2012 Best of the Southwest Metro

The results of our annual readers’ survey highlighting the best restaurants, shops, healthcare and spa services our community has to offer.

Best Coffee: Caribou Coffee

From the freshly brewed coffee to the sincere interactions with your local barista, Caribou Coffee wants a feeling of authenticity to percolate in every customer’s experience, says senior vice president of marketing and product management, Alfredo Martel. The shop recently unveiled a line of sparkling tea and juice drinks, in addition to growlers, which can be filled with cold press coffee, iced tea and juices. multiple Southwest Metro locations —LP

Honorable mentions: Dunn Bros., multiple locations; Starbucks, multiple locations


Best Yoga: CorePower Yoga

At CorePower Yoga, they know how to turn up the heat. The company offers yoga in heated rooms, and its classes, which are available for beginners and advanced students, are cleverly designed to build upon each other. 7739 Flying Cloud Dr., Eden Prairie; 952.906.8918—LP

Honorable mentions: Life Time Fitness, multiple locations; Chaska Community Center, Chaska


Best Clinic/Hospital: Two Twelve Medical Center/Ridgeview Medical Center

Ridgeview Medical Center’s combination of high-tech care with hometown values truly resonates in the community. “[Patients] feel like they matter here,” says Michael Phelps, the hospital’s chief administrative officer. The hospital partners with the Minneapolis Heart Institute and Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota to offer the best in patient care and has invested in cutting edge technology, including a new imaging center and a daVinci robot for performing robotic surgeries. Yet the hospital still maintains its “small town” feel, with staff who treats patients like friends and family.

Meanwhile, Ridgeview’s Two Twelve Medical Center is the epitome of convenience with an emergency department/urgent care facility that’s open 24 hours a day/7 days a week, along with office spaces for a variety of health care providers. Ridgeview Medical Center, 500 S. Maple St., Waconia; 952.442.2191; Two Twelve Medical Center, 111 Hundertmark Rd., Chaska; 952.361.2447. —LP

Honorable mentions: Park Nicollet Health Services, multiple locations; Fairview Health Services, multiple locations


Best Salon/Spa & Best Mani/Pedi: The Parlour Salon & Spa

Located on the second floor of a 100-year-old building, the owners, Beth Zimmerman and Michelle Lewin, have cultivated a unique atmosphere at The Parlour Salon & Spa by decorating with antiques and muted tones. But clients never end up with antiquated looks, and the salon and spa has quickly become a destination—especially for its manicures and pedicures. In addition to a talented staff of stylists and colorists, massage therapists and estheticians, the salon has two staff members who take excellent care of hands and feet. Alex Swenson is a certified master pedicurist with a background in nursing, and she often takes on clients with health issues, while Betsy Gregory is a nail technician with a background in graphic design. 7924 Victoria Dr., Victoria; 952.679.4805—LP

Best Salon/Spa & Best Mani/Pedi honorable mentions: Sanctuary Salonspa, Eden Prairie; Spalon Montage, Chanhassen

The Parlour Salon & Spa won Best Salon & Spa in 2012

Best Place to Meet for Drinks: Kona Grill

With happy hour on weeknights from 3-7pm and additional late night options every night of the week, it’s no surprise that people are flocking to Kona Grill to relax, unwind, and celebrate. Their outdoor patio is perfect for warm summer evenings, and the enclosed heated area keeps winter weather from dampening the party. Grab a designer cocktail and enjoy the food specials from the kitchen or the sushi bar. 11997 Singletree Ln., Windsor Plaza, Eden Prairie; 952.941.3262—CP

Honorable mentions: Floyd’s Bar, Victoria; Redstone Grill, Eden Prairie.


Best Weekend Brunch: Redstone Grill

Redstone Grill knows the best ingredients for a Sunday brunch: fresh food prepared from scratch, generous portion sizes, great service and a variety of menu options, including the ever-popular “never-ending family-style brunch.” Take in the rugged, romantic atmosphere while enjoying the caramelized banana pecan waffle, and you’ll wish every day was Sunday. 8000 Eden Rd., Eden Prairie; 952.903.9500; redstonegrill.com—CP

Honorable mentions: Original Pancake House, Eden Prairie; Santorini Taverna, Eden Prairie


Best Burger: Lions Tap

Manager Matt Notermann thinks the popular Eden Prairie hamburger haven is so successful because “we are doing one thing and we’re doing it right.” The fresh, simple burgers are made daily with a secret seasoning and all the beef is of the highest quality. (“None of that pink slime,” says Notermann with a laugh). Customer service is just as important as the burgers and the staff receives plenty of compliments on that front.  Friendly faces, great hamburgers—what more could anyone want? 16180 Flying Cloud Dr., Eden Prairie; 952.934.5299. —JP

Honorable mentions: Smashburger, Eden Prairie; Vic’s Bar and Grill, Victoria


Best Pizza: Punch Pizza

Is it the perfectly charred, delectable crust?  The San Marzano tomatoes?  The freshest mozzarella?  Punch has mastered the art of the Neapolitan pizza (cooked in a flash in the restaurant’s signature oven at a remarkable 800˚), resulting in a legion of passionate fans for its pizza and salads. Who wants an ordinary cheese pizza when you can order a Quattro Formaggi at Punch?  Release your inner foodie and take a delicious trip to Naples without leaving Eden Prairie. 8353 Crystal View Rd., Eden Prairie; 952.943.9557. —JP

Honorable mentions: Gina Maria’s Pizza, multiple locations; Roulette’s Pizza, Victoria


Best New Shop & Best Boutique: Finding Joy Boutique

Stocked with handmade products from artists and artisans living within a 30-mile radius of the store, Finding Joy Boutique has an eclectic array of products. Owner Christie Larson, an artist who does mosaic glass work, opened the shop in Chanhassen in 2011. “I found as an artist, there was a lack of local stores around that carried local artists’ work,” Larson says. She’s remedied that by curating a collection of handmade baby clothes, wooden toys, pottery, jewelry, candles, cards, dog toys, scented lotions and much more. 7838 Market Blvd., Chanhassen; 612.250.7286 —LP

Best Boutique honorable mentions: Hot Mama, Eden Prairie; Mainstream Boutique, Chanhassen

Best New Shop honorable mentions: Houndstooth, Eden Prairie; The Hanger, Chanhassen

Finding Joy Boutique won Best New Shop in 2012 

Best Sporting Goods Store: Sports Authority

For the past five years, Sports Authority has been suiting up the athletes of the southwest metro for all sports, ranging from baseball and basketball to skiing and fishing. With a company-wide emphasis on customer service, it’s no wonder their customers leave satisfied—and ready to get in the game. 12595 Castlemoor Dr., Eden Prairie; 952.941.8171—CP

Honorable mentions: Cabin Fever Sporting Goods, Victoria; Scheels All Sports, Eden Prairie


Best Grocery Store: Kowalski's Market

It’s easy for customers to forget they’re running errands when they shop at Kowalski’s. The relaxing atmosphere, exceptional service and focus on fresh and local food make Kowalski’s the perfect stop for all your grocery needs. Customers can rest easy, knowing all deli products are handmade in the on-site kitchen, meat is free of hormones and antibiotics and comes from trusted producers, and produce shipments are received daily. Floral and unusual gifts are readily available for last-minute presents or post-shopping perusing. 16500 West 78th St., Eden Prairie; 952.937.9585—CP

Honorable mentions: Byerly’s, Chanhassen; Fresh Seasons Market, Victoria


Best Veterinarian: Victoria Veterinary Care

This full-service animal hospital, overlooking scenic Lake Auburn in Victoria, feels more like a lake home than a clinic. When Dr. Patricia Waples opened the doors of Victoria Veterinary Care five years ago, she wanted to provide everything a standard animal hospital offers, but without the cold, sterile feel. Today, customers and their pets are welcomed into the spacious waiting room to relax by the fireplace, before heading off to receive general medicine treatment, dentistry work, radiology exams, lab testing and more. 2160 Arboretum Blvd., Victoria; 952.443.3138 —CP

Honorable mentions: Chanhassen Veterinary Clinic, Chanhassen; Anderson Lakes Animal Hospital, Eden Prairie


Best Doggie Day Care/Kennel: Canine Club and Spa

With three swimming pools, two outdoor playing turfs and sleeping suites complete with plush blankets and TVs, this luxury doggie day care and kennel has been making dogs—and other household pets—happy for more than three years. The on-site spa also offers grooming and nail-trims, so dogs are picked up well exercised and clean. 2910 82nd St., Chanhassen; 952.361.9663 —CP

Honorable mentions: Adogo Pet Hotel, Minnetonka; Hound Dog Pet Hotel, Eden Prairie


Best Preschool/Daycare: Primrose School

At Primrose School in Eden Prairie, balance is key. The curriculum is a perfect blend of teacher-directed and child-initiated learning, and is highly focused on the academic component, so your child will be confident entering first grade. Teachers are fully qualified with four-year degrees and hold licenses in elementary and pre-primary education. The on-site chef offers up homemade meals daily featuring local produce. 7800 Eden Prairie Rd., Eden Prairie; 952.944.6025—CP

Honorable mentions: St. Andrew Early Learning, Eden Prairie; Lady Bug Child Care, Chaska


Best Kids' Birthday Spot: Pump It Up

Pump It Up is your complete party solution. With more than 10,000 square feet of inflatable fun, housing obstacle courses with climbing walls and 20-foot slides, the kids will have a blast. And with the full-service party-planning staff taking care of pizza, cake, goodie bags, and games, the adults can rest easy. 7406 Washington Ave. S., Eden Prairie; 952.943.0052—CP

Honorable mentions: Chaska Community Center, Chaska; McDonalds, multiple locations


Best Fitness Studio: Life Time Fitness

“A healthy lifestyle is about much more than cardio and weights,” says Todd Grivna, manager of Eden Prairie’s Life Time Athletic Club. Although there’s no denying Life Time Fitness boasts state-of-the-art fitness equipment and facilities, they also offer tools to help members meet other health goals, such as controlling blood sugar or lowering cholesterol. A variety of classes and programming encourages every member to engage in fitness, from running and cycling clubs and group fitness classes, to personal training and weight loss programs. Enjoy a relaxing mind-body experience in the LifeSpa, or sample healthy food options in the LifeCafe to refuel after a strenuous workout. Locations in Eden Prairie and Chanhassen —CP

Honorable mentions: Snap Fitness, multiple locations; Chanhassen Fitness Revolution, Chanhassen


Best Golf Course: Chaska Town Course

The beautiful mix of marshland, prairie grasses, wild flowers and groves of trees at Chaska Town Course is the perfect setting for a round of golf. Situated on 285 acres, this municipal course is on a level with the top public courses in the state, and in 2006 they co-hosted the U.S. Amateur with Hazeltine. 3000 Town Course Dr., Chaska; 952.443.3748 —CP

Honorable mentions: Deer Run Golf Club, Victoria; Bearpath Golf Course, Eden Prairie


Best Chiropractor: Floro Chiropractic

Dr. Olinda Floro has been in practice for 30 years, and she prides herself on taking time with each and every one of her patients. The wide variety of maladies that can be treated with chiropractic care, including migraines, allergies, insomnia, digestive issues and injuries, reveal the breadth of Dr. Floro’s experience working on all the systems of the body. The skilled care that she provides to all her patients, all whom she treats like they were a member of her family, is what consistently earns raves. 9198 E. Starling Ln., Eden Prairie; 952.934.7582 —JP

Honorable mentions: ABC Chiropractic, Victoria; Live Well Chiropractic Spa & Wellness Center, Chanhassen


Best Dentist: Park Dental

Dentists sometimes get a bad rap from reluctant visitors, but the dentists at Park Dental in Eden Prairie do everything they can to help their patients smile before, during and after their dental appointments. From preventive dental care and restorative/cosmetic industry to oral surgery and dental implants, Park Dental caters to all ages and offers every patient the best possible care. locations in Chaska and Eden Prairie. —JP

Honorable mentions: Metro Dental Care, multiple locations; Prairie Dental Care, Eden Prairie


Best Interior Designer: M. Gilbertson Design

Molly Gilbertson is definitely part of the fabric of the Eden Prairie community and says she is fortunate to have worked with so many wonderful local clients over the years. “There is this great professional friendship relationship that develops,” she says. Making certain her clients are always happy is a top goal, since Gilbertson’s business continues to grow based on referrals from satisfied customers. “It’s really true – I just got a referral from a project I did five years ago,” she adds.  952.906.9628. —JP

Honorable mentions: Devane Design, Eden Prairie; Embellishments Design Studio, Eden Prairie


Best Builder/Remodeler: mackmiller design+build
Mary Mackmiller and her husband Mark are repeat “best of” finalists due to a few key elements of their successful Eden Prairie business. A majority of their clients make that first call because they want to duplicate the same outstanding Mackmiller experience their friends have received. The couple is also known for careful attention to detail and listening to clients talk about the dream outcome for their project. The proof is in the results: mackmiller design+build has won 20 local, regional and national design competitions in the past three years. Community awards matter to them, too. “We really feel like our customers are our cheering section. They always tell us they want us to win the Southwest Metro Magazine award,” Mary says. “We are so grateful to all of them.” 952.949.8600 —JP

Honorable mentions: Westside Home Improvement, Victoria; C.R.E. Construction, Eden Prairie


Best Landscaper: The Mustard Seed
You can’t miss the big red barn in Chaska that is home to The Mustard Seed, a landscaping design and installation center. The staff will help you create the perfect garden for your space—and help you maintain it, too. Other services include patio and walkway installations, retaining walls and even the ideal “nightscaping” to illuminate your home and garden. Owner Mark Halla says The Mustard Seed’s mission serves an even greater purpose. “We want to live out our faith and bring honor and glory to Christ through our business,” he says. “And that makes it easy to satisfy people.” 6055 Hwy. 212, Chaska; 952.361.9954; . —JP

Honorable mentions: Bachman’s, Eden Prairie; Southview Design


Best Massage: Massage Envy

No matter how busy your schedule gets, there is always time for a relaxing massage at Massage Envy in Eden Prairie. Swedish, deep tissue, sports or prenatal, they have just the kind of massage your tired body needs. The friendly and well-trained staff of more than 30 massage therapists—including five estheticians offering soothing facials and more—is on duty from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day but Sundays. Manager Ashley Volkman says great customer service begins with availability. “We want to make sure there are plenty of opportunities for our clients to book appointments that work with their lifestyles,” she says. 11995 Singletree Ln., Eden Prairie; 952.641.1200—JP

Honorable mentions: Sanctuary Salonspa, Eden Prairie; Elements Therapeutic Massage, Eden Prairie