Jam Hops Gymnastics, Dance and Cheer was formed when The Gymnastics Factory of Ham Lake joined forces with Jam Hops of Mound View in 1997. At first, they focused only on recreational and competitive gymnastics. As the talent, energy, and location expanded, however, so too did the program—they began to include dance. The inertia then became harder to contain, leading to Jam Hops' cheer program, the "leap-n-learn" academic preschool program, and even birthday parties and day camps that have further integrated Jam Hops into the community. In 2013 alone, Jam Hops scored the "Reader's Choice Award" from the Anoka County Shopper and the "Family Choice Award" from Macaroni Kid
Despite expansions in locations and classes, Jam Hops maintains its original mission: to turn children into champions of life. Nurturing young talent, the enthusiastic staff—many of whom are CPR and First Aid Certified—boost the confidence of students in recreational and competitive gymnastics programs. They work with boys and girls ranging from preschool age to 12th grade, and have even shepherded teams to the Junior Olympics nationals. Instructors in the dance programs, meanwhile, teach adults, teens, and tykes as young as two the ins-and-outs of jazz, tap, hip-hop, and ballet styles. It's not all about gymnastics or dance, though—the staffers in charge of academic preschool classes instill physical fitness and learning excellence in kids ages 3–5.
Chef Dennis Lewis of Ursula's Wine Bar & Cafe draws from his cornucopia of seasonal produce, sourced from local farmers, to craft his monthly changing menu. It’s a menu that has earned OpenTable Diners' Choice Awards for "Best Food" and "Best Overall" experience. In the kitchen, Chef Lewis chops greens from local producers, including Twin Pine Farm, Grandmas Bakery, and Pine Tree Apple Orchard, to toss with blueberry-balsamic vinaigrettes and curried, creamy coconut dressings. His monthly updated menu has included appetizers such as goat-cheese gratin with sun-dried tomatoes and spicy red-pepper hummus with warm flatbread. The kitchen team also prepares entrees that are seasonally inspired, like reindeer lawn ornaments and air-conditioner window decorations. An example of this seasonal food is the pork loin rubbed with ancho-chipotle chili and served with pumpkin mashed potatoes and bacon brown butter. The dining area accommodates 39 guests, meaning there are more than three times as many varieties of domestic and imported wines—150 to be exact—as there are guests at any given time. There’s also an outdoor patio, where wine flights can be sipped while plane flights sip the sky overhead.
Metal fences extend above a brushed metal bar, where platforms hold custom hogs––motorcycles decked out with flames and thick, silver rims. If the bikes don't paint a picture, how about staggered biker signs dangling from the rafters, or a homestyle menu of flame-kissed favorites? Fatboys was formed in 2004 as a place for bikers to compare tattoos and crochet helmet cozies, but as time passed, a more diverse clientele began streaming in for the food and ambiance.
Amid neon signs and the clack of pool balls, black lacquered tables populate with golden-fried apps, meaty sandwiches, and the signature Fatboy burger––a full-pound of USDA Choice beef with three kinds of cheese and four strips of bacon. Warm weather triggers the opening of an enormous V-twin patio, where patrons can sip a brew while watching barbecue-slathered ribs slide right off the bone.
In addition to supporting charitable organizations such as Meals on Wheels, Fatboys hosts events such as karaoke, live music, and the Biker Babe Bike Wash, which allows bikers and rebellious chariot drivers to have their wheels shined to a pristine sheen.
At Macaluso’s Roadhouse, chefs hand-toss dough and simmer house-made tomato sauce before decorating pies with a variety of 16 toppings. Slices piled high with pepperoni, sausage, and bacon bits exercise, and a disk covered with mushrooms and green peppers offers a delicious visual device to teach younger siblings about fractions. A punch card for a fleet of 10 14-inch pizzas lets patrons savor cheesy bites in multiple visits with different groups of friends and family. Mouths munch as hands line up chips on Bar Bingo Tuesdays and shuffle cards on texas hold’em Sundays, and the live musical stylings of Tim Sigler drowns out the sound of chewing in ears on Thursdays.
Steel Toe Brewery's founder was a home brewer, fermenting beer in his bedroom overnight, until the gurgling sounds of the carboy began to disturb his wife's sleep. Origin stories like these are just one of the attractions of Taproom Tours' brewery tours, which also explore the Belgian yeast of Boom Island Brewing, celebrate session ales at 612 Brew, and enable sud savoring in the wood-paneled taproom at Indeed Brewing Company. Visitors taste sample brews at each location, and, helped along by a knowledgeable guide, explore the breweries' inner workings until they have learned every yeast strain's first name and favorite sports team.
After modeling their first eatery, ROMA Restaurant, after the Roman Empire, Chef Brent Pilrain and his family opted to try something new, setting their sights on a colonial American theme. So when the family was greeted with the opportunity to open up a new kitchen in Liberty Village, the birth of Patriots Tavern seemed like kismet. Today, Chef Pilrain keeps up the colonial theme in both cuisine and décor, churning out a menu of New England–inspired fare and wood-oven-fired pizzas within a whitewashed mansion. Rich mahogany and stone details create a warm yet spacious interior dabbled with American flags and historical knickknacks, such as lanterns and George Washington’s original set of wooden press-on nails.
In 1960, James Welsch's grandfather purchased a then 56-year-old tavern, breathing new life to an old establishment and kicking off what would be a longstanding staple in the Arden Hills community, Three Welsch generations later, the eatery—now more than a century old—still dishes up a menu of comfort food ranging from housemade pizzas to open-faced meatloaf sandwiches. In addition to serving up drinks at the bar, the establishment regularly hosts live comedy events, including improv-style readings of the daily specials.