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

9

Jasmine Greenwaldt

10 Beyond the Margin Fifth-grade Franklin heroes 12 Day Trip Destinations Northfield, Minn. 47 Food, Drink & Dine 48 Food

50 Wine

12

Edible houseplants Pinot Noir

51 Beer Summer ales 52 Happy Hour El Presidente 54 What’s Cookin’?

Bean and ham soup

70 Then & Now Mankato school fire of 1941 72 That’s Life Yep, we’re still married 74 Garden Chat Dad’s influence runs deep 76 Your Style Made in your shades

34

38

78 Coming Attractions 81 Faces & Places 84 From This Valley Iver’s garage

Coming in August

78 4 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

84

Get ready to bark with joy! Next month, we bring you stories of people who can’t get enough of their pets.


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The Gallery: Jasmine Greenwaldt Story by Nell Musolf, photo by John Cross

Painting How Things Feel F or a very young artist, Jasmine Greenwaldt has already achieved some pretty amazing goals. She has sold many of her paintings, been in several art shows and is halfway through her first graduate degree. Although she is only in her early twenties, she has people who are starting to collect her work. Greenwaldt sold one of her first paintings to Dean Barry Ries at Minnesota State University. That painting is now hanging in the Undergraduate Research Center. “It is exciting,” Greenwaldt said. “I’ve sold five paintings this past week, which is really a good feeling.” Greenwaldt received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting as well as a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from MSU in 2014. She decided on the double major to help make her eventual dream of owning her own gallery a reality at some point in the future. She has remained at MSU to earn her Master of Arts in painting, a degree she expects she will have next spring. “I’ve always been kind of an overachiever but it’s nice to see the

things I’ve dreamed about start to come true.” Greenwaldt’s paintings are done in acrylics and range in size from about three feet to much larger works that are over five feet in height. Greenwaldt prefers to paint big. “I find larger paintings to be more intimate,” she said. “I know that sounds kind of odd but when paintings are about the same size that I am, I feel like I can walk right into them and I become a part of them.” Greenwaldt describes herself as an intuitive artist, or someone who paints what she feels and according to the kind of mood that she is in. She also said that she doesn’t do one type of work exclusively. Instead, she paints what she feels at a given moment. She enjoys painting while she is happy, sad and in-between but prefers not to paint when she’s angry. “If I paint when I’m angry or upset, it definitely shows on the canvas,” she said. “The brush strokes are sharper and the colors are uglier. When I go back to a painting that I did when I was

mad about something I almost always paint over it because I don’t like to be reminded of those feelings.” In addition to being a prolific painter, Greenwaldt is also a professional photographer. She has photographed weddings, engagements and senior graduation pictures. Both her artwork and photography can be found on Facebook under Jasmine Greenwaldt/ Artist and Jasmine Greenwaldt/ Photographer. Greenwaldt ‘s work was featured at the Carnegie Art Center in March of this past year and was also an entry in the Carnegie’s juried exhibition in April and May. She has had her art work displayed at MSU’s Centennial Student Union and the 410 Project. When asked what she thinks the future holds for her, Greenwaldt is definite. “I just know what I want and that is to be a full-time artist,” Greenwaldt said.

MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 9


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Day Trip Destinations: City of Northfield By Leticia Gonzales

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Carleton College’s beautiful campus is one of Northfield’s many draws.

Historic Northfield

The perfect combination of college cool, small-town quaint

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ecognized for being one of the best small cities in the Midwest, the best place for a well-rounded retirement, and being bicycle friendly, the City of Northfield has no shortage of awards or honorable mentions for the many treasures it offers to residents and visitors alike. Home to two colleges — St. Olaf College and Carleton College — the city gains an extra 6,000 students between the two schools each fall when classes start. Aside from the influx of students, Todd Bornhauser, President of the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism, said Northfield continues to bring in new visitors. “It really has developed into a strong tourism area, so there is a lot of activity,” he said. “And as a result you really see a difference in the mix of population 12 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

of people who are coming to the community; less students in the summer, but more visitors who are coming through.” In addition to the bike trails and river activities such as canoeing and kayaking, visitors have their pick when it comes to activities and events. “If you didn’t want to fight the crowds at the Minnesota State Fair for all of the great food, you can come to Defeat of Jesse James Days for all of the same stuff,” said Bornhauser. Running September 8-12, the Defeat of Jesse James Days offers a reenactment of the attempted robbery of The First National Bank in September 1876. “I think probably when someone says Northfield, Minnesota, if it isn’t the colleges someone is thinking about, it’s Jesse James,” Bornhauser said. “It’s The


St. Olaf College’s unique look (left) adds to the city’s charm, while the city’s open-air market offers something for all. Defeat of Jesse James Days, because we honor the townspeople who stood up against James and his gang. They obviously weren’t able to rob the bank, and there were a couple of townspeople who died during the attempt.” In that same weekend, visitors can stroll through the Riverfront Fine Arts Festival, which is hosted by the Northfield Arts Guild September 12 and 13. The event showcases 65 Minnesota fine artists, food vendors, Bingo and entertainment on both sides of the Cannon River, which runs through downtown Northfield. “It has a very historic and vibrant downtown that rivals Stillwater,” said Bornhauser. He also noted the “real sense of history” that is reflected in the architecture throughout the historic downtown and in the surrounding communities. Bornhauser said that both college campuses “have strong arts curriculum and activities, so a rich sense of the arts is very strong.” Carleton College offers the 880-acre Cowling Arboretum, which is open year-around to the public. Eric Sieger, Director of Media Relations and Public Relations at Carleton, said the “Arb,” as it known, features hiking trails, wild flowers, prairies and forests. The Cannon River also runs through the “Arb,” which touts a 15-mile trail system. “The fall is a wonderful time as well, with the leaves changing,” said Sieger. “It’s gorgeous.” If you like the outdoors, Carleton is also home to the Garden of Quiet Listening. “It’s a hidden gem that people don’t think about visiting,” Sieger said. “It’s rare — one of about four.” Designed in the late 70s behind Watson Hall on campus, the Japanese garden is outfitted with a pathway made of rocks, a rustic house and benches for visitors to take in the tranquil surroundings. On the first Friday of each month, guests can explore the skies of Northfield through the three telescopes found at Carleton’s Goodsell Observatory. The 1890s building may be historic, but the modern telescopes are perfect for viewing special astronomical events such as eclipses. “Those are great things to bring your kids to,” Bornhauser said. “They get to climb up a staircase, and there are Carleton students there to help them know what they’re supposed to be looking at, so it’s a really neat thing for a kid to get to look into this huge telescope.” Like Carleton College, St. Olaf College offers a wide range of activities and events throughout the year. “Visitors can explore the exhibits in Flaten Art Museum; enjoy concerts by any one of our eight

choirs, two bands, and two full orchestras (including the renowned St. Olaf Choir),” said Kari VanDerVeen, Associate Director of Marketing and Communications for Media Relations at St. Olaf College. They can also take in a theater or dance production, sample the restaurant-style cuisine of one of three campus eateries, listen to lectures by visitors from around the world, cheer on the athletic teams and join the Study Travel programs. Barbara Burke, a longtime board member of city’s annual Riverwalk Market Fair, also credited the combination of the colleges and having a diverse population for making Northfield a great city. The Cannon River flows right through downtown Northfield, providing a great backdrop for the city’s annual Riverwalk Market Fair. The European-style, open-air market runs every Saturday through Oct. 17, with the exception of Sept. 12. “The intention was to create a venue for entrepreneurs, artists and farmers, so they could market their products with the expectations they would eventually become small businesses,” said Burke, who has been involved with the project since its inception in 1999. Six different companies have sprouted because of the fair, with over a hundred small businesses and startups participating throughout the years. “Over a million dollars has been generated as a result of the Riverwalk Market Fair in our four years of operation,” said Burke. The economic contribution to the community is just as impressive. “Between June 2010 and October 2014, visitors to Northfield brought in between $500,000 and $600,000 in revenue for Northfield businesses,” added Burke. “Because we have been so successful, we are attracting more vendors. We have a mix of local food producers and farmers, and they have an array of fresh produce, basically picked the first day.” The fair also features flower vendors, local farmers, food artisans, artists and live entertainment. “There is a really nice mellow vibe to the market,” Burke said. Not only can visitors find parking with ease, “they can grab a pastry and a cup of coffee, and kind of cruise the artists’ booths for something really unique.” The fair has also become a place where locals go to congregate. Whether it’s to listen to a Gaelic quartet, or pick up some fresh flowers and homemade jam, the event helps set the atmosphere for the community. “There is just something sort of magical about Northfield that no one can put their finger on,” Burke said. “But when you come here, you really feel it.” MM MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 13


BEST REALTOR: aNGIE vANeMAN

Not just Karla’s daughter After getting her feet wet in New York City real estate, Angie VanEman returned to the Midwest to really kick her career into high gear

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here was a time when Angie VanEman was lost. Not lost in the sense that she didn’t have a clue in the world what to do next, but lost in the sense that she wasn’t sure what to do careerwise. She’d ended a relationship, left a marketing job she wasn’t all that happy with and decided to relocate to the Big Apple. If she can make it there she can make it anywhere, right? So, with a nanny job waiting for her, she headed east and landed in the Dumbo district — an artsy area between the Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges — and started living life as a New Yorker. Eventually, she wanted more than baby-sitting. She went to work getting a Realtor’s license, which one job interview later, led to a job selling sevenfigure properties in one of the world’s most glamorous cities. She watched, learned from and emulated the Realtors who were good at what they did. “I’m a big believer in stealing from the best and making it your own.” Eventually, though, the fast-paced life of the city that never sleeps grew tiresome, and the 2003 Mankato West grad decided to move back home. And while at first she vowed to be done with real estate, she reluctantly climbed back in, joining her mother Karla VanEman’s company at the end of 14 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

2009. She caught on quickly to rhythms of buying and selling southern Minnesota property and within a few years was among the region’s top sellers. In 2011 she was named by the National Association of Realtors as one of its “Top 30 Under 30,” an honor reserved for the brightest young real estate professionals. Angie VanEman has been successful, but she insists she’s not about the money. She won’t deal in commercial properties, and she has refused business from clients outside the Mankato area. Why? She wouldn’t be able to give them the time she believes each customer deserves, and then when the house sells, she’d just be collecting a check. She says she doesn’t want to be that kind of agent. As for being voted No. 1 Real Estate Agent by the readers of Mankato Magazine, she has a theory. “I think people like my realness. I treat people like a friend.” And as for living in the shadow of her well-known mom, she thinks she’s well on her way to establishing herself as her own VanEman. “Coming from a super successful real estate family,” she says, “I don’t want people to think I’m Karla’s assistant, or ‘just Karla’s daughter.’” — Robb Murray


The Best of the Best People Best Financial Planner

Dentist

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

First: Eagle Lake Family Dentistry Second: Gary Eichmeyer, D.D.S., Commerce Drive Dental Group Third: Tom Pooley, D.D.S., River Valley Dental

Insurance Agent First: Aaron Hatanpa, State Farm Second: Steve Hasse, State Farm Third: Mary McClure, CO Brown

First: Dr. John Benson, Mankato Clinic Second: Dr. Chaun Cox, Mayo Clinic Health System Third: Dr. Dan Anderson, Mankato Clinic

Accountant

First: Eide Bailly Second: Eugene R. Braam Accounting Third: Abdo Eick & Meyers

Attorney

First: Blethen, Gage & Krause Second: Maschka, Riedy and Ries Third: Jones and Magnus

Photographer

Family Physician

Auto Mechanic

First: Lynn Austin, Austin’s Auto Repair Second: Joe Miller, Miller’s Modern Garage Third: Terry Tacheny, Autotronics

Waiter

First: Dan Maes, Loose Moose Saloon Second: Colby Straka, Pub 500 Third: Shawn Nordstrom, Grizzly Grill & Saloon

Waitress

First: Daniel Dinsmore, Daniel Dinsmore Photography Second: Quality 1 Hour Photo Third: Gregg Anderson, Gallery 19

First: Layla Pappas, Pappageorge Second: Jenny Bobholz, Circle Inn Third: Chelsea Kocina, Nakato Bar Grill

Realtor

First: TJ & Lisa, 93.1 Second: Stunt Monkey, 96.7 Third: Johnny Marks and Cari, 96.7

Chiropractor

First: Mankato Chiropractic Second: Dehen Chiropractic Third: Advanced Chiropractic

First: Mark Tarello, Chief Meteorologist Second: Stacy Steinhagen, Anchor on KEYC News Third: Mitch Keegan, Morning/Midday Anchor KEYC

Pediatrician

Newspaper Reporter

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

First: Katie Smentek, MD, Mankato Clinic Second: Donald Putzier, MD, Mankato Clinic Third: Pediatrics, Primary Care, Mankato Clinic

Radio Personality

Television Anchorperson

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

All photos taken by John Cross and Pat Christman MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 15


Best Financial Planner: Ryan Spaude

Show him the money!

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n 1995, Ryan Spaude participated in MSUMankato’s accredited financial planning program through the Certified Financial Planning (CFP) Board, which helped him to pass the CFP exam. This fall, Ryan will have 19 years of service within the financial planning industry, of which the past three years have been with EideBailly Financial Services (EBFS). EBFS specializes in Financial Planning, investments and

estate planning, as well as assisting businesses with retirement plans and employee education. “The CFP designation in the financial services industry,” said Ryan, “is equivalent to being a CPA in the accounting world. As a CFP, everything that I have done or strived to do has been to create a fee-based, all-inclusive, objective, comprehensive financial planning program for my clients. “ So what is a feebased, comprehensive financial plan? According to Spaude, a comprehensive financial plan takes into account all aspects of one’s personal finances and how each of those areas interacts collectively with the others. As a result, client education becomes paramount to sound financial decision-making. Since many financial decisions have a tax consequence, having a CPA in-house to answer tax questions, as EideBally Financial Services strives to do, allows its clients to make well-rounded financial decisions immediately. “A fee-based comprehensive financial plan educates clients while ensuring an objective course of action is taken with their best interests in mind,” said Spaude. “Fee-based means that clients pay a flat, all-inclusive fee for the year. As a result, they receive the financial plan, my advice and their customized recommendations. Thus, clients are not beholden to us and can do whatever they want with the plan thereafter. Being able to offer comprehensive financial planning and tax advice under one roof is the best possible scenario for my clients.” — Heidi Sampson

THANK YOU FOR YOUR VOTE!

ANGIE VANEMAN •

REALTOR | American Way Realty C: 507.381.8961 • E: Angie@MankatoRealEstate.com ANGIEVANEMAN

16 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

| www.SoldByAngieV.com


BEST PHYSICIAN: DR. JOHN BENSON

The good doctor John Benson says his best trait is his ability to listen

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amily practice physician John Benson is quite definite about what he thinks makes a doctor a good one. “Listening to your patients, and trusting that they know their bodies and how their bodies are feeling better than anyone. Caring about how they are doing,” Benson said. “Oh, and smiling,” Since going to the doctor is rarely on anyone’s Top 10 list of fun things to do, Benson strives to make medical appointments as painless as possible. He suggests that anyone going to see their doctor arrives prepared with a list of what they’d like to discuss. “Coming in with a list of concerns is actually very helpful,” Dr. Benson said. “A patient might tell the receptionist about the pain in his arm when he sets up his appointment but he probably won’t tell her about the 15 other things that he’s concerned about. If a patient has written out what he’d like to talk about, that will ensure that everything gets covered during our visit.”

Dr. Benson said that he enjoys his work because he enjoys people. “People are fun. I like hearing about their lives. What they do for a job and what their hobbies are — those things are fun to learn about and also help me as a physician. I do my best to remember as much as I can about each patient from visit to visit,” Dr. Benson said. — Nell Musolf

MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 17


BEST DENTIST: GARY EICHMEYER

Word of mouth

Gary Eichmeyer heads into retirement a Mankato fave

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r. Gary Eichmeyer, “Best Dentist” for the second year in a row, said that he is both humbled and honored to have been selected for this award two years in a row. Eichmeyer, who has practiced in North Mankato for 40 years, recently retired at the end of May. “I would really like to thank the readers who voted for me at this stage of my career,” Eichmeyer said. “I believe that the reason people voted for me was that our practice philosophy has always been patients first.” Eichmeyer said that he has been surrounded by “the most incredible” staff as well as three other very capable dentists. “We have had very little staff turnover and that shows from patient responses to questionnaires we send after each dental visit,” Eichmeyer noted. “One of the most recent responses about our office said that going to Commerce Drive Dental is just like the old ‘Cheers’ TV show. It is a place where everyone knows your name. I consider that a tremendous compliment and, no, we do not serve alcohol.” Eichmeyer will be replaced by dentist Garrett Clause, the son of dental partner David Clause. “We will still have four dentists,” Eichmeyer said. “Dr. David Clause, Dr. Jessica Kuryla, Dr. Tim Jernberg and Dr. Garrett Clause.” Eichmeyer said that, postretirement, he will miss the interaction between his patients and himself as well as the camaraderie with his staff. For the past eight years he has been involved with international mission dentistry, where dentists go into Third World countries to

18 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

provide free dental care. Eichmeyer plans on continuing to volunteer his dental services as long as possible. “My beautiful wife Stephanie, a hygienist at Commerce Drive Dental for 30 years, will be retiring with me,” Eichmeyer said.

The couple plans to remain in Mankato for the foreseeable future. “I have had a magnificent career and wish to thank everyone again for voting for me.” — By Nell Musolf

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Best Pediatrician: Katie Smentek

Raising healthy kids West grad loves Mankato

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s a Mankato native and graduate of West High School, Dr. Katie Smentek, who has been a pediatrician at the Mankato Clinic since 2007, considers the city home. “I think it’s a fantastic place to raise kids,” she said. With three school-age children of her own, Smentek said she enjoys helping kids stay healthy. “One of my passions is early childhood development; making sure that kids are hitting their developmental milestones,” she said. “And if they aren’t, to help them get there.” One question Smentek strives to answer is, “What can Mankato do to make sure we are giving our kids the best head start that they can have?” In response, Smentek said, “The most important thing a parent can do is read to their kids.” Through reading and literature, Smentek said children can learn about language development and the importance of literacy. “Just pointing to pictures teaches them new vocabulary; teaching simple concepts,” she said. “It’s a little thing that can make a big difference.” She also recommends parents talk to their kids. “I tell parents that they can just narrate their day,” Smentek added. Whether it is going through the motions of everyday household tasks like filling the dishwasher, Smentek said, “Every word that they hear, and every time you are interacting with them, their brains are developing.” Smentek said she feels lucky to be able to work in her hometown. “It’s really fun to interact with parents and families, just to reinforce what they are doing,” she said. — Leticia Gonzales

MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 19


Dining Breakfast

First: Wagon Wheel Second: Perkins Third: Tandem Bagels

Coffee Shop

Wings

First: Buffalo Wild Wings Second: Tavern on the Avenue Third: Big Dog Sports Cafe

Sushi

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

First: Shogun Second: Tokyo Sushi & Hibachi

Lunch

First: Mom & Pops Second: Frozen Yogurt Creations Third: Dairy Queen West

Hamburger & French Fries

First: Friesen’s Family Bakery & Bistro Second: Hy-Vee Bakery Third: Panera Bread

Sub/Sandwich Shop

First: Pizza Ranch Second: China Buffet Third: Old Country Buffet

Fast Food

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

Pizza

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

Steak

First: Red Lobster Second: Number 4 Third: Pappageorge

Mexican Cuisine

First: Tav on the Ave Second: Blue Bricks Third: Pub 500

Asian Cuisine

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

Italian Cuisine

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

First: Chipotle Mexican Grill Second: Boulder Tap House Third: Pagliai’s Pizza First: Boulder Tap House Second: 5 Guys Burgers and Fries Third: Tav on the Ave First: Erbert & Gerbert’s Second: Jersey Mike’s Third: Subway First: Chipotle Mexican Grill Second: Culver’s Third: Massad’s First: Pagliai’s Pizza Second: Jake’s Stadium Pizza Third: Dino’s Pizzeria First: Pappageorge Second: Grizzly Grill & Saloon Third: Axel’s Bonfire First: El Mazatlan Second: La Terazza Third: Chipotle Mexican Grill First: Shogun Second: Yu’s Chinese Cuisine Third: Tokyo Sushi & Hibachi First: Neighbor’s Italian Bistro Second: Olive Garden Third: Dino’s Pizzeria

20 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt

Bakery

Buffet

Catering

Winery/Brewery

Date Night

Happy Hour

Sports Bar

Patio Dining


Live Music Venue

First: Buster’s Sports Bar and Grill Second: Pub 500 Third: Wine Cafe

Vegetarian

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

Locally Owned Restaurant First: Pagliai’s Pizza Second: NaKato Bar & Grill Third: Pappageorge

Appetizers

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

Seafood

First: Red Lobster Second: Number 4 Third: Pappageorge

Family Resturaunt

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

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L I T I G AT I O N • B U S I N E S S • F A R M • P E R S O N A L

E XC E L L E N C E We are Honored To be voted Mankato Magazine’s #1 Law Firm. 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 acknowledgement. We are proud to be a part of this vibrant community.

blethenlaw.com Mankato, Minnesota MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 21


TAV ON THE AVE: BEST PATIO

Pleasing patio

I

BEST BAKERY: FRIESEN’S

GOOD EATS

T

aming the whirlwind: That’s been bakery owner Tony Friesen’s real job the last couple of years. Besides opening up a new business to such raves that he’s already had to expand – twice – Friesen’s already been involved in enough tangential community and business partnerships to make Donald Trump’s head spin. Friesen’s also recently started a satellite location by entering into a partnership with the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, providing the same food as is served in the Old Town restaurant (membership not required). An incredible amount of positive energy and goodwill is what it takes, and it’s what Friesen expects of his crew as well. Walk into the bakery and float over to the display case on wafts of cinnamon and sugar and yeasty bread, and say hi to an easy smile behind the register. They are so happy to see you. Life is literally sweet here. But … there is a dastardly choice involved here as well. Will it be the famous maple-bacon muffin, in all its salty-smoky-caramelized-syrup divinity, or will it be that apple fritter so light and tender because it’s baked, not fried? The vegan frosted cupcakes? Perhaps a cup of that homemade soup the soup chef is chopping fresh veggies for in the background, and a flaky bacon-cheddar roll, and a hummus plate to share… Relax. There are no bad choices. “With only being in business one year,” Friesen said, “it’s been amazing to see the way the local community has embraced us.” More expansion is in the works, with plans to become a “full-service” restaurant, bakery and catering operation. He strongly believes Friesen’s three guiding principles — producing everything on site, buying locally whenever possible, and supporting the community — will ensure not only great products but a great place to work, wherever the future takes them. — Sarah Johnson

22 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

t’s summertime. Have you said “aaaaaaahhhhhhh” enough yet? If not, head over to the best patio in town at Tav on the Ave, and get your summer on. Ice-cold drinks, award-winning food, sunshine or shade depending on your whim … the sounds of summer drifting by as you relax into a deep goofy grin … that’s what I’m talkin’ about. Owner Chris Person sums it up this way: “Customers just love it. All summer long, it’s full. On weekends, if you don’t get here early ….” Summer is brief in Minnesota, so the concept of “summer” extends to most of spring and fall, too. This patio is a fine place to go during all three seasons and, respectful of the vagaries of Minnesota weather, is equipped with both shade umbrellas and heaters. Some days one needs both depending on the time of day, after all. They’ve recently installed televisions that face out through the windows just for the patio dwellers, with speakers delivering the sound. Munchies, check. Bevvies, check. Ballgame, check. Sunglasses and flip flops highly recommended. The Tav’s patio goes back a long way in this town. Remember the Stone Toad Lounge, anybody? That was the name of the establishment that became – after an extensive remodel – the Tav. And the Tav patio was born there 27 years ago. “This is Mankato’s original patio,” Person said, adding that this award was particularly meaningful today because “now there’s a lot of patios out there.” But not like this one, built for “aaaaaahhhhs.” — Sarah Johnson


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Best Family Restaurant: Jake’s Stadium Pizza

A slice of family life

A

ndrew Boyer-Kern has been the General Manager of Jake’s Stadium Pizza for the past three years. His parents, Wally and Brenda Boyer, have owned the business since 1997, purchasing the restaurant from Andrew’s Grandfather who had opened Jake’s Stadium Pizza in 1972. “Jake’s Stadium Pizza has been a big part of our family,” said Andrew. “We’ve won Best Pizza before but not Best Family Restaurant. So, this is a huge honor for us. We’ve really worked hard to make Jake’s Stadium Pizza a place where families feel welcome while receiving a great meal for a good price.” MM: What has drawn your family to this line of work? Andrew: Honestly? It’s the people. We enjoy whom we work

with, we love our customers, and we have excellent relationships with a lot of the people we are involved with. We especially love making great pizza. MM: What makes Jake’s Stadium Pizza unique? Andrew: We use a thin crust for our pizzas and we buy the best quality ingredients we can find. I think the quality shows, especially within our sliced mozzarella cheese, which we feel performs well, melts evenly and provides our pizzas with great coverage. For as long as I can remember — and I’ve been running around this place since I was a very little guy — we’ve gotten our cheese at Burnett Dairy in Wisconsin. They’ve always made the same mixture of mozzarella and is

Best Music Venue: Buster’s

Live, from Buster’s!

D

on’t be misled by its title, Buster’s Sports Bar and Grill is all about the music. Where many

24 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

other restaurants and bars in Mankato have offered entertainment on the side, the ‘Best Music Venue’s’ owner Matt Little, assured that Buster’s “was built just for the music.” “We want our bands to interact with the crowd. If they’re energetic , moving around, that’s the big difference! When your atmosphere is up,” Little said, “it’s all about how you’ve built the experience around the stage.” Buster’s opened in 1995. Little took over in 2004, after which he said, his priority was “to keep the music tradition alive.” “Now we do Friday night rock, Saturday night country

something that we really think is a big part of our success because our cheese is consistent. A while back, we used to take a big cargo van and drive to Burnett Dairy to pick up two tons of cheese. Times have changed and now we get it and lately we’ve transitioned into some newer bands, like acoustic rock. It’s about keeping up with the trends in music,” Little said. “So long as the atmosphere is there, the energy’s there, people can carry on a conversation at the bar and have a good time.” Reading the trends in music, both locally and abroad, has kept Buster’s on top. Thanks to the bar’s responsive business plan, its employees make sure they’re always aware of the public’s wants and needs when it comes to entertainment. “One of our marketing models,” said Little, “is to bring out happiness through food, drink and entertainment, to make a difference for our customers and our community.” A lot of what Buster’s does is given back, Little explained. The venue is always open for the public to use its space for benefits and events whenever needed. “Getting involved is what’s important. Keeping an eye on the


delivered, but that trip was six hours round trip. However, the best part was unloading 85 cases of 55 pound cheese. — Heidi Sampson

community, hearing what they say and giving people what they want as well as giving back.” Going forward, said Little, Buster’s will continue to provide the best in community-centered entertainment. With some interior remodels and renovations in plan for the future, upkeep and a modern design will ensure the bar’s atmosphere and appeal during the next 10 years. Little was also excited to announce that plans for a brunch house band, set to play mid-mornings Saturdays and Sundays, along with a live karaoke band, are both in the works. Wanting to express his and Buster’s gratitude, said Little, “thank you for the continued support over the last 20 years. Thank you for believing in our product, and everything we offer.” — Piper Cleaveland MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 25


Shopping Antiques

First: Salvage Sisters Second: Old Town Antiques & Mercantile Third: Save Mor Jewelry

Jewelry Store

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

Thift/Consignment Shop

Place to Buy a Mattress

First: Mankato Mattress Man Second: Rooms and Rest Furniture and Mattress Third: Earl Johnson Furniture

Place to Buy Furniture

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

Place to Buy Appliances

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

First: DeGrood’s Home Store Second: Meyer & Sons TV & Appliance Third: Sears

Children Clothing

Home Entertainment/Electronics

Men Clothing

Place to Buy Pool/Spa Supplies

First: Kohl’s Second: Old Navy Third: Once Upon a Child First: J. Longs Second: Kohl’s Third: Graif Clothing

Women Clothing

First: Best Buy Second: DeGrood’s Home Store Third: Meyer & Sons TV & Appliance First: Midnight Sun Spas Second: Sweet Living Pools & Spas Third: Sawatzky Pools

Liquor Store

First: Kohl’s Second: TJ Maxx Third: Sticks and Stones

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

Automotive Dealership (New Vehicle)

Grocery Store

First: Mankato Motors Second: Snell Motors Third: Heintz Toyota

Automotive Dealership (Used Vehicle)

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

Meat Market

First: Mankato Motors Second: Snell Motors Third: Heintz Toyota

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

Power Sports/ATV/Motorcycle

Home Improvement Store

First: Starr Cycle Second: Snell Powersports 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: R & R Tire Shop 26 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

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

Nursery/Garden

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


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SCHMIDT’S MEAT MARKET: BEST MEAT MARKET

Mmmmmm … smells like meat!

Best antique store: Salvage Sisters

Salvaging success Business booming, future bright

A

walk through Salvage Sisters is definitely a feast for the eyes. “I think we offer such a fun and interesting shop in Mankato, we’re full of color and full of unique items you can’t get anywhere else,” said owner Heather Fischer. “We do try really hard to keep up on the vignettes in the store so that every time someone comes in, it looks different.” Fischer has owned the store for about a year and a half. She bought into the original ownership group and then gradually became the sole owner. While it’s not technically an 28 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

antique store, Fischer says she understands why they get recognized as one. Much of the inventory is old. One of the store’s specialties is taking antiques and refurbishing them to look fresh. “People might say, ‘They’re not an antique store, why’d they win for that?’, but a lot of what’s in the store is pretty old,” Fischer said. “I think people really like to see what creative twist we put on these items.” At its heart, she said, Salvage Sisters isn’t truly an antique store. Fischer says they’re more of a boutique. “I’m OK with being classified as

C

oming up with superlatives for Schmidt’s Meat Market isn’t hard to do. The oldschool shop anchoring downtown Nicollet, population 1,000 and change, has been lauded for generations, in the media and in neighborly conversations, across the county, state and finally the country, by word-of-mouth then mail then email and Twitter, for the flavors of its renowned smokehouse, the extraordinary small-town customer service, the delectable deli offerings with a distinctively German leaning. Schmidt’s also does custom butchering and wild game processing. But it’s the retail store that’s the real delight. Long, long cases – lots of them – filled with fresh salads, sausages beyond belief, marinated chicken breasts, raspberry-chipotle bacon, jalapeno-and-cheese beef sticks, a big bowl of “cannibal”: seasoned ground meat intended to be eaten raw. Schmidt’s award-winning summer sausage comes in 9 flavors; the bratwurst, 14; beef sticks, 9; jerky, 5. Homemade bacon, breakfast sausages and an antique store,” she said. “The majority of our stuff is old. We just do something different with it.” Fischer says they’ve been fortunate recently to get some national attention. The store was a finalist in Martha Stewart’s Made in America contest that featured independent stores offering unique wares. And more recently – thanks to a boost from the locally produced Made in Mankato videos – they’ve attracted the attention of television producers and are being considered for a reality show based on its status as a female-run business.


dried beef grace the deli case next to hard-to-find delicacies such as Swedish potato sausage, blood sausage, liver sausage, gretzwurst and headcheese. Walk through the doors, take a whiff and get intoxicated by the mouthwatering aromas of that smoker. Third-generation owner Ryan Schmidt now runs the business after his grandparents, father and uncles retired in their turn. “Grandpa and Grandma were the ‘original Schmidt’s’”, Schmidt mused. “This is nothing that has happened overnight.” He still uses Gerhardt’s and Esther’s 1940s-era gravity smoker that produces a heavier smoke, old-country style, rather than a modern electronic one. And the world is a little bit better because of it. — Sarah Johnson

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For now, though, Fischer says business is good. “We’ve done really well in our location,” she said. “Old town is starting to become really vibrant.”

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MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 29


Best Men’s Clothing: J. Longs

For sharp-dressed men

M

att Long and Aaron Jones, co-owners and business partners of J. Longs, have stayed true to the roots of their business by offering their clientele a full service men’s store specializing in higher quality items or what’s known as “big city” brands while conducting small town service. Matt and Aaron’s friendship started at Mankato West, when the two ran for West’s track team. After college, Matt began working at the family business full-time in 2005. By 2006, Matt offered Aaron a position when he heard Aaron was headed back to Mankato, after attending college in Duluth. Today, the two work together as business partners on the sales floor, buying and selling men’s clothing while enjoying the friendship that began at Mankato West. “As a men’s store,” said Aaron, “we sell everything from underwear to casual wear to suits and tuxedos. We want to provide fresh, modern, trendy clothes while providing our clients that extra edge for interviews, every day work, or for whatever it is that they may be doing. We also 30 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

offer free tailoring for every item that is purchased from us, as we can fit all shapes and sizes.” As a family-owned business, Matt and Aaron believe their customers, staff, and the ability to retain key employees, has aided in their success. The only rookie on the J. Long team is Matt’s sister, and she’s been at J. Longs for more than five years. “Choosing the right suit can be a daunting task,” said Matt. “As professionals, we can make the process simpler and easier. The misconception is that a person can throw on any old suit and it will fit well. Technically, if a suit fits them correctly, it should be a bit snug and that’s where a professional can explain how a suit will fit more differently than they may realize.” — Heidi Sampson

Best Place to Buy a Mattress: Mankato Mattress Man

Go-to guy for restful nights Mankato’s mattress man does it all

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side from his wife who fills in once in a while, Justin Roberts really is the only Mattress Man. As the sole owner of the business, Roberts is able to offer a personal touch to his customers. “Because I don’t hire anything out, everything is just me; from doing the selling, the delivering, unloading the semi-trucks, doing all the extra work,” he said. “By doing that, I am able to keep my prices down. There is always going to be really good value for somebody.” When trying to pick the perfect mattress for a good


Thank you for voting us #1 Bakery

night’s sleep, Roberts consults with each customer to pinpoint what their needs are. There is the hybrid mattress with memory foam on top that will “groove to your body” and “alleviate certain pressure points” for those who have a bad back. There is also the memory foam gel bed mattress, which features adjustable bases to “cut down on snoring and restless leg syndrome.” “Snoring is a big thing,” said Roberts. “If you tilt a few degrees, it creates better circulation through your legs and your throat, and you aren’t going to be snoring as much.” If you are looking for just a basic, firm mattress, then you can go with a conventional one. With 41 mattresses to choose from, one is bound to fit the bill. “I am not just looking to get a sale, I am also looking to improve their life,” Roberts said. “If you have bad sleep, it can really affect your life. My goal is to make everyone sleep a little bit better at night.” — Leticia Gonzales

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Goods & Service Alterations

Golf Course

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

First: North Links Golf Course Second: Mankato Golf Club Third: Terrace View Golf Course

Dry Cleaner

Bowling Center

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

Massage

First: Wow! Zone Second: Jerry Dutler’s Bowl Third: Victory Bowl

Child Care Center

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

First: Lil’ Bee’s Learning Center Second: Little Stars Early Learning Center Third: Golden Heart Child Care Center

Hair Salon

Place to Take the Kids

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

Barber Shop

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

Tattoo Shop

First: Cactus Tattooing & Body Piercing Second: Mecca Tattoo Third: Front Street Tattoo

Tanning Salon

First: Indulge Salon and Tanning Second: Sun Tan City Third: Planet Beach

Nail Salon

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

Fitness Center

First: YMCA Second: Planet Fitness Third: Fitness for $10 (tied for third) Third: Anytime Fitness (tied for third)

32 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

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

Hotel/Motel

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

Lawn Care

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

Snow Removal

First: Mankato Snow Removal Second: Peters Lawn Care Service Third: Lawncrafters

Florist

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

Auto Repair Shop

First: Austin’s Auto Repair Center Second: Mankato Motors Third: Nick’s Car Care


Auto Body Shop

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

Car Wash

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

Senior Living/Retirement Facility First: Ecumen Pathstone Living Second: Water’s Edge Third: Oak Terrace Assisted Living

Funeral Home

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

Bank or Credit Union

Cell Phone / Wireless Provider First: Verizon Second: Sprint Third: AT&T

Computer Repair

First: Mankato Computer Repair Second: Best Buy Geek Squad Third: Q Computers

Rental Store

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

Employment Agency

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

Travel Agency

First: MN Valley Federal Credit Union Second: Wells Fargo Bank Third: Community Bank

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

Heating/Air Service

Specialty Printing

First: Northern Comfort Second: Schwickert’s Third: Davis Comfort Systems

Electrical Service

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

Plumbing Service

First: Jetter Clean Second: Jordan Plumbing and Heating Third: Northern Comfort

Cabinetry

First: Cherry Creek Cabinetworks Second: Neubert Millwork Third: Acorn Custom Cabinetry

Construction Company

First: Goodrich Construction Second: Deichmann Construction Third: John Fritz Construction

MONDAY - SATURDAY 12PM - 8PM WWW.CACTUSTATTOO.COM 507-387-6601

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

Kennel

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

Veterinarian Office

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

Pet Grooming

First: Fur’s A Flyin’ Pet Grooming Second: The Paw Pet Resort Third: Haute Dog

Carpet Cleaning

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

Thank you for voting us the #1 Tattoo shop We are honored and think you are awesome!

MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 33


Thank you for your votes!

Madison Ave., Mankato • 625-1625 | Downtown, New Ulm • 354-2613 pattersonsdiamondcenter.com

Specialists in Custom Design

Thank you for voting for our store 464 Raintree Road, Mankato 507-344-8799 www.onceuponachildmankato.com

ORGANIC DRY-CLEANING You Will Love the Smell & Feel of Your Clothes!

ORGANIC WET-CLEANING Organic Enzyme Formula Is Gentler on Fabric & Preserves Color!

LIKE-NU CLEANERS

227 Belgrade, North Mankato 345-4079

Voted #1 Dry Cleaner

$5.00 Off Per 5 Dry-cleaning Items

34 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

$5.00 Off Sleeping Bags & Comforters

Best Florist: Hilltop Florist and Greenhouse

Blooming pretty Longtime florist helps people celebrate big moments

H

illtop Florist and Greenhouse CEO Kathy Van Tol believes being a florist means being in the sentiment business. “We’re all about sentiment,” she says. “We’re celebrating life’s most monumental moments. We’re part of weddings, graduations, birthdays, anniversaries and funerals.” Since Windmiller’s Florist opened in the same location as today’s Hilltop Florist, Van Tol says the philosophy of the business has remained the same. “We’re dedicated to quality and customer service. We provide the best, biggest and freshest flowers along with great customer service.” Changes in the industry have required changes at Hilltop Florist and Greenhouse, with


Best Veterinarian Office: mn vALLEY pET hOSPITAL

Animal instincts Minnesota Valley Pet Hospital takes care of pets, owners

T

more to come. “Once, we grew 400 Easter lilies. Today, we grow none,” she explained. Hilltop Florist will also discontinue growing roses on site. But that doesn’t mean quality will decline. “We’re all very tied to, and involved in, the community. We’ll continue to offer the freshest and best products we can find, and keep it as local as we can. We can grow a better product, but economically we can’t compete [with big box stores].” Van Tol says of the Readers Choice Award, “It makes me feel really proud. We’ve been a part of the community for 135 years, and we will be for generations to come. I think people appreciate the artistic value we have here, and that we’re a quality company.” Next year, luxury apartments will be built on ground that some greenhouses now occupy. — Jean Lundquist

he veterinarians at Minnesota Valley Pet Hospital – including Ken Ambrose (pictured at right), Julie Berndt, Cary Adams, Leah Renne and Stacy Bethke together have more than 70 years of experience in the field. That gives customers an advantage. “A person might see only one doctor during a visit, but behind the scenes, there might be consultations with three or four others,” Ambrose said. Often, people assume a veterinarian chose his or her vocation because they like medicine, but don’t like people. Nothing could be further from the truth, said Ambrose. “Each animal comes with at least one person attached,” he said. “We show our caring and concern for the pet, and for the client, too. Our greatest concern is pet care, but it’s also for the person. You’re caring for them just as much.” Said Ambrose, “Often we see children come with a parent to our clinic. Then we see them when they’re grown, and have pets of their own. That’s very gratifying.” Three areas of pet care Ambrose likes to stress are dental care, age and obesity. “The gum line is a portal of entry into the body. While people take care of their own teeth, they often neglect dental care for a pet,” he says. Ambrose also says, “Age is a number, not a disease. But it has a huge impact on an animal’s

care, as joints wear out, arthritis can set in, and there are often metabolic changes.” And as in people, obesity is prevalent in pets. “Five extra pounds can be a lot for an animal, especially if it only weighs 40 pounds.” Before Minnesota Valley Pet Hospital was started in the early 1980’s, Boerboom Pet Hospital operated in the Madison Avenue location. — Jean Lundquist

MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 35


BEST PLACE TO GET ALTERATIONS: PINS AND NEEDLES

Getting to the point Pins and needles is the right fit

S

arah Breitbarth and Judy Marben have operated Pins and Needles Alterations on North Riverfront Drive since the year 2000. That’s when they bought the shop from their former employer, Kayc Kline Alterations. Says Marben of Kayc Kline, “She was successful, she had a good client base and it was easy to walk in and take over.” They haven’t missed a beat since taking over the business 15 years ago, and employ as many as five others to help meet demand for alteration services. Today, much of their business comes from wedding dress alterations, according to Breitbarth. “Since we started going to bridal shows, that part of the business has really taken off.” But according to Marben, “Nearly everything needs an alteration, unless you are 5’9” and a perfect size 6. That’s who most clothing is designed for.” But that doesn’t mean that most of their customers are

Best Tattoo Shop: Cactus Tattoo

Ink-stained reputation

M

akeba Ische started working at Cactus Tattoo and Body Piercing in 2001. Six years later she became the shop’s owner, and one of their three experienced tattoo artists and piercers. It’s Cactus Tattoo’s same progressive approach to art and business, said Ische, that has helped them to flourish within the community. “We’re a group of people that have worked together for 16 years and that has allowed us to really grow together as a shop and as a business.” Developing their familiar relationship between Cactus Tattoo’s artists and its clientele, said Ische, was very important. “I think just by being established for some time, and being together as a group, has really made us unique.” “We have a really good relationship with the community,” said Ische. “People know us. They trust that they can come in and feel comfortable, and know that we’ll do a good job.” Among its many offered services, Cactus Tattoo specializes in personalized and custom done work. Karl Schneider, who has been a tattoo artist for 16 years, excels in portraits. Rob Foster, going on 17 years of experience, works with full-color custom pieces. “He often does big things,” Ische explained,

36 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

“sleeves and half sleeves. When it comes to meticulous precision, Ische is the one to call. “I enjoy the kind of repetitive detail, fine lines and bright colors. I guess we’re all kind of diverse”, she said. Although the artists are generally booked in advance, walk-ins for tattoo sessions and consultations are encouraged when the artist is available. Tattoo appointments are easily made by calling in advance while piercings are provided with an open walk-in service, no call needed. When it comes to the future for Cactus Tattoo, said Ische, strengthening their community ties and talents is key. “We continue to work and grow as individual artists,” she said. “As a business we are always trying to look at new situations and to treat people as well as we can. And moving forward we will continue to work on that and do our best.” Speaking on behalf of the Cactus Tattoo staff, Ische expressed their excitement and thanks for winning Best Tattoo Shop in Mankato. “It feels pretty incredible,” she said. “We just feel really honored.” — Piper Cleaveland


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

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

507-345-5900

www.mnvalleypet.com

061765746201

women. “We do most alterations for women, and most repairs for men,” explains Breitbarth. “We do a lot of hemming, and replace a lot of zippers.” While it might seem that many alterations are comprised of reducing a garment from a toolarge size, that is not always the case. Often, Marben and Breitbarth can take a too-small garment, and enlarge it a size or so to fit. “If someone finds something they really love, we can sometimes find enough extra fabric from a seam allowance to make it work,” says Breitbarth. Reducing the size of a garment is often more difficult, according to Marben. “I tell people I can reduce and remodel a garment two sizes without altering the original design.” Pins and Needles Alterations has a dozen sewing machines to meet almost all alteration requirements. (Employees not pictured in the accompanying photograph are Melissa Gahler and Joellen Olari.)

Thank you for voting for us! Preventative & Cosmetic Dentistry

New Patients Are Welcome Tom Pooley DDS 507.388.3384 • 124 Walnut St., Mankato www.RVDofMankato.com

— Jean Lundquist

Located in the Landkamer Building, above the Restaurant Number 4

For 40 39 years your comfort has been our business! Heating • Cooling • Plumbing

Back row: Travis, Derek, Mike & Jason. Middle row: Tim, Alex, Korey, Lucas, Mike, Jay, Lori, Josh, Rick & Jesse. Front row: Chris, Brooke, Keith, Peggy & Greg.

Northern Comfort offers heating, air conditioning and plumbing services to residential and commercial customers. We are committed to: • Prompt, courteous & clean service • Quality workmanship • Professionalism

• Uncompromising values • Honest and accurate pricing • Family owned since 1975

Thank You Mankato For Voting Us #1 Again!

Call today for a FREE in-home estimate for any replacement work! 917 Southbend Ave | Mankato, MN

507-387-6596

www.NorthernComfortInc.com

MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 37


Best Salon and Spa: liv aveda

Liv-ing the good life

T

amera Tupy, who co-owns Liv Aveda with her husband Tim, has been helping people look their best for more than three decades. “I love doing hair,” she said. “I love making people feel better about themselves.”

From the minute they walk in the door to when they leave the service area, offering stellar service is what Tupy and her staff aim for when serving Liv Aveda customers. “We don’t tolerate not treating the guest like they are number one,” said Tupy. Whether it’s a scalp massage with their haircuts, hot towel treatments with their shampoos, or makeup touchups with their service, Tupy said those extra perks are what differentiate their salon from others. “All of our services that we do, we try and make it an experience for the people instead of an appointment,” said Tupy. With 61 employees, including 27 stylists, Liv

d n a p U , Up

Aveda is a full-service salon that does everything from haircuts, highlights, colors, manicures, pedicures, facials, body wraps and waxing. “We do consultations with everyone when they come in,” said Tupy. “We can recommend if that is the right look for them, or steer them in a different direction.” To keep up with the latest beauty trends to know “what is going to flatter someone the most,” Tupy said her employees also attend several training a year. “We have very skilled people at different levels,” she added. While the salon accepts walkins, Tupy said pre-booking is recommended, since many of her stylists are booked so far ahead. — Leticia Gonzales

! y a Aw owers P r e p ur Su ollege! o Y r e Discov th Central C at Sou

Now enrolling for Fall 2015! www.southcentral.edu A member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System. South Central College is an Equal Opportunity Employer and Educator and has ADA accessible facilities. For TTY communications, contact MN RELAY Service at 711 or 1-800-627-3529.

38 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE


Open House Sunday, July 19 1:00-4:00p.m.

Austin Family

You’re invited to experience the grandeur and uniqueness of our Peruvian Horses. Defined by a smooth gait for riding comfort, Peruvians combine a willing temperament, strength and stamina with beauty and rarity. This breed offers versatility for all types of riding. Breed Demonstration & Drill Team Performance 2:00 p.m. Pediatric Therapy Services, Inc. will be doing a Hippotherapy demonstration.

RAILVIEW PERUVIAN HORSE

23541 3rd Avenue, Mankato • 507~625~1232 www.railviewperuvians.com

Directions: 2 miles north of Hwy. 14 on 3rd Avenue (Cty. Rd. 5)

Thanks for Voting us Best Insurance Agency in Mankato! 3 Years in a Row!

HATANPA INSURANCE AGENCY

BUS: 507-345-3606 1613 N. Riverfront Dr., Mankato, MN 56001 217 Main St., Mapleton, MN 56065 aaronhatanpa@aaronhatanpa.com

MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 39


Join us every Monday this Summer for

Is your business adequately insured? Do you have the best coverage for your business? From commercial property to liability and workers’ compensation, Community Insurance can fit you with the perfect policy. Before a loss occurs, let us help you find the coverage that protects what’s important to you. QUALITY INSURANCE WITH PERSONAL ATTENTION

11-noon Jackson Park

WHERE YOUR POLICY COMES WITH AN AGENT

Weather Permitting

Please check our Kid-oh! Facebook page for complete details. A portion of all program proceeds will be used to purchase a tree for the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota.

MANKATO 507.385.4485 AMBOY 507.674.3355 I VERNON CENTER 507.549.3679 INSURANCE OFFICES LOCATED IN THE COMMUNITY BANK BUILDINGS

David Paterson

www.cimankato.com

THANK YOU MANKATO FOR CHOOSING

T STORE PROVEMEN

#1 HOME IM

1771 PREMIER DR

Building Materials • Hardware • Electrical Millwork • Paint • Plumbing • Floorcoverings 40 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE


Daily admission: $8 person, free for children under 1 Tue - Sat: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Sun: 12:00 - 4:00 p.m.

www.cmsouthernmn.org 224 Lamm Street, Mankato | 507.386.0279 | info@cmsouthernmn.org

Best Specialty Printing Mankato, Thank You! For the fourth year in a row, you have awarded Insty-Prints as Mankato’s Best Specialty Printer! We are grateful to the people of Mankato who voted for us. Our promise to you, as always, is to meet and exceed your expectations when you print with us.

We are Mankato’s Clinic. Committed to the health of this region. Dedicated to caring for you and your family for generations.

Congratulations!

Thank You,

We are proud to announce two Mankato Clinic providers were voted winners of Mankato Magazine Best of 2015 Awards. Congratulations to Dr. John Benson and Dr. Katie Smentek, plus the entire Mankato Clinic health team. Dr. John Benson

Call 507-625-1811 to make an appointment.

Whether its business cards, signs, pens, can coozies, letterhead, banners, posters, invitations, raffle tickets, envelopes, folders, labels, blue prints, sticky notes or a regular copy you know Insty-Prints will handle all your needs.

Family Medicine

Insty-Prints of Mankato Dr. Katie Smentek Pediatrics

MANKATO CLINIC MANKATO CLINIC WICKERSHAM HEALTH CAMPUS CHILDREN’S HEALTH CENTER

We’ve been named a Top 150 Workplace by the Star Tribune.

(507) 388-7009 www.instyprintsofmankato.com 1402 N Riverfront Drive (Next to the Holiday Station)

Mon - Thurs: 8:30 - 5:30 Friday: 8:30 - 5:00 � mankatoclinic.com MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 41


Reflections By John Cross

M

any national holidays are observed on Mondays, not because of the significance of the date, but to ensure that most Americans can enjoy a three-day-weekend. Notable exceptions are Christmas and New Year’s Day, which always are observed on December 25 and January 1, respectively, and of course, Independence Day which always falls on the fourth day of July. Like any birthday, the Fourth of July is what it is. One cannot change a birth date simply for convenience. This year, America’s birthday celebration falls on a Saturday which could mean those working for less-thanbenevolent employers might miss out on a paid day off. But full work weeks notwithstanding, this uniquely American holiday will still be celebrated with picnics, cold drinks, hot dogs, fireworks and, of course, parades. Even if it doesn’t mean an extra day off from work, everyone loves a parade. MM

42 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE


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46 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE


So when I was a little dude in the a.m. kindergarten class at Prosperity Heights Elementary School (Mrs. Berning, bless her soul), I’d walk home from school and then promptly walk over to my friend Kenny’s house across the alley, where his mom Marlene would babysit me until my parents got home. It was a pretty sweet set up. Kenny was my best friend and we did everything together. Played ball, watched cartoons, climbed trees. But there was one thing we didn’t do together: eat lunch. Kenny was a picky eater and I was … well, I’ve spent a lifetime being all-too-ready for lunch. And my favorite lunch was the can of Campbell’s bean with bacon soup my mom would occasionally send with me. Marlene would heat it up, toss in a few crackers and pour me a tall glass of milk. There was never a finer lunch for a 6-year-old boy. Which is why I got excited when our food writer, Sarah Johnson, sent in her July article on a variation of my childhood soup crush. She introduces readers to a bean and ham soup that I’m going to have to try. Who knows, maybe I’ll even call Marlene and have her make it for me, just like old times! And, of course, we’ve also got your beer and wine needs met this month. July is the perfect month for summer ales. Bert Mattson tells us why Schell’s Goosetown is a great selection in your favorite adult beverage-selling establishment. And Leigh Pomeroy extols the virtues of my favorite wine, Chankaska’s Marquette.

— Robb Murray, Associate Editor, Mankato Magazine

southern mn style

Enjoy!

food, drink & dine

The magical fruit

MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 47


Food

Edible Houseplants

southern mn style

So beautiful, so tasty, so convenient

H

By Sarah Johnson

ouseplants have long been appreciated for the life and natural beauty they infuse into our surroundings. They not only lend beauty to our spaces, but improve our air quality, make us feel at ease -- and can even be a source of food. Mankato Magazine found plenty of shoppers foraging for these double-duty houseplants on a recent weekend spent wandering through the myriad garden shops sprinkled like oases of botanical beauty throughout the area. “I like the idea of a pretty houseplant that’s also kind of practical — you can actually eat it,” said Gen Thompson of rural LeSueur who was kneeling next to a selection of sweet peppers whose tag promised a rainbow of colorful miniature fruits. “I put these out on the patio in the summer but also grow them all winter in a sunny patch inside because, well, we can.” She stays away from hot peppers but says her neighbor has good luck with jalapenos and habaneros in pots. “He likes fresh salsa and he likes a lot of it,” she says. A.J. Williams of Mankato and his two children recently moved from Chicago and were picking out plants for their new apartment. “With the kids, I figured we could get something they could eat and have fun with at the same time,” he says, “and it’s organic and all, and it’s not too expensive, so I’m going to get some cherry tomatoes and some fresh herbs.” Ancient cultures like the Egyptians recognized the value of organic life in interior design, and through medieval Europe and Victorian times, houseplants remained popular. Perhaps the most poignant example is the bonsai within Japanese culture. In modern times, houseplants have sometimes taken on a much more practical role, as edibles cultivated indoors provide both natural charm and a convenient source of healthy food. (Such practical uses would largely have been impossible in times past as stable, dependable sources of warmth within the home are a relatively modern possibility. Carefully regulated heat and humidity enable a much wider range of botanical possibilities within the living space.) Cultivating edibles indoors requires additional care compared to traditional houseplants. Of major significance are the growing medium and fertilizers used to support such crops. Choose a medium that is rich in organic compost and nutrients, and free of petrochemicals and other harmful, unnecessary additives. Soil dug up from outdoors is likely not ideal due to excessive clay content that can impair drainage. Additionally, fertilizers should be composed of nontoxic, organic constituents. You are what you eat, after all.

Microgreens: The Perfect Start

Check the menu of a fine restaurant or the produce

48 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

section of a specialty grocery store, and you’re likely to spy microgreens: tiny, delicate greens that add color, texture and flavor to a variety of foods as a garnish or ingredient. They may be tiny, but a new study shows trendy microgreens pack a heavy punch when it comes to nutrition. Researchers found microgreens like red cabbage, cilantro and radish contain up to 40 times higher levels of vital nutrients than their mature counterparts. Microgreens are young seedlings of edible vegetables and herbs harvested less than 14 days after germination. They are usually about 1-3 inches long and come in a rainbow of colors, which has made them popular in recent years as garnishes with chefs. “Microgreens may be trendy, but they really do pack so much flavor and fun and nutrition into such a tiny bite,” says budding personal chef Sue Carlson of Minneapolis. “I use them year-round in of course salads but also as fantastic, beautiful garnishes that really make the plate ‘pop’.” Big on nutrition and flavor, microgreens can be expensive to purchase. But they can also be grown cost-effectively at home, in a tiny space and with simple supplies. If you have a sunny windowsill, a shallow container, some potting mix and suitable seeds, you’ve got all the essentials for growing your own microgreens. This is a great crop for urban gardeners who are limited to a windowsill, balcony or patio. Also known as “vegetable confetti,” microgreens are sometimes confused with sprouts — germinated seeds that are eaten root, seed and shoot. Microgreens, however, include a variety of edible immature greens, harvested with scissors less than a month after germination, when the plants are up to two inches tall. The stem, cotyledons (or seed leaves) and first set of true leaves are all edible. “I still use a lot of bean sprouts and broccoli sprouts in my food,” says Carlson, “but the higher-priced microgreens are a really nice change. And of course, if you grow your own, you can really eat like a prince on a very modest budget.” Salad greens, leafy vegetables, herbs and even edible flowers can be grown as microgreens, though some varieties are better suited than others. Beginners often start by growing one type of seed, such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, mustard, chia, sunflower or buckwheat — among the easiest-to-grow varieties of microgreens — in a single container. (You can easily grow different seeds in several containers, and mix your microgreens after harvesting.) Seed companies sell salad mixes and specially selected microgreen mixes that combine greens with similar growth rates, compatible flavors and beautiful coloring including reds, purples and greens. Since they were created with grower success in mind, they’re also a good choice for beginners.


The Perfect Destination

The Perfect Experience. The perfect destination for experiencing hand-crafted artisan wines.

Voted #1 Winery by Mankato Magazine readers. Thank you!

Kasota, Minnesota 507-931-0089 WWW.CHANKASKAWINES.COM

A List of Indoor Edibles Avocado Basil Bay leaf Beets Carrots (baby or small round) Chives Cilantro Dill Garlic greens Ginger Green beans Green onions (scallions) Kale Lemons (dwarf) Mandarin oranges (dwarf) Marjoram Microgreens Mint Mushrooms Parsley Peppers (bell, hot, sweet) Prickly pear cactus Radishes Rosemary Salad greens Sage Savory Sprouts Stevia Swiss chard Thyme Tomatoes Turmeric

Nightly Dinner Features!

Thank You for your Votes

MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 49


Wine & Beer

wines

By Leigh Pomeroy

southern mn style

A

Fresh Rosé, Pinot Noir and a New Marquette, Oh My!

s a wine writer I never run out of topics to expound on, and this month’s column is no exception. I will try to cover three in the limited space my editor, the wonderful Robb Murray, allots me. So here goes. Topic #1: Rosé of the season. Most wine lovers know that you celebrate nouveau Beaujolais just after the fall harvest. The wine is consumed within the few months after the vintage and should be all gone by the New Year. Most rosés are vinted to be enjoyed in much the same way, adding a few months or so. I am particularly enamored with the lovely salmoncolored rosés from southern France, mostly from Provence. They are crafted from any combination of the classic red Rhône varietals — syrah, grenache, cinsault, mourvèdre, carignan — but some vintners are now using dollops of cabernet sauvignon as well. These light, lively and usually bone-dry wines are meant for patio (i.e., not serious) sipping and to be enjoyed with the fresh foods of the season: Think farmer’s market and local produce! Fortunately, California vintners have realized the allure of lighter, drier rosés like those from Provence, and there are many available. An outstanding example I’ve tasted lately is the Stephen Ross 2014 Rosé of Pinot Noir, produced by Mankato native Stephen Dooley. If it’s not available in your favorite wine shop, ask for it, as Stephen Ross wines are distributed throughout Minnesota. Which brings me to topic #2: Pinot Noir, which yields some of the greatest red wines in the world, not just frivolous and fun rosés. For a long time the only great Pinot Noirs came from the Burgundy region of France, where it is the principal red grape. Additionally, pinot noir is one of the three allowed grapes in Champagne, where it is vinified as both white and pink wine to create the Champagne’s base cuvée. Today, very good and arguably great Pinot Noirs can come from California, Oregon and even New Zealand as well, but it wasn’t always that way. The great André Tchelistcheff (1901-1994), longtime winemaker at Beaulieu Vineyard and wine consultant in Napa Valley, lamented, “God made Cabernet Sauvignon, whereas the devil made Pinot Noir.” That’s because the thin-skinned pinot noir grape is easily subject to rot in years with rain at harvest, and even when the harvest is good it too

50 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

often yields thin and anemically colored wines in all but the best locations. In fact, up until the 1980s, wine industry insiders often sniggered that the best California Pinot Noirs were the ones with the least amount of Pinot Noir in them. At that time vintners were adding generous amounts of highly colored Carignan and Petite Sirah to their Pinot Noirs to make them marketable. I once worked for a well-regarded vintner who added Cabernet Sauvignon to his Pinot Noir to yield a palatable wine! Thankfully, much has changed in the last three decades. Vintners and viticulturists have learned where pinot noir grows best … and where absolutely it shouldn’t be grown. Also, newer clones of the grape have been developed yield darker, more inyour-face 100 percent Pinot Noirs. These have achieved success in growing areas that only in the last 40 years have been planted to vines, such as cool, ocean-influenced locations in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Monterey counties. Further, the Willamette Valley in Oregon has emerged as a wonderful pinot noir growing area, combining its unique soil and weather with the right clones to yield world-class wines, some with world-class prices. Like many of the pinot noir vineyards in the California counties listed above, these Oregon vineyards simply did not exist before the late 1960s or early 1970s. And speaking of new vineyards, this brings me to topic #3: New vineyards near Mankato. Recently I had the pleasure to taste Chankaska Creek Winery’s just-bottled 2014 Marquette, made almost exclusively from grapes grown on the winery’s estate vineyard. Winemaker Mike Drash calls it “F-S-M,” a play on wines labeled “G-S-M” for Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre: While 80 percent of his wine is from the Marquette (M) grape, 20 percent comes from a blend of Frontenac (F) and St. Croix (S). (Legally, to be labeled with a varietal name, a wine need only contain 75 percent of that varietal.) Chankaska Creek’s 2014 Marquette is a terrific example, like the great reds from Bordeaux and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, of why blending of three (or more) varietals together often yields a better wine than one from a single varietal. Look for it to be released in July. Salud! Leigh Pomeroy is a Mankato-based writer and wine lover.


Beer

By Bert Mattson

Starring ales for summer weather

T

he dog days are looming. That term was coined by ancient astronomers in honor of the brightest star in Earth’s night sky –Sirius , the Dog Star — which was believed to supplement the sun’s heat in summer. The dog days creep in like a shadow’s opposite. The sun tracks high and casts sepia tones making morning look like late afternoon. Sweltering air stalls, dense and stubborn. At midday most everything outside sets still but beading sweat. If Saturday shade could speak, it would whisper, “si-es-ta” as one walks by. My mind, in an imaginary match of Marco Polo, almost always answers, “cer-ve-za.” These conditions call for a style of lighter body, crisp and refreshing. One with relatively low alcohol content. Alcohol acts as a diuretic (it expedites H2O exiting the body) and inhibits heat regulation. It raises blood pressure and has been known to effect judgement — especially important to have intact in extreme weather. Fortunately, these days, one need not sacrifice flavor while selecting a low alcohol siesta-sipper —leaving a limit of one that much more satisfying. Goosetown is August Schell Brewing Company’s take on Gose, a top-fermented (ale) style that traces its tradition to Goslar, Germany where it’s brewed with salty water, spice, restrained hops, lactobacillus (lactic acid producing bacterium), and at least 50 percent malted wheat. As scary as that may sound to some, Schell’s has rendered it especially approachable. Slightly saline and with subtle acidity, it suits home-grown tomatoes that appear like jewels on July vines to a near fanatical following. Especially when they compose salsa fresca. Coriander in the ale plays well with cumin, cilantro

(the leaves of the coriander plant) and chiles. A lemony element in the beer lends itself to citrus in the salsa. While a bowl of salsa may help with hydration (don’t forget to drink plenty of water), take the edge off the alcohol, and fight the sun’s fire with spicy fire, Goosetown certainly satisfies on its own: like the rare, briny breeze drifting through The Doldrums. As I fly-by a pocket of shade this summer, I might be overheard murmuring, “talk to me, Goose.” The prime part of a dog day, in my estimation, is as late afternoon transitions to evening. A merciful puff of breeze breaks the oppression of heat haze and heckling cicadas. The sun dips, the mercury drops, and nature’s twilight creatures come to life like cocktail hour at Key West. It’s a moment poised for popping a patio-sipper. As the sun sets and sunburned skin radiates what remains of its heat, apply the cool glass of a bottle of Deschutes Brewery’s Twilight Summer Ale. Pithy hints of orange from Amarillo hops and grapefruit from Cascade hops balance out the malt bill of this bubbly American Blonde Ale. The last lawnmower lays off abusing some neighbor’s sunbaked lawn, a distant dog bays at one of the crepuscular creatures, the first star winks in the night sky, and at 5 percent alcohol it isn’t too bold to have another. 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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MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 51


Drinks

Happy Hour:

By M. Carrie Allan | Special to the Free Press

southern mn style

The author who sets the bar high for drink makers W

hen David Wondrich’s “Imbibe!” was first published, in 2007, it hit a market that was craving cocktail knowledge. The book, a meticulously researched paean to 19th-century bartender Jerry Thomas, won a James Beard award and became a widely read origin story for the bartending world: a true tale of a man pursuing the making of drinks as a serious career and apparently having a hell of a time doing it. But Wondrich also had to tally the losses, acknowledging the difficulty of building drinks when some tools no longer existed: spirits that had been snuffed out or driven underground during Prohibition or that simply were no longer imported to the United States, the victims of changing tastes and two world wars. The best absinthes were made abroad and very expensive; other spirits, such as peach brandy, survived only in poor, flavored imitations. Old Tom gin was unavailable, and the maltier Dutch gin that Thomas would have used would be hard for readers to get, and “the only substitute I know — and it’s not a particularly adequate one — is to mix 8 ounces of John Power & Son or Jameson Irish whiskey with 10 ounces of Plymouth gin and tip in 1/2-ounce of simple syrup,” Wondrich wrote. Scarcity, in other words, would have to mother invention. In the years since the book’s original publication, the cocktail world kept exploding. You know those scary movies where lab-coated scientists stare into the microscope at a mutant virus replicating so fast they can see the petri dish darken before their eyes? Imagine that virus tattooed and armed with artisanal bitters. “When ‘Imbibe!’ came out, I suppose there were maybe two dozen bars in America making up-to-date cocktails, and now there are 2,000 bars in Des Moines making them,” Wondrich jokes in a phone interview. In April, he released a new edition of “Imbibe!,” extensively revised with new recipes and expanded histories of particular cocktails (including the mint julep, the pisco sour and the El Presidente, a drink that can now be made with the intended ingredients). There’s also more detail about Thomas’ life, including a bar he ran in New York that Wondrich says had every amusement a drunk could want. “Everything was in there: shooting gallery, pool tables,” he says dryly. “I mean, like .22 rifles, which I think should probably always be combined with alcohol.” The original book fed a trend that was already on the upswing; you’d be hard-pressed to find a cocktail devotee who doesn’t know it or its follow-up, “Punch.” Less well known is that when Wondrich isn’t researching and writing articles and books to guide

52 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

bartenders in their work, he’s often helping ensure that they (and, heck, he himself) have better tools for the job. One of the biggest changes since the book’s initial release has been in the availability of ingredients. Check a good liquor store these days, and you’ll find absinthe at prices that don’t make us flush Moulin rouge, plenty of rye whiskey and Bols Genever (the much-missed Holland gin). And — in a development that Wondrich says makes him “happier than anything” — a few distilleries are now making real peach brandy. Those changes are reflected in the new edition, and some spirits have come to hand in part due to Wondrich’s work with importers and distillers, projects for which he has rarely been paid more than a few bottles of product. Surveying the field now, Wondrich sounds like a satisfied man. He loves the increased availability of rye, the reappearance of old liqueurs, the fact of the microdistilling movement. As to what else we still need: “Nothing major. Most of what I’m interested in is available.” Then he hesitates and admits: There is something. “I’d love to see a true Eastern rye, made with the old traction three-chamber stills . . . aged in heated warehouses . . . made in these oldfashioned stills that nobody uses any more and that are kind of lost technology.” W hat the next few years will bring is anyone’s guess. Ho p e f u l l y, l a t e 2016 will see the publication of the “Oxford Companion to Spirits and Cocktails,” a monster project Wondrich is editing. Regardless, Wondrich — who jokingly described the original “Imbibe!” as “what happens when I start to do a little research” — has a curiosity that keeps leading him deep into the past and coming back with great drinks.


The Original

El Presidente

1 serving

David Wondrich writes about this lovely, blushing rum drink — the “Cubanized answer to the Manhattan” — in the 2015 edition of his classic “Imbibe!” The original version, which Wondrich credits to Havana bartender Constantino Ribalaigua, uses blanc vermouth (not the dry variety, which is pale in color), which plays nicely with the rum. Use three-year-old Havana Club if you can get it; otherwise, any flavorful, funky white rum will suit. Gran Marnier will do for the curaçao, in a pinch.

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Ingredients Ice

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1 1/2 ounces white rum, such as Banks 5 Island 1 1/2 ounces Dolin Blanc vermouth (see headnote) 1 teaspoon dry curacao, such as Pierre Ferrand 1/2 teaspoon grenadine 1 dash Angostura bitters Twist of orange peel, for garnish Maraschino cherry, for garnish (optional)

Steps Fill a mixing glass with ice. Add the rum, vermouth, curacao, grenadine and bitters; stir, then strain into a cocktail (martini) glass. Tw i s t t h e orange peel over the surface of the drink, expressing the oils, then drop the peel into the drink i f yo u l i ke . Add a cherry, if desired. Nutrition | Per serving: 160 calories, 0 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 200 mg sodium, 0 g dietary fiber, 3 g sugar

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Food

What’s Cooking By Sarah Johnson

southern mn style

While your laundry’s on the line ... A little bean and ham soup will do nicely O’ laundry day, I cannot bear the thought Of piling up these clothes any higher. The devil on my shoulder says I ought To take a match and set’m all on fire. — Mike Frampton, laundry poet

W

e interrupt this food column to bring you a special report extolling the virtues of an old-fashioned necessity that has faded to memory in most people’s minds: line-drying laundry. This is a method of turning wet clothing into dry that doesn’t involve any power tools. You pluck the laundry from Ye Olde Laundree Baskette, attach it to a taut string in the back yard, and wait for the evaporative power of the sun to do all the work. When the clothes are dry, you reverse the process and enjoy one of the greatest lost treasures of all time: Your laundry smells like freshly mown grass and lilacs and sunshine — yes, sunshine has a smell – with a cool crispness in your sheets that has to be felt on a hot summer night to be understood. In the days before washing machines, housewives spent entire days (often Mondays) getting the family’s wash done, and with all the physical work it took to boil the clothes in washtubs, with water toted from a remote source, getting supper on the table could not be a priority. Thus came the habit of cooking up a big pot of slow-cooking soup right alongside the laundry tubs boiling on the stove, often utilizing dried beans and whatever scraps of food were left over from the weekend because, much like myself, payday was Friday and they were broke by Monday. Thrifty ingredients combined with an energysaving cooking method released the housewife from one onerous duty so she could move on to the next … onerous duty. Life was tough for those women. They tended to wear out and die early, leaving men with the tiresome task of picking out a new model to keep house and raise the dozen or so kids left behind. In winter, this meant hanging the laundry to dry in the basement. Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight who wrote: Today is Thursday so it’s laundry day again. We usually wash laundry on Mondays and Thursdays. Usually by the next morning the clothes are dry on the lines in the basement. Oh, how nice when spring weather comes and we can wash clothes, dry them outside, and have them folded in one day. If those words sound like they come from the days of the pioneers, well, they’re not. They were written in February 2015 in an online blog alongside descriptions of maple sugaring and raising ducks, activities that I do not engage in but am nevertheless delighted that they exist. All hail the Amish for

54 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

carrying on these glorious traditions that must … not … die. Other reasons for line-drying laundry: Significant monetary and environmental savings from bypassing the energy grid and letting El Sol do the work for free. Sticking it to the electric company never felt or smelt so good. And your clothes last longer since they aren’t put through the rough and tumble of the electric dryer.

Tips for Line Drying Laundry

“If it’s worn on top, hang it from the bottom, and if it’s worn on the bottom, hang it from the top.” Hang your shirts upside down so you don’t get Bunchy Shoulder Syndrome. And pants dry better if you let the legs hang free. White clothes get whiter in the sun, but if you’re worried about fading your darks, hang them inside out. If you don’t like the way your towels feel after line drying, pop them in your electric dryer for a few minutes to soften them, or wash them with a half cup of vinegar added to the wash. Personally I like the “loofah” feel of my summer towels; a good rubdown feels invigorating and gets those dreaded dead skin cells to go bye-bye.

Sarah Johnson is a cook, freelance writer and chocolate addict from North Mankato with three grown kids and a couple of mutts.


Laundry Day Ham and Bean Soup 1 pound dry Great Northern beans 8 cups water 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 ham hock 1 cup carrots, chopped 1/2 stalk celery, chopped 1 cup onion, chopped 1 teaspoon minced garlic 1 teaspoon mustard powder 2 bay leaves 2 cups ham, chopped 1/2 teaspoon black pepper Rinse beans; bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add salt and beans and remove from heat. Let beans soak in hot water for at least an hour. Then place ham hock, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, mustard, and bay leaves in the pot and return it to high heat. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 60 more minutes. Remove ham hock, cut off meat, and discard bone. Stir in chopped ham and simmer 30 more minutes. Season with black pepper.

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MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 69 4.95”x4.95”

Mankato Magazine May 2015


Then & Now: Mankato High School By Bryce O. Stenzel

History of Mankato High School O

n that July day in 1941, when students picked up their summer school report cards and headed home, they probably thought they’d be back in that old building in a few months when the fall term began. But just hours after they left, a massive fire erupted at the school, engulfing it in flames. It would take more than 29 hours and every available firefighter to control the blaze. But in the end, the venerable school building was lost. That was 74 years ago this month. Public School education in Mankato began in 1853, in a warehouse at the corner of Front and Walnut Streets. Twenty-three students attended classes that summer. Two years later, a one-room log structure referred to as “the Old Log School” was built at the corner of North Broad and Mulberry streets. In 1867, a three-story brick structure replaced the Old Log School, and it was named “Union School,” in honor of the recent Northern states’ victory in the American Civil War. Union School was significant in another respect. It was here that high school classes were first conducted separately from their elementary counterparts. However; in the beginning, there wasn’t strong support for high school classes. Many students dropped out. It wasn’t until 1876, that Mankato could boast its first graduating class of nine students. From then on, there was a steady increase in the enrollment of high school students to the point, that in 1891, a separate high school building was built at the southwest corner of Fifth and Hickory Streets, across Hickory Street from the Blue Earth County Courthouse. $40,000 was spent in the construction of the new high school. By 1911, a new addition was added to the building, which cost the taxpayers of Mankato $100,000. The newly expanded building encompassed grades 8-12, and was located along the Mankato streetcar line. By 1912, enrollment at Mankato High School was approximately 330, and it was an accredited institution. An agriculture department was added that year, in addition to the standard courses and specialty classes already being offered: manual training, sewing, cooking and industrial arts. In 1914, Mankato High School published its first school newspaper. In the same year, Mankato High offered a 12-week short course for farm boys, as well as holding its first summer school classes. It was this tradition of summer school classes that almost came under fire in a literal way, in the summer of 1941, when Mankato High School faced one of the greatest disasters ever to befall it. July 14, 1941 was the last day of summer school for 70 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

that season. Only hours before tragedy struck, students picked up their report cards, and were dismissed. Fortunately, no one was left in the school when that fire suddenly engulfed the building in flames, and destroyed it. Because the conflagration occurred just after the summer school term had ended, and because eyewitnesses described a loud, explosion-like sound coming from the building just before it burst into flames, the rumor that arson was involved spread quickly—almost as quickly as the fire itself. Although the arson explanation has never been completely disproven, a new theory regarding the “explosion” has been put forward in recent years. When a fire burns as hot as this one did, no doubt fueled by dry wood, paper and other combustibles, it created a “backdraft” of superheated air that made a “whooshing” sound as it rushed up through the building’s ventilation system. Two years earlier, even before the final blow came, the state fire marshal had already condemned Mankato High School as being overcrowded and unsafe. The 680 students enrolled at Mankato High were forced to go elsewhere in the aftermath of the fire that left their school a charred, smoking ruin. They were sent to Lincoln Junior High, which in turn displaced the 270 students enrolled in that school. The junior high students were sent to the Franklin School building. While it was obvious to everyone that a new high school building needed to be built, the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and America’s entry into World War II prevented any new construction from taking place until after the war was won. In 1945, at war’s end, Mankato was ready to reconsider the idea. The problem was where to put the new high school. Several proposals were offered:


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That’s Life By Nell Musolf

A

Still crazy after all these years

friend of mine told me that she was recently asked if my husband and I had gotten a divorce because I haven’t written about him in this column for so long. Needless to say, that gave me a pause and I quickly decided to devote this month’s column to the only husband I’ll ever have, Mark. No, we’re not divorced. As a matter of fact, we’ll be celebrating our 35th wedding anniversary this December (of course, we married in elementary school…or was it pre-school?). Actually we met and married when we were teenagers, a fact that shocks me when I look back on it since I never would have allowed either of our sons to get married before they could legally buy alcohol. But we eloped, both of us young, dumb and incredibly hopeful that life was going to work out exactly the way we planned. The main problem was that we never really planned all that much. From the moment I met my husband I knew that I’d found a kindred spirit who would join me in watching reruns of “The Bob Newhart Show” instead of attending our college Psychology 101 class (with the incredibly lame excuse that since Bob Newhart played a psychologist on TV, we were actually learning psychology by watching his sitcom. I know. Pathetic as well as a strong explanation of why my college GPA typically resided somewhere in the subbasement of higher education). Not having a five-day plan much less a five-year plan, we have wandered through life enjoying the journey with no particular destination in mind. Of course, there is more to our relationship than watching reruns together. Mark has always had an uncanny ability to make me laugh, usually at highly inappropriate moments. Such as during final exams or in church or at a school concert for one of our children. Weddings and funerals are also fair game to him. Remember the scene in “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” when Mary couldn’t stop laughing during the funeral for Chuckles the Clown? That has been me at just about every solemn ceremony I’ve attended with my husband at my side. Red face, tears streaming down my face and my body shaking with giggles, I finally learned (after about 20 years) to leave Mark at home as much as is socially possible. In addition to being a full-time laff riot, Mark is entertaining in oh, so many other ways. Such as the time he decided that our water bill was too high and was cutting into his beer and lottery ticket budget. Determined to cut costs and inspired by the especially rainy spring we were having that year, Mark took to showering in the backyard whenever we had a particularly heavy downpour. Naturally, he only did this after it was dark and for months was convinced that his back to nature showering was as private as jumping into the upstairs bath. At least, that’s what he thought until the day I visited our 92 year old next-door neighbor, Helen, and noticed a pair of 72 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

binoculars next to her kitchen window. “Have you taken up bird watching?” I asked. Helen chuckled in a somewhat lascivious manner. “No. I use them to watch your husband when he runs around the yard buck naked during a rain storm. Tell him he doesn’t rinse enough.” I told him all right. I also put the kibosh on any further water saving expeditions. Mark’s frugality wasn’t limited to saving on the water bill. When we were first married, going to college, working parttime and perpetually broke our food budget hovered around 20 dollars a week. During that time I found a note that Mark had written to himself. It read: “Get mustard, ketchup and acorns.” The mustard and ketchup were the tiny packets that he helped himself to at the student union. The acorns were, well, acorns that he ate as a snack and insisted were just as good as fancier nuts such as macadamia or cashews. Reading that note, I knew that I’d made a wise choice in spouses. We wouldn’t always be broke but any man who would nosh on acorns and not complain about it was a keeper in my book. A tad eccentric but definitely a keeper. As they say in storybooks, the years rushed by. Thirty-five of them. Mark and I have never gotten around to making a five-year plan but we’ve learned that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we’re both still enjoying the journey together.

Nell Musolf is a mom and a freelance writer from Mankato.


FRESH. LOCAL. INTIMATELY TIED TO THE LIFE OF A PLACE. –Mark Twain–

FOOD • RECIPES • DRINK ENTERTAINMENT ALL LOCALLY SOURCED Coming soon, the newest edition to the Mankato Magazines family. Premiere Issue OCTOBER 2015

Mankato, come gather with us. MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 73


Garden Chat By Jean Lundquist

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To Dad, the man who taught me so much

hen I was a kid, I hated to work in the garden. It was hot, there were bugs, and, well, I just didn’t care for vegetables all that much anyway, to be honest. I was a kid a very long time ago. Every summer morning before she left for work, my Mom would write out a list of chores for my brother, my sister and me to accomplish before she came home. If my list contained garden chores, I’d trade with my siblings and do just about anything to get out of having to go out and work in the garden. I remember the garden in the backyard of the house I grew up in over in Waseca. It seemed so huge to me! In retrospect, it was probably only 10 feet by 10 feet. But looking down that row of green beans I was expected to weed, it seemed miles long! And when it came time to pick the beans, I knew I would be an old woman before I finished. My Dad used to turn that garden by hand with a spade every spring. I helped him by looking for earth worms in every turn of the soil he made. If I found enough, our family could go fishing With every shovelful Dad turned, he taught me to look for the worm tunnels, break apart the clods of dirt, and find the worms. He tried to teach me to grab the worms and put them in a can, but I didn’t like to grab or even touch worms. I did, however, like to go fishing, as long as they were biting. Our family went fishing a lot when I was young. I never was good with casting a rod and reel back then, but I was an ace with the swing and sway of a bamboo fishing pole. I didn’t like to weed, then, or even to harvest, but Dad made it fun to garden as a means to go fishing. I had no time for planting seeds or setting in started 74 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

plants. I was impatient, and if I could not reap what I had sown right away, what was the use? Plant at noon, dine at five, I figured. In all honesty, I still think like that today, though I have gained the

knowledge that it’s not how the world works. Patience has never been one of my virtues. Likely, it never will be. But I have learned it is necessary for gardeners and anglers. I’ve always believed that if you don’t like to weed, you’re not really a gardener. Likewise, if you don’t have patience, you’re not really a gardener. My Dad taught me how to weed. What greater joy is there than to grab onto a little green trespasser in the garden

and yank it out of existence? This was boring to me to do alone, but a joy of an experience to have with my Dad. Of course when I worked with my Dad, he was a lot faster than I was, and we got finished quicker, which was an added bonus. During those days I also learned there are shoes and boots that are only worn in the garden, not in the house. No matter the style, they are called “clodhoppers.” To this day, I don my current clodhoppers as I head to the garden. Growing up, there were the usual plants in the garden. Green beans were a staple. Likewise, radishes, leaf lettuce, tomatoes, peas, beets, green onions, winter squash and cucumbers. Those were the days we ate “King Food.” King Food is sliced cucumbers and onions, covered in salt for a few hours. Rinse, cover with vinegar, and you have King Food. Dad said it was food “fit for a king.” Back then, we never grew anything exotic like summer squash, eggplant or peppers. Those came later. It’s been years since I knelt in the garden soil with my Dad. Yet he accompanied me and encouraged me every year through my memories. Now, all I have is memories. Dad passed away this spring, just before he had a chance to plant his tomatoes that he used to make spaghetti sauce. His pots remain empty. But his garden is full. Mine is, too. Thank you, Dad. I miss gardening and fishing with you. Jean Lundquist is a master gardener who lives near Good Thunder.


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MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 75


Your style By Ann Rosenquist Fee

So you’ve lost them. Again.

Y

ou’re not alone. Most of us who treat ourselves to sunglasses with the kind of structural integrity and high style that commands $25.99-and-up are sooner or later punished for our vanity by wrecking or losing them, certainly by mid-summer, often pre-vacation. The vacation for which we bought them in the first place. The one during which we’d look splendid and carefree every single second — in the early morning breeze cooking bacon on the cabin grill, in the lazy afternoon strolling the weedy shallow muck of the lake, at sunset baiting hooks. Up north! Yes. No matter that it’s been the same vacation in the same spot year after year, the sunglasses would make things fresh and classy this time. But now they’re gone. Left in some gas station bathroom or doctor’s office or other completely unmemorable place from which they’ll never resurface, and from a practical perspective you’ve got to replace them but you know good and well you can’t justify the same price as what you paid for the ones you lost. I mean really. You can’t keep track of your things and you think it’s ok to reward that negligence with another $25.99? You know the answer in your hearty Midwestern heart. You know that the only decent thing to do is downgrade. You can do this with flair. Here is a guide.

FAMILY FRESH IS EVEN HOTTER

Family Fresh, right on Minnesota Avenue/Highway 169 in St. Peter, is a convenient twelve minutes from your driveway in Mankato which is about the time it takes to realize your shades are long gone. The store opens at 6:00 a.m. daily. The selection is slim but the basics are covered — aviator, glam, prep — and the price is a guilt-free $3.99. You cannot beat that. That price alone will restore the poise you bought, but then lost, for $25.99-and-up.

KWIK TRIP IS AN EXERCISE IN HUMILIATION

Please understand that I love Kwik Trip. Love. My kitchen was in a state of remodeling for about a year, a while back, and neither my husband nor my son nor I really wanted that to end because we so enjoyed buying at least one meal a day at Kwik Trip. The soup! The bananas! Day-old baked goods, individually wrapped cheese sticks, fruit cups! It’s with appreciation for Kwik Trip as an institution that I caution you against choosing it as a local source of emergency summer eyeware. Three reasons: 1) the selection tends toward the sporty, which, if you’re a sporty type, you probably wear your sunglasses with a strap around the back and never lose them and you don’t need my help. 2) The prices are kind of up there, in the high teens, and you’re not going to

FAMILY DOLLAR STORES ARE HOT STUFF

Family Dollar Stores in both Mankato and St. Peter have great designer knockoffs, a relatively affordable $6-$10 price point, and a fairly convenient 9:00 a.m. opening seven days a week. Not ideal if you’re heading out early to hit Mille Lacs by dawn, but hopefully you’ve realized the absence of your shades at least the day before. The night before. Family Dollar Stores stay open until 10:00 p.m. 76 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

break the cycle you’ve started if you spend almost as much as you spent last time. You might even make your karma worse. 3) The display is right next to the checkout, making it fairly impossible to try on every option and smile at yourself in a carefree summer way, in that little mirror, without an audience. I’m just saying.

WALGREENS FEELS LIKE LOVE

Love in the form of genuinely friendly staff, a wide range of prices, an ample kids’ selection which means extra variety for those with small skulls, and a display so deep in the store that nobody’s going to care or even notice when you take time and space to try on multiple genres, colors, realities. The reality in which you smile for no reason. The reality in which the breeze gives your hair all the body it needs. The dream in which you’re aglow, even when it’s raining and you’re inside the cabin feigning interest in Monopoly or backgammon or your children. Even then. Walgreens! Congratulations for winning this year’s single-juror Best Source of Judgement-Free Somewhat Stylish Replacement Shades contest. A narrow category, sure, but one with power to affect our pride, our poise and our buying habits at least until next year. Ann Rosenquist Fee is executive director of the Arts Center of Saint Peter and a vocalist with The Frye. She blogs at annrosenquistfee.com.


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www.ecumenstpeter.org MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 77


Coming Attractions: July 4 Lakefest Music Festival

Various times — Clear Lake Park, Waseca — www.discoverwaseca.com

4 Old-Fashioned 4th of July

10 a.m., parade — 12-4 p.m. park activities, 10 p.m. fireworks — St. Peter — www.stpeterchamber.com

4 Red, Hot and Boom!

7 p.m. — Vetter Stone Amphitheater — free — www.verizonwirelesscentermn.com

7 Mankato Area Community Band performance 7:30 p.m. — Sibley Park — free — 507-387-6990

9-11 & 15-18

Highland Summer Theatre presents “The Addams Family” 7:30 p.m. — Ted Paul Theatre, Minnesota State University — $22 — 507-389-6661

9-12

Madelia Park Days Events include: Aloha in the Park, 3 on 3 basketball, chainsaw artist, parade and more — for full list of events, visit www.visitmadelia.com

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Mankato Area Community Band performance 7:30 p.m. — Sibley Park — free — 507-387-6990

16-19 Bavarian Blast

Various times — Brown County Fairgrounds — $10 Thursday-Saturday, $5 Sunday, $20 weekend pass — www.bavarianblast.com

17 Ben Folds

7 p.m. — Vetter Stone Amphitheater — $55, $35, $25, $75 Golden Circle seats — www.ticketmaster.com

21 Mankato Area Community Band

performance 7:30 p.m. — Sibley Park — free — 507-387-6990

78 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

24

Hot Jazz with Decent People; Larry McDonough Quintet 7:30 p.m. — Arts Center of Saint Peter — 315 S. Minnesota Ave — $10 — 507-931-3630

25 Blues on Belgrade

All day — 301 Belgrade Ave., North Mankato — www.citycentermankato.com

25 The Best of Hank and Rita:

A Barroom Operetta featuring The Frye 8 p.m. — Studio Six — 509 S Front St., Mankato — $15 advance, $20 at the door — www.hankandrita.com

Aug 1-15

Vikings training camp begins The 2015 Verizon Vikings training camp will be held once again on the campus of Minnesota State University. For more information, visit www.vikings.com/schedule.


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80 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE


Faces & Places: Photos By Sport Pix

Fun.com Gorilla Fun Run

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1. Kristen Thomas and Lisa Dahm dressed up as Tarzan and Jane. 2. The Sam’s Club group poses for a photo before the fun run. 3. The bananas lead the race running away from the gorillas. 4. Audrey Claussen, Leah Radde, Jessica Nelson, and Phoebe Flom came from Luverne for the run. 5. It seemed almost everyone dressed up their costume this year for the fun run. 6. Banana trophies were awarded to those winning the costume contests. 7. Some even dreesed their gorillas up as Oompa Loompas. 8. The Darth Vader gorilla was one of hundreds of unique costumes.

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MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 81


Faces & Places: Photos By Sport Pix

Kruisin’ for kolstad

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1. Isaac Kolstad gets ready for a television interview. 2. Family and friends let the balloons fly before the walk gets underway. 3. Participants get signed up for the walk/run at Riverfront Park. 4. Participants of the walk make their way toward Sibley Park. 5. Molly Kolstad talks with a television station about the event and Isaac’s recovery. 6. Children get a little play time in before the walk begins. 7. Friends and family of the Kolstads gather before the event.

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82 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE


Faces & Places: Photos By Sport Pix

Prairie winds middle school groundbrEaking

1. The Mankato East band played for everyone in attendance. 2. Students, teachers, administration and dignitaries break ground on the new school. 3. Attendees listen to speakers talk about what it took to get the new school going. 4. Ann Hendricks, Chair of Mankato Area Public School Board, gave a brief speech. 5. Supt. Sheri Allen of Mankato Area Public Schools speaks with reporters about the new school. 6. Eagle Lake Mayor Tim Auringer addresses the crowd before the groundbreaking. 7. Mankato Mayor Eric Anderson speaks about the new Prairie Winds Middle School.

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MANKATO MAGAZINE • July 2015 • 83


From this Valley By Pete Steiner

IVER Y

ou can call him Gary, his given name. But most of his friends prefer “Iver.” That’s an abbreviation of his last name, Iverson, and it’s what they also called his Dad. For decades, Gary’s Dad ran the Mobil station at Second and Washington in Old Town Mankato. When Gary bought the business, needing more room, he also bought Olinger’s Garage, half a block west on Washington St. On September 1, 1998, the big sign proclaiming “Iver’s” went up. I wandered in on a cloudy spring afternoon, and found it a good place to go for an antidote to our increasingly corporate world. From a block down, you hear the screams of school kids on a playground. Through the open big lift door comes the clanging of a mallet and wrench being used to loosen lines to a fuel filter. I remind Iver who I am, and he remembers calling me about 10 months back to question me on an article I had written about Ron Doty and the origins of the Barmuda Triangle. He keeps talking while he works on a ’97 Chevy service van up on the big hoist. He’s getting ready to run a computer scan, trying to find a suspected coolant leak. Gary worked part time for Iver the Elder while still in high school in 1968. He scrubbed toilets and attended “the island.” Back then, out on the island, the attendant would not only fuel your vehicle, he’d wash the windows, check the oil, check the tires, too, if you asked. “We were the third-to-last full service station to go — in 1991. Hank’s [DX on North Riverfront] is the last still doin’ that.” Gary had gone full time with his Dad upon returning from Navy duty in 1975. Now he’s one of a diminishing breed — the independent mechanic. ••••• Iver agrees, independent auto shops have always thrived in Old Town. But there are fewer now. “I remember Myron Farm’s Texaco, Terry Tacheny’s always been here, Olinger’s, of course, and Andy Anderson’s Shell, across from the Burton [the classic hotel demolished for Vets’ Memorial Bridge construction.] Doby [a couple blocks 84 • July 2015 • MANKATO MAGAZINE

over, on East Rock] retired… Things have changed a lot the last 12 years. Jobs we used to get every day, you hardly see. It’s technology. Exhaust systems, starters, we’ve lost that… Used to be, cars were done at 80-thousand miles. I got customers now with 300-thousand, and they’re still going. The carburetor, that was the big problem back when.” Now, computers, sensors and fuel injection “make cars run so much cleaner… I can take an ’05 LeSabre and start it up without an exhaust hose, and run it half an hour [inside the shop], and it won’t bother me. If I start up that Briggs and Stratton on that old mower there,” and he gestures toward a corner, “I’d have to run outside for fresh air in five minutes!” Iver stays busy. In addition to vehicles, he does small engine work, lawnmowers and snowblowers. Customers appreciate his fairness: “If the manual says it’s a three-hour job, that’s what I charge, even if it takes me five.” The van up on the hoist is a fleet van, one of several he services for an Old Town business. In the adjacent bay, there’s a labor of love Iver gets to when he has time. It’s a 1967 Chevy C-10 pickup with collector plates. It needs work on the cooling system and, yes, on that old carburetor. At 62, Iver is contemplating, NOT retirement, but “slowing down… I do enjoy working. I don’t wanna quit, but if I’m gonna sell…” Yes, he better let it be known now. He’s hoping there’s a young entrepreneur out there who doesn’t want a time-study manager looking over his shoulder constantly. But he wonders where that right person might be: “I think this business is moving toward the dealerships. There’s still a lot of cars to work on. You just need so much [expensive] equipment now.” •••••

The venerable brick building that houses Iver’s dates from 1891. Yet it’s relatively new by the standards of many of the buildings in the first block of Old Town between Riverfront and Second Street. Passersby can gaze in through the front glass at the “messy” (Iver’s word) office where he does his billing and paperwork. Dozens of old service manuals line the shelves against the back wall, manuals he still consults: “Last year, I worked on a guy’s 1932 Studebaker President. I had the service manual! But it’s hard to get parts.” On the counter sits a dismantled vintage tricycle. It belonged to Iver’s daughter’s husband’s mother. When he shines it up and reassembles it, it will go to his granddaughter for her third birthday. He does that for each of his grandchildren. ••••• It’s midmorning on a Saturday, the shop is open, but Iver is taking a break in the makeshift lounge area off to the side of the lift bay. Another friend has stopped by, as they often do — “five, six, eight guys come in, we have coffee and a roll, solve the ills of the world.” Somehow, those ills seem a little more distant when you’re hanging out at Iver’s.

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


Mktomag july 2015  

Mankato Magazine July 2015