Features

The Insider's Guide to Lake Minnetonka

Everything you wanted to know but didn't want to ask.

Melinda Jacobs
Melinda Jacobs enjoys the lake with her English Bulldog Walter, daughter Madeline, and husband Howard Grodnick

Tonka Chic

Where to eat, shop, and play around The Big Lake

EAT

WAYZATA
SLURP A DOZEN FRESH OYSTERS
A welcome place to rest your Weejuns and toss back a tray of glistening fresh oysters and a cool glass of Mount Gay and tonic. Blue Point Restaurant, 739 E. Lake St., 952-475-3636, bluepointrestaurantandbar.com
SAVOR A REALLY BIG STEAK
Hunker down at happy hour with Maserati guys and trophy wives au jus. The tableside spun salad is rather nifty. Gianni’s Steakhouse, 635 E. Lake St., 952-404-1100, giannis-steakhouse.com
SIT ON THE DOCK OF WAYZATA BAY
Rub elbows with CEOs, dock guys, marquee-name families with Swedish au pairs, and other locals who love the Szechuan green beans and the view of Wayzata Bay. Sunset’s,700 E. Lake St., 952-473-5253, sunsetsrestaurant.com
DEEPHAVEN
GRILL OUT WITH THE NEIGHBORS
This picturesque vintage store brings neighbors and friends together for coffee, ice cream, savory chicken and beef brisket dinners, and Friday evening grill nights. Cottagewood General Store, 20280 Cottagewood Ave., 952-470-8400, cottagewoodusa.com
EXCELSIOR
WATCH THE WORLD GO BY
Ideally situated in the center of Water Street, this cafe offers a popular post-cinema bar, ambitious food, a good wine list, and a handful of sidewalk tables for chatting with neighbors as they stroll by with their dogs. Biella, 227 Water St., 952-474-8881, biella-restaurant.com
SIP CHÅTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE ONE THE PATIO
Possibly the truest old money experience on the lake. Buy a $62 Châteauneuf-du-Pape at the off-sale and crack it open while you sit on the patio in plastic chairs, snacking on $4 pizza. Haskell’s, 1 Water St., 952-474-0935, haskells.com
DRINK A DEEP, DARK PINT OF GUINESS
An authentically cozy pub and restaurant with a real bar from Ireland. The food is decent, but the beer’s the bait for burly lake guys and the women who hunt them. Jake O’Connor’s Public House, 200 Water St., 952-908-9650, jakeoconnors.com
LET THEM EAT BRIOCHE
A relative newcomer, Margo is already beloved for her deep, dark coffee, crisp croissants, flawless baguettes, gorgeous gateaux, and other Parisian-style pleasures. Patisserie Margo, 284 Water St., 952-746-2232, patisseriemargo.com
EAT IT RAW
There are those who believe that Yumi’s is the only fish on the lake worth eating. Order an Asahi and hobnob with the locals as you wait for a table. Yumi's Sushi Bar, 28 Water St., 952-474-1720, yumissushibar.com


SHOP

DEEPHAVEN
LIVE IN LUXURY
For ladies who understand the importance of luxurious linens, lovely lingerie, and gracious gifts, this boutique has been the gold standard for 35 years. Polly Berg, 18285 Minnetonka Blvd., 952-920-0183, pollyberg.com
EXCELSIOR
GEAR UP AND GET OUTSIDE
Outdoor enthusiasts are making tracks to this new shop for clothing and gear from Patagonia, Arc’teryx, Lole, Prana, Horny Toad, Fjallraven, and more. Brightwater, 256 Water St., 952-474-0256, brightwater-excelsior.com
EXCELSIOR
READ A GOOD BOOK
Every great resort town needs a fine independent bookstore. Stop by for best-sellers and juicy beach reads, plus cards, gifts, and toys. Excelsior Bay Books, 36 Water St., 952-401-0932
EAT AND SHOP LOCAL
This lovingly restored historic building has good things to eat (318 Café), home décor (DB & Company and Provisions), and shoes and clothing (Avanti and Ta Dah!). Excelsior Mill, 310 Water St., 952-474-7428, excelsiormill.com
BE FASHIONABLY HIP
A local fashion tradition for more than 30 years, but still hip enough to carry Miss Me, Michael Stars, Hanky Panky, and other of-the-moment brands. Martin’s, 212 Water St., 952-767-0788, and 1155 Wayzata Blvd. E., Wayzata, 952-473-0238, martinswayzata.com
FIND A TREASURE
It’s worth the trip downstairs to explore Mary O’Neal’s constantly changing inventory of antiques, furniture, home accents, and other consigned treasures. Mary O’Neal & Co., 221 Water St., 952-470-0205
SCORE SOME LAKE MINNETONKA BLING
Owner Connie Frederick offers a high-spirited collection of colorful clothing, gifts, and accessories, many with “Lake Minnetonka” spelled out in sparkling crystals. Ooh La La and Gifted Baskets, 256 Water St., 952-474-4962 excelsiormill.com
WAYZATA
BE THE HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTEST
Hostesses flock here for fine china, table linens, and accessories for the home, plus casual but stylish plastic tableware for the boat. , 309 E. Lake St., 952-473-4685, Five Swans, 309 E. Lake St., 952-473-4685, fiveswans.com
GET PREPPY
Find accoutrements for the well-bred life, including custom mailboxes, monogrammed cufflinks, tumblers with Labradors, and other haute prep necessities. Frost and Budd, 339 Barry Ave. S., 952-473-1442, frostandbudd.com
ACQUIRE GOOD TASTE AND STYLE
A local institution for more than 45 years, this fine antiques and consignment shop is the next best thing to a personal tour of Lake Minnetonka’s magnificent homes. The Gold Mine Antiques, 3332 Broadway Ave. S., 952-473-7719, thegoldmineantiques.com
DRESS LIKE AN HEIRESS
Calm, quiet, and carpeted—even the store name makes us feel cosseted. Find costume jewels, dresses, and sportswear for the lake, the club, and the beach, as in Palm Beach. Jan’s of Wayzata, 765 E. Lake St., 952-473-0747
SHOP LIKE A CEO
Well-dressed Wayzata execs and their progeny rely on Judd and team for bespoke suits and sportswear, English Barbour oilskin coats, plus expert tailoring and alterations. Judd Frost Clothiers, 339 Barry Ave. S., 952-473-4633, juddfrost.com
LOOK SMART
A well-curated collection of sportswear and dresses for fashionable Lake Minnetonka women, plus a fine selection of high-end shoes and accessories. The Side Door Ltd., 647 E. Lake St., 952-473-1937


PLAY

BOAT IN STYLE
For less than the price of a boat slip, membership includes valet service and a fleet of luxury boats, pontoons, wakeboards, and other toys for making the most of Lake Minnetonka and the St. Croix River. Excel Boat Club, 765 141 Minnetonka Blvd., Excelsior, 952-401-3880, excelboatclub.com
CHILLAX AND KICK BACK
Grab a bikini, a good book, and a bottle of wine and head for quiet Forest Lake, just north of West Arm. Once you’re through the gorgeous canal, it’s a great spot for soaking up the sun.
CRUISE THE LAKE
Charter a private boat or book a spot on one of the many public cruises that depart from Mound, Excelsior, and Wayzata. However you roll, it’s a lovely way to explore the many bays and inlets of Lake Minnetonka. Paradise Charter Cruises, Excelsior, 952-474-8058, twincitiescruises.com, or Al and Alma’s, multiple ports, 952-472-3098, al-almas.com
COVET AN ESTATE
For envy-inducing eye candy, cruise Ferndale Road on Wayzata Bay, Bracketts Point between Smith and Browns Bay, Bohns Point on Crystal Bay, and the Northome and Cedarhurst estates of Robinson’s Bay.
PACK A PICNIC
Pick up some cool salads, fresh bread, a Key lime tart, and a snickerdoodle cookie or two, and spend the day at Excelsior Beach. D’Amico & Sons, 810 E. Lake St., Wayzata, 952-476-8866, damicoandsons.com
PARTY LIKE A ROCK STAR
Leave your vintage Chris-Craft at home and take your friend’s boat to Party Cove on the northern side of Big Island. Beware of flying beer cans.
SKINNY-DIP IN BROAD DAYLIGHT
Seriously? You really thought we’d tell you our secret spot for stripping and dipping? Some Lake Minnetonka secrets just aren’t meant to be shared.

Special thanks to the Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka Historical Society, Carl and Ali Zinn of Zinn Family Realtors, Ellen DeHaven of Coldwell Banker Burnett, Gregg Larsen of Coldwell Banker Burnett, Tom Jacob of Excel Boat Club, Charlie Schoen, Paul Rexford Thatcher, and Steve Carney for their research assistance.

Back to Main Page >>

Comments