Page 1

Grown up S’MORES

FASHION TAROT for the bride to be

ASHLEY HANLEY’S tumultuous year



BARTENDER! Erin Filson of Pub 500 JULY 2017

The Free Press MEDIA


for Voting Us

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F EATUR ES JULY 2017 Volume 12, Issue 7

18 It’s our annual Best of Mankato issue

Where did your favorite service, business or restaurant rank?

ABOUT THE COVER Erin Filson is a familiar and friendly face to thirsty residents. The Pub 500 bartender was voted No. 1 by our readers. She was photographed by Mankato Magazine photographer — and frequent Pub 500 patron — Pat Christman. MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 3

DEPARTMENTS 6 From the Editor 8 This Day in History 9 The Gallery Bryan Holland

10 Beyond the Margin Independence Day, revisited


12 Familiar Faces Ashley Hanley

16 Day Trip Destinations Wild Mind Artisan Ales

54 Then & Now Brackett’s Battalion

56 Raw Fusion Are you ready to rock?

61 Food, Drink & Dine 62 Food


A new twist on S’mores

64 Wine Local lineup

65 Beer Bubbling Fourth nostalgia

66 Happy Hour A dram for all seasons

68 That’s Life Never say die(t)

70 Garden Chat


Craigslist connections


72 Your Style Bridal attire for the bride who never wanted to care about this

74 Coming Attractions 76 Faces & Places 80 From This Valley Pete’s personal ‘Best of’ list

Coming in August



We continue our trend of focusing on model citizens. This time, we’ll introduce you to some community elders setting the best kind of example.


THANK YOU for Voting Me


3 Years in a row!

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Steve Jameson

EDITOR Joe Spear ASSOCIATE Robb Murray EDITOR CONTRIBUTORS Nell Musolf Pete Steiner Jean Lundquist Sarah Johnson Leigh Pomeroy Bert Mattson Leticia Gonzales Ann Rosenquist Fee Bryce O. Stenzel James Figy Amanda Dyslin PHOTOGRAPHERS Pat Christman Jackson Forderer PAGE DESIGNER

Christina Sankey

ADVERTISING Phil Seibel MANAGER ADVERTISING Jordan Greer SALES Josh Zimmerman Marianne Carlson Theresa Haefner Thomas Frank ADVERTISING Barb Wass ASSISTANT ADVERTISING Sue Hammar DESIGNERS Christina Sankey CIRCULATION Justin Niles DIRECTOR

Mankato Magazine is published by The Free Press Media monthly at 418 South Second St., Mankato MN 56001. To subscribe, call 1-800-657-4662 or 507-625-4451. $35.40 for 12 issues. For editorial inquiries, call Robb Murray at 344-6386, or e-mail For advertising, call 344-66364, or e-mail


And the winner is ... D

eep, deep in the bowels of my lower North Mankato home, there is a box of trinkets, medals, trophies and pins that, to everyone else in the world, is meaningless. But to me, they’re the kind of things I wouldn’t dream of throwing away. As a kid, I played a lot of hockey, baseball and soccer. This was back in the day when you didn’t get a    ŹǕ  out the year. You got them for winning tournaments. You got them because, on some given weekend or some given season, your team had proven itself to be the best. In the sporting world, we acknowledge that kind of excellence with mementos. Whether it’s a trophy or a medal, we want people to have something to hold onto, something by which we can remember our moment of excellence. Whether it’s a Minnesota thing or an American thing or a human nature thing, we like to be told we were the best at something, at least for a moment. Which explains why so many of our readers are so interested in the annual Best of Mankato issue of Mankato Magazine. While there are other “best of â€? lists out there from other publications, we think our list is the definitive one. Readers cast thousands of votes. We tallied them. And now we present to you the Best of Mankato, 2017. It’s important to note, readers, that the Best of Mankato issue — while we’re extremely proud of it — is merely a survey. There are many, many great businesses and individuals who may not have been voted “bestâ€? by this magazine that are, in fact, amazing. That’s one of the great things about living in the Mankato area: There

is A LOT of quality to go around in so many areas. Elsewhere in Mankato Magazine, we’ve got a couple of treats for you this month. First, we’re proud to announce the return of a feature called Fa m i l i a r Fa c e s , w h i c h w a s eliminated from our monthly lineup about a year ago. It’s back this month with KEYC-TV news anchor Ashley Hanley, who has dealt very publicly with the tragic loss of her mother. Hanley shares the personal side of a difficult journey, and talks about how she’s using the tragedy to help others not have to go through what she did. It’s a story you definitely don’t want to miss, and we’re very thankful she agreed to share it with us. Also, we’ve got some super practical advice this month on a very important summer issue: S’mores! You guys all have had S’mores. This month we’re giving you a road map to take your S’mores game to the next level. Whether it’s mixing in a graham cracker spread or fresh fruit, or getting crazy with different kinds of chocolates, there’s no end to what you can do with the  ǕǕ ǔ Ź Ǖ \ You’re welcome. We’re here to help.

Robb Murray is associate editor of Mankato Magazine. Contact him at 344-6386 or rmurray@ Follow him on Twitter @freepressRobb.


ƷƬƭƶƨƥƼƭƲƬƭƶƷƳƘƼ By Jean Lundquist

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Monday, July 22, 1991 Oldfather helps keep Faribault County Fair going Roger Oldfather’s surname is apt. He’s the Faribault County Fair’s patriarchal elder, and today he starts in on his 33rd year of seeing to it that fairgoers have fun, midway rides are up to snuff, and there is enough straw in the sheep barn. The fair runs through Friday at the fairgrounds at Blue Earth. Oldfather talked about the niche of the county fair in the ‘90’s. “As long as you change with the times, as long as you have shows that meet people’s need, they’ll keep coming.” One school of thought holds that county fairs are living on borrowed time; that the contemporary lifestyles and high tech diversions at home will make county fairs go the way of drive-in theaters and push lawnmowers. Oldfather says, “I’ve heard that for the last 30 years.” Changing with the times, the Faribault County Fair runs weekdays only. Weekend days were scratched for a simple reason: attendance was dismal. “Weekends people go to weddings, to the lake or to something in The Cities.” Thursday, July 1, 1976 From Nudie, with Love The most fashionable person in Mankato by any stretch of the tailor’s tape measure is Rod Zeno, 2 Woodland Hill Drive. He had an original pigskin jacket made for him by Nudie Cohn, who tailored in Mankato during the 1930’s, then moved to Hollywood. Cohn’s label is today found in clothing worn by celebrities like Gene Autry and Liberace. Cohn first made a fringed deerskin jacket, the first of its kind, for a then-younger Zeno, in 1934. Cohn retrieved the jacket for his personal collection on a visit to Mankato several years ago, but made a new jacket for Zeno — gratis — in exchange. Monday, July 18, 1955 Shrine circus opens fourth visit to Mankato The usual roar of enthusiastic baseball crowds at Tanley Field changed this afternoon to intermittent trumpeting of elephants as Polack Brothers Shrine Circus opened its fourth visit to Mankato. Trucks, trailers and railroad cars transported the big circus from Fargo, North Dakota, and show people worked most of the night putting the finishing touches to the rings and stages. Staging ring acts will be presented in the infield, with the aerial acts in the outfield. Tickets are available at the cigar stand at the Saulpaugh Hotel. Wednesday, July 9, 1902 Brandis is found, charged with stealing his brother’s horse Benjamin Brandis was arrested near Elysian this morning on the charge of stealing his brother’s horse and buggy last Thanksgiving night. He was brought to this city and placed in the county jail to await his hearing. Brandis had been working for his brother on the latter’s farm in McPherson, and left unexpectedly. No trace of him could be found. Brandis denies that he stole the horse. He’s 30 years old and somewhat simple-minded. His story is that he was working near Elysian when his brother and father wanted him to come and work at their farm, promising to give him a horse and buggy. He worked hard for them for 2 years, but was not paid anything, nor was he given the horse and buggy. He said he was treated roughly. He concluded to take the horse and buggy and leave, taking only what was his. “After I get out,” he said, “I will have dad pulled if he don’t pay me what he owes me.” Brandis said he intends to get married next fall to a young lady at Elysian. He has seen her twice, and hopes to be introduced soon to win her hand.


Bringing spirit, mystery to art F

or artist Bryan Holland, there isn’t a time when he wasn’t creating art or thinking about what his next project was. “I was always drawing and coloring when I was a kid,” shared Holland. “It was just something I stayed interested in.” Whether it was creating comic book characters with a childhood friend or taking art classes in high school, Holland’s interest soon became a passion. “When I was in high school, I took art whenever I had the opportunity,” ¨—܁«“ʈʭÜ,ÜãØ㗓ăëܨ«Ã¢èÕ¨«¢¨ school, I thought, ‘What am I going to do? I don’t want to be a starving artist,’ so I thought I would go into commercial art; graphic design.”

After finishing up a two-year program in Alexandria for what was then called commercial art, Holland began working as a graphic artist. “I started to get a little disillusioned with things,” he said. “Just not really feeling like it was something I wanted to do for a career or for the rest of my life.” Holland quit his job and decided to study art education at the University of Sioux Falls. Soon after graduating, he dabbled in desktop publishing before earning his master’s degree in painting from the University of South Dakota. His background in painting and graphic design has greatly impacted his current work as a working artist in St. Peter. “One of the things that I started recently is doing some digital work,”

said Holland. With the help of a grant from the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council, Holland was able to purchase a Wacom Cintiq device, which he described as a giant iPad with a pressure sensitive screen and stylus. “I have always been Interested in computer technology, and so getting that was kind of a fun thing; the ability ãʹ«Ã“Ê¡ãØúÊèã«“—ÜÊÁ“«ė—Ø—Ãã format instead of working with real paint and canvas and cradle panel, and paper.” While the learning process was slow ãăØÜãô¨—Ãèܫâ㨗×ô㗍¨Ãʼʢúʃ Holland quickly intermeshed the device into his repertoire. “I like exploring contrast in my work,” he continued. “For example, you probably notice there is this contrast between flatness and illusion. There Ø—ÜÊ——¼——ÃãÜ㨁ãØ—Ąãʃ¼«¹—ã—ùã or pattern. Then there’s that illusion of something that looks like three dimensional spaces. There’s a contrast between graphic design and painting and painterly techniques; nature versus man, shape versus line. Those are all the things I am interested in exploring; “«ė—ؗ͗܁Óܫ«¼Ø«ã«—Üʃ,¢è—ÜÜʈʮ Working through what he calls a “fluid and organic process,” Holland uses both photographs and sketches to channel inspiration into his work, which mostly revolves around animals. “If you look at my work, I like to sort of take the animal and remove it from the environment so to speak,” Holland described. This process instead puts the focus on the animal, said Holland, “so you aren’t looking at the animal in the environment, you are looking at the animal in another setting, and against the color background, and against some pattern, and against something else. In doing so, I’m trying to create, and sort of give the animal either a different sense of life or spirit or mystery.”




ƦƩƼƳƲƨƷƬƩƱƥƘƫƭƲ By Joe Spear

revisited T

he idea of independence has run through American life since July 4, 1776, but has played out for decades in ô«¼“¼ú“«ė—Ø—Ããã¨Ø—“Ü㨁べ—èÕÊèØؗ“ʃô¨«ã— and blue country. The Declaration of Independence was a simple document. It laid out the case for the 13 colonies to become independent states from Great Britain and escape the tyrannical rule of King George III. It set down principles: “We hold these truths to be selfevident ...” and detailed an extensive laundry list of grievances against the crown saying the king has “plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people,” as well as allowing “Murder” of “Inhabitants of these states” by soldiers and mercenaries. Let’s just say our Founding Fathers weren’t holding back. The Declaration of Independence, along with the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are considered the three founding documents of America, and so far they’ve held up for two centuries. a¨——¼Øã«Êë܍ÊÃÜ«“—Ø—“ʭÜ«¢Ã«ăÃ㼁Ӂع«Ã the history of democracy,” according to, the ô—ŒÜ«ã—Ê¡㨗)«ÜãÊØú¨Ã×¼ʈ,㨁“¢Ø—ã«ÃĄè—Í—Êà freedom movements around the world. èã«ÃãʓúʰÜ—ثúÊèʰ“Œ—¨Ø“ÕؗÜܗ“ãÊăÓ՗ÊÕ¼— who are feeling like “governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” We often don’t give our consent in enough numbers to ¹—“«ė—ؗÍ—ʈ Some 40 percent of eligible voters did not vote in the 2016 presidential election. And Americans mostly don’t vote Œ—èܗ㨗úÂÊÜã¼ú“ÊÃʰ㌗¼«—ó—«ãÃ¹—“«ė—ؗÍ—ʈ The folks at Pew Research tell us the level of trust Americans have in their government in Washington was at an all-time low of just 19 percent in 2015. In fact, for the period from 2007 to 2015, fewer than three in 10 Americans said they trust their government to do the right thing all or most of the time, the longest period of low trust in 50 years. Still, trust has taken an interesting ride, according to Pew, and leaves us with some hope that our despair doesn’t have to be chronic. Trust in government to do the right thing peaked in 1964 ô«ã¨ɀɀ՗؍—Ã㨁ó«Ã¢ÊÃă“—Ã—«Ã㨗¡—“—؁¼¢Êó—Ø×Ããʈ The tumultuous late 1960s and early 1970s with the Vietnam War, Civil Rights turmoil and Watergate eroded that trust to

half that amount by the end of the 1970s. Trust rebounded in the 1980s and 1990s with the economic boom of the Clinton years, and in fact, trust held steady and rose right after 9/11 to 60 percent, the highest level in 40 years, according to Pew. It declined again with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and economic recession at home. We’ve been in a trust and despair sickbed coming on a decade. We don’t have to declare our independence from Great Britain anymore, though the whole Brexit phenomenon is an ironic twist in this context. But there are plenty of tyrannies out there from which we should declare our independence. We’ve let Facebook take away our independent ability to choose the news we need instead of getting fed the news Facebook’s algorithm knows we “like.” We’re losing our independent thinking in the media bubbles we’re living in. The tyranny of the king has turned into the tyranny of those who would gerrymander our congressional districts through power and money to render the people’s institution — Congress — inoperable. Our branches of government are under siege from the —ù—èã«ó—¹«Ã¢Ê¡aô«ãã—Øô¨Ê¨ÜŒ—Ê—“—Õãã“—ăëâ the demise of our institutions in 140 characters. Consider the backlash against our immigrants in the context of these words of the Declaration stating King George “endeavoured to prevent the population of these states … obstructing the law for naturalization of foreigners.” An idea that once was a critical part of our independence has us now questioning it in fear. Some of the pillars of our independence — a free, fair and independent press — started crumbling a few decades ago. Broadcasting capitalists defeated the idea the airwaves are owned by the public so all sides should be heard. They did away with the Fairness Doctrine in broadcasting, and Rush Limbaugh replaced Walter Cronkite with all of the power but none of the responsibility. Experts in the study of government have argued that democracies only last about 200 years. In that respect, we’ve been overachieving for about 40 years. Maybe we can continue to beat the odds by remembering the 4th of July for what it was and what it can be. Joe Spear is editor of Mankato Magazine. Contact him at or 344-6382. Follow on Twitter @jfspear. MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 11

ƪƥƱƭưƭƥƘƪƥƧƩƶ ƪ ƥ žōşļƜ)ĦŦşļƜ ƦƼƥƱƥƲƨƥƨƼƶưƭƲ ƦƼ Ƽ ƥƱ

KEYC anchor does good with

family tragedy A

shley Hanley’s mom, Michele Goettl, was surrounded by almost her whole family on Jan. 3 when she took her last breath. Everyone except Hanley. Michele had given the whole family a cruise to the Bahamas for Christmas. Hanley, a KEYC and Fox 12 news anchor, and her husband were taking a later trip, having no way of knowing that heart disease would claim the life of Hanley’s 49-year-old mother during what was supposed to be a fun day of snorkeling with the family. Hanley had to hear the devastating news that her mom and best friend had died over the phone. It’s a moment she’ll never forget. “She was 49 (almost 50), and there was no history of heart disease in the family. That’s why it came as such a shock,” Hanley said. “There were no warning signs, nothing that would ever let her or us know something was wrong. She was so happy in her last days; I would’ve never thought anything was wrong.” Michele was very involved in her community — as an election judge, in her church choir, playing volleyball and softball, and supporting various sports teams, including the Mankato Peppers. Hanley knew that with a mom who gave back so much to the community, she would have wanted her to do the


same and do some good with such a terrible loss. Hanley dedicated special news coverage to heart disease, a series called “Heart Health Series: Remembering Michele Goettl.” She has already heard from people helped by the stories. Here is more about Hanley’s family’s very personal tragedy, how they have coped, and why she chose to share their experiences with the community. Mankato Magazine: Your mom’s death was so sudden, and while some of your family was with her on vacation while it happened, you were home in North Mankato. What was it like to have to hear such terrible news on the phone? Ashley Hanley: It was something nightmares are made of. I was slowly getting ready for work when the phone rang. I saw it was from the Bahamas. It was my dad, and I had never heard him sound like that before. At first I thought I was still dreaming and that this can’t be real. They were on vacation, how do things like this happen? I also think hearing it on the phone made it harder for me to accept that she is really gone. I had only seen her alive, and I can’t picture them doing CPR, her not breathing, them taking her to the hospital. I

still feel even to this day that she’s still on vacation and will someday walk back through the door. It still doesn’t feel real. I can’t imagine what the rest of my family had to live through. I just miss her so much. I never imagined living without her. Then hearing it on the phone also made me feel so helpless. There was nothing I could’ve done to help her, or to be with my family. The two days waiting for them to come home is all a blur. We went to the airport to meet them, and I was still waiting for mom to follow them and get off the plane. When she didn’t, it still didn’t seem real. How could my rock, my hero, my helper, my best friend be gone? And why on a vacation that she had been looking forward to and spent weeks planning for to make it so special? I’ve covered sad stories in the news before and knew things like this happen every day, but you don’t realize how much it hurts until it happens to you. MM: Your family has been so open on social media about the terrible experience of losing your mom so unexpectedly. How has it helped to share this experience with the public, and how has being a public figure affected how you and your family have grieved? AH: At first I thought sharing on social media would help me tell others so I didn’t have to relive the story over and over again. I thought it was one place people could look for updates and stories, versus asking me in person since it took two weeks to get her body back and even longer for the death report and autopsy to say what happened. Then, unbeknownst to me, it became a place to help others. I had complete strangers message me and say they got their heart checked, and several people said they found something that, if not found, could’ve been worse. So knowing that social media was used to help people made me want to post even more. Then, another surprise was how much it helped me heal. People I didn’t even know shared stories of my mom. Someone said, “I worked with your mom in Madelia 26 years ago. Then she left when

she had a baby. Were you that baby?” Yes! I was! So hearing stories like that have really helped me, and social media has been an outlet to share stories and feelings and has been a tool I didn’t realize would be so helpful, not only to me, but others, too.

Name: Ashley Hanley Age: 26 City of residence: North Mankato Job title: Anchor for KEYC News 12 at 9 on Fox 12 Mankato (4 years) Family names: Husband, John Hanley; Baby on the way; Dad, Dan Goettl; Sisters, Katie Goettl and Kelsey Goettl; Brother, Alex Goettl

MM: Now that the shock has worn off (if it has), how have you been doing? And what keeps you strong when your thoughts drift to your mom? AH: To be honest, the shock hasn’t worn off; if anything, it’s started to sink in now that the funeral is over and things are happening in my life that she’s not at. I think about all the things she won’t be at, especially with the baby coming and during softball season now. It’s hard not to think about her. I would always call her with my exciting news, or about stories happening in the news. There’s a big void now that I don’t think will ever be filled. But when I start to think of her, I try to think of all the positive memories we had. One of her last conversations we had was about how my husband and I were thinking of starting a family, and she kept saying everything is going to be alright. When I’m sad, I hear her voice saying that over and over again. MM: What has her death taught you about the dangers of heart disease? AH: It’s a very scary disease and has to be taken seriously. I had no idea it killed more people than all the cancers combined, yet we hardly hear about it. I knew this was one way I could share her story and help the community by sharing a personal story. I never knew that it affected one in three women and that sometimes the warning signs aren’t there, especially for women. It made me want to learn even more and share even more information to help people understand and fight back against this disease. MM: You dedicated special coverage on KEYC to heart disease. Why was it important to you to do that? AH: After her death, I felt so helpless. I couldn’t do anything to help her. She always taught us to help others, and this is one way I could do that. The media often gets a bad rap for all the negative news that happens, but I knew even though it was a sad story, it was a way to help others and reach a lot of people. MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 13

As a journalist we try to do stories that impact our community and make a difference, and this was one way to do that. I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of support I received after the stories aired. People were inspired, helped and moved to get checked out, help others and share stories. That was so wonderful to hear, and it was a sign that our story did make a difference. I knew if we helped even one person it would be worth it to share, and judging by the response I received, we helped many more. That was one way I could help. I hope mom would be proud of that, that out of her tragedy, we could find some good and help others. That’s what mom would’ve wanted. MM: Congratulations on expecting your first child. You said on social media your mom’s biggest wish before she died was to have a grandchild. Shortly after her death, you learned you were pregnant. What was that moment like? AH: It was the most wonderful and heartbreaking experience of my life. I got the phone call while I was driving. And, of course, after my husband, she would’ve been the first person I called. She knew we wanted to start a family and was so supportive. She always jokingly said she didn’t want to be a grandma before she turned 50, and we found out right after what would’ve been her 50th birthday. It broke my heart when my sister showed me her wish for 2017. While they were on the cruise and three days before she died, the cruise had them write a wish and attach it to a balloon and then they released them on New Year’s Eve. My sister showed me my mom’s and it was for a grandchild in 2017. Her wish is coming true. I just wish she could be here to meet him/her. She would’ve been a great grandma. I never imagined having a child without her. But I know he/she has a guardian angel watching over him/her. MM: What will you make sure your children know about their grandmother? AH: That she was loving and kind and always put others before 14 • JULY 2017 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

herself. She showed an unconditional love to everyone and always made sure her family had the best of everything. I’ll make sure they know she was my number one fan and always supported me in everything and that family is the most important thing. She also taught us to reach for the stars and to never stop believing in our dreams. MM: What would you like our readers to know about her?

Â?Ă–Ă Ă‹    Ă‹Ă‹


AH: I’d like them to know that she could light up a room with her charm and wit and was so full of life, so happy and loved her family. She was always willing to go the extra mile to make us happy, or to help a stranger. One of my favorite stories from the funeral was someone who told us that mom offered to give her a ride in bad weather, otherwise she would’ve had to walk home. Or a stranger from Sam’s Club said mom always said hi to her every time she came in. I never realized how many people she touched and how she impacted this community — not with money or fame, but with her big heart and caring spirit. This community has been amazing in their support and helping us, many saying how mom helped them. Mom left us in good hands and with a caring community that loves and supports us. Now it’s up to us to pay it forward.





       MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 15

ƨƥƼƷƘƭǫƨƩƶƷƭƲƥƷƭƳƲƶrŐşĸAŐŦĸźƅŐžĦŦşļž ƦƼƮƥƱƩƶƪƭƫƼ

Meet Minneapolis’ mad scientists of beer Wild Mind cultivates unique barrel-aged and sour beers with flavor that can’t be tamed.


orget how microbreweries are supposed to look — the crumbly brick, distressed barnwood and Edison lights. And forget what microbreweries are supposed to serve — the unrelenting arsenal of IPAs. Wild Mind Artisan Ales offers something different. The brewery on Minneapolis’


southside specializes in barrelaged farmhouse and sour beers, using wild yeast and old-school fermentation methods. Wild Mind opened in August 2016 after Jason Sandquist and Tylor Johnson teamed up with brewer Matt Waddell, all three being sour beer fans. “We identified a niche in the

marketplace,” said Sandquist, who worked in commercial real estate for breweries. Wild Mind sells glasses and growlers, along with limitedrelease bottles. They plan to release special bottles in early August to celebrate their first anniversary. The taproom features white

Photos courtesy of WITTKAMPER / REIFF design firm walls with bright splashes of color. Food trucks park out front because, though they understand brewing, Sandquist said he “can screw up Easy Mac.” Two large overhead doors open to picnic tables and a small courtyard, and this summer they plan to show movies outside on an inflatable screen. “We built it to be dog-friendly, kid-friendly, family-friendly,” Sandquist said. “We want people to come here and enjoy themselves for hours and hours, and so far, they are.” Waddell has full autonomy to choose ingredients and which wine or liquor barrels to ferment them in, according to Sandquist. “We have gin barrels from Tattersall Distilling. We have single malt Scotch whiskey barrels from Vikre up in Duluth. We have some Knob Creek barrels. … He (Waddell) decides what beer to put into that that would best match with the flavor profile of what was in there previously,” Sandquist said, later adding: “He’s kind of like a mad scientist.” Along with fermenting in 71 barrels and six large Italian oak foeders in place of metal tanks, Wild Mind has another unusual

)1 +(;17


Wild Mind Artisan Ales 6031 Pillsbury Avenue South, Minneapolis

9JGP Open Tuesday to Sunday Tours available twice a month on Saturdays

8KUKV for more information

piece of equipment: the coolship. This trough-like container allowed old-world brewers to cool boiling beer wort before fermentation. The coolship’s open top welcomes wild yeast and microbes — like when starting a sourdough bread culture — that ferment the beer and produce sour flavor. Wild yeast can ruin beers and contaminate lines, but when carefully cultivated, it develops flavor. “Our beer will continue to age like wine for three to five years,” Sandquist said. And the beer menu details flavor notes like a wine list. The HIFI WIFI Rye Farmhouse Ale, according to Wild Mind’s website, is “brewed with locally harvested Minnesotan yeast, a heavy dose of rye and a heavier dose of Citra, Motueka, and Nelson Sauvin hops. Notes of dank orange, gooseberries, earth, and spice.” The brewery aims to produce 600 barrels of beer in its first year. Limited cooler space and time needed for some beers might require the brewery to expand to meet demand. “We have some really unique beers back there,” Sandquist said. “Unfortunately, they take years to produce.” MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 17

Best Best OF THE

Photos by Pat Christman and Jackson Forderer


t’s that time of year again, folks. The people have spoken and here are the results for the annual Best of Mankato issue. It’s our most popular issue of the year — and for good reason! There’s a lot to be proud of in this community, and the people and businesses featured on the following pages have earned their bragging rights as No. 1. MM


People Financial Planner First: Ryan Spaude, Eide Bailly Second: Matt Norland, Meyer & Norland Financial Group Third: Eugene Braam, Eugene R Braam Accounting

Insurance Agent

Family Physician/ Primary Care Provider First: Dr. Chaun Cox, Mayo Clinic Health System Second: Dr. John Benson, Mankato Clinic Third: Katie Anderson, MD, Mankato Clinic


First: Aaron Hatanpa, State Farm Second: Steve Hasse, State Farm Third: Scott Michaeletz, Kato Insurance Agency (tie) Third: Lonnie Bristol, State Farm (tie)

First: Carlson-Tillisch Eye Clinic Second: Mankato Clinic Eye Care Center Third: Opthamology Associates

Accounting Firm

First: Lynn Austin, Austin’s Auto Repair Second: Mark Fromm, Fromm’s Auto & Repair Third: Joe Miller, Miller’s Modern Garage

First: Eide Bailly Second: Abdo Eick & Meyers Third: Clifton Larson Allen Wealth Advisors

Law Firm First: Blethen, Gage & Krause Second: Frentz & Frentz Law Offices Third: Jones and Magnus

Photographer First: Daniel Dinsmore, Daniel Dinsmore Photography Second: Christy Bode Photography Third: Evan Taylor, Evan Taylor Studios

Real Estate Agent First: Angie Van Eman, American Way Realty Second: Jen True, True Real Estate Third: Jason Beal, JBeal Real Estate Group

Chiropractor First: Mankato Chiropractic Second: Advanced Chiropractic Third: Kuch Chiropratic

Pediatrician First: Katie Smentek, MD, Mankato Clinic Second: Donald Putzier, MD, Mankato Clinic Third: Vickie Parsons, C.N.P., Mayo Clinic Health System

Dentist First: Dan Osdoba, D.D.S., Oz Family Dentistry Second: Tom Pooley, D.D.S., River Valley Dental Third: James Kalina, D.D.S., James J. Kalina

Auto Mechanic

Bartender First: Erin Filson, Pub 500 Second: Steve Kulas, Big Dog Third: Max Rykus, Pappageorge

Waiter First: Alberto Alonzo Lara ( Justin) - El Mazatlan Second: Gus Allore - Applebees Third: Shawn Nordtrom - Grizzly Grill & Saloon

Waitress First: Layla Pappas, Pappageorge Second: Jenny Bobholz, Circle Inn Third: Mel Bishop, Big Dog Sports Cafe

Radio Personality First: Stunt Monkey, Hot 96.7 Second: The Country Club with TJ & Lisa, MN 93.1 Third: Big Hot Morning Show with Johnny & Cari, Hot 96.7

Television Anchorperson First: Mark Tarello - Chief Meteorologist Second: Stacy Steinhagen Anchor on KEYC News 12 at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. Third: Ashley Hanley - Weekend Anchor/Reporter

Newspaper Reporter First: Robb Murray Second: Tim Krohn Third: Shane Frederick



Extracting success O

z Family Dentistry is the 2017 best dental practice winner. Daniel Osdoba has been in practice in Mankato since he graduated Dental School at the University of MN in 1984. That’s when he joined his father’s practice, already in Mankato. He currently is joined by associate Eric Page, and hopes to be joined by his daughter, Gretchen, when she graduates from his Alma Mater. He is also 20 • JULY 2017 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

joined by what he calls “a very good, active hygiene department.” Osdoba stresses preventative care as being essential to a person’s dental health. To that end, he sees patients as young as one year old. Osdoba says that, some days, he sees a toddler in one room and a patient over 90 years old in the next. Another key to having successful outcomes with dental

care is to keep up with technology, which is changing all the time. That means the patient can be comfortable, the work will last longer, the outcomes are more predictable and it’s better for both the patient and the dentist. And, he says, he tries to put himself in his patients’ shoes, and make sure they are as comfortable as possible. Osdoba says he and his team put an emphasis on quality. “We emphasize quality. We do it right the first time. We want patients to keep their teeth for a lifetime.”

Thank You for voting us #1 Auto Repair and Best Auto Mechanic 6 years in a Row!

— by Jean Lundquist

507-387-1315 1620 Commerce Drive North Mankato



Thank You for Your Votes


524 S. FRONT ST. 345-6080 or 387-7274 OPEN DAILY AT 11AM

dine-in • pick-up • delivery

• Residential Cleaning • Disaster Restoration

• Commercial Cleaning • Janitorial Services

Mankato 507-388-6339 | WASECA 507-835-4799 | ST PETER 507-931-6730 MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 21



Say cheese! M

aking Mankatoans look good is something photographer Daniel Dinsmore has been doing for almost 15 years. Daniel Dinsmore Photography is headquartered in an older building in downtown Mankato. It is there Dinsmore photographs babies, high school seniors and blushing brides along with many other subjects. In addition to his reputation for creating stunning photographs, Dinsmore is also known for his camera-side manner, so to speak. “I have a well trained eye and a talent for putting people at ease when they are in front of my camera,” Dinsmore said. “I am well practiced at my craft and

100 Warren Street Suite 204 507.387.4081 22 • JULY 2017 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

have shared my talents with the Mankato area for almost 15 years. I have a deep gratitude for all of my clients and friends I have met along the way.” Megan Bennett has helped Dinsmore keep the studio running smoothly for the past five years. Bennett said that while most sessions are more or less predictable, every once in awhile someone will ask them to photograph an item that is a little bit different. “We had a client bring in a metal buckle not too long ago and it had a musket bullet lodged in it,” Bennett said. “That was interesting to see photographed.” — by Nell Musolf

Like a good neighbor, Hatanpa is there W ith 21 years in the insurance business, State Farm Insurance Agent Aaron Hatanpa has independently owned and managed agencies in Mankato and Mapleton since 2001. “I started out with State Farm handling claims,” said Hatanpa. “That background gave me an excellent foundation to move onto the agency side. I can’t imagine doing this job and giving clients advice if I had not handled the product after the claim happens.” With nine licensed agents and three support staff primarily serving the Greater Mankato area, Hatanpa said his agencies insure 30 percent of Mankato and “have been ranked in the top 50 agencies for State Farm out of almost 19,000 across the country for many years.”

Thanks to all who voted for us...We appreciate the confidence and trust in our agency.

Mankato’s locally owned independent agency.

Preventative & Cosmetic Dentistry

Voted One of the Top Dentists for the Last | Years!

New Patients Are Welcome Tom Pooley DDS 507.388.3384 • 124 Walnut St., Mankato Located in the Lankamer Building, above the Restaurant Number 4

“We have grown enough to allow me to have a team of licensed agents in my office that all work for me and all specialize in certain areas of our business,” he said. “When a client comes in with a question or a problem, we have someone who knows exactly what to do to help the client.” Whether it’s auto, home or life insurance, Hatanpa works with consumers to understand their coverage, policies for which can run 20-50 pages. “We take the time to get to know someone and help them understand what they are paying for,” he said.

Actual Patient

Training Students ffor Christian Lives Knowledge Bowl

Student Council

Junior Class History Tour



Yearbook and Newspaper

Sports: Golf, Tennis, Gymnastics, Basketball, Football, Soccer, Track and Field, Softball, Baseball, Cross Country, Volleyball

Math Team Speech Team

Art Club Dance

Band Drama

— by Leticia Gonzales 45638 561st Ave. New Ulm, MN 56073 (507) 354-6851 MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 23

BEST BARTENDER Erin Filson, Pub500

Mankato raises a glass to top-shelf bartender T ending bar at Pub 500 is so much a part of Erin Filson’s life that she isn’t sure how long she’s done it. Filson remembers starting about half a dozen years ago on Minnesota State University’s homecoming weekend. She knew how to serve drinks, having worked as a country club cocktail waitress during high school and a bartender in a corporate setting. But she didn’t know where Pub stocked things, and relied on her patient coworkers’ help that hectic homecoming night. “That was my introduction to the Pub — sink or swim,” she said. Filson is grateful for owner Tom Frederick, operating partner Jay Reasner, her coworkers and the work environment. It’s a place where her customers can become friends, where she can suggest libations based on each individual’s likes. Pub 500’s atmosphere, she humbly suggested, probably helped her win two years in a row over so many great bartenders. “Everybody on the list, last year and this year, deserved to be there. ... To even be included is flattering,” she said. But even the most dedicated bartender needs a break. Filson likes to spend hers on the golf course. “I’m not the greatest golfer, but I do love it,” she said. “Any day of the year that you’re golfing and you’re not working is a great day.” — by James Figy 24 • JULY 2017 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Thank You for f Choosing Us! #1 Mex Mexican Restaurant 6 Years In A Row

#1 Waiter - Alberto Alonzo Lara

2 Years In A Row 1525 Tullamore Street (right off Madison Ave.) Mankato



A Stunt man with a great voice

Thanks for Voting Us

#1 in Senior Care Three Years in a Row

Our Staff Make the Difference! • Long-Term and Short-Term Care • Assisted Living • Memory Care • Home Care • Adult Day Services • Durable Medical Equipment • Dining Services/Catering


eff “Stunt Monkey” Lang wasn’t even in the Hot 96.7 studio when his on-air name became a thing. Lang had joined the Hot 96.7 FM morning show in 2007, having worked in other capacities with Minnesota Valley Broadcasting and Radio Mankato for a few years beforehand. He’d become known for doing pranks and stunts on the air, such as trick-or-treating at 7 a.m. on Halloween (which funnily enough resulted in the cops being called). And after all of Lang’s shenanigans, somebody called into the station and said, “How about you guys call him Stunt Monkey?” “At first I was like, ‘Stunt Monkey? What?’” Lang said with a laugh. “But it stuck, and I think it’s fun.” Having been with the station 14 years, Lang now is in charge of all Radio Mankato promotions. He’s a familiar face in Mankato, including serving as the “beer man” at Mankato MoonDogs games. He’s still a part of the “Big Hot Morning Show” from 7-10 a.m. weekdays, and he hosts his own show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lang was really happy to learn that his listeners appreciate him enough to vote him Best Radio Personality in the Mankato area. “That’s so exciting. I, by no means, think that about myself at all. I just talk silly on the radio,” Lang said. “I’m just doing what I enjoy.” — by Amanda Dyslin

Creating Home. Wherever you decide to live.

718 Mound Ave. Mankato, MN | 507-345-4576 | MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 25

Shopping Nursery/Garden

Men’s Clothing

First: Drummer’s Garden Center Second: Edenvale Nursery Third: Hilltop Florist & Greenhouse

First: J. Longs Second: Graif Clothing Third: Scheel’s All Sports


Women’s Clothing

First: Salvage Sisters Second: Mankato Vintage Market Third: Broad Street Antiques

First: Kohl’s Second: TJ Maxx Third: Mainstream Boutique

Grocery Store

Children’s Clothing

First: Hy-Vee Second: ALDI Third: Cub Foods

First: Kohl’s Second: Old Navy Third: Once Upon a Child

Liquor Store

Thift/Consignment Shop

First: MGM Wine, Spirits & Beer Second: Hy-Vee Wine and Spirits Third: PJ’s Liquor Emporium

First: MRCI Thrift Shop Second: Again Thrift & More (MVAC) Third: Once Upon a Child

Meat Market

Automotive Dealership (New Vehicle)

First: Schmidt’s Meat Market Second: Hy-Vee Third: Hilltop Meat Market

Place to Buy Furniture First: Rooms and Rest Furniture and Mattress Second: Ashley Furniture HomeStore Third: Earl Johnson Furniture

Place to Buy a Mattress First: Mankato Mattress Man Second: Rooms and Rest Furniture and Mattress Third: Slumberland

Place to Buy Appliances First: DeGrood’s Home Store Second: Lowe’s Third: Quality Appliance & Television

Jewelry Store First: Exclusively Diamonds Second: Williams Diamond Center Third: Patterson’s Diamond Center

Home Improvement Store First: Menard’s Second: Lowe’s Third: Home Depot


First: Mankato Motors Second: Snell Motors Third: Mankato Ford

Automotive Dealership (Used Vehicle) First: Mankato Motors Second: Snell Motors Third: S & S Motors

Power Sports/ATV/Motorcycle First: Snell Powersports Second: Starr Cycle Third: Harley Davidson

RV Dealer First: Keeper’s RV Center Second: Gag’s Camper Way Third: Kroubetz Lakeside Campers

Tire Dealers First: Discount Tire Second: Tire Associates Third: Tires Plus

Home Entertainment/Electronics First: Best Buy Second: DeGrood’s Home Store Third: Target

Place to Buy Pool/Spa Supplies First: Sawatzky Pools Second: Midnight Sun Spas Third: Sweet Living Pools & Spas

Thank You For Voting Us



Second Year in a Row

Commercial & Residential – Sales & Service 433 Belgrade Ave., North Mankato | 507-388-3624 |

Thank You For Voting Me #1!

801 S. Riverfront Drive | Mankato | | 507-351-0709 MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 27

Thank For Voting Us #2 Best Breakfast #3 Patio Dining 253 Belgrade Avenue North Mankato, MN 507.388.8999

Voted #1

Thank you for your continued support!

281 Saint Andrews Drive Drive, Mankato

507-388-4877 28 • JULY 2017 • MANKATO MAGAZINE


Treasure hunting F or the fourth year running, voters have selected the MRCI Thrift Store as the best place to find hidden treasures. Store manager Laura Butzer attributes treasure hunters’ loyalty to several factors. “There have been a lot of changes and a lot of improvements in the store over the years,” Butzer said. “We try really hard to keep things fresh and attractive for our customers.” Butzer also credits the fact that MRCI volunteers work in the store as something customers find appealing. “I think the community supports the mission of MRCI, which is to provide employment for our clients,” Butzer said. “The customers who shop here are aware that disabilities are not always visible.” MRCI Thrift Shop sells all kinds of items from shoes to kitchenware to collectibles. Collectibles are always popular. “We have shoppers who come in three times a day looking for collectibles,” Butzer said. “They’ll

stop by in the morning, and then in the afternoon and on Tuesdays and Thursdays when we’re open late they’ll come in then too.” Butzer said that it can be surprising to see the range of collectibles donated, often by family members who might not be aware of an items collectibility factor. Smartphones have helped Butzer and her staff price those one-of-a-kind items. “It’s a lot easier to use your smartphone to check something out. Customers do it too and they’ll let us know if they think we’ve priced something wrong,” Butzer said. — by Nell Musolf


Come on in, the water’s fine! R

ichard and Sandy Sawatzky have been building both above-ground and in-ground swimming pools in the Mankato area and a 150-mile radius around Mankato for more than 40 years. In 2017, Sawatzky Pools Inc. is Mankato’s favorite place to buy a pool or spa system. There are a lot more in-ground pools in the Mankato area than one might think. “We have a friend who is a pilot,” says Richard, “who says when he flies over Mankato at night, he can’t believe all the pools there are in backyards.” DR. ANGELA SCHUCK DR. KEITH FLACK

Sawatzky Pools has installed small backyard above-ground and in-ground pools, pools in sports complexes, hotels, apartment complexes, colleges, and more. Once installed, pools are not often replaced, though refinements such as water features including colored lighting of water streams into a pool may be added. It can look like a red stream of water is flowing into a pool, but it’s just the colored light shining on it, called a luminar, that makes it appear so.

The spa portion of their business is also important. A portable spa has been installed every summer for 20 years for a sports training camp in the area, for example. Other spas that hold 20 to 30 people have also been installed by Sawatzky Pools, Inc. in apartment settings. “”This is a fun businesses to be in,” Sandy Sawatzky said. “It’s a happy business. People are so excited.” — by Jean Lundquist

You Deserve Comfortable Care Every Time • Sedation - Complete Relaxation with Just a Pill • Invisalign - Clear Alternative to Braces • Implants - Placement and Restoration • Cerec - One Visit Crown Technology • 3D Imaging with Fewer X-Rays


• Free Whitening Program • Drill-Free Technology • Cosmetic Dentistry • Emergency Care • Botox & Fillers MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 29

Update Your Home ÂŽ

Steel residential doors provide the ultimate safety, quality and HQHUJ\HIÂżFLHQF\ &URVV6WUHHW10DQNDWR‡7ROO)UHH‡3KRQH

Congratulations, Dr. Chaun Cox! Best of Mankato — Family Physician


It’s about more than just the meat T Congratulations to Chaun Cox, M.D., Mayo Clinic Health System, for being named Mankato Magazine’s Best of 2017 Family Physician. Dr. Cox is a kind, compassionate, expert physician who truly puts the needs of his patients first.

Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato Call 1-877-412-7575 (toll-free) to schedule an appointment.


hey’ve got the answers to the more common questions. What’s the best roast for the crockpot? “We think the Chuck Roast is the best for the crockpot. Because of the marbling, it has the most flavor.� And they’ve got the answers for the questions that don’t come up in many area kitchens. What is cannibal burger? “Cannibal is ground inside round with onions and salt and pepper. It is important to note that this is inside round and NOT hamburger. It is typically eaten raw on crackers.� This range of knowledge – from how meat is graded to what constitutes head cheese – is a big part of why customers and Free Press readers keep voting Schmidt’s Meat Market in Nicollet the Best Meat Market in the area. “It’s awesome,� said Mark

— by Amanda Dyslin

BUILD SUCCESS Invest in yourself by working with professionals who understand how to succeed in our community. ϯϭͲϬϱϰϳͮΞϮϬϭϲůŝŌŽŶ>ĂƌƐŽŶůůĞŶ>>W

Gudmundson, retail manager. “We appreciate the loyalty that we have with our customers who come out here.” Schmidt’s was founded in 1947 by Gerhardt and Esther Schmidt. The business is still a family owned and operated business (owned by Ryan Schmidt), and they are proud to be southern Minnesota’s largest “and most complete meat center.” “We freshly cut everything in house here,” Gudmundson said. “Our smoked sausage products are still made in old fashioned smokehouses, and our customer service is second to none.”

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Thank you for entrusting us with your pet’s care! Voted #1 Veterinary Hospital 061765746201

Minnesota Valley Pet Hospital P.A. 505 Madison Ave., Mankato, MN


•Residential Roofing •Siding •Windows License #BC710061

Mankato and Surrounding Areas - Call 507-519-1196



keeps the camping tradition alive M

©2017 True Value® Company. All rights reserved.



1951 Riverfront Dr., Mankato

507-387-1171 1-800-879-1938

Mon.-Fri. 8am-7pm • Sat 8am-5pm • Sun. 11am-5pm AN EMPLOYEE OWNED & LOCAL BUSINESS SINCE 1957 32 • JULY 2017 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

any things about campers and camping have changed since Lisa May’s parents, Don and Liz Keepers, opened Keepers RV in 1963. But for owners Lisa and her husband Jack May, one important thing remains the same: Everyone at Keepers loves camping. “I grew up in it, my parents started the business because they wanted to go camping, and all our employees have campers,” ©2017 True Value® Company. All rights reserved. she said. “So it helps us to relate


to the customers.” It also has helped Keepers RV claim first place in Best of Mankato six years in a row. May also attributes the win to dedicated employees who have worked there for years and know how to meet each customer’s needs, whether that means a palatial fifth wheel or a cozy teardrop camper. Newer campers offer more features and electronics, May said, compared to models of years past, which required more mechanical skill. But when it comes to size, small is in again. “What’s most popular for us this year is the really small ones,” she said. “It’s interesting how things have come around.” The most rewarding aspect of selling campers is helping families make memories, May said. She loves when a second generation returns to Keepers RV and tells her, “I had so much fun with my parents, and I want to do the same for my kids.” — by James Figy

You voted for us—and we’re honored! We’re proud to be Best Accounting Firm in Mankato Magazine for the third year in a row. We couldn’t do it without our incredible clients, staff and community. Thank you!

Let’s talk. | e i d e b a i l l y. c o m


HOME IMPROVEMENT STORE Building Materials • Hardware • Electrical Millwork • Paint • Plumbing • Floorcoverings MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 33

Goods & Service Fitness Center

Nail Salon

First: YMCA Second: Fitness for $10 Third: Planet Fitness

First: Liv Aveda Salon and Spa Second: Kim Nail & Spa Third: Nails by Jordan (Original by Hobby Lobby)

Place to Take the Kids


First: Children’s Museum of Southern MN Second: Sibley Park Third: Wow! Zone

First: The Paw Pet Resort Second: Heartlund Boarding Kennels Third: Liberty Acres Pet Lodge

Child Care Center

Pet Grooming

First: Lil’ Bee’s Learning Center Second: Little Stars Early Learning Center Third: Giggles N Wiggles Daycare

First: Fur’s A Flyin’ Pet Grooming Second: Vanity Fur (Pet Expo/The Paw) Third: Haute Dog

Snow Removal

Veterinarian Office

First: Mankato Snow Removal Second: Peters Lawn Care Service Third: The Caretakers Inc

First: Minnesota Valley Pet Hospital Second: Nicollet Veterinary Clinic Third: River Hills Pet Care Hospital

Lawn Care

Golf Course

First: GreenCare Second: Spring Touch Lawn Specialists Third: Peters Lawn Care Service

First: Mankato Golf Club Second: North Links Golf Course Third: Minneopa Golf Course



First: Liv Aveda Salon and Spa Second: Mankato Chiropractic & Healing Touch Third: Indulge Salon and Tanning

First: Courtyard by Marriott Second: Hilton Garden Inn Third: Country Inn & Suites

Hair Salon


First: Liv Aveda Salon & Spa Second: Raydiance Salon Third: Indulge Salon and Tanning

First: Hilltop Florist & Greenhouse Second: Hy-Vee Floral Center Third: Drummer’s Garden Center

Barber Shop

Auction Services

First: Y Barbers Second: Sport Clips Third: Dan’s Barber Shop

First: BidKato Second: Mike Miller Auction Service Third: Dailey Realty & Auction Service

Tanning Salon

Auto Repair Shop

First: Sun Tan City Second: Indulge Salon and Tanning Third: Perfec Tan

First: Austin’s Auto Repair Center Second: Mankato Motors Third: Fromm’s Auto


Auto Body Shop


First: Jerry’s Body Shop Second: Snell Collision Center Third: Fromm’s Collision Center

First: Cherry Creek Cabinetworks Second: Acorn Custom Cabinetry Third: Custom Craft Cabinets

Car Wash

Construction Company

First: Snell Auto Wash Second: Kwik Trip Third: Gerring’s Car Wash

First: Goodrich Construction Second: DeMars Construction Third: Deichmann Construction

Dry Cleaner

Cell Phone & Wireless Provider

First: Like Nu Cleaners Second: Madison Avenue Laundry & Dry Cleaning Third: Americlean Dry Cleaners

Alterations First: Pins and Needles Alterations Second: Chris Tailor Shop Third: Barb’s Sewing Room

First: Verizon Second: Sprint Third: AT&T

Computer Repair First: Mankato Computer Repair Second: Best Buy Geek Squad Third: Geeks2u

Senior Living/Retirement Facility

Rental Store

First: Ecumen Pathstone Living Second: Oak Terrace Assisted Living Third: Old Main Village

First: A to Z Rental Second: G & K Rental Third: Lloyd Lumber Just Ask Rental

Funeral Home

Employment Agency

First: Mankato Mortuary Second: Northview ~ North Mankato Mortuary Third: Woodland Hills Funeral Home

First: Express Employment Professionals Second: Manpower Third: Jeane Thorne

Water Service/Conditioning

Travel Agency

First: McGowan Water Conditioning Second: Culligan Water Conditioning Third: Norm’s Soft Water

First: The Travel & Cruise Center Second: Emerald Travel & Cruises Third: Amber Pietan Travel Agency

Bank or Credit Union

Specialty Printing

First: MN Valley Federal Credit Union Second: Wells Fargo Bank Third: U.S. Bank

Carpet Cleaning First: Vanderberg Clean Second: ServiceMaster Third: Shine Way Services

Heating/Air Service First: Schwickert’s Second: Northern Comfort Third: Davis Comfort Systems

Electrical Service First: Ploog Electric Second: BLK Electric Third: Schwickert’s

First: Insty Prints Second: Fed Ex Kinkos Third: Corporate Graphics

Roofing First: Schmidt Siding & Windows Second: Heyn Brothers Third: Mike Hansen Roofing & Construction

Windows First: Schmidt Siding & Windows Second: Lacina Siding & Windows Third: Heyn Brothers

Siding First: Schmidt Siding & Windows Second: Lacina Siding & Windows Third: Heyn Brothers

Plumbing Service First: Jetter Clean Second: Schwickert’s Third: Northern Comfort


DRIVE IT’S WHAT SEPARATES US FROM THE PACK When it comes to commercial real estate, nothing is given. Our agents have what it takes to get the job done.




Schmidt’s got you covered S

tarted out of a truck in 1949 by Robert J. Schmidt and his wife Lavonia, Schmidt Siding & Window Co. (SSWC) has long been a part of the Mankato community. “Our success is rooted in our experienced people,” said Pete Matejcek Owner/VP Sales & Marketing. “We work under the mission of exceeding customer expectations, creating customers for life.” Matejcek began his career at Schmidt working as a siding installer in 1994, and then moved into working directly with clients

in 1997. “We service southern Minnesota with the majority of our product offering and beyond with certain facets of our service,” he shared. “We set ourselves apart in our consistency with only using SSWC employees, no subcontractors. This eliminates the division of responsibility when it comes to customer satisfaction.” With a balanced list of product offerings, Matejcek said Schmidt window replacement, Renewal by Andersen, “is leading the charge.” When shopping for windows,

Thank You for Votingg us...

#1 Steak #2 Date Night #3 Locally Owned


For continuing to vote Ploog Electric one of Mankato’s Best Electrical Services 6 years in a row! 507-243-3673

siding and roofing needs, Matejcek said it’s important that customers “have an understanding of all the aspects of hiring a home improvement company.” Knowing how long the company has offered the product they’re interested in and how long their installers have worked in the field of siding, window installation or roofing are also vital to the shopping process. “And always check online reviews and the good old reliable ask your neighbors, friends and coworkers for references,” he added. — by Leticia Gonzales MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 37


Mankato Computer Repair

What’s In Your Water? For over 60 years, McGowan Water has been serving Mankato and southern Minnesota with water treatment services and products to provide clean water for healthy living. Call the experts to set up a water testing in your KRPHRURIĆFHWRGD\(507) 388-3361 38 • JULY 2017 • MANKATO MAGAZINE


hen it comes to getting your computer repaired, the attitude of the technician helping you can make a big difference, especially for people who might feel technically challenged. Hiring the right sales people is something Mankato Computer Repair owner Wes Gilbert strongly believes in. “Technology can be overwhelming for some customers,” Gilbert said, “so we try to make them feel as comfortable as possible.” Gilbert believes that practice is part of the reason Mankato Computer Repair has been named Best Computer Repair store for the fourth year in a row. Mankato Computer Repair offers services for both personal and business technology. The store opened in 2007 and since then Gilbert has seen a number of changes in the always changing world of computers and technology. “One of the biggest changes that we’ve noticed is personal computers have gotten a lot cheaper,” Gilbert said. “People are throwing them out instead of getting them repaired.” That change has led to the business to become even more proactive when it comes to offering back up services for new equipment. Another popular service is virus removal. Gilbert noted that viruses are more prevalent on personal computers as opposed to business computers. “People tend to get into messy things more on their home computers than they do at work,” Gilbert said. — by Nell Musolf

We wanted to thank all of our customers for their past and future business. Thank you for voting us one of the

Best of Mankato!

! t h s a n k

Located conveniently across from Cub Foods • 464 Raintree Road • Mankato Mon-Sat 10-8 • Sun 12-5 • • 507.344.8799

Thank You for Voting Us #1 Construction Company! Thank You! From all of us at Goodrich Construction, we are honored to be voted Mankato’s Best Construction Company of 2017. Since 1981, Goodrich Construction has strived to provide the finest in construction services, by combining the latest technologies with old-fashioned craftsmanship. This feat could only be achieved thanks to our great local community, loyal customers and of course our hardworking team. We are excited to continue serving the greater Mankato area for many years to come.

-Ron Goodrich

1700 3rd Avenue Mankato, MN 56001 (507)388-1004 m MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 39

ƘƩƪưƩƧƷƭƳƲƶ By Pat Christman


ireworks have become a hallmark of celebrating U.S. independence since the Declaration of Independence was signed. Since then the scale Ã“܍Ê՗Ê¡ăؗôÊعÜ“«ÜÕ¼úÜ have changed, but their place in Fourth of July celebrations has remained. Municipalities across the ÊèÃãØú¨ÊÜãăؗôÊعÜ“«ÜÕ¼úÜ around the Fourth of July. Some of the best traditions, however, often center around smaller towns and lake associations, ô¨ÊÊ¡ã—áèÓăؗôÊعÜ displays to a level that rivals some of the bigger American cities. Flotillas of boats gather on lakes across Minnesota to ôã¨ăؗôÊعÜ“«ÜÕ¼úÜ㨁ã can last 45 minutes and feature pyrotechnics that can light up the lake like the Sun. They are the spots where everyone gathers after the picnics are done to celebrate American independence. MM




Tops in cuts S

ome people might think storefront barber shops are a thing of the past. The customers of Y Barbers beg to differ, considering the business has taken home the Best Barber Shop award. “We are blessed to have an amazing team and even more amazing clients,” said co-owner Brenda Wilcox. “We wouldn’t be here without them.” Y Barbers, co-owned by Ellen Koenigs and Wilcox, moved from Mankato Place into the old Mutch Hardware location on Belgrade Avenue in lower North Mankato a couple of years ago. They also moved in a styling salon and hair replacement business for those with hair loss. They had the belief that there


Creating curb appeal T

om and June Rieff went into the lawn care business 34 years ago with the bare bones essentials of providing lawn care. Today their company, GreenCare, has been voted the best in lawn care in the Mankato area in 2017, and it has 11 fulltime and 35 part-time employees. GreenCare branches out to work in a 60-mile radius around their home base of Mankato. Tom says GreenCare offers dedicated teams that work and become experts in one area. The three areas are: fertilizing and weed control; irrigation construction and service; and grounds maintenance, which


includes mowing services. Coupling the best in a full service lawn care package with the best customer service has meant that some of his customers have been with them since the very beginning. “We have long-term customers who have put their faith in us,” he says. A growing component of the business has been constructing and servicing irrigation systems. “We have done small residential

lots to large athletic complexes,” says Rieff. While most of the work done by GreenCare is done during the spring, summer and fall months, Rieff says they don’t take the winters off. Although it’s true they work fewer hours, winter is when they do planning for the coming work season, perform equipment maintenance, and work on customer sales. — by Jean Lundquist

needed to be a place where people could hang out. It wasn’t just about the haircut or the shave; it was about the atmosphere, which is how barber shops used to be. The business’ diversity in services and team members is what keeps it relevant, Koenigs said. Each barber and stylist has individual strengths and talents. “This allows us to cater to men, women and children alike,” Koenigs said. The roots of Y Barbers can be traced back to Bernie Koenigs, Ellen’s dad, who bought the historic barber shop in the 1970s after having worked there for many years. The “Y” comes from the original barber shop, opened in 1904 in the old YMCA building that was at Cherry and Second streets.

Thank you for voting us “Best of Mankato”

Golf Course

Southern Minnesota’s Premier Golf Facility

(507)387-5676 | 100 August Drive, Mankato |

— by Amanda Dyslin

Thank You for Your Votes!

Thank you for voting us the Best of Mankato for the third year in a row!

351 Hwy 60 East Lake Crystal, MN 507-726-6454 Minnesota’s Friendliest Camper Dealership | Family Owned & Operated MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 43


Certified Financial Planner, Ryan Spaude is Mankato Magazine’s Best Financial Planner—for the third year in a row! Congratulations, Ryan! We’re proud of you for the excellent client service you provide to our community daily.

Let’s talk. | e i d e b a i l l y. c o m

Fur’s A Flyin’

1522 N. Riverfront Drive Mankato



The Your Pet’s printing #1 Choice For: business’ TRAINING ‘Yes’ man GROOMING D DAYCARE

Voted #1 Pet Groomer 4 Years Running! 44 • JULY 2017 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

espite having bought Insty-Prints of Mankato in May 2015, Owner Ben Findley’s experience spans more than a decade. Before he took the helm, Findley worked in a variety of roles including in the bindery and as a delivery boy, graphic designer, and general manager. Aside from his diverse set of job skills, Findley offers


Ploog Electric amps up its customer service


t might shock some to learn that, since 2012, Ploog Electric has claimed the title of Mankato’s best electrical service four times and taken second place twice. Owner and master electrician Troy Ploog even gets a little jolt of excitement. “It always feels good to get voted that,” he said. “We’ve been around a long time and have loyal customers.” The company has about 10 employees, which is quite an increase from when Bernie Ploog, Troy’s father, started

serving customers on his own in 1973. From bigger houses to smart home devices controlled by cellphones, residential electrical services have evolved over the years, according to Troy Ploog. “Technology has changed a lot, and things get a lot more complicated,” he said. Ploog Electric also works on commercial properties — the Coffee Hag and Tandem Bagels to name two — and installs and maintains equipment for farms of all sizes.

Communicating and returning phone calls are very important to Ploog. After all, the company’s customers are neighbors and local business owners, people who live in the same community as Ploog’s team. “I like to work in the community that I’m involved in,” Ploog said. “You go to benefits and fundraisers and see a lot of people you work for. It just seems like a close-knit community.” — by James Figy

customers a high level of service. Whether it’s a standard print job for folders, letterhead, brochures, and posters, or something more unique like window graphics, Insty-Prints of Mankato strives to offer solutions for its customers. “The worst answer you can give anyone when they want something is ‘no’,” Findley said. “My answer is always ‘yes,’ or ‘give me a day and I’ll figure it out.’ That is the thing; if you have the time, I am willing to figure out absolutely anything for you.” Locally owned and operated since 1979, Insty has grown with technology. “The way that it’s evolved is that it was one guy with a printing press and a hand and numbering machine,” Findley said. “Now everything in my shop is fully-digital.” With four employees, including an in-house graphic designer, Insty also offers a full line of promotional materials. “Everything from bathrobes to yo-yos,” said Findley. “We can do all that; coffee mugs, pens, pencils and all that jazz.” — by Leticia Gonzales MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 45

Dining Breakfast


First: Weggy’s Second: NaKato Bar & Grill Third: Perkins

First: Buffalo Wild Wings Second: Tavern on the Avenue Third: Boulder Tap House

Coffee Shop

Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt

First: Coffee Hag Second: Caribou Coffee Third: Tandem Bagels

First: Mom & Pops Second: Frozen Yogurt Creations Third: Cold Stone Creamery



First: Chipotle Mexican Grill Second: Pagliai’s Pizza Third: Panera Bread

First: Friesen’s Family Bakery & Bistro Second: Bluebird Cakery Third: Hy-Vee Bakery

Hamburger & French Fries


First: Boulder Tap House Second: 5 Guys Burgers and Fries Third: Tav on the Ave

First: Pizza Ranch Second: China Buffet Third: Axel’s Bonfire

Sub/Sandwich Shop


First: Jersey Mike’s Second: Erbert & Gerbert’s Third: Subway

First: Hy-Vee Catering Second: Najwa’s Catering Third: Absolute Catering

Fast Food


First: Chipotle Mexican Grill Second: Culver’s Third: Massad’s

First: Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery Second: Mankato Brewery Third: August Schell Brewing Company


Date Night

First: Pagliai’s Pizza Second: Jake’s Stadium Pizza Third: Dino’s Pizzeria

First: Number 4 Second: Pappageorge Third: Boulder Tap House


Happy Hour

First: Pappageorge Second: Grizzly Grill & Saloon Third: Number 4

First: Tav on the Ave Second: Circle Inn Third: Boulder Tap House

Mexican Cuisine

Sports Bar

First: El Mazatlan Second: La Terazza Third: Chipotle Mexican Grill

First: Buffalo Wild Wings Second: Big Dog Sports Cafe Third: Tav on the Ave

Asian Cuisine

Patio Dining

First: Shogun Second: China Star Third: Tokyo Sushi & Hibachi

First: Tav on the Ave Second: Pub 500 Third: NaKato Bar & Grill

Italian Cuisine

Live Music Venue

First: Dino’s Pizzeria Second: Olive Garden Third: Pagliai’s Pizza

First: Buster’s Sports Bar and Grill Second: Mankato Brewery Third: Pub 500


Thank You For Voting Us #1 Vegetarian

First: Chipotle Mexican Grill Second: Massad’s Third: Pita Pit

See Your Best, Be Your Best!

Locally Owned Restaurant

First: Pagliai’s Pizza Second: Friesen’s Family Bakery & Bistro Third: Pappageorge




First: Applebees Second: Boulder Tap House Third: Tav on the Ave



1st Heating/Air Service 2nd Plumbing 3rd Electrical

First: Red Lobster Second: Shogun Third: Tokyo Sushi & Hibachi

Family Restuarant

First: Jake’s Stadium Pizza Second: Dino’s Pizzeria Third: Applebees

507-387-3101 I 330 Poplar St. I Mankato, MN



EXCELLENCE We are honored! Voted Mankato Magazine’s #1 Law Firm - 3 years in a row. Since 1896, Blethen, Gage & Krause has been a cornerstone of the Greater Mankato community with an unwavering focus on providing legal excellence and personal commitment. We always put our clients first and they have returned the favor by voting us best law firm in Mankato.Thank you to our clients and business associates for this acknowledgment. We are proud to be a part of this vibrant community. Mankato, Minnesota MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 47


The happiest hour in town A

THANK YOU! We appreciate your votes as your #1 Travel Agency.

429 N. Riverfront Dr. Mankato, MN 56001 P: 507-625-3153



— by Jean Lundquist


Katie & Kevin Regan Real Estate Team


t Tav on the Ave, Happy Hour is more than just the time on a clock — it’s about a frame of mind. That’s what general manager Bryan Weinhagen believes. Tav on the Ave was voted as having the Best Happy Hour in Mankato in 2017. “A good Happy Hour makes you feel at home in a good, clean atmosphere. We serve nice ice in glass cups with premium spirits,” says Weinhagen. Although Happy Hour at Tav on the Ave is officially from 2 PM - 6 PM, Monday through Friday, “As long as you’re with good company, it’s Happy Hour,” according to Weinhagen. Another Happy Hour occurs every evening from 9-11 p.m., with food and drink specials. Tav on the Ave features 20 different TVs, and an outdoor patio for customers to enjoy. The early Happy Hour appears geared toward people leaving behind the hustle and bustle of everyday life, seeking relaxation with special friends and co-workers. The later Happy Hour seems geared toward college-age students who are finished with studies and extracurricular activities. Either way, says Weinhagen, “Happy Hour is about spending time with the people you like to hang out with … I know I’m happy when I’m with my friends and my family.”


#1 Barber Shop 3 YEARS IN A ROW

231 Belgrade Ave. • North Mankato 507-345-3058


Buster’s rocks to the top F

rom local artists Switch Road and IV Play to national acts Aaron Carter and Afroman, an eclectic lineup draws music lovers to Buster’s Sports Bar and Grill. Not only is Buster’s a good place to eat and get drinks, but it’s also the best venue, voters said again this year, to catch a concert. Buster’s strives to bring artists of all different genres, not just rock or country, according to owner Rachael Hansen-Miller, who took over in April. During her eight years of working at Buster’s, the restaurant has focused more on hosting events of all types. “We’ve become a restaurantbar that is a good place for music and a good place for gatherings,” she said. While bringing in bigger names is fun, booking manager Taylor Kassube believes in promoting local bands. “It wasn’t until I started booking bands that I truly realized how many local artists Mankato has and the variety of music they have to offer,” she said. The atmosphere changes quite a bit at Buster’s from Saturday acoustic sets during lunch to high-energy concerts at night. But the goal is always to give customers a good time. “We want people to come to Busters for the entire experience,” Kassube said. “As for what Busters might bring to the community next, all I can say is: Expect the unexpected.” — by James Figy

Thanks for Voting us Best Insurance Agency in Mankato! 5 Years in a Row!


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1613 N. Riverfront Dr., Mankato, MN 56001 217 Main St., Mapleton, MN 56065 MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 49


Still the best J

ake’s Stadium Pizza has been satisfying the cravings of pizza lovers in the Mankato area since 1964, continuing a long tradition that stretches back to the restaurant’s roots in Albert Lea. That was when “Sarge” Carstensen bought Jake’s Pizza from Rose and Ernie Jacobsen. Carstensen opened Jake’s Stadium Pizza at the corner of Stadium Road and Monks Avenue in 1972. Since moving to its current location in 2010, Jake’s has continued its tradition of giving customers the best quality food with the best service as well as keeping the business in the family. Andrew Boyer, Carstensen’s grandson, is the third generation to work at the restaurant. Boyer is currently the restaurant’s manager. “We use the best-quality ingredients and the same recipes that we’ve used since we first opened,” Boyer said. “We’ve been buying our mozzarella from the same dairy in Wisconsin, Burnett Dairy, for 35 years because it’s a special blend that is made exclusively for us.”


Along with high quality ingredients and original recipes, excellent customer service is also a priority at Jake’s. Boyer said that new employees are trained by employees who have been with the restaurant for an average of four years and that training is an ongoing event. “We’re always working on making things better,” Boyer said. — by Nell Musolf

Serving Mankato with Excellence since 1956 • Placement and Restoration of Dental Implants

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Thank you for voting us #1 Dentist 2 years in a row.

1550 E. Adams Street, Mankato 507-387-2603



The secret: Highheat cooking T

hese days, many restaurants often cook their steaks on charbroilers or flat-top grills. But back in the day, high-heat broilers were the thing because hot, hot heat is needed to get a good sear on the meat. That’s why Pappageorge Restaurant and Bar still use a 1,600-degree broiler to cook its steaks, said owner Jay C. “Flip” Pappas. Pappas is the fourth generation of Pappas restaurateurs and has carried on his family’s commitment to quality, as is evidenced by winning Best Steak in the Best of Mankato contest. He said the secret to a great steak is the quality cut of meat and that 1,600-degree broiler. “I really appreciate it, and it’s a real honor,” he said. This attention to detail in cooking a range of food began more than 50 years ago when Michael Pappas, a Greek immigrant who changed his name from Pappageorge, opened Michael’s restaurants, first in Rochester and then in Mankato. In 1982 Jay T. Pappas opened Maggie’s Café and Saloon, which he operated with his son, Jay C. Pappas. After 25 years, Maggie’s was sold in May 2006. Jay C. Pappas was only out of the restaurant business for a year before he decided to open Pappageorge Restaurant and Bar, which he named after his greatgrandfather, Michael Pappageorge. — by Amanda Dyslin







Moving?... M oving g?..... Call Call ll K Karla arlla an and nd S Start tart ta artt P Packing! acckin king! Consistently a Top-Producing Agent in Greater Mankato Area Karla Van Eman, Owner/Broker ABR, CRS, GRI

d Have a Happy an y! Safe 4th of July 507•345•4040 510 Long Street, Ste. 104, Mankato, MN


Bottle of red, bottle of white S

Thanks for Voting Us the Best Auto Body Shop in Mankato! Same Great People. Same Great Service.

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ince its inception in 2008, Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery, just outside of Kasota, has grown in production from 2,500 cases to 15,000 cases. “We have diversified with our three Kreme Products and adding our distillery,” said Mike Drash, Vice President of Winemaking and Winemaker at Chankaska. “Our wines and spirits can be found in over 400 stores in the state of Minnesota.” With 18 selections of wines, three Brandy-based Kreme’s, and six types of spirits, Drash said the most popular products among customers include Creekside Red, Creekside White, Kasota Rose, La Crescent, Minnesota Marquette, and Kremes. “We have a state of the art winemaking facility, which allows us to make every improvement possible to our wines,” he added. “We are 100 percent focused on quality from our wine, to the vineyards and ground, to Tasting Room experience and food.” From weddings to private tastings, to live music and corporate events, Chankaska offers guests an array of experiences. With a recent release of distilled spirits into distribution, the winery will also be planting more grapevines on the property and is working on plans to enhance the customer experience with a new event center on the property. “They can enjoy walking amongst our manicured 25 acres with a bubbling creek or sit beside our fire pit on a cool evening,” shared Drash. — by Leticia Gonzales



Major Brackett and Van Garren in 1864

Brackett’s Battalion and its Blue Earth County connections B

rackett’s Battalion (named for Major Alfred Brackett) was the longest-serving military unit to come out of Minnesota during the American Civil War. Thirty-three men from the “Blue Earth County Cavalry” (organized to protect the frontier against Indian raids—“Spirit Lake Massacre” led by Dakota chief Inkpaduta in 1857) joined its ranks. The battalion was formed, as a cavalry unit, at the outbreak of the war in 1861, and remained active until June 1, 1866, when the last man was mustered out. Intended to be used exclusively in the war’s Western Theater of operations, the battalion’s service to the Union cause was interrupted by the eruption of warfare on the Minnesota home-front itself; namely, the U.S.-Dakota War of 1862.


It was in this secondary role as an Indian fighting unit that the battalion achieved a well-deserved reputation for being a formidable force to be reckoned with. On July 28, 1864, during the decisive Battle of Killdeer Mountain, in present-day North Dakota, Brackett’s Battalion conducted a remarkable three-mile-long saber charge against a large contingent of Santee Dakota and Teton Lakota warriors (including chiefs Inkpaduta and Sitting Bull) that resulted in vicious hand-hand combat among the participants. Eventually, the tide of battle turned in favor of Brackett’s men. Despite their military success at Killdeer, the U.S. Army’s greatest error in judgment came in attacking tribes (particularly the Teton

Lakota) that had no previous quarrel with the United States. Instead of quelling future Indian uprisings, as it was supposed to, the campaigns leading up to and culminating in the Battle of Killdeer Mountain launched a 33-year struggle for control of the Northern Plains between the U.S. Army and many Indian tribes in the region, culminating in the Battle of Wounded Knee in 1890. Before it was incorporated into General Alfred Sully’s 1863 and 1864 punitive expeditions against the Santee Dakota (believed responsible for leading the Dakota or “Sioux” Uprising against white settlers in 1862), Brackett’s Battalion was part of the brief siege of Corinth, Mississippi, a vital railroad junction; that once secured, would provide the Union Army with a means of penetrating deep into the Southern heartland. Once it reached the city and surrounded it, the Army encountered little in the way of resistance on the part of Corinth’s Confederate defenders. Advance troops, including Brackett’s detachment, entered the city and charged the Confederate headquarters (a large mansion owned by a planter named Van Garren). No shots were fired as Brackett’s men in Company I entered and searched the mansion; however the men did find a young, black servant hiding under one of the beds. When questioned, the man stated that he was Van Garren’s cook. Taking advantage of the opportunity to gain the trust and friendship of the newly freed slave, Brackett’s men brought him into the company as their cook. Not knowing or not being satisfied

with the man’s slave name, the Minnesota cavalrymen referred to him as “Van Garren,” or “Van” for short. The name remained with him for the remainder of his life.

Van Garren’s grave site. Van Garren became Major Brackett’s personal valet throughout the remainder of his [Brackett’s] military career. When Brackett and the troops of the Fifth Iowa Cavalry were camped

near Huntsville, Alabama, Van searched near the vicinity of his old home there for his mother and other members of his family. He never found them — his only regret upon leaving the South. Van was with Brackett and the rest of the battalion at the Battle of Killdeer Mountain in 1864. When Brackett’s Battalion was finally mustered out of military service in the summer of 1866, Van chose to stay close with his friends of the Second Company. Most of these men were from Blue Earth County. Van was able to obtain for himself a small tract of land in Sterling Township, where he built a log cabin near the Maple River. He became a highly respected member of the local community, due in no small part to his ability to nurse many settlers back to health following a serious diphtheria outbreak. In his later years, Van operated a milk route for the Sterling Creamery. When Van died on April 3, 1905, he was laid to rest in the Sterling Cemetery (established in 1867), near 20 other Civil War veterans. A large crowd of friends and acquaintances attended Van’s funeral; all the more remarkable considering the presence of thick mud on the roads that spring. To their credit, the local citizens judged Van worthy of their respect and esteem, based on the content of his personal character and his military service, rather than on the color of his skin. We could all learn from this example.




Photos courtesy of:

The seventh annual Raw Fusion fashion show, presented by the Minnesota River Builders Association, raised money for United Way and showcased the local building industry.

Raw Elements: Carpet Laminate Underlayment Flooring Transition Strips

RAW Fusion is a high-energy, abstract fashion show dedicated to bringing attention to the local building industry while raising awareness for a local cause. Utilizing raw building materials as the inspiration for their outfit ensembl, each is judged for their uniqueness and flair. BUILDING MANKATO ONE ELEMENT AT A TIME.

2017 AWARD WINNERS SHOW STOPPER - Rickway Carpet RAW FACTOR - Design & Wine MOST WEARABLE - United Prairie Bank ROCK WORTHY – Jordan Sands & Capstone PEOPLE’S CHOICE – Cambria FOUNDERS FAVORITE – Condux International

MN River Builders Association


530 N. Riverfront Drive, Ste 230 • 507-625-7138 Mankato, MN 56001 • Building Our Future Today 56 • JULY 2017 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Rickway Carpet

1107 Cross St. | North Mankato 507.625.3089

Photos courtesy of:


Raw Elements: Paint Paint Brushes Screws

Design & Wine 300 Belgrade Ave. North Mankato 507-380-8438



Raw Elements: Variety of Nails Metal Chains Styrofoam


Raw Elements:

Landscape Materials, Swing Set Chain, Wire

1821 Bassett Dr, Mankato (507) 720-6441 MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 57

Photos courtesy of:

Raw Elements: Saw dust Plywood Landscaping fabric

1839 Adams St., Mankato 507-388-1559 58 • JULY 2017 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Raw Elements: 35 MM camera negatives Polaroid Film Photo Prints

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Photos courtesy of:

Raw Elements: Copper Piping Vinyl Window Profiles

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WHERE DESIGN BECOMES A REFLECTION OF YOU 50 St. Andrews Court, Suite 510 | Mankato, MN 56001 | t-507.386.1699 60 • JULY 2017 • MANKATO MAGAZINE


Enjoy! — Robb Murray, Associate Editor, Mankato Magazine


hen I was kid my parents had a cabin in northern Wisconsin on Des Moines Lake, which was actually near the town of Webb Lake. There were so many things I loved about spending summer weekends there. Riding my Yamaha dirt bike through the groomed trails, swimming and fishing in the ultra lake water, the cute girl two cabins down. But one of the memories that remains so clear in my mind — even clearer, perhaps, than the ones where I’m zooming on my motorcycle down to the corner store to pick up cigarettes for Dad — is of bonfires. I’d scour the woods for enough kindling twigs to get a good fire going, then Dad would take over. With a beer in one hand and a rake in the other, he’d command the fire with a curious combination of pyrotechnic virtuosity and alcoholfueled indifference. I was in charge of the tunes, and kept a steady stream of George Thorogood classics pumping out of the speakers. And then eventually mom would come out with a tray of marshmallows, Hershey bars and graham crackers. With skinny branches whittled down to a marshmallow-roasting perfect length, we’d toast them over the open fire and under a star-filled sky. The combination of air-puffed sugar, chocolate and graham crackers is one of life’s little slices of heaven. The S’more is an American tradition that adds just the right kind of sugar high to our summers. And this month in Food, Drink and Dine, we’re taking S’mores a step further. We’re bringing you kicked up versions of this bonfire beauty. And you’re going to love it!

food, drink & dine

Sugar high, anyone?


Food SOUTHERN MN STYLE While the tried and true classic S’more is perfect, it’s OK to experiment a little. Try different chocolates, spreads or fruits to bring some excitement to the campfire.

S’mores for

Grown-Ups A twist on the campfire tradition $[#OCPFC&[UNKP


t’s here, folks. The most beloved – and FLEETING – season for Minnesotans. Summer. 3ű  

 without all those layers and do what we love to do most: lather ourselves in bug spray, crack open a cold one and sit around the ol’ ǔ űǕǔǕ Ǖ \ Besides the beer, there’s another tasty treat synonymous with the 62 • JULY 2017 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

summer campfire lifestyle that can hardly be forgotten this time of year: S’mores. That classic flavor combination of graham cracker, chocolate and toasted marshmallow – the crunch of the cracker, the smoosh of the ’mallow, the sweet melt of chocolate – it’s quite frankly perfect in its traditional state. But food is about fun, isn’t it? It’s about trying new things. It’s

about giving the tongue a little unexpected zhoosh once in awhile to keep things interesting. And it is in that spirit that we turned to a few great Mankato chefs to give us a twist on the ļǔ Ŗ

ǕǕ ǕŲ Ĩ reinvention of the original, even an elevation from informal bite to dessert delicacy, perhaps. Boy, did they come through …

Chef Michael L. Broughten, director of South Central College’s Culinary Arts program, added 

ǕǕ Ų   ǕǕ AND completely changed up how  Ų  Ǖ \

S’mores Dip

Ingredients: For the chocolate layer 1 cup chocolate chips ½ cup toasted coconut ½ cup sweetened condensed milk 1 cup mini marshmallows ¼ cup caramel sauce H i l l t o p HyVe e C h e f E d y C u c u r u l l o , o r i g i n a l l y f ro m Positano, Italy, went the flavorelevation route with his two s’mores, making the bold move to remove the marshmallow  Ǖű \

Vanilla Pear Ricotta S’more

Ingredients: • 34 Degrees brand vanilla cracker • Zoet Pear with Almonds chocolate bar • Ricotta mixed with honey Directions: To make, mix Ricotta and honey. Spread on cracker, top with chocolate and another cracker. Wrap in tinfoil and warm on the grill for 3-5 minutes.

Chocolate Chile S’more

Ingredients: • Zoet Hatch Chile Pepper chocolate bar • Pepper Jelly • Marshmallow • Graham Cracker

Directions: To make, spread pepper jelly on a cracker and top with chocolate. Place toasted marshmallow on chocolate and top with another cracker.

For the topping 1 cup mini marshmallows Ingredients: 1. In a medium sized sauce pan, melt the chocolate chips with the sweetened condensed milk. Stir in the marshmallows until fully incorporated. 2. Spread the chocolate mixture and coconut in a small oven proof dish 3. To p w i t h t h e r e m a i n i n g m a r s h m a l l ows a n d p l a c e under the broiler until the marshmallows puff up and become golden brown, about 1 minute. 4. Drizzle caramel sauce on top. 5. Serve with graham crackers for dipping. Jamie Waterbury, operations manager for University Dining Services at Minnesota State University, took some inspiration from his family for his S’mores. One of his personal favorites to make at home is the Salted Caramel S’more, with graham crackers, caramel and toasted marshmallows, finished with a sprinkle of sea salt. Here’s one his kids love.

Thank You... Big on fresh. Low on prices.

Grasshopper Chocolate Chip Cookie S’more

Ingredients: • 2 chocolate chip cookies • Mint patty or Andes mints • Marshmallow

Directions: To make, place mint patty or Andes mints on the flat side of a chocolate chip cookie. Toast a marshmallow and place on top. Top with another chocolate chip cookie, and enjoy! And last, but certainly not least, Friesen’s Family Bakery & Bistro Chef Sarah Haayer added a zing of ǕŲ  ļǔ Ǖ \

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake S’more

Ingredients: • Chocolate, vanilla or honey graham crackers ũ(ǔř ǎ Ś • Raspberry preserves • Big marshmallows

Directions: Smear two graham crackers Ǖ ǎ ǔ  add a layer of raspberry preserves. Place squares of chocolate on one of the halves. Toast a big marshmallow to golden perfection and smash between the two halves. E n j oy t h e c h e e s e c a ke -y yumminess!

Car Wash

Wash Weekly Car Wash Cards Available MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 63

Wine & Beer

ƺƭƲƊƜ By Leigh Pomeroy

Eat and drink local O


ne of the great advantages of living in  $Ǖ ǕǕǎ Ǖ an abundant choice of local wines and foods. In the wine category, the “old timer� is Morgan Creek Vineyards, located south of Cambria between Mankato and New Ulm. Founded in 1993 by Georg and Paula Marti, Morgan Creek has been a leader, not only in this area but in all of Minnesota, in promoting Minnesota-grown grapes and wines. Today, their sons Adam and Ben participate in the hard work and fun as well. Morgan Creek

Ĺ°    Ç•      French-American hybrid grapes, many from their own vineyards, especially developed to survive Minnesota’s cold winters. More recently on the scene is Indian Island Winery, located between Mankato and Janesville. &/3Ç•  Ç•ĹąÇ•Ç•ĹˆĹ†Ĺ†Ĺ† and was supplying Minnesota wineries, including Morgan Creek, for several harvests before opening Indian Island Winery a few years ago. Today, Indian Island, like Morgan Creek, is a family-run business with Ray’s daughter, Angie Winter Netzke, being the front person. Right now, the largest and perhaps best-known local winery is Chankaska Creek Ranch. Located in Kasota just south of Saint Peter, Chankaska Creek was founded in 2008 by a group of local investors led by Kent and Kim Schwickert. Today Ç•   Ç•   Ĺ°Ç•  local wineries, featuring traditional vinifera-based wines such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from California and Washington fruit, Minnesota-grown French-American hybrid wines like La Crescent and Marquette, and unique blends of West Coast and Minnesota grapes like the winery’s Creekside White and Red. Chankaska Creek has also ventured into other territories with sparkling wines and apple wines (from local apples, of course); luscious krem (or cream) wines; and even spirits like apple brandy, whiskey and gin. All this array is shepherded by wine and spirit maker Mike Drash, a Napa Valley refugee who felt he could be more creative in Minnesota, and who has certainly proved this can be done. The newest and smallest of our local wineries is "!ǔǕ,Ç• Ĺź3Ç•Ĩ  ĹąǔǕ southeast of Mankato on the Le Sueur River. Like 3Ç•ǔǕ Ç• Ĩ"Ĺ°  Javens focus only on wines from locally-grown French-American hybrid grapes like La Crescent, Frontenac and Marquette. If you’re going to drink local, you should also eat local. All of our local wineries, except for Javens,


 Ǖ ǔǕ\(Ǖ wineries — see contact info below — on what their ǔǔǔ ŰǕ\


If you’re planning to pick up a local wine at a wine shop or the winery, I strongly suggest you plan your meal around the wealth of options found at the Mankato Farmers Market, open on Saturday Ç” Ç• 1  1 ÇŽ

\ These include local vegetables in season, meats, eggs and baked goods — more than enough to make a fabulous party! Want to go out? Pub 500 and Friesen’s Family Bakery and Bistro, both in downtown Mankato, feature dishes with ingredients sourced from the Minnesota Valley Action Council Food Hub, which acts as a distributor for local food growers. The Amboy Cottage CafÊ in Amboy prides itself on its locally-sourced dishes. Because it does not have a liquor license, it encourages guests to bring their own wines, for which chef extraordinaire and owner Lisa Lindberg charges no corkage fee. What would be better than local wines with Lisa’s marvelous meals? Looking for local wines in local restaurants? The most available are those from Chankaska Creek, which can be found at Number 4, Dino’s, Pappageorge, Pub 500 and others. At Olive’s in the downtown Hilton Garden Inn the house winess are bly Chankaska’s Creekside White and Red, arguably ota the best house wines available in any Minnesota restaurant.   Ź  ǔ  ǔǕ   in this article: Morgan Creek Vineyards, 23707 478th Ave., New Ulm (507) 947-3547 — Indian Island Winery, 18018 631st Ave., Janesville (507) 234-6222 — Chankaska Creek Ranch and Winery, 1179 East Pearl St., Kasota (507) 931-0089 — Javens Family Vineyard, 20011 589th Ave., Mankato (507) 382-7596 — Mankato Farmers Market, 1895 Adams Street (Best Buy parking lot), Mankato (507) 382-9337 — Hours: Saturdays 8-noon. Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:30-6. Amboy Cottage CafÊ, 100 Main St. East, Amboy (507) 674-3123 — Reservations strongly recommended as the restaurant is very small. Leigh Pomeroy is a Mankato-based writer and wine lover.


By Bert Mattson

Bubbling Fourth nostalgia T

he triggers of my nostalgia aren’t necessarily normal. Veterans on parade won’t send me pining. Even less, elaborate fireworks programs. Streamers don’t do it. Rather, something plain, such as spying a sunburned kid swiping a supplemental brownie off the spread, generally spurs my reminiscence. Actually, a lot of the causes come off a plastic tablecloth: salads made mostly from mayonnaise; canned fruit suspended in shimmering gelatin; crispy orange concave discs of cheeseburger, lacey along the edges; Hostess hamburger buns; Schlitz beer. My uncle owned a beer distributorship. On the Fourth he’d arrive at our house early, arms laden with three levels of those quaint cardboard flats. From one of those I had my first sip of beer – Schlitz. It’s a loaded taste memory. A recent tallboy begot Lo-Fi recollections of striped tube socks, Tiger tennies, untrimmed locks, and raglan concert tees – for me the holiday is enmeshed with canned beer and arena rock. Sipping Schlitz on the day itself might ignite a daydream in the spirit of Alice Cooper’s “I Love America.” Spreading a blanket at a picnic area, or by a band shell, cans are more convenient than glass. Cans can’t leave shards behind and can be compacted for clean up (of particular importance on waterfront). More important: their nonchalant vibe. Make no mistake, if there’s a beer tent at your fair, mini music-fest, or whatever, more power to you. Just note it’s more challenging to overspray repellent into the opening of an aluminum can. Did I mention cans look cool? I reckon July coolers should contain one crisp selection with

a little grain sweetness and lively carbonation. To cut mayo-laden salads, wash away oily potato chip salinity, and scrub greasy cheese and fatty bacon for another bite. Fort Road Helles Lager from August Schell’s Brewery should answer the bell. Fields around Fort Road outside New Ulm are where the barley is reaped for this easy drinking brew. My nostalgia observing no boundaries, memories of the other Fort Road - Seventh Street in St. Paul - spring to mind … old stomping grounds. An historic brewery sign at night. The lights of its letters - S-C-H-M-I-D-T - selectively shattered by stone hurling derelicts such that it’s left spelling out something hilarious to a 10-year-old intellect. Back in reality that old brewery is artists’ lofts and a fancy food court. Hallelujah, I’ve got this Helles in hand. While my wife isn’t entirely unsentimental, she’s not as sappy as I am. She’ll taste something modern and innovative on Independence Day. At some point I, too, will slide a can of her current obsession - Tall Grass Brewing Company’s Key Lime Pie - into a Styrofoam Koozie. Despite my affinity for their Vanilla Buffalo Sweat, I was originally reluctant about this Sour Blonde Ale. Worth it. The aroma is strikingly similar to key lime pie and the flavor follows suit. It’ll make a suitable standin for that odd old lime-gelatin salad. Forced to choose, I choose the beer. I am forced if I’m ever to fit back into those concert tees.

Bert Mattson is a chef and writer based in St. Paul. He is the manager of the iconic Mickey’s Diner.

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It may smell like the holidays, but this is a dram for all seasons


f you read much food writing, sooner or later you’ll notice that food writers are often prone to extolling the seasonality of dishes by summoning various forms of dinnerware. “Spring on a plate!â€? one will chirp, describing a citrus-drizzled halibut pan-seared on a bed of pea shoots; later, “Autumn in a bowl!â€? to describe a squash soup laced with sherry and cinnamon. In the booze sphere, the winter holidays are the most common source of this construction. At this point, hearing a cranberry or pine-scented punch described as “Christmas in a bowl!â€? causes me to consider drowning myself in it. Still, allspice (a.k.a. pimento) dram is good enough that I choose to ignore how often the phrase “Christmas in a bottleâ€? comes up in odes to its pleasures. And this zippy liqueur’s appearance in many a summer tiki drink makes it a dram for all seasons, despite the holiday baking spices it sends ÇŽÇ•Ĺą  Äź

\ That scent comes from allspice, so named in recognition of its impressive variety of flavors: alternately clovey, cinnamony and nutmeggy, and possessing a gingery heat. Its other name, pimento, may have been a goof: According to “The Cultural History of Plants,� Columbus, looking for valuable spices on his travels, showed black peppercorns to locals in Cuba and was told they had plenty of them. If you look at a handful of peppercorns (“pimienta� in Spanish) and a handful of whole allspice berries, you can see the resemblance; the authors speculate this may be why the Spanish expedition called allspice “pimiento,� another Columbus-era mistake that stuck. (“Who lives, who dies, who names your foliage?� is a historical question Lin-Manuel Miranda could wrestle with in “Hamilton 2.�)


At some point in the naming of the liqueur, the second “iâ€? came out, resulting in “pimentoâ€? dram. But since my Southern roots have ÇŽÇ”     “pimentoâ€? without thinking of cheese spread, I prefer to think of the liqueur in its “allspiceâ€? hat. The mere thought of a pimento cheese cocktail is enough to make one consider giving up drink. Like orgeat, falernum and other secret potions of the early tiki titans, allspice dram is one of the ingredients that takes tiki to Ų   Ĺą   ǔŕ  sugar and fruit. It’s often the spice that makes punch nice, and is traditional in Jamaica, where the berry has long been used to enhance the local tipple. “On every island that was making rum hundreds of years ago, the rum was horrible coming

Ĺ°Ç•ĨĿ ǔǕ Ĩ writer and connoisseur behind the Hamilton rum label and the Ministry of Rum website. “So everybody added sugar to it, or if they couldn’t afford sugar, they added whatever was growing in their garden, which was local fruits, spices, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon - in Jamaica, it was pimento.â€? The spice is also a primary component of jerk seasoning; in Jamaica, Hamilton says, the liqueur is mostly used for cooking. As he described various ways he uses it in marinades, I paused now and then to wipe the drool from my phone. After the Wray & Nephew version of the liqueur disappeared from the American market in the 1980s, it was missed by bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts, who “commented on how this magical ingredient was unavailable, and a mess to make at home,â€? says Eric Seed, founder of spirits importer Haus Alpenz, which started bringing in St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram in 2008. As the cocktail movement

spread, St. Elizabeth became the go-to for bars. More options have come around: The Bitter Truth makes an allspice dram, and last year, Hamilton launched his own (delicious) variation; the rum base brings rich notes of butterscotch and banana. Bar folks are taking advantage of the choices. Martin Cate wrote in his James Beard award-winning book about his tiki bar, “Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum and the Cult of Tiki,â€? that they use St. Elizabeth. But since the book was published, they’ve switched over. “Still like St. Elizabeth,â€? he wrote in a message, “but I prefer the higher ester Jamaican rum funk at the heart of Hamilton.â€? Now we have a new iteration, from D.C.’s rum distillery Cotton & Reed, which launched this spring. Lukas B. Smith, who serves as the distillery’s barman and herbalist, tends to make everything more interesting, and this is no exception. Having now sampled and mixed with their dram, I’d say snag it not with expectations of a traditional allspice liqueur, but for something that stretches the category. -  Ç•\"Ĺ° “Beachbumâ€? Berry, who helped keep tiki alive with his writing and now with Latitude 29, his bar in New Orleans, says what he wants in an allspice liqueur “is a liqueur that tastes like allspice.â€? Some brands, he notes, try to add interest with other spices, but he says that can make it too idiosyncratic for cocktails. I can see his point in a bar Ç•Ĩ Ĺą  stocking components that can be popped into classic recipes and be trusted to function the same way as another brand, without having  Ç• ǕŹǕ \+ while Cotton & Reed’s dram may not lock into every old recipe with the easy click of a Lego, it makes some lovely drinks. Idiosyncrasy

is part of its appeal. Rather than the typical allspice/ rum/sugar recipe, Cotton & Reed’s incorporates molasses and

Ç•Ĺ° Ç•ĨÇ• Ç•Ç•Ĩ peppercorn, gentian and dried lime, for a liqueur that’s drier, hotter and has a nip of bitterness - like an allspice dram majoring in amaro studies. Smith argues that it can go anywhere you’d use another brand. Because they’ve reduced the amount of sugar, “you have to mind your sweetness levels; you might have to kick that up a littleâ€? in some recipes; then again,  ǔǕĹą    Ç• drink. The liqueur is a bit of a shapeÇ•ÇŽ\Ĺ€-  Ç•Ç•ĨÇ•Äź  show you its sweet and spicy side, but then you put it next to the lime juice and it brings out these  Ç•Ų Ĩ you taste it on its own, it’s not even clear they’re there,â€? Smith says. That versatility interests him: the way the liqueur reacts to what it’s mixed with, and how “the brain wants to harmonize these things.â€? It feels liberating in its newness, he says, noting that historical progenitors like 19th-century author Jerry Thomas weren’t thinking these thoughts: “They didn’t do this in the old days.â€? Still, it’s an allspice dram, and apparently, some things stay the same: “It’s surprising to me how many people pick up the bottle and go, ‘It smells like Christmas!’ “ Smith says. “And I’m like, ‘Come on now.’ “ I feel you, buddy. Allan is a Hyattsville, Maryland, writer and editor. Follow her on Twitter: @Carrie_the_Red.

White Lion

1 serving Not to be mistaken for the more placid cocktail in David Embury’s “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks,� with grenadine and triple sec, this simple shaken drink roars with the allspice dram. We used Cotton & Reed’s allspice dram liqueur here; if you use a sweeter version, such as St. Elizabeth or Hamilton, you may wish to reduce the scant 1/2 ounce of simple syrup even further. Adapted from Lukas B. Smith, herbalist and cocktail specialist at Cotton and Reed rum distillery in Northeast Washington.

Ingredients Ice 1 1/2 ounces white rum 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice 1/2 ounce allspice dram (see headnote) Scant 1/2 ounce simple syrup (see NOTE)

Steps Chill a cocktail or Nick and Nora glass. Fill a cocktail shaker two-thirds full with ice, then add the rum, lime juice, allspice dram liqueur and simple syrup. Seal and shake vigorously for 15 seconds, then strain into the glass. NOTE: To make simple syrup, combine 1/2 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Cook for 2 minutes, then let the syrup cool completely before using. You can save leftover syrup for several weeks in the refrigerator. Nutrition | Per serving: 190 calories, 0 g protein, 18 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 0 Ç”

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     MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 67

ƷƬƥƷũƶưƭƪƩ By Nell Musolf

Never say Die(t) D

oes anyone else remember Richard Simmons? The happy, hyper health addict from the 1980’s who excelled at telling people how to stop eating so much, although always in a very nice way. Deal a Meal, his own talk show, Late Night with David Letterman— the man was positively everywhere. This is aging me but I remember Richard when he had a regular gig on the soap General Hospital at the beginning of the Let’s Get Physical era when everybody ran around in leg warmers with scarves knotted around their foreheads like spandex-clad gang members. Richard’s role on the soap wasn’t exactly an acting stretch — he Õ¼ú—“ăã×ÜÜ«ÃÜãØèãÊØʠŒèã—ó—à after all these years a line he often uttered has stuck with me. “Never say diet,” he solemnly instructed his leotard clad-class of soap opera stars who looked like they ח“—“ăã×Ü܍¼Üܼ«¹—㨗ؗÜãÊ¡ us need three extra holes in our heads. “The word ‘diet’ has ‘die’ in it. You want to say ‘live-it’ because you have to live with how you eat for the rest of your life.” Even then I could see his point. You do have to live with whatever calorie-restricting food regime you’re attempting to try but good luck enjoying it. I’ve never liked dieting. I know, Duh, who does? Well, you might be surprised, but a lot of people really do seem to get a thrill out of counting calories and challenging themselves on how healthfully they can dine over any one 24-hour period. That these same people share their colonoscopy experiences online should come as no big surprise. 68 • JULY 2017 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

My personal issues with food started at a young age. Twelve, to be exact, when I went to a camp where there was an unwritten rule that every single camper was destined to win at least one award during their two week stay. Best swimmer, hiker, lanyard maker, pancake eater. We were all going to get a ribbon that told the rest of the camp that we excelled at — or at least were known for — something. In an obvious desperation move (best bed maker and most frequent phone home caller having already been taken), I was awarded the Skinny Minnie Award, an honor that boggles my mind to this day. But I was a string bean back then, able to eat mounds of carbs without pausing and burn 㨗ÂÊėô¨«¼—×ó—،ؗ¹«Ã¢Üô—ãʈ I put the Skinny Minnie Award in a scrapbook where it remained until I heard one too many, “YOU?” followed by derisive laughter when a friend spotted my ribbon. The downside of that ramped-up metabolism was that while my appetite has remained quite large, my inner

workings have slowed to a crawl. My eyes and lips still scream “yes, yes!” to all goodies near and far while my thighs and hips are begging me for Ê͗Ã“¼¼ãʹÃʍ¹«ãÊėʈ I no longer care about being named anyone’s Skinny Minnie again (like that would ever happen — the odds are much better that I’ll actually win Publisher’s Clearinghouse Money for Life contest), just as I no longer care about an entire host of things. Now I’d like to eat healthfully so I can be healthy and not worry about my doctor scolding me about my cholesterol at my annual checkup. However, wanting to eat more fruits and veggies and actually doing it are apparently not the same thing, just like eating when you’re not hungry doesn’t automatically cancel out the calories in the food you’re eating (who knew?). That said, I’ve come up with my own diet that I call the Kwik Trip Diet. It involves not having any food «ÃúÊèبÊèܗô¨ãÜʗó—ØʃÊüúÊė—— in an attempt to prevent any acts of homicide. When hunger hits, you drive

to the nearest gas station and have a ܁ÂÕ¼—Ê¡Õ«ÿÿÊØÂèĜÃÜÊØô¨ã—ó—Ø else is being handed out. Then you go home until you’re hungry again. I’m thinking this is pretty brilliant because not only will it help you meet new people, you can also pick up some ܍؁㍨Êė㫍¹—ã܁㗁¨¢ÜÜãã«Êà (and now that you’re no longer buying ¢Øʍ—Ø«—ÜʃúÊ荁ÁėÊؓ¼ÊãÂÊؗ ܍؁㍨ÊėÜʜʈ I haven’t actually tried my diet yet since I live with someone who insists on being fed whole portions of food at regular intervals, but one of these days I’m going to give it a whirl. Until that happens, I’m going to dig out my Skinny Minnie Award, reminisce about the good old days and never, ever say diet.

All New Equipment

Nell Musolf is a mom and freelance writer from Mankato. She blogs at:

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877-976-7394 Mankato, New Ulm & Austin MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 69

ƫƥƘƨƩƲƧƬƥƷ By Jean Lundquist

Need garden help? Try Craigslist! I

am a huge fan of Craigslist on the Internet. Last winter when we had a warm spell in February, I found someone willing to muck out the chicken coop for me when I was laid up for a bit. The nice man who came ãʍ¼—Ã«ãÊèãÊė—Ø—“ãʨ—¼Õ¢«Ã«¡ I needed anything, so the next day, he came with his son and they insulated the coop for me. Then I found a really good deal on 8-feet-by-4-feet chain link panels with good sturdy fence posts accompanying them, and I bought them. This spring, I went out on a Saturday morning with the intention of building a chickenproof, rabbit-proof, raccoon-proof wall around my garden. Oops — I meant “fence,” not “wall.” After fter a half hour of intensive, sweatproducing ducing labor, I had exactly two fence ce posts pounded into the ground, and I was spent. Although lthough my garden is not much larger er than 16 feet by 16 feet, I quickly realized ized it would be next year this time before re I was ready to attach the fencing to the he poles if I didn’t do something different. erent. So I dropped the post ÕÊèӗØʃ“èÜ㗓ÊėÂú¨Ã“ÜʃÃ“ ӗØʃ“èÜ㗓ÊėÂú¨Ã“ÜʃÃ“ ran in to rev up the computer and connect nect to Craigslist. A young man named Sam came to my rescue. In the ad, I had given the dimensions of my garden. He looked ked on Google maps and found an old image showing my really big garden, but he came anyway. He was relieved to see the actual size of the garden I had hired him to build uild a fence around. I didn’t time him, but if it took k him more than a minute to pound ound in a fence post, I’d be surprised. The fence he put up is strong, sturdy, straight ight and permanent. It would be none of those se things if I had 70 • JULY 2017 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

done it myself. Another upside of Sam’s work here is that we talked gardening while he was here. I got a great fence and made a new friend. And even better, I’m not using plastic fencing that is ugly as sin, worn out and brittle after one year, and allaround environmentally unfriendly. So far, no chickens have breached it, no rabbits have dug under it, and no raccoons have ascended it, so it’s working. ••• Wi t h t h e h e l p o f Jo l e n e a t Running’s in New Ulm, I was able to acquire a couple of pullets of a breed of chickens I have been

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wanting to raise. These birds are called Turkens, because they look like a cross between a chicken and a turkey, even as little chicks. They are also known as Naked Necks. The features of these birds have «ÃãØ«¢è—“—ܫ͗,ăØÜã܁ôÕ«ãèؗÜ of them earlier this year. A co-worker Êė—Ø—“ãÊÊؓ—؁¡—ôaèع—ÃÕè¼¼—ãÜ for me when he put in his mail order ¡ÊØŒØÊ«¼—ØÜʈ¼Üʃ¨—¢Êが—ãã—ØÊė—Ø when his brother-in-law decided to purchase some land up north for a fishing base, and asked for his help in clearing the land in exchange for unlimited access. Jolene to the rescue! As I purchased a few other breeds of pullets from her, I asked if she could/would get in a few Turkens. As it turned out, th the breed was so popular, they were on backorder, and wouldn’t be availabl available for a few weeks. She called me the day they came in in. strikes, Amid tornadoes and lightning strikes I trekked to New Ulm the next day day, ô«ã¨Êüúăó—Ê¡㨗ȻȾܨ—¨“Êؓ—Ø—“ ô«ã¨Êüúăó—Ê¡㨗ȻȾܨ—¨“Êؓ—Ø—“ remaining. Seems others are drawn b by their unusual visage, too. •••

July Garden Work (Mankato Area)

Enjoy your asparagus and rhubarb through the Fourth of July holiday, then leave both of them alone. Their season «Üăëܨ—“ʈ It would be a sad time tim if not for all the othe other seasons that begin for fo vegetables and othe other edibles. Jean Lundquist is a master gardener who lives near Good Thunder.

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ƼƳƸƘƶƷƼưƩ By Ann Rosenquist Fee

Something old, something new, something to fry your bridal mind by



ike any fortuneteller who’s also a style columnist, I assumed my Fashion Tarot reading would solve Jessica’s dilemmas about attire for her July wedding. Fashion Tarot is a thing I made up to provide style guidance when style needs to mean something. When a person seeks adornment that feels especially celebratory, or protective, or granting-of-superpowers. Like you’re about to graduate from college, which was delayed 30ish years while you raised úÊèع«“ÜʃÜÊ㨗¢Ø“èã«ÊÃÊèãăãܨÊ輓«Ã¼è“—ÃʓãÊ your young motherhood (wedge sandals) and also a symbol of ladypower (dress covered in iridescent circles that very much evoked the moon). That was the attire that resulted from a Fashion Tarot reading I did for my now-doctorate-holding friend Julene. 72 • JULY 2017 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

The reading at hand, for Jessica, was similarly complex and urgent. What does a bride wear, when her life’s work up to this point is about body-positivity, rejection of hetero-norms, rejection of the trappings of the word “bride” yet now stuck wanting to feel comfortable and pretty and ready and perfect on that day? We read the cards. It solved everything, and then Jess went shopping, and then she realized nothing at all had been solved and the reading might have made things worse. We chatted. ANN: So you thought choosing a dress wouldn’t be a big deal, because of your values. Because you’re beyond this. Turns out it’s like a big deal. Why? JESS: A (small) component of the stress comes from the

ĂƒÂ ĂŁĂ¨Ă˜Â—ĂŠÂĄĂŠĂ¨Ă˜Ă´Â—Â“Â“ÂŤĂƒÂ˘ĘˆrÂ—Ę°Ă˜Â—Ă´Â ÂźÂšÂŤĂƒÂ˘㨗ȞȚȚ˥Ÿ—Â Ă‚ÂŤĂƒĂŠ de Santiago across Northern Spain, and after we booked the trip, we decided that the end point would be a lovely place to wed. It’s the spot where you’re said to leave behind your past to start anew, at the coastal end of the hike. There’s even a Ă•ÂŤĂŁĂŁĂŠÂŒĂ¨Ă˜ĂƒĂŁÂ¨ÂŤĂƒÂ˘ĂœúÊèʰó—Â?Â Ă˜Ă˜ÂŤÂ—Â“Â ÂźĂŠĂƒÂ˘㨗Ă´Â ĂşĘˆr—¨ ó—ȟȞ people congregating on the coast of Spain at a villa we rented. Because it’s a destination wedding, last-minute alterations aren’t an option, and I don’t know what shape I’ll be in after ȞȚȚ˥Ă‚ÂŤÂźÂ—ĂœĂŠÂĄĂ´Â ÂźÂšÂŤĂƒÂ˘ĘˆZĂŠĘˆaÂ¨Â—Ă˜Â—ÂŤĂœ ĂƒÂ—Â—Â“ÂĄĂŠĂ˜Ä„Â—ĂšÂŤÂŒÂŤÂźÂŤĂŁĂşÂ ĂƒÂ“ adaptability, for which traditional wedding dresses are not known. Also, I worked in the fashion industry as a copywriter for years. That inside view led me to give up buying new clothes, Â ĂƒÂ“,ʰ󗟍ó—“ĂŠÄ—Â?ÂźĂŠĂŁÂ¨ÂŤĂƒÂ˘ĂœĂ´Â Ă•ĂœÂ ĂƒÂ“ĂœÂ—Â?ĂŠĂƒÂ“Ę˘Â¨Â ĂƒÂ“ÂŒĂ¨ĂşÂŤĂƒÂ˘ the past few years. This limits a bride’s options. Add to that the desire for this to be a rejection of the “industrial wedding complex.â€? Add to that a constant need to please people. Everyone. I want to please everyone, all the time. And of course, there’s my mother’s opinion. You get the picture. ANN: What does the ideal dress need to say, accomplish, be? JESS: The ideal dress ‌ doesn’t exist. I’ve realized that. One of the biggest contributing factors to this search (and in much of life, I think) is the weight of expectation — the idea that a single dress will solve the issues I have with societal pressures on women, or represent me perfectly. I really wanted the Ę­Ă•Â—Ă˜ÂĄÂ—Â?ĂŁÂ“Ă˜Â—ĂœĂœĘŽĂŁĂŠĂƒÂ ĂŁĂ¨Ă˜Â ÂźÂźĂşÄƒĂŁ㨗ĂƒÂ ĂŁĂ¨Ă˜Â—ĂŠÂĄĂŠĂ¨Ă˜Ă´Â—Â“Â“ÂŤĂƒÂ˘ÂŤĂƒ Â ĂƒĂŠĂ˜Â˘Â ĂƒÂŤÂ?ĘƒĂƒĂŠĂƒĘ˘Â Ă˜ĂŁÂŤÄƒÂ?ÂŤÂ ÂźĂ´Â ĂşĘ ,Ă´Â ĂƒĂŁÂ—Â“ÂŤĂŁĂŁĂŠ¥——ŸĂ‚Â—Â ĂƒÂŤĂƒÂ˘ÂĄĂ¨Âź and intentional and holistic. I wanted to happen upon it in ĂœĂŠĂ‚Â—ÂŤĂƒÂ“Â—Ă•Â—ĂƒÂ“Â—ĂƒĂŁÂŒĂŠĂ¨ĂŁÂŤĂ—Ă¨Â—Â ĂƒÂ“¨ ó—ÂŤĂŁÄƒĂŁ—Ă•Â—Ă˜ÂĄÂ—Â?ãŸúÂ ĂƒÂ“ ĂŁÂŤÂ?š ŸŸ㨗ÂŒĂŠĂšÂ—ĂœÂ ĂƒÂ“Œ—Ä„Â—ĂšÂŤÂŒÂźÂ—Â ĂƒÂ“ĂœĂ¨Ă‚Ă‚Â—Ă˜ĂşÂ ĂƒÂ“Â?Â¨Â—Â Ă•ĘƒÂŒĂ¨ĂŁ also sustainably constructed and maybe even be vintage and seem unique and memorable and ‌ and ‌ and ‌ see what happens? I’ve accepted the fact that for this piece of the wedding, the meaning may have to be in what we give it, not where the dress came from. Which is why I loved your reading that instructed me to drag the hem in the dirt! ANN: Current contenders? JESS: I have a cheap little maxi dress that’s cream (not bridal white); it needs no alterations, it cost next to nothing, and it makes me feel pretty in the earthy way your reading suggested. It doesn’t stand up to the sustainability standards to which I try to hold my garments, but it will pack easily and I won’t care what happens to it if we decide to walk barefoot through the grass or jump into the pool after the ceremony. I had found an intriguing vintage red gown, but it broke and that seemed like a sign to leave it behind. I think I’ll like ÂśĂ¨ĂœĂŁÂ¨Â ĂłÂŤĂƒÂ˘ÂŤĂŁÂŤĂƒĂ‚ĂşÂ?ÂźĂŠĂœÂ—ĂŁĘˆ,Ę°Ă‚Â˘ĂŠÂŤĂƒÂ˘ĂŁĂŠ¢—ãÂŤĂŁÄƒĂšÂ—Â“Â ĂƒÂ“Ă´Â—Â Ă˜ it around the house sometimes or to a friend’s fall wedding. I have one other dress in transit that’s white, but has a lot ĂŠÂĄÂĄĂ¨ĂƒÂĄĂ˜ÂŤĂƒÂ˘Â—Ę…,ĂŁĂœÂ—Â—Ă‚ĂœĂŁĂŠÄƒĂŁ㨗ĂœĂ•ÂŤĂ˜ÂŤĂŁĂŠÂĄ㨗Â—ĂłÂ—ĂƒĂŁĘ Â?Â ĂœĂ¨Â ÂźĘƒ joyful, free-spirited — but I haven’t had it on yet so I can’t yet say whether it’ll make the cut. So we’ll see! ÂŒĂŠĂłÂ—Â ÂźÂźĘƒ,Ă´Â ĂƒĂŁĂŁĂŠ¥——ŸÂ?ĂŠĂƒÄƒÂ“Â—ĂƒĂŁÂ ĂƒÂ“Â?ĂŠĂ‚ÂĄĂŠĂ˜ĂŁÂ ÂŒÂźÂ—Ęˆ,Ă•ÂźÂ ĂƒĂŁĂŠ wear the dress straight from the ceremony into the evening festivities around the villa. No changing. No itchy sequins or boning in the torso; no silicone cups or heavy skirts that will be hot and just plain no fun. ANN: If you were to revise “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blueâ€? for today’s selfexamined bride, what would be the new components? JESS: For us, the Camino is an opportunity to take in everything that it’s taken to get here — our marriage (and

Jessica Server for me, that was a lot) — and to think about what we can leave behind before moving into this new stage together. ,ĂŁÂ¨ÂŤĂƒÂšĘ­ĂœĂŠĂ‚Â—ĂŁÂ¨ÂŤĂƒÂ˘ĂŠÂźÂ“ĘƒĂœĂŠĂ‚Â—ĂŁÂ¨ÂŤĂƒÂ˘ĂƒÂ—Ă´ĘŽĂŁĂ˜Â Â“ÂŤĂŁÂŤĂŠĂƒÄƒĂŁĂœÂŤĂƒĂŁĂŠ that. It’s about the search for balance. You want to be rooted ÂŤĂƒĂşĂŠĂ¨Ă˜Ă•Â ĂœĂŁÂŒĂ¨ĂŁĂƒĂŠĂŁÂ ĂƒÂ?Â¨ĂŠĂ˜Â—Â“ĂŁĂŠĂŠÄƒĂ˜Ă‚ÂźĂşĂŁÂ¨Â—Ă˜Â—ĘŽúÊèĂ´Â ĂƒĂŁĂŁĂŠ be focused on the new and sparkly things on the horizon, ÂŒĂ¨ĂŁĂƒĂŠĂŁÄƒĂšÂ ĂŁÂ—Â“ĂŠĂƒ—Ú՗Â?ĂŁÂ ĂŁÂŤĂŠĂƒĂœĘˆxÊèĂ´Â ĂƒĂŁĂŁĂŠÂ“Ă˜Â Ă´Â—ĂƒÂ—Ă˜Â˘Ăş from community and remember that you (and your partner) aren’t in this whole marriage thing alone. And I don’t know 㨗ĂœÂŤÂ˘ĂƒÂŤÄƒÂ?Â ĂƒÂ?—ĂŠÂĄĂœĂŠĂ‚Â—ĂŁÂ¨ÂŤĂƒÂ˘Ę­ÂŒÂźĂ¨Â—ĘŽÂŒĂ¨ĂŁ, ÂĂŁÂ¨ÂŤĂƒÂšÂŤĂƒÂ˘ĂŠÂĄĂ‚Ăş yogic teachings. Blue is the Throat Chakra, linked to open expression and communication. I like to think of it that way, perhaps. So, there’s a give-and-take—a drawing in (something old, something borrowed) and a radiating out (something new, something blue). If I had to rephrase it, though, for my current situation, I may go about it this way: Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something just for you. I’m going to rock something on my wedding day, something just for me—that no one has given to me, found for me, approved of, commented upon. It may be my bare feet or a crystal or my Nasty Woman pin or my dress itself. I’m not sure what, yet. But something. In the end, I found an amazing man who thinks I look fantastic in my pajamas when I’m completely comfortable and at home in myself. It’s a shame there aren’t more Pinterest pages, blogs, websites, companies, magazines and yes, at times, family members who are committed to spreading that message. But back to the dress. At this writing, I’m undecided. I am hopeful. I am excited and open and have let go of the ĂœÂŤÂ˘ĂƒÂŤÄƒÂ?Â ĂƒÂ?—ĂœĂŠÂ?—ãúĂ´Â ĂƒĂŁĂœÂŤĂŁĂŁĂŠÂ¨Â ĂłÂ—Ęˆ,ĂŁĘ°Ăœ Â“Ă˜Â—ĂœĂœĘˆÂĄĂŁÂ—Ă˜ȞȚȚ˥ miles in hiking clothes, I’ll probably just feel happy to be wearing one. I’m as ready as I can be. Ann Rosenquist Fee is executive director of the Arts Center of Saint Peter and a vocalist with The Frye. She blogs at MANKATO MAGAZINE • JULY 2017 • 73

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Old-Fashioned 4th of July

7:30 p.m — Andreas Theatre — Earley Center for Performing Arts — Minnesota State University — Mankato — $16 —

10 a.m. parade — 12-4 p.m. park activities, Minnesota Square Park — 10 p.m. Fireworks, Nicollet County Fairgrounds — St. Peter —

Rockin’ Fourth of July with City Mouse and the Mankato Symphony Orchestra 6 p.m. — Riverfront Park — Mankato —

Brit Floyd: Pink Floyd Tribute Band 7:30 p.m. — Vetter Stone Amphitheater — Riverfront Park — Mankato — $39.50, $49.50, $79.50 —

Bavarian Blast Various times — Brown County Fairgrounds — New Ulm — $30 Thursday Pre-Blast (includes admission for Friday), $15 Friday-Saturday, $5 Sunday, $25 Weekend Pass (Friday-Sunday) —

‘The Little Mermaid’ 7:30 p.m. — Ted Paul Theatre — Earley Center for Performing Arts — Minnesota State University — Mankato — $22 —

Mankato Area Community Band free concert 7:30 p.m. — Sibley Park — Mankato —

CPF Happy Hour Yoga with Jan 2 p.m. — Indian Island Winery, 18018 631st Ave. — Janesville — $10 per person, includes yoga session and glass of wine — 507-243-6222

Classic Car Cruise-in 5-8 p.m. — downtown New Ulm — free —

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Merely Players present: ‘W;t’ TIME — Lincoln Community Center — 110 Fulton St. — Mankato —

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Brass Brand Brass Band with Mankato Area Community Band 7:30 p.m. — Sibley Park — free —

Tesla 7:30 p.m. — Mankato Performing Arts Center — 1 Civic Center Plaza — Mankato — $39, $57.50, $77.50 —



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MANKATO CHILDREN’S MUSEUM BIKE RODEO 1. Jordan Carver and his son, Samuel, checked out the fish in the aquarium. 2. Morgan Lenhoff with her twin sons learn bike safety outside the Children’s Museum. 3. Scott McConkey guides Dominick Mendez through the different stages of the bike rodeo. 4. Maxwell Lenhoff went through the obstacle course learning about hand signals and road signs. 5. Families assist their children through the bike rodeo.






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MANKATO CARNIVAL 1. Numerous children rode the Go Gator roller coaster at the Mankato Carnival. 2. Graisen Hanson went through the fun house many times. 3. Evelyn Thompson, and Glenn and Grace Wiechmann (left to right) took a break from the rides to check out the concession stand. 4. Brooklyn Warnke (left) and Malia Allex enjoyed the bumper cars. 5. The Extreme Swings were a huge attraction. 3 6. Nadia and Evan Slama were thrilled to go down the slide together.






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1. Guests of the Taste of Spring event conversed and looked over the silent auction. 2. The band DW3 provided live music for the event. 3. Mankato Area Public Schools Supt. Sherri Allen kicked off the event. 4. Mankato West High School administrators team up against Mankato East. 5. Mankato East High School administrators battled in a cookoff against West. 6. Mankato Area Public Schools made baskets to be donated to the live and silent auctions. 7. Doug Lago (left) and Karen Sanger represent the Educare board as the current and past chairs.








ĆŞĆ˜ĆłĆąơƏƭƜƚƼưưƊƟ By Pete Steiner

You’ve Got to Choose!

Don’t you??


ÂĄĂŁÂ—Ă˜ ŸŸĂŁÂ¨Â—ĂœÂ—ĂşÂ—Â Ă˜ĂœĘƒ,Ă‚Â ĂşÄƒĂƒÂ ÂźÂźĂşŒ—ĂœĂ¨Ă˜Ă•Ă˜ÂŤĂœÂŤĂƒÂ˘Ă‚Ăş Editors by adhering to the theme of this month’s magazine. But you know, I found it CHALLENGING to make actual judgments on what is the very best in many categories — given choices, I am tempted to say, “It depends...â€? So to make it easier on myself, I decided to pick my own categories for voting, with mine the only vote that counts. Even then, it got real hard, real fast, to do the choosing. Category one: The Most Scenic Road in Blue Earth County. Fortunately the Judson Bottom Road’s not eligible — it’s in Nicollet County. Still, with more river valley miles than any other county in Minnesota, Blue Earth has plenty of roads that could be nominated, many of them gravel. I might have said, Old 66 — now County 1 — Mankato to Good Thunder. But they’re doing an “upgrade,â€? which means it’s more important to be safe than scenic. So I withhold judgment til it’s done next year. How about ÂŤĂƒĂœĂŁÂ—Â Â“ ÂĄÂ ÂŒĂ¨ÂźĂŠĂ¨ĂœÂ˘Ă˜Â ĂłÂ—ÂźĂ˜ĂŠÂ Â“ÂśĂ¨ĂœĂŁĂŠÄ—ȿȿ㨠ãÂĄĂŠÂźÂźĂŠĂ´Ăœ㨗 ;—ZĂ¨Â—Ă¨Ă˜VÂŤĂłÂ—Ă˜ĘˆZ——ÂŤÂĄúÊèÂ?Â ĂƒÄƒĂƒÂ“ÂŤĂŁĘˆ

out-of-town? The Dam Store. (Place most-inquired about by friends from out of town? Mettler’s.) •••• When I travel, folks often tell me, “I’ve never been to Minnesota.â€? We’re known as “Fly Over Land.â€? I tell them it’s a great place, especially at the right time of the year (I Â ÂźĂ˜Â—Â Â“ĂşĂ´ĂŠĂ˜Ă˜ĂşĂŁÂ¨Â—Ă˜Â—Ę°ÂźÂźŒ—㨗ÄƒĂ˜ĂœĂŁÂŒÂŤÂ˘ÂŒÂźÂŤĂżĂżÂ Ă˜Â“ÂŤĂƒ Â?Êè՟— years for next February’s Super Bowl.) So what is the best time to be in Minnesota? You could say May, but this past May had some of the most beautiful weather of the year along with a lot that was cool and rainy. Summer’s great, but many don’t like humidity and mosquitoes. Winter of course, is an acquired taste. So ,Ă¨ĂœĂ¨Â ÂźÂźĂşĂœÂ ĂşZÂ—Ă•ĂŁÂ—Ă‚ÂŒÂ—Ă˜ȺȞĂŁĂŠHÂ?ĂŁĂŠÂŒÂ—Ă˜ČşČžĘˆ#Ă˜Â—Â ĂŁÂ?ĂŠÂźĂŠĂ˜ĂœĘƒ usually dry and pleasant, except for the hundred-year Ä„ĂŠĂŠÂ“Ăœ㨠ãĂƒĂŠĂ´ĂœÂ—Â—Ă‚ĂŁĂŠÂ Ă˜Ă˜ÂŤĂłÂ—Â—ĂłÂ—Ă˜ĂşĂŠĂŁÂ¨Â—Ă˜ĂşÂ—Â Ă˜Ęˆ ••••

•••• Now we come to a category I might write a whole future article on, but today we keep it short: Best restaurant EVER in Mankato. Lots of opinions, no doubt, many of them places that are no more. But again, mine is the only vote that counts here, and I say Michael’s, downtown at Second and Walnut. If you’re under 40, you probably never got the privilege, ĂœÂŤĂƒÂ?—ÂŤĂŁĂ´Â ĂœÂ?ĂŠĂƒĂłÂ—Ă˜ĂŁÂ—Â“ĂŁĂŠĂŠÄœÂ?Â—ĂœÂŤĂƒ㨗ČşÉ‚É ČšĘ°ĂœĘˆ Â—ĂœÂŤÂ“Â—Ăœ gold tablecloths and linen napkins, it had great food and memorable waitresses — smiling Milly and others were storybook characters, and oh yes, there was also the one that I married. Three-martini lunches in the ’70’s in the Red Boot Saloon, where Michael’s Minstrels entertained, then after 9 p.m., great music in the Walnut Room (where yes, Jay did FIRE Jackson Browne! See Mankato Mag March 2010.) •••• How about “best place to hear musicâ€?? The Chapel of Our Lady of Good Counsel (also, when you park there, the best view of the Valley.) Best music festival? Tough call, we’ve got lots, from blues to beer to ribs, but a quarter century on, the organic vibe of Rock Bend Folk Festival in St. Peter wins my vote. Or should I change my mind and vote for the Pow Wow? They include a dose of spiritualism with the drumming. Best place to recommend to friends who visit from 80 • JULY 2017 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

HÂšÂ ĂşĘƒÂ¨Â—Ă˜Â—Ę°Ăœ Â?Â ĂŁÂ—Â˘ĂŠĂ˜Ăş,ʰó—ĂƒÂ—ĂłÂ—Ă˜ĂœÂ—Â—ĂƒĂŠÄ—Â—Ă˜Â—Â“Â Ă˜ĂŠĂ¨ĂƒÂ“ here: Most Colorful Mayor. I’d probably have to go with legendary North End schmoozer, Herb Mocol. But then, how do you NOT vote for a four-time State wrestling champ who surely wins for best w,aÂĄĂ˜ĂŠĂ‚㨗ÂśĂŠÂŒĘŠa¨ ãôÊ蟓Œ—ZĂŁÂ ĂƒÂ¨Ă˜ÂŤĂœĂŁĘƒô¨ÊĂœÂ—ĂƒĂŁÂ Ăƒ e-mail to the city in the middle of the night — a Sunday, I think it was — saying he was done, and outta here! Nowhere to be found on that Monday morning. Best place to seek solitude? A place where we can go to work things out and even come up with ideas for Mankato AÂ Â˘Â ĂżÂŤĂƒÂ—ĘŠ,ÂĄ,Ă˜Â—ĂłÂ—Â ÂźĂŁÂ¨Â ĂŁĘƒĂ‚Â ĂşÂŒÂ—,Ă´ĂŠĂƒĘ°ĂŁÄƒĂƒÂ“ĂœĂŠÂźÂŤĂŁĂ¨Â“Â—ĂŁÂ¨Â—Ă˜Â— any more. Still, cemetery would not be a bad guess. •••• Finally, I can’t leave out the most important category, a category I once devoted this whole page to: Where can you get the BEST MALTED MILK? Back then I answered Tootie’s in Henderson, but that’s in Sibley County. And too, that was "HV㨗úÄƒĂƒÂŤĂœÂ¨Â—Â“AĂŠĂ‚Â ĂƒÂ“SĂŠĂ•Ę°ĂœĘˆSÂźĂ¨ĂœĂŁÂ¨Â—Ă˜Â—Ę°ĂœÂ ÂźĂ´Â ĂşĂœ Culver’s Concrete. See what I mean? Choosing the BEST is really hard!

Peter Steiner is host of “Talk of the Town� weekdays at 1:05 p.m. on KTOE.

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