The Charlie Awards, the Twin Cities’ localized version of the James Beard Awards, honor the very best food, drink, hospitality, and innovation in Minneapolis and St. Paul. The finalists for 2019 have been officially been announced.

Both sides of the river are well-represented (this wasn’t always the case), and the categories have expanded as well to include newcomers breaking boundaries and changing the game.

The 2019 Charlie Awards

The 2019 Charlie Award Finalists

Outstanding Service:

“A restaurant or foodservice business that excels at hospitality by being consistently outstanding and welcoming.”

  • 112 Eatery
  • Joan’s in the Park
  • Meritage

Outstanding Restaurateur:

“The owner of the restaurant with at least five years in the industry, who excels at running a restaurant, keeping it profitable as well as relevant and who is an influencer in the community.”

  • Thomas Boemer & Nick Rancone | Twist Davis Group (Corner Table, Revival, In Bloom)
  • Tim Niver | Meyvn, Mucci’s Italian, Saint Dinette
  • Luke Shimp | kindRED Hospitality (Red Cow, Red Rabbit)

Outstanding Restaurant:

“A restaurant that continually hits on all cylinders with creative and exceptional food, atmosphere and service.”

  • Grand Café
  • Hai Hai
  • Martina

Outstanding Baker/Pastry Chef:

A working baker or pastry chef with at least five years of experience who is an artist when creating the staff of life or the masterpieces of desserts and morning pastries.”

  • Christina Kaelberer | Edwards Dessert Kitchen
  • Carrie Riggs | Alma
  • Diane Moua | Soigné Hospitality (Spoon and Stable, Bellecour)

Outstanding Chef:

“A working chef with at least five years in the industry, who shows consistency, relevancy, creativity and isn’t resting on his or her laurels.”

  • Ann Ahmed | Lat 14, Lemon Grass Thai Cuisine
  • Justin Sutherland | Pearl and the Thief, Handsome Hog
  • Karyn Tomlinson | Corner Table

Rising Star:

An under 30, up-and-coming foodservice professional whose talent and hard work guarantees he or she will make their mark on the Twin Cities community and go on to even greater contributions.”

  • Rikki Giambruno | Hyancinth
  • Joshua Walbolt | Lat14
  • Shannel Winkle | The Bird

Beverage Innovator:

“A professional who is doing innovative work with wine/beer/spirits, either as a brewer, mixologist, sommelier, craft soda producer or bartender.”

  • Adam Gorski | Young Joni
  • Tyler Kleinow | Marvel Bar
  • Marco Zappia | Martina, Colita

Outstanding Bartender:

“He or she possesses the skill-set to be an expert in both human nature and concocting new and classic drinks, along with the ability to draw people out and guide their beverage journey with diplomacy and grace.”

  • Paul Hennessy | The Bachelor Farmer
  • Shawn Jones | Fhima
  • Scott Weller | Parlour

Best Brewery:

A brewing company that makes innovative beer or hard cider, and has a social component, whether it’s a conscience or conscious effort to engage customers in a stellar product.”

  • Indeed Brewing Co.
  • Lift Bridge Brewing Co.
  • Summit Brewing Co.

Entertainment Restaurant Venue:

“This outstanding venue never forgets food is first, drinks are first, and fun is first (can be kid-friendly or focus on the 21+ crowd).”

  • Can Can Wonderland
  • The Dakota
  • Icehouse MPLS

Outstanding Caterer:

“A consummate professional who runs a catering company and sets up festive and delicious spreads for groups, with imagination, creativity and attention to every detail.”

  • Breaking Bread Café & Catering
  • Chowgirls Killer Catering
  • D’Amico Catering

Hidden Gem:

An out-of-the-box restaurant, food truck or catering service that often flies under the radar of the mainstream media, but is a favorite with the neighborhood or foodie fans.”

  • Birch’s on the Lake
  • Lyn 65
  • Primo Plates & Pours

Community Hero:

“He or she uses their skills and platform to better the community, either through charitable acts or mentorship.”

  • Rose McGee | Sweet Potato Comfort Pies
  • Nathan Sartain | Saint Paul College
  • Rhys Williams | Good Acre

The 8th annual Charlie Awards ceremony will be held Sunday, Jan. 27, at 3:30 p.m. at the Pantages Theater in Minneapolis.

Find tickets here:

Read about last year’s Charlies here: James Beard? In the Twin Cities, it’s all about Charlie

See all who won in 2018 here: Finally, an answer to the relationship-killing “I don’t care… where do you want to eat?”