Best of the Twin Cities 2011
Variety is the spice of life, right? Sure, but we think the wondrous mix of things to do, eat, drink, buy, and enjoy in the Twin Cities is better described as, well, pretty sweet. It’s a veritable Candyland out there, and on the following pages we highlight the things that make us feel good as gumdrops. The tastiest focaccia (the best Dara’s ever eaten). The hippest cover band (they know Weezer’s The Blue Album front to back). The most honest auto-body shop (they do exist). And, yes, the best candy store. Admit it, we’re spoiled rotten here. And that’s a good thing.
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Jewelry Repair and Custom Design
Consumer Direct Jewelers
No jewelry woe is too great for Allen Lenz and his team at Consumer Direct Jewelers. Since 1981, they’ve designed, repaired, cleaned, restored, and created one-of-a-kind pieces, all in-house. From helping you design the engagement ring of your dreams to fixing broken clasps, their jewelry prowess knows no end. No wonder customers continue to return—and bring their friends with them.
☛ 2575 Fairview Ave. N., Suite 210, Roseville, 651-628-9944
Furniture Upholstery and Repair
Walter Mondale trusted them with his desk from Washington, D.C. Interior-design firms trust them with all their furnishing needs. And you should trust them, too. Al and Nancy Grahn started Grahn’s Upholstery in 1973, and their five-person team has been refinishing, reupholstering, and redesigning furniture ever since. They even do custom work: just bring an idea or photo, choose from their abundance of fabrics, and they’ll do the rest. Grandma’s rocking chair never looked so good.
☛ 14 27th Ave. SE, Mpls., 612-333-1446, grahnsupholstery.com
Auto Body Shop
Halvey’s Body Shop
We have the lock on an honest auto-body guy. No, really. (We’ll wait a minute until your laughter dies down.) When you get into a fender-bender—or worse—David Halvorson is the guy to see. He’s a top-notch technician, he’ll commiserate about the other guy’s bad driving skills, he’ll go out of his way to make sure you’re happy with the results—he even works with your insurance company so you don’t have to. In addition to being the best in the biz, he’s also an extraordinarily nice human being. Now isn’t that someone you want to give your business to?
☛ 3527 Chicago Ave. S., Mpls., 612-824-9114
Sarah Beth Photography
Anyone who says pets don’t have expressions hasn’t seen Sarah Beth Ernhart’s photography. Joyous, pensive, adoring—all those are there and more, conveying the individual personality of a four-legged friend. Even more poignant, though, are her “Joy Sessions”: photos taken before a beloved pet must say goodbye. These photos capture the true love between a pet and its person. Additionally, Sarah Beth donates 10 percent of her proceeds to a rotating list of shelters, rescues, and animal advocates.
☛ 612-804-2518, sarahbethphotography.com
Eco-Friendly Dry Cleaning
Call it magic. Call it science. Either way, Mulberrys’ non-toxic cleaning methods get garments squeaky clean while keeping the earth nice and green. The only dry cleaners in the Twin Cities to zap stains with pressurized carbon dioxide, Mulberrys also has excellent customer service, an iPhone app (MyDryCleaner, to track and pay for orders), and an eco-friendly home laundry-care line, The Laundry Collection. What can your drycleaner do for you?
☛ Four metro locations, see mulberryscleaners.com
Eco-Friendly Cleaning Service
Aaron’s Green Cleaning
Lots of cleaning services claim to be green, but only Aaron’s Green Cleaning channels the power of essential oils and elbow grease to get your house squeaky clean. In 2006, musician Aaron Barnell decided to upgrade house cleaning from side job to full-time gig. With the help of Melissa Farris, essential-oil guru to such stars as Robert De Niro and Madonna, Barnell concocted his omnipotent all-natural product line, then gathered his artist friends and flexed his customer-service chops to build his client base. Today, he and his staff service hundreds of homes and commercial buildings every month.
☛ 612-386-2793, aaronsgreencleaning.com
You need a bike fixed and at-risk youth need a break from street life. Where’s the overlap in this Venn Diagram? Full Cycle, a nonprofit bike shop run by the Pillsbury House, that teaches homeless youth bike-repair skills under the guidance of pro mechanics. The program offers paid internships and access to outreach workers, and you get reasonably priced bikes and repairs, plus a place to recycle tubes and tires, gratis. Remember the thrill of your first two-wheeler? Full Cycle gives away some 150 bikes a year to kids in need, providing an instant passport to those who need it most.
☛ 3515 Chicago Ave. S., Mpls., 612-824-7581, fullcyclebikeshop.org
Maureen, The Canine Coach
Maureen Haggerty might not have a TLC reality show, but she is a true dog whisperer, dispatching solutions to all manner of pet (and owner) behavior problems, from housebreaking to barking to aggression to separation anxiety. Take Spot to group classes or boot camp, or have Maureen or one of her genius staffers come to you to tackle the nitty-gritty problems. They’ll even come back for follow up. They use gentle reinforcement methods, leading not only to better behavior on the part of your dog, but also a better relationship between you and your dog. Call it puppy love.
☛ 612-202-4732, thek9coach.com
Best Home Decor
I.D. Inside Design
212 Third Ave. N., Mpls., 612-317-0045, id-insidedesign.com
Scandanavian Clean Lines
160 Glenwood Ave., Mpls., 612-333-2127, finnstyle.com
Natural Built Home
4020 Minnehaha Ave., Mpls., 612-605-7999, naturalbuilthome.com/about
619 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-312-1122, thegrandhand.com
4501 Nicollet Ave. S., Mpls., 612-377-3331
Blu Dot Hot Spot (and More)
2914 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-377-6465, roaminteriors.com
Two metro locations: 4245 Excelsior Blvd., St. Louis Park, 952-285-2777; 1039 Grand Ave., St. Paul, 651-222-5253; traditions.com