Since 1978, Grandma’s Bakery has been whipping up fresh-baked pies, cookies, breads, cakes, pastries and doughnuts in their two retail locations in White Bear Lake. And, lucky for us, you can watch all those bits of bakery deliciousness being made. “All the baking is done in full view of the public, and you can watch our bakers turn hundreds of pounds of dough into doughnuts or watch our award-winning cake decorators make each cake a work of art,” says owner John Lupo. If only they could figure out how to bottle that heavenly smell.
1765 Buerkle Road, White Bear Lake; 651.779.0707; 2184B Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.762.2900. Runners up: Chez Arnaud; Keys Café & Bakery
WASHINGTON SQUARE BAR & GRILL
Whether you’re in the mood for a humble but oh-so-delectable cheeseburger, ready to get your taste buds rockin’ with the jalapeño, pepper jack cheese and fried onion-topped Diablo burger, or something in between, Washington Square’s black Angus burgers are second to none. Simply put, “they are delicious,” says general manager Naomi See.
4736 Washington Square, White Bear Lake; 651.407.7162. Runners up: Rudy’s Redeye Grill; Keys Café & Bakery
KEYS CAFÉ & BAKERY
If you like to start out your day with a fluffy omelet, yummy French toast, stick-to-your-ribs steak with mushrooms and onions, or something on the lighter side, Keys Café is the place for breakfast. Heck, their breakfast food is so delicious it’s a shame to enjoy it just in the morning.
2208 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.426.2885. Runners up: Cobblestone Café; Washington Square Bar & Grill
BEST SPECIAL-OCCASION DINING
With its stunning lake views, superb food and passionate staff, Acqua is the perfect spot to celebrate those special occasions in your life. Want to make that occasion even more special? Opt for a spot on the spacious lakeside patio.
4453 Lake Ave. S., White Bear Lake; 651.407.7317. Runners up: Rudy’s Redeye Grill; Ingredients Café
BEST HAPPY HOUR
RUDY’S REDEYE GRILL
You’ve had a long day at the office, or maybe you’re just in need of great food and drink at great prices. Well, head on over to Rudy’s Redeye Grill where you can get all that and more. Every day from 3 to 6 p.m. and 9 to 11 p.m., you can get appetizers for $4.25, $2 off tap beers and a glass of house wine for $4. Don’t forget to check out the cool rooftop patio.
4940 Highway 61 N., White Bear Lake; 651.653.6718. Runners up: Manitou Station; Washington Square Bar & Grill
If you’re planning a soirée and actually want to spend time with your guests instead of worrying about the food, Margaret Doran, owner of Margaux’s Table, is the chef to help you do just that. With a career that has included an apprenticeship in Belgium and a restaurant in Wisconsin, and running her own lauded kitchens, Doran’s love of food is evident in every dish. “From a small dinner party in your home to weddings up to 300 people, it’s always about serving delicious and inspired food,” she says.
4746 Washington Ave., White Bear Lake; 651.387.7903. Runners up: Donatelli’s; Kowalski’s
Since 1973, co-founders and brothers Lowell and Len Pratt have been building beautiful, high-quality homes that meet the needs of the homeowners who live there. “We really listen to how our customers want to live in their homes,” says Lowell Pratt. This successful pair has built more than 1,000 dream homes, and has garnered numerous awards in the process. But new construction isn’t all they do. If folks are looking to update their current homes, Pratt Homes does remodeling as well.
3500 Willow Lake Blvd. Suite 100, Vadnais Heights; 651.429.8032. Runners up: Rust Architects & Construction; Husnik Homes
Since 1994, Goetz Landscape has been creating stunning landscape designs with a one-stop-shop philosophy. “We are a design-build firm, so we are there from start to finish,” says owner Joe Goetz. Don’t have time to weed those flowerbeds and mow the lawn in the summer, put the garden to bed in the fall, or keep your driveway cleared in the winter? Goetz Landscape offers a full property maintenance service that will keep your yard looking spiffy and you feeling relaxed all year long.
2030 Main St., Centerville; 651.426.2136. Runners up: Comstock & Sons; Gardenside
BEST INTERIOR DESIGNER
CHRISTINA LYNN INTERIORS
From design consultations to whole-house redesigns, Christina Lynn Miller, owner of Christina Lynn Interiors, can help turn a house into a home. “It’s all about building relationships with the homeowners, listening to how they want to use their space and creating a design that fits their lifestyle,” she says. Looking for a few pieces to rev up your existing style? The shop is filled with a veritable smorgasbord of home accessories, including lamps, artwork, vases and more.
4701 Banning Ave., White Bear Lake; 651.274.8832. Runners up: Housewhispering; Nesting, Inc.
BEST SMALL-BUSINESS CUSTOMER SERVICE
At local salon Indulge, co-owned by Linda Bailey, Joelle Garceau, Vicki Clark and Kim Schoonover, great customer service is more than just a slogan; it’s the backbone of their business. “We feel that every man or woman who walks in our door or calls on the phone should be treated with respect and indulged,” Schoonover, says.
2183 Third St., White Bear Lake; 651.797.6440. Runners up: Mueller Memorial; Goodthings
BEST PLACE FOR UNIQUE GIFTS
If there’s one thing that founder Sharon Conrad wants her customers to think about each item in the store, it’s this: “This is a good thing!” Founded in 1973, Goodthings has something for everyone. From wall art and kitchen gadgets to handbags and Minnesota mementos, this is the place to find that perfect gift.
2184 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.426.8006. Runners up: Truly; Painted Table
BEST CONSIGNMENT SHOP
The truth is we can’t all be HGTV design professionals—but White Bear Lake has the next best thing to help you revitalize your space. Nesting, Inc., is your go-to spot to find character and charm in home furnishings and accessories. And if you have your own piece that’s ready for a new home, you can put it up for sale there too.
4788 Highway 61 N., White Bear Lake; 651.426.3087. Runners up: ReUse ReStyle; The Farmer’s Daughter
BEST NEW SHOP
Painted Table is a haven for restyled and repurposed furniture. The three sisters who own this unique White Bear Lake store can take something like a 1970s coffee table and turn it into a trendy fabric-covered bench, or even transform an old ladder into a magazine rack. “Every furniture piece is a one-of-a-kind creation,” says owner Nancy DeSchane. “Not only do we sell merchandise, but we also collaborate with clients to restyle their own furniture.”
2180 Third St., White Bear Lake; 651.653.5638. Runners up: Indulge; Lulu & Luigi
Looking for something trendy to jazz up your Friday night outfit? Well, look no further. Goodthings is the place to find fashionable yet classic women’s clothing, jewelry and gifts.
2184 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.426.8006. Runners up: Truly; Mainstream Boutique
BEST SALON AND SPA
Not only does Indulge salon provide fabulous salon and spa services, but it’s also committed to using natural, organic products. And the staff at Indulge subscribes to the “try before you buy” theory, says owner Kim Schoonover. Clients are encouraged to sample products for their skin and hair so they can find the product that works best for them.
2183 Third St., White Bear Lake; 651.797.6440. Runners up: Sunbear Spa and Salon Salon Zeo
BEST REAL ESTATE AGENT
CINDY WERNER, Coldwell Banker Burnet
Buying a home is one of the most important decisions you will make in your lifetime, and no one knows that better than real estate agent Cindy Werner. In the business for more than 15 years, Werner has expertise in helping families whether they’re relocating to the Twin Cities from far away or just moving across town, and she handles all parts of the buying and selling process for her clients. “It’s a real honor to be able to assist people with such an important purchase and help them find the home of their dreams,” Werner says.
4525 White Bear Parkway, White Bear Lake; 651.653.2527. Runners up:Cathy Storey, Coldwell Banker Burnet
SUNBEAR SPA AND SALON
You can never underestimate the power of a good massage—so say the folks at Sunbear Spa and Salon. Sunbear’s seven experienced massage therapists know a thing or two about relaxation, offering a variety of options like the Red Flower body ritual massage and hot stone treatment. But the most popular option is the one-hour therapeutic massage. Yes, that’s right: 60 whole minutes of uninterrupted, stress-relieving bliss.
2207 Third St., White Bear Lake; 651.426.5884. Runners-up: Indulge; Healing Waters
BEST PET GROOMING
LULU & LUIGI
We all know that our pets deserve a little bit of pampering. That’s why local pet owners love bringing their pooches to the “pawlour” at LuLu & Luigi. Each Pawlour Package begins with a hydro-massage bath, and pet owners can even customize their pet’s experience to include soothing treatments like massages, blueberry facials or a non-toxic hair color treatment. “Our main concern is the pet’s well-being,” says owner Liz Sand. Lulu & Luigi also offers an array of dog and cat accoutrements and fresh-baked pet treats. Woof!
2168 Third St., White Bear Lake; 651.287.2030. Runners up: Chuck & Don’s Pet Food Outlet; Goldwood Kennels
BEST PLACE FOR LIVE MUSIC
Manitou Station sure knows how to party. With live music four to five nights a week, restaurant-goers flock to listen to local musicians like Paul Mayasich, Jennifer Grimm, and duo John Evans and Dan Perry while grabbing some pub-style nosh. “We have become known for booking high-quality musicians, and it has helped turn us into a destination for live music, with guests coming all the way from the south metro on a regular basis to take part in the fun,” says managing partner Jake McKeague.
2171 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.426.2300. Runners up: Washington Square Bar & Grill; Tally’s Dockside
BEST PLACE TO TAKE THE ENTIRE FAMILY
CUP AND CONE
Have a summer sweet tooth but a thin wallet? Fret not—Cup and Cone has a smorgasbord of ice cream flavors for little cost. “You can spend under five dollars and your family is going to leave with a smile,” says Rick Johnstone, owner of Cup and Cone. Celebrating its 40th anniversary this summer, the three-generation family business has its freezers full and ready for even the most sophisticated ice cream connoisseur. Credit cards are now accepted, so you can pay for the product with the ease of a brain freeze.
2126 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.426.1498. Runners-up: Keys Café and Bakery; Washington Square Bar & Grill
BEST NEW EXERCISE CLASS
WHITE BEAR AREA YMCA
With more than 100 exercise classes a week, with old formats and new, the White Bear Area YMCA offers something for everyone, and all with a charitable touch. “The Y is a mission-driven organization,” says Shane Hoefer, executive director. “We are a charitable nonprofit, we focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. You just won’t find that in another place.” At the Y, you can rumba, salsa, downward-dog, and hip- hop hustle your way to healthy living.
2100 Orchard Lane, White Bear Lake; 651.777.8103. Runners up: Tri Fitness; Life Time Fitness
BEST KID-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT
KEYS CAFÉ AND BAKERY
Maybe your kid doesn’t like much besides the standard PB&J, or maybe he or she likes to try some new foods once in a while; either way, with its delectable kids’ menu, family-friendly atmosphere and top-notch coloring sheets, Keys Café and Bakery came in as our top spot to dine out with the kiddos.
2208 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.426.2885. Runners up: Donatelli’s; Cup and Cone
WHITE BEAR MONTESSORI SCHOOL
Founded in 1970, White Bear Montessori says that their students develop a love of learning they carry with them throughout their entire lives. The school is focused on diversity and quality education, and has seen more than 3,200 children pass through their hallways. “We have a fabulous and dedicated parent community, and we have a lot of alumni here as well,” says Melissa Norton, administrator at White Bear Montessori School.
1201 E. County Road E, White Bear Lake; 651.429.3710. Runners up: St. Mary of the Lake; Children’s Discovery Academy
BEST DAY CARE
CHILDREN’S DISCOVERY ACADEMY
With a philosophy based on the belief that each child is unique and special, this popular day care provides educational programs for children ranging in age from six weeks to fifth-graders. In a recent survey, 100 percent of parents said they would recommend the academy to other families.
3665 Talmage Circle, Vadnais Heights; 651.653.9871. Runners up: White Bear Montessori; Meadowlands KinderCare
BEST HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER
CAMERON MAHLUM of WBLAHS
Most people can remember that one special teacher from their youth, that teacher who made learning enjoyable and easy, and left them feeling better about themselves in the process. Turns out Cameron Mahlum, social studies teacher at WBLAHS-South Campus, is one of those teachers.
Runners up: Matthew Danielson, WBLAHS-South Campus, mathematics; Robert Hannigan, WBLAHS-South Campus, social studies
BEST MUSIC LESSONS
With lessons in instruments ranging from ukulele to traditional guitar, harmonica and banjo, Evans Music promises a personal touch at every music lesson. “We’ve got and have always had teachers who are professional players, and they have dedication they want to pass on,” says owner Gary Dupre. “The amount of expertise and real experience in the field makes us hard to beat.”
2182 Third St., White Bear Lake; 651.429.0236. Runners up: Virginia Green; MacPhail White Bear Lake
DR. DUSTIN CARLSON – THE CARLSON CLINIC OF WHITE BEAR LAKE
There isn’t a knot in your back that Dr. Dustin Carlson can’t help ease. “My goal is to make every patient’s visit the best experience they have ever had going to a doctor,” says Carlson. “We strive to have open communication with patients so we can address their need promptly. Plus, we give the best adjustments.” Other unique characteristics of the clinic include utilizing specific soft-tissue work, ultrasound, cold lasers and spinal decompressions.
4717 Clark Ave., White Bear Lake; 651.762.8040. Runners up: Dr. Jill Friedrichs, Simply Chiropractic; Dr. RJ Sass, Sass Chiropractic Clinic
DR. SARAH BOO
For some, a dental office is a cold, scary place, to be avoided at all costs. But Dr. Sarah Boo beats the stereotype by combining her passion for art with her daily practice. The walls of her office are adorned with brightly colored paintings she has created that will make you show off your beautiful smile. It’s all about making her patients feel at ease. “We take time to get to know our patients,” says Boo, “where they have been and why they came to see us.”
4717 Highway 61, White Bear Lake; 651.426.2116. Runners up: Dr. Charles Kaminski; Dr. Paul Anderson
DR. LEONARD SNELLMAN, HEALTHPARTNERS
According to his personal profile, Snellman says, “Smiles from children are the gas that keeps me going.” He wears funny ties, watches and socks, and has finger puppets and other diversions to avoid anxiety and tears. Who needs Patch Adams when you have Dr. Snellman in the area?
1430 Highway 96 W., White Bear Lake; 952.967.6614. Runners up: Dr. Gail Casemore, Northeast Pediatric Clinic; Dr. Elsa Keeler, Health Partners
With an impressive play structure with loads of fun activities for the kiddos, not to mention adjoining baseball fields, basketball hoops, picnic tables and on-site restrooms, Podvin Park is a great place to play.
1700 Ninth St., White Bear Lake; 651.747.3650. Runners-up: Normandy Park; Ramsey Beach
TAMARACK NATURE CENTER
Nestled in a 320-acre preserve of prairies, ponds and forests, Tamarack Nature Center is a delightful place to discover and learn. Including more than four miles of paths, trails and boardwalks, Discovery Hollow and Garden, a plethora of neat outdoor activities and events, it’s little wonder Tamarack Nature Center was voted Best Park in our survey.
5287 Otter Lake Road, White Bear Township; 651.407.5350. Runners-up: West Park; Podvin Park
BEST PLACE FOR PEOPLE-WATCHING
Who needs the State Fair when you can people-watch right here in our own backyard? Marketfest, that annual event that brings thousands of folks to the downtown area for summertime food, music, activities, art and a whole lot of fun on Thursdays from mid-June to the end of July, is the prime spot to people-watch.
Downtown White Bear Lake; 651.429.8437. Runners-up: Cup and Cone; Washington Square Bar & Grill
BEST PLACE TO TAKE OUT-OF-TOWN GUESTS
So Aunt Millie is in from Milwaukee, or your best buddy Brad is in from Boise, and you want to offer them some terrific food at a fabulous restaurant. Head over to Manitou Station where they can fix you up with some pub-style food that ranges from award-winning burgers to steak and mushrooms to pastas, salads and their famous Scotch eggs. After you’ve finished noshing, make a beeline to the bar and listen to some of their top-notch musical acts; that will have your guests itching to come back and visit you real soon.
Manitou Station, 2171 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.426.2300. Runners-up: Acqua; Rudy’s Redeye Grill
BEST GOLF COURSE
DELLWOOD COUNTRY CLUB
If you’re looking for a challenging golf course that also offers superb recreational and social opportunities, Dellwood Country Club fits the bill perfectly. Under new management, and in the process of updating the pool and adding a cabana, there is much to do at this fabulous country club.
29 East Highway 96, Dellwood; 651.426.3218. Runners-up: White Bear Yacht Club; Manitou Ridge
BIRCH LAKE ANIMAL HOSPITAL
Runners-up: Lake Animal Hospital; White Bear Animal Hospital