“Best of Edina” Awards Highlight the City’s Favorites in 2013

Your favorite eateries, parks, services and drinking holes in Edina.
Doug Woullet frosts colorful cupcakes.

Hollywood Boulevard flaunts its Walk of Fame; the Milky Way boasts billions of heavenly bodies, and Edina, too, has its stars. We’re talking about the 25 Best of the City winners that you anointed via your online votes this past winter. Over 500 of you participated in this year’s “Best Of Edina” competition, and we honored the winners at our “Best Of” party on May 30 at the Westin Edina Galleria. Without further adieu, here are the winners. (Check out our website, edinamag.com, for a full list, including five online-only categories. Get to know Edina’s stars.

Best Outdoor Dining Tavern on France        tavernonfrance.com               6740 France Ave S     952.358.6100 Minnesotans take their outdoor dining options darn seriously. Because the al fresco season is so short, we are true connoisseurs of the genre. Tavern on France snags the best outdoor dining acclaim time after time, for good reason. The restaurant’s patio is spacious and relaxed; the scene is busy and convivial, enhanced by a merrily blazing fire pit. Try to arrive either early or late to secure a table; the crowd clears a bit after 9 p.m., when a sweet, late-night happy hour accommodates the night owls among us. Get some chow-worthy flatbread pizza and try a delightful twist on a classic drink like pomegranate and ginger mojitos.  Runner-up: Salut                    Third place: Edina Grill  

Best Bakery Wuollet Bakery           wuollet.com                           3608 W 50th St           612.922.4341 We Edinans love our cake and those who provide it. (Check out our cake feature on page ??.) What’s not to love about Wuollet Bakery? The family business has been gracing Edina with cakes, cupcakes, desserts and pies since 1944.  Just the name “Wuollet” evokes celebration and joy. Custom orders and special requests are encouraged; or, just stop in on any old weekday afternoon and treat yourself to something sweet.  Runner-up: Patrick’s Bakery              Third place: Breadsmith  

Best place to go out for dessert Patrick’s Bakery          patricksbakerycafe.com         2928 W 66th St           612.861.7570  Catering director, Tracy Dutcher 612.860.0714 Patrick Bernet Pastry chef Patrick Bernet fell in love with Edina because it reminded him of France. But he noticed one thing missing: a French café and bakery. He gathered his recipes, trained a staff, and 10 years later we still love to eat dessert chez Patrick. The bakery prides itself on authentic, high-quality ingredients and exceptional customer service. The bakers make everything from scratch, working overnight just as they do in France. Customers are crazy about anything with chocolate, especially for the napoleons, millefeiulles and eclairs, sil vous plait! Runner-up: Cheesecake Factory                    Third place: Yogurt Lab  

Best weekend brunch Edina Grill                  edinagrill.com                        5028 France Ave S     952.927.7933 Locals line up for this scrumptious brunch on the weekends and it’s well worth the wait. The choices are drool inducing: meatloaf hash; biscuits and gravy; chilaquiles; spinach frittata. Our hands-down favorite is the seafood benedict: poached eggs atop homemade seafood cakes with old bay-seasoned hollandaise. It’s a little bit decadent and a great bit of comfort, just as brunch should be. Runner-up: Salut                    Third place: Pancake House  

Best special-occasion dining Pittsburgh Blue           pittsburghbluesteak.com        3220 W 70th St           952.567.2700 Steak is for special occasions, and Pittsburgh Blue sure knows its way around a steer. The restaurant offers six different variations on the super-tender, universally adored filet mignon as well as ribeye, NY Strip, flatiron and prime rib cuts. Excellent chops and seafood for those who are so inclined. The atmosphere is suitably dark and clubby, the service understated yet precise.  Runner-up: Crave                   Third place: McCormick & Schmick’s  

Best ethnic food Rice Paper                   ricepaperrestaurant.com         3948 W 50th St           952.288.2888 One of the most special things about the food at An Nguyen’s Rice Paper is that each dish carries a memory from her childhood in Vietnam. You’ll wonder at the evocative names on the menu—Perfume River, Twirling Chopsticks—and with a little imagination you might picture them in an enchanted childhood. Fresh ingredients and distinctive flavors of lemongrass, garlic, basil, mint, lime, tamarind, coconut will lull you into exotica; keep the feeling going and take home a jar of her addictive peanut sauce. Runner-up: Cocina del Barrio            Third place: Raku   

Best interior designer Rebecca Ryan       rebecca-ryan.blogspot.com          6408 Parnell Ave        612.709.9036 Rebecca Ryan was born into a long line of artists but she bucked the system with a science degree. When she spearheaded the remodel of her Edina home she discovered a knack and a passion for the practice. She found the marriage of art and science a perfect fit; her brain is wired with both technical problem-solving skills and a natural aesthetic sensibility. People appreciate Ryan’s approach, which focuses on the experience as well as the result. She works hard to make the process fun and shelter the client from problems. “I get the ulcers so you don’t have to,” she says. Runner-up: Gabberts Design Studio              Third place: Martha O’Hara Interiors  

Best place for unusual gifts Ampersand                  ampersandshops.com             3445 Galleria               952.920.2118 Gift giving can produce a certain amount of anxiety; these days it seems impossible to find something for the person who has everything. Ampersand to the rescue! A beautiful array of housewares, home décor, bath and body and seasonal gifts, it’s the ideal venue for a hostess gift, or if you still can’t decide, a gift card. There is also a helpful section called “Gift Ideas” on the store’s website. Runner-up: Gather                 Third place: Life, Laugh, Love  

Best bike shop Erik’s Bike Shop         eriksbikeshop.com    8006 Minnetonka Blvd           952.931.9322 Erik Lag 877.885.2453 There are several Erik’s locations throughout the metro area; the one that serves Edina is beloved by many. Owner and founder Erik Saltvold started the first Erik’s Bike Shop at age 13 in his parents’ Richfield back yard; today, he operates 18 store locations with over 300 employees. He has always remained true to his philosophy of professional knowledgeable service in a friendly environment, and Edinans love that. Runner-up: Edina Bike                      Third place: Penn Cycle  

Best salon/spa Spalon Montage          spalon.com                             3909 W 49 1/2 St        952.915.2900 Sarah Melbostad operations manager Spalon Montage came onto the scene 21 years ago and has been raking in awards and accolades ever since. The spa’s philosophy of empowering team members and following the golden rule of treating others the way you’d like to be treated hits the right balance of  service and ethics. The Edina flagship location provides a dizzying array of hair, skin, body and nail services. How about some hot stone therapy or a body polish?  Runner-up: Salon Lili             Third place: BeSpoke  

Best veterinarian Westgate Pet clinic     wagsandwhiskers.com           4345 France Ave S     612.925.1121 Jody Harris practice manager [email protected] Dr. Teresa Hershey, veterinarian and partner of Westgate Pet Clinic, 612-925-1121 Westgate Pet Clinic has been caring for pets in Edina and Southwest Minneapolis for 40 years. What started out as a little clinic in the building of Leo’s Mobil Gas Station has transformed into a thriving veterinary hospital with 10 doctors and 35 staff providing comprehensive medical, dental and surgical care. We love the “Quiet Cat Appointments” for those flighty felines as well as advanced services such as laparoscopic surgery, acupuncture, and rehabilitation therapy.  Runner-up: Southdale Pet hospital                Third place: Edina Pet Hospital  

Best place for live music Centennial Lakes       7499 France Ave S  Edina, MN 55435            952.833.9580 The summer concert series at Centennial Lakes highlights excellent bands from all over the metro area, including jazz, big band, oldies and more. The amphitheater seats 10,000; it is always free, handicapped accessible, and popcorn and soda costs just $1.50. No wonder it’s our favorite place for live music. On the last Monday of June, July and August, stop by for professional dance lessons. Tango anyone? Runner-up: Lake Harriet Bandshell               Third place: Pinstripes   

Best chiropractor 50th & France Chiropractic & Wellness     edinachiropractic.com   3948 W 50th St  Edina 952.920.4528 This is the oldest privately-owned chiropractic clinic in the world. Doctors Christopher Jo, Carrie Clark and David Patterson bring a range of expertise to the practice, including specializations in children, pregnant women, nutrition and sports medicine. The clinic accepts walk-ins, has private treatment rooms and offers secondary evaluations from the Center for Diagnostic Imaging (CDI) and Radiologist Consulting Ltd (RCL). It’s all about the patients here, whether they need imaging, or just had the kind of day that they need to talk about. Runner-up: Chiropractic Health & Wellness             Third place: Moore Chiropractic  

Best Furniture Gabberts Design Studio and Fine Furniture      gabberts.com   3501 Galleria            952.927.1500 Excelling in creativity, innovation and premiere service since 1946, Gabberts Design Studio & Fine Furniture in Edina offers a unique selection of custom design services, extraordinary furnishings and superior craftsmanship. “We are so fortunate to be located in the Galleria.  It’s because of the Edina community and its values that we’ve been a landmark here for decades,” says Gabberts general manager Becky Letley.   Runner-up: Room & Board               Third place: Arhaus Furniture  

Best Children’s Shop Creative Kidstuff        creativekidstuff.com              3555 69th St               952.926.4512 Since 1982, children and parents alike have been engaged and entertained with this toy store’s hands-on approach to helping families play. Creative Kidstuff is full of toys for all ages, ranging from classic developmental toys to educational games that are both inventive and imaginative, and most importantly, fun for the whole family. Runner-up: Polarn O Pyret               Third place: Pacifier  

Best Shoe Store Pumpz             pumpzco.com      3335 Galleria                    952.926.2252 Marlys Badzin opened Pumpz in 2000 in response to Galleria customers in search of a place to find the latest shoe and handbag styles, without the inconvenience of traveling to either coast. Today, Pumpz and Company continues to strive for the highest quality service, representing the most current trends in a friendly, fashion-savvy environment. “Our customers are fantastic. They make our job a whole lot of fun,” says Amy [FC last name], manager at Pumpz in the Galleria. Runner-up: Nordstrom’s                    Third place: Shuler’s

Best Consignment Store/thrift store Fashion Ave                fashionavenueresale.com       4936 France Ave S     952.929.7919 Fashion Avenue is a high-end consignment store that caters to men and women alike. Its carefully edited selection of stellar merchandise allows you to easily discover quality pieces from designers ranging from Marc Jacobs to Chanel. “Edina has been a terrific location for Fashion Ave. Not only do we have amazing consigners from Edina and the surrounding area, our customers are absolutely fantastic,” says Gretchen Weisman, co-owner of Fashion Avenue. Runner-up: Turnstyle         Third place: Clothes Mentor  

Best Real Estate Agent Babette Bean              [email protected]          952.924.8722 With 24 years of experience, Babette Bean has served Edina as one of the premiere realtors in the Twin Cities after she spent much of her childhood living abroad. “Where else could you find 47 shops and boutiques, 37 professional services companies, 13 health & beauty establishments, 16 restaurants and one movie theater that has four screens of intelligent films? And that’s just at 50th & France,” says Bean.  “Believe me, the City of Edina almost sells itself!” The Bean team has established a reputation of achievement, honesty and supreme market knowledge and understanding.  Runner-up: John McWhite                 Third place: Mark Parrish   

Best Fitness Studio Steele Fitness              steelefitness.com        3908 W 50th St                       952.285.8009 Since 2002, Steele Fitness has been providing high-service fitness concepts to men and women alike, with clientele ranging from celebrities and actresses to professionals and locals of all ages. Today, Steele continues to expand its quality service, offering the best in fitness for those who desire to increase their energy, lose weight, gain strength and enjoy a happier, healthier life. Runner-up: Core Power                     Third place: Welcyon  

Best High School Teacher Colleen Raasch           edinahigh.edina.k12.mn.us    6754 Valley View Rd  952.848.3800 Colleen Raasch has taught science at Edina High School for 13 years (following 10 years at South View Middle School). “I love working at Edina High School because of the incredible students and staff,” she says. “Teaching at Edina High gives me the opportunity to work with these incredible young people and become part of their lives, as much as they become part of mine. The students are passionate, enthusiastic and dedicated to their learning as well as their future.  Because of the students, I have the time of my life every day. I am also fortunate to work with an incredible staff.  They are a compassionate group of people who put students first.”  Runner-up: Brian Simpson                 Third place: Dan Baron  

Best Plastic Surgeon Greg Mesna     plasticsurgeryminneapolis.com          3955 Parklawn Ave.   612.424.3440 Dr. Greg Mesna and the team at Mesna Plastic Surgery offer a personal approach to improving your image. Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, Mesna performs a full range of cosmetic procedures, tailored for improving your whole body. Mesna and his team are dedicated to providing supreme, quality care for each patient before, during and after every surgery, warranting the best experience possible.  Runner-up: Bart Muldowney             Third place: Edina Plastic Surgery  

Best Dentist Steve Veker/ 44th Street Dental 44thstdental.com3925 W 44th St           952.922.2159 Established in 1930, 44th Street Dental is committed to providing the highest quality care for patients. Dr. Steven Veker joined the practice in 1988, following in the footsteps of his father, who is currently 92 years old. Dr. Veker and partner Dr. Carl E. Schneider specialize in general cosmetic and child dental procedures, ranging in services from laser dentistry and gum disease therapy to cosmetic dentistry and dental implants. Runner-up: Edina 5-0 Dental            Third place: Heidi Brandenburg  

Best Builder John Kraemer & Sons             jkandsons.com                       4906 Lincoln Dr          952.935.9100 Founded by Gary Kraemer and his late father John, John Kraemer & Sons has specialized in building luxury homes and remodeling fine residences in the Twin Cities since 1978. The Kraemer family is personally invested in each project, ensuring superior craftsmanship, a high level of detail, and most importantly, a powerful focus on customer satisfaction.  Because of this, each project clearly reflects the lifestyle and personality of every individual client. Runner-up: Traditions by Donnay Homes               Third place: Jim Bizal  

Best landscaper Lee’s Landscaping & Design             leeslandscapes.com  11401 CR 3 #2  Hopkins     763.782.7777 Celebrating a lucky 13 years in business, Lee’s Landscaping and Design has experienced a phenomenal growth spurt over the past four years, with business increasing at an annual clip of 33 percent, reports director of design Matt Wolfe. Much of that growth has been in Edina and Minnetonka, where custom-design building is booming. “What sets us apart is that we’re a full-service, one-stop custom-design building firm that prefers to work one-on-one with clients to develop their projects,” says Wolfe. Runner-up: Topo LLC                       Third place: Bachman’s   

Best vision/eyewear/eye care InVision                      invision-optical.com               3340 Galleria               952.920.5458 InVision’s location in the Galleria knows how good you can look in the right frame, and how the right frame will boost your confidence. Doctors Toni Albrecht and Brad Hagemo are available for eye exams and consultations at this location. InVision even boasts frames that appear regularly on television, in the movies and on famous faces across the country. You, too, can wear the frames of Cameron Diaz or Jamie Foxx. Runner-up: Edina Eye Physicians                  Third place: Southdale Eye Clinic 

Best place to take out-of-town guests Centennial Lakes       7499 France Ave S.               952.833.9580 Laura Knollmaier, Assistant Park Manager Centennial Lakes is bursting with so much activity and so many picturesque sites, it will make anyone proud to be a local. Your visitors will love the Parade of Boats hosted by the Edina Model Yacht Club; Lighthouse Night always wows the crowd with the John Philip Sousa Memorial Band and fireworks. There’s a weekly farmer’s market, a putting course, lawn bowling, croquet, paddleboats, shopping, dining and 1.42 miles of walking paths and a promenade dotted with public art. No need to bring any equipment; everything is available on site for a day packed with uniquely Edinan fun. Runner-up: Galleria                Third place: 50th & France shops  

Best place to take kids on a rainy day Edinborough Park                                          7700 York Ave S                    952.833.9540 Did the skies open and rain on your kids’ parade? Don’t fret, Edina’s Edinborough Park doesn’t run from raindrops. The completely enclosed, one-acre park features a junior-Olympic size swimming pool, a running track and fitness area, a huge indoor playground and a multi-purpose play area, which you means you can enjoy a family outing, rain or shine. Edinborough Park, which is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9-6 on Sunday, also features a 250-seat, Greek-style amphitheater and a full schedule of free music, dance, theater and visual arts programs. “Winter and rainy day play,” one reviewer gleefully wrote on TripAdvisor.com. Runner-up: Southdale Mall                Third place: Library   

Best place to walk the dog Centennial Lakes       7499 France Ave S  Edina, MN 55435             952.833.9580 Yelp contributor “Sarah L” sums up Centennial Lakes Park’s value to both people and pets. “How great is it that you can walk around a park and then walk over to a store or perhaps grab some grub after an afternoon walk with your dog, spouse or kids?” Indeed, this spacious and lovely, 24-acre park and pond is the ultimate urban escape. Centennial Lakes Park offers more than 1.5 miles of paved pathways that meander through beautifully landscaped grounds, seating areas, swinging benches and fountains. Both you and your dog will be charmed. Runner-up: Bredesen Park             Third place: Lake Cornelia  

Best place to meet for a drink Cocina del Barrio        barriotequila.com                   5036 France Ave S     952.920.1860 This distinction requires the perfect storm of factors: location, libations, setting and snacks. Barrio nails all of them. The drinks are creative and potent; the location is smack-dab in the center of the action (post movie cocktail? Fuel stop while shopping?); the setting is hip but not irritatingly so and the snacks are to die for, especially at happy-hour prices. We crave the Burro, a feisty Latin interpretation of the Moscow Mule: spiced Agavero, lime juice, and Cock and Bull ginger beer. It’s perfect with the red chile pork tamale, only $4 between 3-6 p.m. Monday­­–Friday. Runner-up: Beaujo’s              Third place: Salut  

Best carwash Mister Carwash           mistercarwash.com     7711 Normandale Rd             952.835.2363 You need to look good, and so do your wheels. Mister Carwash, which acquired its Edina location in 1999, offers both a full-service carwash that includes vacuuming your floor and dusting your dashboard, and an express wash to quickly blast away dirt on your hood and salt on your tires. Washing cars isn’t too tough, but customer satisfaction all comes down to service, “and that’s what sets us apart,” says manager Brian Leider. Not to mention connection to the community. Every year in late spring, the company holds a “paws-a-thon” fundraiser to benefit the local Humane Society. Mister Carwash now boasts 16 locations in Minnesota and 103 nationwide. Runner-up: Edina Car Wash      Third place: Grandview Tire & Auto