zone, a favorite destination where kids can burn off excess energy by jumping and bouncing. Weekday hours are often calmer and great for smaller visitors, and parties get the seal of approval from parents, who appreciate the staff’s attentiveness and the chance to let kids go wild in a place with plenty of space.
Runners-up: Mini Hops Gymnastics, Pump It Up
A dining experience described as “sub-urban” by Rock Elm owner Troy Reding and Brad Sorenson, the tavern has a modern menu and design you would often expect in downtown— except in the suburbs. The extensive selection of local and craft beers—with 30 on tap—make this a destination for beer aficionados as well. The kids’ menu has typical offerings such as grilled cheese and hamburgers, but they’re served with fresh fruit, which isn’t common on most kids menus.
The restaurant usually features a Honey & Mackie’s flavor as a dessert option, but the whole selection is just a short walk away! There’s a rotating menu with staples like cookies and cream and vanilla and more adventurous flavors like cayenne candied bacon and banana crème pie. This homemade ice cream is rich and satisfying.
From the initial design meeting to discuss ideas, goals and inspirations, to customizing your home’s interior and finally the groundbreaking of your new home, Hanson Builders invites you into every step of the process. Their up-to-date technology allows homeowners to track progress with their online project management software, making you feel “at home” with the project from beginning to end.
Runners-Up: Pillar Homes, Gonyea Homes & Remodeling
Best Senior Living Residence
Not only is this senior living residence surrounded by the natural beauty of nearby lakes, hills and woodlands, the amenities such as salon and spa services and on-site programs are just as attractive. There are a myriad of activities to keep seniors engaged including book clubs, wood carving classes, weight training, tai chi, yoga and more. Trillium Woods is the ideal place to live without giving up the independence you’re used to.
Runners Up: The Waters of Plymouth, Cornerstone Commons
Medicine Lake Trail Loop
Best Bike Trail
There are many bike trail options in Plymouth, but this one offers picturesque views of Medicine Lake as you mostly follow the lake shore. You’ll find benches at various points along the way to rest or simply relax. The trail is 7.5 miles long, going around French Regional Park off Rockford Road and Northwest Blvd and Medicine Lake Drive West and Medicine Lake Blvd East. Technically, the trail is in the cities of Medicine Lake and Plymouth. It is the city’s largest loop trail and joins with the Luce Line Regional Trail system.
Baker Park Reserve: Baker Campground and Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement
Best Campground and Cabins Nearby
About 15 minutes away from Plymouth, Baker Park Reserve gives you the feeling you’ve escaped to the outdoors without having gone too far away. From the campground, there are miles of biking and hiking trails, swimming beaches, a play area, picnic areas, boat access, watercraft rentals and more. With over 200 sites, there are camper cabins and sites with or without electrical hookups with shower and restroom facilities nearby.
The Settlement features eight cabins, an expansive lodge, miles of trails, many natural habitats, a rock climbing wall, nature and outdoor recreation classes, and hands-on activities for all ages. Programming includes spring cabin camping with activities such as the rock climbing wall, geocaching, s’mores and archery to keep everyone busy.
“When a group is [at the Settlement], it’s the only one here. It’s not a public site. As far as cabin camping, it’s all ages, multi-generation. You have quiet space, action space and you can explore on your own,” says Sara Harcey, a naturalist at Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement.
For those new to camping, there may be comfort knowing you’re close to conveniences. “If your dinner burns, you can order pizza and run home if you want to get something,” Harcey says.
Best Interior Designer
The team at Mingle formed after realizing homeowners had to visit separate showrooms for all their remodeling needs. “We have everything you need for your home design or remodeling project right here at Mingle,” says general manager Kelly Davert. “And you will work with one designer who will coordinate each component, ensuring a cohesive design.” The result is clients who love their newly designed spaces and the stress-free experience of working with Mingle.
Runners-Up: Jayne Morrison Interiors, Liz Schupanitz
If you’re searching for dream-home inspiration, a look through Pillar Homes’ photo gallery will reveal some of the most beautifully designed and remodeled homes you’ve ever seen. Owner and president K.C. Chermak says embracing creativity is one of Pillar Homes’ greatest assets: “Our strength is coming up with an idea that a homeowner hasn’t even imagined yet.”
Runners-Up: Gonyea Homes & Remodeling, J Brothers Home Improvement
Annie Mann / Simonson’s Salon & Spa
It’s easy to see why readers have voted Annie Mann onto this list: her enthusiasm shines through. “I love working with my clients and giving them the total package. Giving a great experience and boosting their confidence makes me so happy,” Mann says. “I truly love my job; it is not only a lifelong career for me, but my passion as well. I literally eat, sleep, and breathe the beauty industry.”
Runners-up: Kati Giles, New Reflections; Candace Foley, Simonson’s Salon & Spa
Simonson’s Salon & Spa
For a relaxing respite from daily life, Simonson’s wins the day. Services include hair, nails, massage, med spa, day spa and a full service menu for men. “From the moment you walk through our doors, we strive to make your time here a positive and enriching experience. Our goal is to help you achieve your desired results efficiently, leaving you feeling the experience of perpetual renewal,” says manager Bailey McKellip.
Runners-up: Christopher J. Salon, New Reflections
Dan Schroeder / State Farm
Best Insurance Agent
Dan Schroeder says he genuinely enjoys catching up with policyholders and being there for their big life events. His commitment to the community has earned him loyalty from his clients, and has built plenty of relationships. “Our number 1 focus is on doing what is best for our clients—many of whom have been with us for decades and have become good friends,” Schroeder says.
Runners-up: Jeffrey Mayhew, American Family; Brad Kaplan, Kaplan Insurance
Parker Daniels Kibort Formerly Daniels & Kibort
Best Law Firm
The law firm’s expertise includes complex civil and commercial litigation, labor and employment litigation and investigations, real estate and land use law. “Our clients are so loyal because we aggressively and efficiently obtain excellent results for them,” says Jesse H. Kibort, partner at Parker Daniels Kibort LLC. Daniels & Kibort became Parker Daniels Kibort in April 2017.
Runners-up: Howse & Thompson, Wiese Law Contract Studio
Best Landscape Designer
Whether you’re a self-reliant backyard gardener or require the assistance of an experienced landscape designer, family-owned Dundee Nursery has everything you’ll need to convert your vision of flower beds, gardens, patios, walkways, trees and shrubs and trees into a wonderful outdoor reality with high quality plants and materials.
Runners-Up: Bachman’s Landscaping, David’s Lawn Service