Davannis MNBucketlist

I love pizza so much that I drag (usually willingly) my closest friends and even my Mom, pictured above, to any place that gives me my fix. I can’t help it, I have a thing for a good Italian food. So when I found out that it was Davanni’s 40th anniversary this month, I was pretty excited. I mean, to be honest, I didn’t know it had been around that long and also I didn’t know that it started in Minnesota. And I really ought to know these things! Anyway, did you know that they were actually the first to offer hot hoagies in the Twin Cities? Originally called Pontillo’s Pizzeria, Davanni’s first location, off Cleveland and Grand in St. Paul opened October 1st, 1975, they later changed names in 1983. I decided to check out the newly remodeled Edina location, which will be having a Grand Re-Opening / 20th Anniversary celebration on this Saturday. If you want to go, you can meet the owners, get special deals, play trivia, lots of samples AND Indeed Brewing will be tapping a special cask ale from 5-8pm.

I went early so I could see their new bar (lots of craft beer and wine), the new renovations and the overall revitalization of their brand. Let me jump ahead, I was really impressed! It’s definitely not the dark walls, dim lighting and cramped quarters that I often encounter with restaurants that have been around forever (40 is forever for me). The design is bright, modern, and incredibly inviting. The staff was what really made the atmosphere for me, though. Attentive, friendly, great with suggestions and they actually like their jobs, which isn’t always the case in the industry. I’m going to attribute that to being a privately held company and constantly trying new ideas, from nutriment to innovation.

Now let me get into the food.

Davannis MNBucketlist

We devoured all different kinds of salads, sandwiches, beer and dessert. Hey! We are eaters, and also sharers, so we had to have a little of everything! And the pizza? Deep dish, flat bread, thin crust, white sauce, red sauce, you name it – we tried it. The crowd favorite was the Southwestern Chicken Salad, the Turkey Bacon Chipotle Hoagie and the Artichoke Chicken Pesto Flatbread (see, they are trying new things!). I was partial to the Veggie Hoagie and Garlic Cheese Bread. Needless to say, their Chanhassen location (their 22nd store) will get a little too much of my attention in the future. With the Twin Cities bursting with really great pizzerias, the new changes from layout to menu, to keeping the forever favorites like the New York style pizza and pasta and using their own bakery for bread and desserts, I know that Davannis will have a home here for at least another 40 years.

WANT A GREAT DEAL: When you order online, you can get a 10% discount when you use the code “ANNIVERSARY” at checkout through Saturday, October 31. Otherwise in-shop through the end of the month, a regular pop (it’s Minnesota, we say Pop) is only $1.

 A few recent articles: Star Tribune + Minneapolis/St Paul Business Journal + KARE11

Staring Lake Park

Staring Lake Park There’s is something to be said about the parks in Eden Prairie – likely my favorite in the whole state. And Staring Lake Park off Pioneer Trail ranks right up there. From walking, hiking, ski and bike trails, athletic fields, courts, courses to archery ranges, concerts, fishing piers and an off-leash dog exercise area, I can promise it offers something for everyone. Even in the winter; Staring Lake has sledding hills and ski trails with a warming house. The very best part? Thanks to the Minnesota Astronomical Society, the Staring Lake Observatory (across the lake from the park) is now home to a 9-foot tall, 16-inch Cassegrain telescope, one of the largest in the state of Minnesota.  Since its not open to the public, you can see it if you sign up for a class, taught by none other than Mike Lynch from WCCO Radio who happens to be the new lead astronomer there.

Eden Prairie Library

Eden Prairie LibraryOn gloomy days like this, I find that the best thing to do is to find a book, look for a cozy spot and let the day melt away while you get lost somewhere else. And… I just so happen to know the perfect place where you can do just that. The Eden Prairie Library has been part of the community since 1924. It closed in 1950 and was replaced by the Hennepin County Library bookmobile until 1973 and then a reading center until 1986, when a community library opened. As it stands, the current building was designed by Minneapolis-based architects opened its doors in 2004. It is one of 41 libraries of the Hennepin County Library system and has the highest circulation of all of them. The building itself isn’t the only beautiful part, there are several installations of artwork like the Pillars throughout by David Culver, who also did the exterior mosaic. They also have a Friday Morning Family story time if you’re looking for something to do tomorrow morning. Fun fact: the library is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, the first of its kind to be installed in a public building in Minnesota.

Ice Castles

Ice Castles Tonight’s bucket lister was the Ice Castles in Eden Prairie (also in Utah, Vermont and New Hampshire) at Miller Park. They have Fire performers Fridays and Saturdays at 5:30-8:30pm, every half hour. The whole place is a maze with fountains and tunnels and walkways, and yes, you will even find Olaf. If you are planning on coming out, it’s going on now through March 7th, expect to pay $13 admission. Here is my warning; come earlier to avoid the crazy lines and beware of all of the kids and photographers, it’s a bit of a magnet for that sort of thing. I’m not big into crowds unless it’s a concert so it was overwhelming for me.