Malone’s Bar and Grill

Located in the heart of Arbor Lakes in the AMC Movie Theatre Parking Lot is Malone’s Bar and Grill. Founded in 2010 and owned by the people that brought you Maynard’s. Malone’s is also known for having the best happy hours in Maple Grove and it’s no wonder. If you come in for a beer and head over to the bar area, you’ll see what all the fuss is about. A hot spot for the sports aficionado, you can expect to see every Minnesota sporting event you can imagine. While it has a fun, relaxed atmosphere, beware of the crowds during the games and matches; it gets noisy and busy – but is beloved. Malone’s has become a major part of the Maple Grove community, sponsoring local youth teams and hosting fundraisers. As for the food; everyone was a fan of the cuban sandwich, firecracker shrimp, wild rice soup, pan-fried walleye, wild rice cranberry turkey sandwich Jambalaya, BBQ chicken and fried pickles. I can’t say enough good things about their waffle fries with seasoned sour cream, especially because it comes in huge portions. It’s a great place to stop if you are out shopping in Arbor Lakes and want to hang out on the patio. Fun fact; if you bring your movie ticket stub in after seeing a movie to get a buy-one-get-one drink!

Maple Tavern

I was in search of the most fall sounding name when it came to wear to go and Maple Tavern just so happen to fit the bill. In Maple Grove off Deerwood, the bar/pub-like place boasts the best beer cheese soup and peanut butter burgers around. I mean, look at those burgers. Insta-worthy, I’d say. MT isn’s just food either. The place is a hangout, complete with volleyball net where leagues play and a huge patio. OH – one more thing. They are a tad infamous. Early this year, they got into hot water because they were selling “Spotted Cow” beer – which is illegal. It even ended with a felony charge. Totally worth stopping in for the story alone!

Cafe Donuts and Kaleidoscoops

While desperately searching for a quick pick-me-up, I found Cafe Donuts and Kaleidoscoops in Champlin, just a block off Highway 169. Although it was completely unexpected,  it’s more than worth stopping in. I mean, all kinds of variation in ice cream, 32 varieties of donuts, AND coffee – what more could you want, really. They even have something called KaleidoChills – a frappe with a scoop of ice cream. Since I went looking for caffeine, I went straight for their iced Redbull, um… so awesome. Which I’m surprised didn’t leave me twitching. More than the array of sugary options and the energy drink induced jitters, Cafe Donuts and Kaleidoscoops is great because of the service. I can only speak for the location I stopped at but the gentleman behind the counter was a delight to talk to, and made my day. They have three different locations; Champlin, Maple Grove and Downtown Minneapolis.

Wild Bill’s

Wild BillsToday’s stop on the #MNbucketlist is Wild Bills, which I can only describe as rustic Texas bar and grill. Think over the top; its website ‘moos’, seriously. Wild Bill’s is a Midwest chain with five locations in Minnesota with others in North Dakota and Wisconsin. They have a ton of options for carnivores, not as much for vegheads. They also have a selection of craft beer and limitless troughs of ballpark peanuts you can snack on and then shuck the shells on the floor (not my thing, my OCD was running amuck in this place). Frankly, there’s not a lot to write home about. The service decent and the food was ok, not great. It was still worth a trip, and especially worthwhile for me, as I went with my littlest bucketlister (who is my cousin). Seriously, how adorable is she?!

Yogurt Lab

Yogurt LabsIf you haven’t noticed the surge in frozen yogurt shops, you are A. Not on the ball or B. Not sugar frenzied. My favorite is the Yogurt Lab. They are all over the place but I like the one off Lake Street in Wayzata, across from CoV on Lake Minnetonka. With crazy flavors that are (in my humble opinion) better than ice cream and a really great design, its worth stopping in – even in the dead of winter! (As I was told very recently, ice cream is better in the winter because it doesn’t melt!)

Punch Pizza

Punch Pizza.(from site) There isn’t a place in the world where pizza is more ingrained in the culture than Naples. It is, after all, where pizza was born. That includes firing your pizza in a wood-burning oven to a blistering 800 degrees.

PunchPunch utilizes the same centuries-old techniques that Neapolitan masters use to create a truly authentic pizza. The world’s finest San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and top-secret dough form the foundation of the pizza, but the true craft is in mastering the wood fired oven.