Best of the Southwest Metro
Best new restaurant
Prairie Ale House
Even before it opened, this restaurant was generating a lot of buzz among local foodies eager to sample its decadent gastro-pub menu, and since it opened, it hasn’t disappointed. With happy hour deals and propensity for throwing over-the-top parties (Remember St. Patrick’s Day?), Prairie Ale House has quickly become the destination for shirking off the daily grind with great food and a lively atmosphere. 16396 Wagner Way, Eden Prairie; 952.949.9700
2. Cuzzy’s Brick House
3. (tie) Terra Waconia & Smashburger
Editor’s Pick: Best new restaurant
The good news: lots of new restaurants opened in the past year or so. The bad news: some of them are bound to get lost in the shuffle. Don’t forget The Herb Box! It opened in December in the Life Time Fitness in Eden Prairie, and it serves everyone—even if they’re not Life Time Fitness members.
Best place to take out-of-town visitors
Since it opened in 2001, the Wildfire restaurant in Eden Prairie has been serving up a solid menu of steaks, seafood and crisp salads. With brunch on weekends, a delightful variety of mixed drinks, a children’s menu and plenty of gluten-free options, the restaurant offers something for just about every diner. Eden Prairie Center, 8251 Flying Cloud Dr., Ste. 3020, Eden Prairie; 952.914.9100
2. Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
3. Redstone American Grill
Editor’s Pick: Best plact to take out-of-town visitors
When I need to remind myself why I live in Minnesota, I trek on over to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (arboretum.umn.edu). So when I need to show off our community to an out-of-towner who’s under the impression that snow—or an over-sized shopping mall—is pretty much all Minnesota has to offer, I bring them to the arboretum as well. From afternoon teas to a weekend events for children, the arboretum is accessible to any age group, and whether we’re exploring a trail or cruising on Three Mile Drive, I know we can expect lovely scenery as we catch up on each other’s life.
Victoria Volksfest & Art Fair
From the live bands to the bed races at Volksfest and the art vendors to the belly dancers at the Art Fair, this small town festival offers something for everyone. This year the festival will be spread over two days, with the Volksfest activities on the evening of Friday, August 26, and the Art Fair during the day on Saturday, August 27.
2. Eden Prairie Lions Club’s Schooner Days
3. Foundation for Eden Prairie Schools’ Taste of Eden Prairie
Best second-hand/thrift store
The PROP Shop
With an inventory that includes pretty much everything but the kitchen sink, the PROP Shop in Eden Prairie is a bargain-lover’s heaven. But it’s not just about the shopping at the popular second-hand store, it’s also about the community. PROP stands for People Reaching Out to other People, and the non-profit organization collects donations of clothing and household items, which are sold in the store and given to local families in need. The store runs with help from 350 volunteers and four staff members. Over the past four years, the shop has helped 1,037 families in need, and since opening four years ago, it has given $50,000 to other non-profits in the community. “It’s just a whole crowd of neighbors helping each other,” says Cindy Eddy, the executive director of the PROP shop. Serious shoppers should stop by on a Tuesday or Thursday when new items are added to the shop. 15195 Martin Dr., Eden Prairie; 952.934.2323
2. The Hanger
3. Turn Style Consignment Store
Best grocery store
With its local flair and emphasis on freshness, Kowalski’s is not your typical grocery store. Sustainability is front and center at this store that has been serving Eden Prairie since 2004. They stock their shelves with local produce and offer up unique brands, such as Holy Land, French Meadow Bakery, and Ames Farm. 16500 W. 78th St., Eden Prairie; 952.937.9585 —CP
2. Fresh Seasons Market
3. Jerry’s Foods
GiVan’s Salon & Spa
For more than four years, GiVan’s Salon & Spa has been pampering its customers with an array of beautifying treatments and services. From hair and nails to massage and skin care, GiVan’s has you covered. The stone and brick décor infused with warm yellows, and the experienced, down-to-earth staff, make for relaxation that rivals any vacation. A true retreat was never closer to home. Preserve Village Center, Hwy. 169 & Anderson Lakes Pkwy., Eden Prairie; 952.942.7981 —CP
2. The Parlour Salon & Spa
3. Flagship Salon
Best massage/massage therapist
GiVan’s Salon & Spa’s favorite massage therapist Lisa Johnson takes pride in providing her clients with a stress-free, relaxing environment. Johnson, who became a certified massage therapist in 2005, offers a variety of different massages and tailors each one to meet her clients individual needs. Preserve Village Center, Hwy 169 & Anderson Lakes Pkwy., Eden Prairie; 952.942.7981
2. Salon SPAtoria
3. YoungQuest Fitness
Whether you need pants hemmed, a dress altered or a leather repair, Eden Tailors is the go-to place for all sorts of alterations. The shop also offers tuxedo rental. 9619 Anderson Lakes Pkwy., Eden Prairie; 952.941.4491
2. (tie) Sylvie Maly’s Tailoring and Lakeside Sewing
So simple, yet oh-so-delicious: Lions Tap burgers are the stuff of legends. This family-owned business has been a mainstay in Eden Prairie for decades, serving up French fries, craft beers and unforgettably good burgers. 16180 Flying Cloud Dr., Eden Prairie; 952.934.5299
2. Vic’s Bar & Grill
3. Redstone Grill
Best outdoor dining nobody else knows about
Diners at Lola’s Lakehouse can soak up a picturesque view overlooking a marina on Lake Waconia while enjoying brunch, lunch, dinner or drinks on the restaurant’s waterfront deck, which seats up to 100 people. 318 E. Lake St., Waconia; 952.442.4954
2. Dunn Bros. in the Smith Douglas More House
3. Redstone Grill
Editor’s Pick: Best Outdoor Dining Nobody Else Knows About
Sure you have to bring your own food, but packing a picnic to bring to Parley Lake Winery (parleylakewinery.com) in Waconia is well worth the effort. The winery and vineyard opens for the season on July 1, offering wine tastings, beautiful views of apple orchards and grape vines—and a shaded picnic area. So pack up your bread and cheese, sample some wine and luxuriate in a long summer afternoon.
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