WBL Best Of 2015: The Greatest Show on Earth

by | Jul 2015

John Lupo, owner of Grandma’s bakery, with a custom circus-themed cake.

John Lupo, owner of Grandma’s bakery, with a custom circus-themed cake. Photo: Tate Carlson

We asked, you answered: Readers’ picks for the Best of White Bear Lake 2015.

A place to pamper your tutu-wearing pup? You can take her to LuLu & Luigi’s. Looking for someone to help you gain your financial footing on the tightrope of life? Charles Edson with Edward Jones will help you find that all-important safety net. And what about a place that’s as exciting and thrilling as a three-ring circus to let your kid run off a little steam? The 4th Street Dance Centre is the perfect spot for your energetic tot who’s hopped up on cake (a circus-themed cake, perhaps?).

Yep, you guessed it: It’s the Best of under the Big Top! For the third consecutive year, White Bear Lake Magazine asked readers to vote for the best our fair city has to offer. With hundreds of readers weighing in and thousands of votes cast, we are proud to reveal your top picks, from restaurants and shops to pediatricians and landscapers.

So, step right up and dive right in to our special issue, chock-full of all the great places, people and things that make the White Bear Lake area such a great place to live. Okay, so we don’t have dancing bears or bearded ladies (we do have a lot of salons that could take care of that last one), but we have most everything else.


Whether you’re in the mood for a little more than peanuts and popcorn: A steaming stack of pancakes for a leisurely Sunday breakfast, the perfect spot for a cocktail with friends, a place to take the kiddos for a quick bite to eat when the thought of rustling up something at home is just too much to bear (see what we did there?) or anything in-between, these top eateries will fill your gullet and soothe your soul.

Best Bakery

Grandma’s Bakery
Delectable treats and beloved favorites abound at this local institution that has been pleasing crowds for 37 years. “We love when we hear, ‘Nobody is doing this anymore,’” says owner John Lupo. “It’s really a lot of fun.” Besides the famous hand-decorated cakes and scrumptious cookies, devoted customers flip over specialty items such as apple fritters, French doughnuts and cloverleaf dinner rolls.
1765 Buerkle Road, White Bear Lake; 651.779.0707
Runners up: Keys Café and Bakery, Café Cravings

Best Burgers
Washington Square
Come one, come all to the greatest burger joint on earth (well, in White Bear Lake anyway). What’s the secret? “Our burgers are big, made with a half-pound of beef that is hand-seasoned and hand-packed, and served with fresh bread. People also love adding toppings, like our guacamole that is made fresh in house,” general manager Naomi Krautkramer says. This year, Washington Square added the garlic burger to the menu, which gets its snappy kick from the perfect amount of fresh garlic and is topped with creamy goat cheese.
4736 Washington Square, White Bear Lake; 651.407.7162
Runners up: The Station Pub & Event Center (formerly Manitou Station), Rudy’s Redeye Grill

Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant
Keys Café and bakery
Juggling kids for a night out can be a task, but local parents know Keys Café is the place to go for a great meal with the entire family. Owner Celine Carlson says that children admire their festive front window always decorated for the season, and get excited seeing the bakery case goodies. “We have great food and options for kids to eat,” Carlson says. If your little ones get the wiggles post meal, no fear. “Kids love to walk or run the long hallway to the bathroom,” she adds.
2208 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.426.2885
Runners up: Donatelli’s, Pizzeria Pezzo

Best Date Night Spot
Whether it’s enjoying a hearty bowl of pasta, or sharing small platters like mussels with horseradish cream, taking your main attraction to Acqua will get you a round of applause. “We have a cozy and romantic atmosphere, candle-lit, with great views of the lake,” says general manager Stephanie Georgensen. Enjoy the three for $40 menu, where you can choose three courses for $40 per person year round.
4453 Lake Ave. S., White Bear Lake; 651.407.7317
Runners up: Rudy’s Redeye Grill, Ingredients Café

(A cucumber margarita from acqua is the perfect way to kick off your date night; Photo by Tate Carlson)

(A cucumber margarita from acqua is the perfect way to kick off your date night; Photo by Tate Carlson)

Best New Restaurant
Pizzeria Pezzo
The newest act on the scene, Pizzeria Pezzo has mastered the detailed craft of making the perfect coal-fired pizza. The Chicago-style pies, which have been available since 2013, have definitely won the hearts of locals, while the sky-high salads are legendary.
2143 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.788.7844
Runners up: Olive’s Fresh Pizza Bar, Red Lantern Sushi

Best Bartender

Efrain Santiago, Washington Square
“I’ve been here so long my regulars are like family to me,” says Santiago, who has been tending bar at Washington Square for 16 years. Santiago says his margaritas and Bloody Marys are popular, and he also has found a natural way to flavor drinks and infuse spirits without artificial ingredients. “I have a flavor palette of 60 concentrated flavoring oils,” he says. “People are always intrigued when I take the big black box out [so they can] see what we’re making.”
4736 Washington Square, White Bear Lake; 651.407.7162
Runners up: Chet Kuhn, The Station Pub & Event Center; Andre Lima, Washington Square

Best Tavern/Bar
Washington Square
You can wash down the best burger in town with a pint of one of the 20 craft beers on tap, including many local varieties, at this favorite watering hole. Washington Square also offers specialty craft cocktails with infused spirits and mixes made in house. “We strive to be the best neighborhood bar and grill—one [where] you can come with friends and family, or feel welcome to come in by yourself,” says general manager Naomi Krautkramer. 4736 Washington Square, White Bear Lake; 651.407.7162
Runners up: The Station Pub & Event Center, Rudy’s Redeye Grill

(Carribean jerk chicken sandwich from Washington Square Bar and Grill; Photo by tate carlson; Apparel from Goodthings; Styling by Molly O’Keefe)

(Carribean jerk chicken sandwich from Washington Square Bar and Grill; Photo by tate carlson; Apparel from Goodthings; Styling by Molly O’Keefe)

Best Place for Craft Beer on Tap
Big Wood Brewery‒Taproom
The top tap this year is at White Bear Lake’s own production brewery, which features 10 different styles of beer that rotate each week. “We have varieties that we can and keg for stores, but the majority of our styles are only served in the taproom so there is always a reason to come back,” says president Jason Medvec. For someone new to craft beer, Medvec recommends the Amigo Grande, the brewery’s Mexican-style lager.
2222 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 612.360.2986
Runners up: Washington Square, The Station Pub & Event Center

Best Dessert Spot

Keys Café and bakery
Keys Café’s legendary chocolate cake is the quintessential way to round out a meal, and just one of the reasons why their sweet goodies were voted as the best in town. Also known for their delectable pies and cookies, Keys bakes every yummy treat from scratch. “We have consistently great products,” says owner Celine Carlson. “Old-fashioned choices, nothing too fancy, but all really good.”
2208 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.426.2885
Runners up: Cup and Cone, Acqua

Best Patio Dining
Rudy’s Redeye Grill
With a bird’s-eye view of the places we love, Rudy’s rooftop patio comes in on top. This must-try spot features a casual dining experience with a full bar, a plethora of tables to sit and sip (Rudytini, anyone?), and comfortable couch seating to relax by the fireplace. “We have great service and a great menu,” says executive chef Brian Schaeffer. “The rooftop is a place where people come hang out all afternoon and enjoy a beautiful day.”
4940 Highway 61 N., White Bear Lake; 651.653.6718
Runners up: Admiral D’s, Acqua

(Samantha Fritze enjoys a Rudytini on Rudy’s rooftop patio; Photo by Tate Carlson)

(Samantha Fritze enjoys a Rudytini on Rudy’s rooftop patio; Photo by Tate Carlson)


Our homes are our sanctuaries, our soft places to fall where we can be ourselves and feel utterly comfortable. And with loads of shops, businesses and individuals to help achieve that goal, whether it be a brand new house, maybe a few accessories to freshen up the space, or a new furnace to keep your toes nice and toasty, these local favorites will have you creating the domicile of your dreams.

(A stunning home remodel by Pratt Builders.)

(A stunning home remodel by Pratt Builders.)

Best Builder/Remodeler
Pratt Builders
Pratt Builders has been helping area residents dwell well for 42 years. “It’s been a pleasure serving the community, and through all of our history here, we have many satisfied customers,” says Len Pratt, who co-owns the business with his brother Lowell. “We focus on the fundamentals. People appreciate our hands-on approach and our signature interior finish work.” Pratt Builders offers new construction and remodeling.
3500 Willow Lake Blvd. Suite 100, Vadnais Heights; 651.429.8032
Runners up: Hagstrom Builder, Husnik Homes

Best Home Retail/Furnishings
The name says it all—a place to find those good (great, really!), treasured things to adorn your abode. For those looking for that unique piece of art, special tabletop decor, cooking gear and more, Goodthings is a favorite destination.
2184 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.426.8006
Runners up: Nesting Inc., Painted Table

Best Landscape Designer/Architect
Goetz Landscaping
Creator of elegant outdoor living spaces, Goetz Landscaping came in as our readers’ favorite landscape designer. “We do the full spectrum of landscape work, from patios and retaining walls, plantings to custom stone waterfalls and features,” says owner Joe Goetz.
2030 Main St., Centerville; 651.426.2136
Runners up: Letourneau Landscaping, Rust Architects

Best Heating/AC Company
Reibel Heating and Air Conditioning
Whether it’s been keeping folks cool or heating them up, family owned and operated Reibel Heating and Air Conditioning has been helping the people of White Bear Lake stay comfy for decades.
1767 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.429.4444
Runners up: Four Seasons Air Specialists, White Bear Heating and Cooling

Best Yard Service
Ground FX Lawn & Landscape Inc.
Strong in his commitment to good service and quick response time for every lawn and garden job, owner Andy Gable says he is proud to base his business in White Bear Lake. Ground FX offers landscaping, fertilizer and weed application and mowing, as well as snow removal in the winter.
2370 County Road J, Suite 105, White Bear Lake; 651.925.9555
Runners up: Clean Cut Outdoor Services, Comstock & Sons

Best Interior Designer

Christina Lynn Interiors
Divine design is a phone call away with local favorite Christina Miller. “I strongly believe in listening to the client,” says Miller. “I ask lots of questions so that I can understand what they want to come home to.” Christina Lynn Interiors offers design consultations, as well as a selection of retail home furnishings, art and accessories in the downtown showroom.
4701 Banning Ave., White Bear Lake; 651.274.8832
Runners up: House Whispering, Schreier Interiors

(Christina Miller from Christina Lynn Interiors wins as best interior designer; Photo by Tate Carlson.)

(Christina Miller from Christina Lynn Interiors wins as best interior designer; Photo by Tate Carlson.)


Keeping healthy and in ship-shape—er, circus ready—is, let’s face it, hard to do. Lucky for us, we have a plethora of places to help us out. From yoga studios that have you feeling balanced and whole in no time flat to eye clinics that offer great service and sassy spectacles, and pediatricians who make sure your kiddos are running on all cylinders, here are your top picks for the best clinics and fitness venues around this neck of the woods.

(Sunbear Salon and Medspa keeps lake-area folks looking and feeling their best;Photo by Wendy B. Photos)

(Sunbear Salon and Medspa keeps lake-area folks looking and feeling their best;Photo by Wendy B. Photos)

Best MedSpa/Rejuvenation Clinic
Sunbear Salon and Medspa
Sunbear Salon and Medspa has everything under the sun you’d need or want to plump, primp and polish your look. Sunbear is again recognized for its excellence as a medspa, where clients can receive services such as laser hair removal, laser skin rejuvenation, medical grade chemical peels, microdermabrasion and botox. “Botox is still probably the most popular service,” says owner Christina Rauch. “It’s quick, and our nurse Mary Ann has been with Sunbear for three years; she has the right experience.”
2207 Third St., White Bear Lake; 651.426.5884
Runners up: Revive Salon, Contour Clinic

Best Chiropractic Clinic
The Carlson Clinic
The Carlson Clinic is on a mission to provide comprehensive chiropractic care for members of our community. “It would eliminate many medications and surgeries; we know what a difference it makes in patients’ health and in the community,” says clinic director Stephanie Vail. “It’s more than just back pain and neck pain. We treat all ages, headaches and migraines, ear infections for children, reflux and colic in infants—all areas of the body.”
4717 Clark Ave., White Bear Lake; 651.762.8040
Runners up: Barr Chiropractic, James G. Mondo/Mondo Chiropractic

Best Dental Clinic
Lakeshore Family Dentistry
“We are your down-home, family friendly dental office,” says office manager Jonni DelGreco. Lakeshore Family Dentistry has been maintaining their patients’ smiles for more than 40 years, and DelGreco says they have treated three and four generations of families.
4706 Banning Ave., White Bear Lake; 651.429.3348
Runners up: Isaacson Gentle Dentistry, Washington Square Dental

Editor’s Pick:
Best Smile Inducers
Silver Harmony Singers
With their toe-tapping renditions of tunes from the likes of Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and others, the Silver Harmony Singers bring smiles to all who have the privilege of seeing them perform. This energetic group, whose youngest members are in their 60s, sings to raise funds for the local food shelf and those in need.

(Silver Harmony Singers; Photo by Emily J. Davis)

(Silver Harmony Singers; Photo by Emily J. Davis)

Best Orthodontic Clinic
Signature Orthodontics
Serving patients of all ages, Dr. Wendy Sydleweski and her team feature cutting-edge technology and a family atmosphere to help keep White Bear Lake smiling pretty.
2126 Fifth St., White Bear Lake; 651.426.9986
Runners up: Dr. Kent Gulden, Erickson & Erickson-Aamodt

Best Pediatric Clinic
Northeast Pediatric
Part of Minnesota’s award-winning Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota, Northeast Pediatric has been caring for kids in the community for more than 20 years. Recently relocated to Hugo in a collaboration with HealthPartners, the clinic’s doctors continue to offer great service, including the convenience of same-day appointments and extended hours.
14701 Victor Hugo Blvd. N., Hugo; 651.426.1141
Runners up: HealthPartners, Northern Lights

Best Dermatology Clinic
Advanced Dermatology
Beauty is truly skin deep at Advanced Dermatology Care, which offers geriatric to pediatric dermatology to address current skin problems and prevent further damage. “We believe in being an active part of the communities we serve,” says Dr. O.J. Rustad. “We are committed to providing the best customer service and patient care using the most up-to-date and effective procedures and technology available.”
4480 Centerville Road, White Bear Lake; 651.484.2724
Runners up: Dermatology Consultants, North Metro Dermatology

Best Eye Clinic
White Bear Eye Clinic
“We still have small-town friendliness, but we’ve invested in big-town technology,” says Dr. Dave Perry, who has been with the practice since 1983. With four optometrists on staff six days a week, Dr. Perry, Dr. Jaclyn Doffin, Dr. Elizabeth Roberts and Dr. Allyson Caspers can readily assist with any eye emergencies.
4750 Washington Square, White Bear Lake; 651.429.3379
Runners up: Fashion Eyes, Birch Lake Eye Clinic & Optical

Best Senior Living Residence
Cerenity Senior Care
“We are neighbors caring for neighbors. It’s a hometown feel,” says Patrick McDonald, CEO and administrator for Cerenity Senior Care in White Bear Lake, about the way they treat their residents. With a new transitional care unit that opened in January 2014, Cerenity is a premier elder care facility that also offers assisted living, skilled nursing, memory care and therapy services for the physical, social and spiritual needs of its residents.
4615 Second Ave., White Bear Lake; 651.232.1867
Runners up: Washington Square Apartments, The Arbors of White Bear Lake

(The inviting outdoor patio at Cerenity Senior Care in White Bear Lake.)

(The inviting outdoor patio at Cerenity Senior Care in White Bear Lake.)

Best Fitness/Yoga Studio
LifeCore Yoga
Offering a nice balance of classes focusing on breath and movement, the instructors at LifeCore Yoga can get you in the right mudra. “Our instructors have the utmost training and experience,” says owner Allison Drusch, a White Bear Lake resident. “We are not just doing it, but living it,” she says of her yoga philosophy. In addition to yoga, LifeCore also offers barre and toning classes, which use light weights to help get you in shape.
2182 Fourth St. Suite B, White Bear Lake; 612.986.7216
Runners up: Drishti Yoga, Tri Fitness

(Allison Drusch, owner of Lifecore Yoga, winner for best fitness/yoga studio;Photo by Emily J. Davis)

(Allison Drusch, owner of Lifecore Yoga, winner for best fitness/yoga studio;Photo by Emily J. Davis)


It’s no surprise that our little corner of the world is filled with great shopping options. With boutiques for clothes, shops for the foodie, jewelry stores for those who can’t live without the bling, florists, liquor stores, etc., we can find whatever we need in our own backyard. And we wouldn’t have it any other way. So, without further ado, meet your favorite retail establishments.

Best Car Dealership
Polar Chevrolet and Mazda
Buying a car can seem daunting. Area residents appreciate Polar’s stand on haggle-free pricing and money back guarantees on their large inventory of new and used cars.
1801 E. County Road F, White Bear Lake; 651.429.7791
Runners up: Buerkle Honda, Lexus of Maplewood

(Chances are you recognize this larger-than-life mascot from Polar Chevrolet and Mazda.)

(Chances are you recognize this larger-than-life mascot from Polar Chevrolet and Mazda.)

Best Small-Business Customer Service
“We work really hard on customer service, and I am so proud of everyone here,” the salon and spa’s owner Kim Schoonover says. “We are very purposeful on who we hire [to ensure] that they believe in customer service. And, truthfully, it’s led by example. I grew up in a family business, and it was ingrained in me that your customer is number one. [The staff] sees it and embraces it.” The salon has a master reiki artist on staff to provide stress relief and relaxation techniques for the employees. “It helps us all stay balanced and provide a balanced environment,” Schoonover adds.
2183 Third St., White Bear Lake; 651.797.6440
Runners up: Revive Salon, Fashion Eyes

Best Boutique
Getting back to its roots as the clothing store opened by owner Tyler Conrad’s mom 42 years ago, Goodthings recently expanded into a new space just down the street from their original shop and is chock-full of fantastic finds. “The expansion of our clothing line this year has been really exciting,” says Conrad. Always changing to stay current, Goodthings carries artisan jewelry, shoes, specialty brands, and in the lower level of the new space, yoga and active wear. They sold out their first fashion show and are planning to expand that event in the future.
2184 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.426.8006
Runners up: Mainstream Boutique, Truly

Best Foodie Shop

Call it your local MasterChef pantry, where you can find professional tools and foodie gadgets like the “saucinater,” a whisk that makes gravy butter-smooth, all handpicked by the owners. “We pick things that we use ourselves,” says Barbara Smith, who owns the shop with her husband Shawn. “We like items that are multi-purpose and for the entire experience, from cooking to setting a tabletop and entertaining. We like to say, if we are not feeding you at Eat!@Banning and 5th, we give you the tools to let you eat at home.”
2202 Fifth St., White Bear Lake; 651.653.1225
Runners up: Olive Branch, Autumn Harvest

Best Liquor Store
Ciresi’s Liquor Store
Ciresi’s Liquor Store is one of the oldest family businesses in town. “There ain’t much I don’t know about what’s happened around here,” says Rich Bohaty, who with his wife Anna, is known for going the extra mile in customer service by helping customers choose from their large wine selection, carrying bags out to their cars and even offering delivery service. Today, even their young grandchildren are learning the business, helping out at the store when they visit White Bear Lake from the East Coast. “They learn to greet, count and make change,” adds Anna, who started working at their age when her father started the business in 1952.
2148 Third St., White Bear Lake; 651.429.7551
Runners up: Haskell’s, Summit Liquor

Best Florist

White Bear Floral
In business since 1932, White Bear Floral has been a community staple. “We do everything, from funerals to weddings and Christmas trees. Many customers have stuck by us all these years and we’ve done their prom corsages to their wedding flowers and beyond,” says Lorraine Birkeland, who grew up learning the business from her father and has now passed the legacy on to her son.
3550 Hoffman Road, White Bear Lake; 651.484.3391
Runner up: Lakeside Floral

Best New Shop

Open since June 2013, locals are loving Primp in White Bear Lake, which focuses on trendy and chic dresses, tops, skirts and basics for under $100.
4766 Banning Ave., White Bear Lake; 651.340.4717
Runners up: Upsy Daisy, Sweet Home

Best Jewelry Store
Joel B. Sherburne Jewelers
The ultimate “ring” master is Joel Sherburne of Joel B. Sherburne Jewelers. “People appreciate that we do custom designs and repair work in house,” says Sherburne, who also employs in-house gemologists, appraisers and goldsmiths, and is up to date on the latest technology. “We can do things other stores just can’t,” he adds.
2200 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.653.5024
Runners up: White Bear Jewelers, Goodthings

Best Shoe Store
Step right up! At Primp, high fashion footwear can be found for under $100. “We offer something trendy and unique with every style of shoe,” says manager Annie Bennek. For spring, Bennek says to expect wedges and gladiator sandals.
4766 Banning Ave., White Bear Lake; 651.340.4717
Runners up: Goodthings, Schuler Shoes

Best Gift Shop
You can find something special for everyone, from babies to Grandpa, at Goodthings. But it’s the owner’s community-minded focus that is the best gift of all. “For us, it’s all about bringing a new energy and excitement to downtown White Bear, and we see our expansion drawing new customers coming in, which is great for the community,” says owner Tyler Conrad. Goodthings is looking to focus even more on local artisans and brands made in Minnesota to add to their repertoire of items which include kitchen gadgets, spa items, children’s books and more.
2184 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.426.8006
Runners up: Truly, Sweet Home

Best Coffee Shop
Café Cravings
Open at 6:30 a.m. six days a week, Café Cravings is the top spot to grab a cup of Joe, a muffin or even a great omelet. Short on time? The drive-thru is open until 4 p.m.
1600 E. County Road E, White Bear Lake; 651.482.7742
Runners up: Dunn Bros, Caribou

(Do yourself a favor and try a Pumpkin Latte or any of the many delectable goodies at café cravings; Photo by Tate Carlson.)

(Do yourself a favor and try a Pumpkin Latte or any of the many delectable goodies at café cravings; Photo by Tate Carlson.)

Editor’s Pick:
Best Unique Entertainer

Gary LaRue, singing DJ and owner of Rat Pack Entertainment, has added to his repertoire: he now rides a vintage tricycle through White Bear Lake, singing hits from the Rat Pack era and selling ice cream novelties to the crowd. Look for him biking and singing around town this summer!
Rat Pack Entertainment; 651.276.8459

(Photo courtesy of Gary Larue)

(Photo courtesy of Gary Larue)

Best Consignment Shop
Missy’s Boutique & Consignment
Relocating her store to White Bear Lake this past April, Paula Romero loves bringing people brand-name clothes at a great savings. The store is named for Paula’s late daughter. “Missy was a fashionista who grew up in White Bear Schools, so it’s special that we are here,” Paula says. The boutique carries a mix of new and consignment name-brand handbags, clothing and accessories.
2186 Third St. Suite 104A, White Bear Lake; 651.336.4463
Runners up: Nesting Inc., ReUse ReStyle

(Some of the fashionable finds at Missy’s Boutique & Consignment; Photo by Emily J. Davis)

(Some of the fashionable finds at Missy’s Boutique & Consignment; Photo by Emily J. Davis)


We all want what’s best for our kiddos—and for our four-legged furry kids, too. From great schools and activities that will educate children and help them create, to places that will pamper and care for your pooch, here are your top choices for kids, family and pets in the White Bear Lake area.

Best Preschool/Childcare
Lake Area Discovery Center
Our readers chose Lake Area Discovery Center as best preschool/childcare this year. Founder Janet Miller started LADC in 1999 to fill a need in the community for more Christian-based early childhood programs. The program, which is nationally accredited through NAEYC, employs teachers with a four-year degree and a current Minnesota teaching license. LADC has nine locations partnering with local churches, including First Lutheran and Redeemer Lutheran in White Bear Lake.
3770 Bellaire Ave., White Bear Lake; 651.429.5411
Runners up: Children’s Discovery Academy, Kids Under Construction

Best Place to Spoil Your Pet
LuLu & Luigi
Even though our four-legged family members might not be able to jump through hoops or perform in front of large crowds, we still treat them like they’re the stars of the show. And what better way to show them just how special they are than with some new bling or a luxurious hydro-massage bath with essential oils. Yep, LuLu & Luigi is the spot to really show your best friend how good life can be.
2168 Third St., White Bear Lake; 651.287.2030
Runners up: Chuck and Don’s, Goldwood Kennels

Best Dance Studio

4th Street Dance Centre
In first position, 4th Street Dance Centre leaps to the top as this year’s favorite for area dancers. The studio offers preschool, competitive and recreational classes in tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, pointe and hip-hop.
5350 Highway 61 N, White Bear Township; 651.426.9644
Runners up: Lake Area Dance, White Bear Dance Center

Editor’s Pick
Best History Buff
Sara Markoe Hanson
With a veritable library of historical facts in her expansive memory, and a whole lot more in the annals of the White Bear Lake Area Historical Society where she is the executive director, Sara Markoe Hanson is, without a doubt, an expert history buff and a true treasure.
White Bear Lake Area Historical Society, 2228 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.407.5327

(Photo courtesy of Sara Markoe Hanson)

(Photo courtesy of Sara Markoe Hanson)

Best Veterinary Clinic
Birch Lake Animal Clinic
At Birch Lake Animal Clinic, good care starts with the animals. “We put the pet first,” says Dr. David Howe, who also emphasizes the importance of creating a pleasant environment for all. “We strive to have the clinic an inviting place with friendly staff where people and pets feel comfortable, so that it makes the experience less stressful on the owner.”
4830 White Bear Parkway, White Bear Lake; 651.426.2246
Runners up: Lake Animal Hospital, White Bear Animal Hospital

Best Doggy Day Care/Kennel

Goldwood Kennels
Let’s not forget our dogs and cats and the trusted hands in which we leave them. Family owned and operated, the team at Goldwood Kennels pride themselves on ensuring Fido and Fifi’s stay is clean, comfortable, worry-free and, well, fun. Goldwood employs 20 trained pet handlers with an expansive knowledge base and impressive love of animals.
9500 Dellwood Road N., Dellwood; 877.360.1713
Runners up: Oneka Pet Resort, Otter Lake Animal Care Center

(Goldenwood Kennel is top dog when it comes to the best doggy day care/kennel category.)

(Goldenwood Kennel is top dog when it comes to the best doggy day care/kennel category.)

Best Learning/Tutoring Center
Mathnasium helps youth and adults soar to new mathematical heights. “By the time they come to us, they’re usually really discouraged,” says owner Peter Atakpu, “so we work at rekindling their interest and desire in math.” The program uses comprehensive assessments to identify gaps and holes in learning, and then creates a tailor-made learning plan.
4711 Highway 61 N., White Bear Lake; 651.888.2541
Runners up: Children’s Discovery Academy, LearningRx

Editor’s Pick
Best Ethnic dishes
Black Sea Restaurant, with its yummy kebabs, doner sandwiches, spinach borek, falafel and other traditional Turkish dishes, is definitely a hit with the locals. Hankering for some baklava with that melt-in-your-mouth phyllo dough and chopped walnuts, sweetened with syrup to perfection? Yes, they have that, too.
1581 E. County Road E, Gem Lake; 651.484.0600


Most of what makes a community great are the people and services we need on a regular basis to help us keep our lives running smoothly; a great haircut, a relaxing massage, time honored financial advice and finding a new home, are all examples of services we just can’t live without. We asked, you voted; here are your top picks for local service providers.

Best Hairstylist/Barber
Jen McClanahan, Revive Salon
“I love to do color,” says hairstylist and owner Jennifer McClanahan, who opened Revive Salon two years ago. In addition to offering great colors and haircuts, McClanahan (and her staff at Revive) will pamper you with Aveda’s signature warm towel on your neck and relaxing scalp massage, and provide makeup touchups for every client.
2186 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.762.8840
Runners up: Joelle Garceau, Indulge; Samantha Fritze, Sunbear Salon & Medspa

(Jen McClanahan, winner of the best hairstylist/barber category; Photo by Tate Carlson)

(Jen McClanahan, winner of the best hairstylist/barber category; Photo by Tate Carlson)

Best Financial Advisor
Charles Edson

Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages…financial advisor Charles Edson ensures the spotlight is on you. “Our pride and success comes from serving the individual investor in the White Bear Lake area toward their personal financial goals,” says Edson. Whether you’re planning for college or retirement, Charles Edson with Edward Jones will keep your future looking bright.
2208 Third St., White Bear Lake; 651.429.1210
Runners up: Ken Galloway, Principal Financial Group; Dave Potts, Boyum & Barenscheer PLL

Best Massage Therapist
Amanda Mars, Indulge
Massage therapist Amanda Mars loves her job and is passionate about helping her clients feel special. “Everybody is different, so I take the time to listen to what needs they have and customize each massage,” she says. “I want each person to feel like they are a guest in my house.” Mars specializes in deep relaxation and pain relief, and also provides hot stone and therapeutic massages at Indulge Salon.
2183 Third St., White Bear Lake; 651.797.6640
Runners up: Julie Epstein, Indulge; Amy Klosterman, Sunbear Salon & Medspa

Best Real Estate Agent

Joy Erickson, Edina Realty
Twin Cities native and White Bear Lake resident Joy Erickson loves providing real estate services in an area she adores. “This is my home turf,” says Erickson, who says her knowledge of the area, along with her solution-oriented and proactive approach, makes for less stress in buying and selling homes. Erickson also teaches classes on home staging for resale through White Bear Community Education.
500 Village Center Drive, North Oaks; 612.802.7150
Runners up: Cindy Werner, Coldwell Banker Burnett; Jane Bacchus, Edina Realty

Best Salon/Spa

Indulge Salon and Spa owner Kim Schoonover is on mission to make you feel good as good as you’ll look. “We strive to create a very healing environment,” says Schoonover. “If someone comes in who has had a bad day, we want to brighten it and be warm and welcoming.” Indulge offers hair services, waxing, nails, as well as facials, massage, acupuncture, hypnotherapy and reiki.
2183 Third St., White Bear Lake; 651.797.6440
Runners up: Sunbear Salon & Medspa, Revive Salon

(Indulge offers many services and a peaceful relaxing environment)

(Indulge offers many services and a peaceful relaxing environment)

Best Insurance Agent
John Matschke, State Farm Insurance
Like a good neighbor, insurance agent John Mastchke is there—literally. “I have lived here my whole life, and I just celebrated my 40th anniversary with State Farm,” says Matschke, whom readers picked as the top insurance agent in town.
4878 Highway 61 N, White Bear Lake; 651.429.4999
Runners up: Jan Johnson, State Farm Insurance; Bill Matschke, State Farm Insurance

Best Nail Salon

Whether you want the latest in manicure and pedicure trends, or a more toned-down look, Indulge has what you’re looking for. And what about a quiet, relaxing spa environment? Yep, they have that, too. “Our clients can come for an Indulge pedicure; we can light a candle, and they relax and let [the stress] all go,” says owner Kim Schoonover.
2183 Third St., White Bear Lake; 651.797.6440
Runners up: Sunbear Salon & Medspa, Lovely Nails

Editor’s Pick:
Best Historic Venue
Kellerman’s Event Center
When you open the front door and walk up the stairs to the Kellerman’s Event Center on Fourth Street, you know you are someplace special. What started out as a YMCA in 1907, and has had many occupants since, has been transformed into a stunning events venue. Terry Kellerman, a virtual Jack-of-all-trades, spent hours, weeks, months and years painstakingly bringing the place to life. His latest addition to the space? A martini lounge, which just opened this spring.
2222 Fourth St., White Bear Lake; 651.261.6662


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