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Shawn Richardson and his hunting buddies were on a fishing trip, exchanging stories and admiring the natural beauty of Lake Superior when one of the fellas struck on a crazy idea. Fun as it was to traipse around the coniferous wilderness—he explained as his friends’ rapt expressions held steady through intermittent bites of newly caught walleye—it seemed a shame that lake-fresh fish and wild game had to be wrested from the cruelly indifferent hands of nature. What if a person need only reach out a fork to enjoy nature’s spoils?

Long after the trip had ended, that notion reverberated down the mental corridors of Shawn, himself a seasoned chef. Every time he joylessly cut a piece from a flavorless slab of frozen fish, or played an idle game of Oregon Trail it would return anew, like an unscratched itch. Finally, one morning—with resolve etched into his steely face—he said goodbye to his mounted yeti head, threw sand over the bonfire flickering on top of his living room coffee table, and strutted out the door to open up a neighborhood joint of his own, where he could serve fresh and local wild game.

Today, Woodsmans Gril’s kitchens sizzle with 13 types of unique game, including elk, bison, walleye, and quail. Shawn smokes his the meats himself onsite, while conducting a kitchen staff as they prepare an innovative menu that has enticed the palates of ABC Newspapers. Servers carry the weighty plates out into the dining room, where Shawn's taxidermy mounts gaze down from brick walls, and color photographs of wild deer, flapping fish, and rugged escaped bank tellers adorn the tables.

1918 1st Ave
Anoka,
MN
US

It started with a single store, opened in Fridley, Minnesota in 1964. But Dick Kempe's pizza proved too tasty for one outpost, and Chanticlear Pizza eventually spread to 14 locations in the following years. And although Dick no longer owns the pizzerias, his uncompromising standards for quality pies remain in place. Fresh dough is mixed up and hand-tossed daily. Vegetables are chopped each morning. Instead of adding sugar to their sauce, the chefs rely on the tomatoes' natural, charm school-perfected sweetness. And the from-scratch foundation is always topped with house-shredded, 100% Wisconsin mozzarella cheese.

Once the dough and sauce are ready, Chanticlear Pizza's chefs continue the process by loading them with meats and veggies. The selection of toppings range from shrimp and bacon pieces to a secret-recipe pickle blend. A splash of spicy, bourbon-tinged molasses or chunky salsa can add additional pizzazz to pizzas. Beyond circular eats, polygonal dishes as pastas, calzones, and sides of buffalo wings and garlic toast populate the menu.

440 Bunker Lake Blvd NW
Anoka,
MN
US

A tall painted portrait, illuminated from above, shows a woman standing barefoot holding a lamb. Follow her glance downwards and sideways, and you'll sight row upon brightly colored row of carefully stacked skeins of yarn from brands such as Blue Sky and Spud & Chloë. Classes teach tender-footed knitters to wield these materials with care, and more advanced offerings cover refined and specialized stitching skills. The shop also carries its own line of all-natural soaps, household cleaners, and moisturizers designed to soften hands toughened by efforts to wrestle needles away from uncooperative porcupines.

2010 2nd Ave
Anoka,
MN
US

Surrounded by cheeky pink carpeting and floor-to-ceiling racks of metallic-colored medicine balls, instructors at Studio K lead 45-minute fitness classes, many of which focus on seniors. With a stone fireplace nested in the corner and mirrors surrounding the walls, cozy classes whip cores into finer fettle during yoga and mat Pilates, and patrons cut a cardio rug during dance-aerobics sessions that include Zumba and Latin Dance. Studio K takes part in the SilverSneakers program, which modifies cardio and strength workouts for seated routines, making it easier for older students and reigning monarchs to participate.

13735 Round Lake Boulevard Northwest
Andover,
MN
US

Taken from the Spanish word for "conception" or "beginning," Conchita Bodyworkz fosters new, healthy beginnings with massage treatments that revive the mind, body, and soul. Cathy, Conchita’s owner and massage therapist, helps kick-start the journey with pampering and therapeutic massage packages. Swedish, deep-tissue, and pregnancy massage align the body and mind with relaxing bodywork, whereas hot-stone treatments pander to tight and tense muscles. All treatments allow clients to embark on a quiet, blissful sojourn into relaxation. Cathy rounds out her massage menu with paraffin add-ons that further help the body attain a state of optimal well-being.

300 East Main Street
Anoka,
MN
US

The bodywork experts at Anoka Massage & Pain Therapy believe in the healing power of relaxation and do their best to drive away unhealthy stress with massage therapy and acupuncture. Staffers are trained in a number of Eastern and Western modalities, including shiatsu, tui na, and myofascial release, focusing on pressure points or wadded-up connective tissue. During needling sessions, acupuncturists take aim at tension and a host of other ailments, such as allergies, depression, and ice-cream headaches.

710 E River Rd
Anoka,
MN
US