Kramarczuk's, the northeast Minneapolis bratwurst-kolache-and-cabbage-roll institution, has joined the ranks of the James Beard Foundation's "America's Classics."
The culinary foundation announced Thursday that the E. Hennepin Avenue landmark is the recipient of one of five annual "America's Classics" honors, given to restaurants "that have timeless appeal and are beloved for quality food that reflects the character of their community."
The third-generation business was founded in 1954 by Ukrainian immigrants Wasyl and Anna Kramarczuk. Their son Orest joined the business in 1979. Orest's son Nick and partner Mike Gordienko now manage day-to-day operations.
Orest Kramarczuk learned the news in November and was sworn to secrecy until the foundation made its announcement this week. "I think he was surprised, and honored, and elated," said Nick Kramarczuk.
Other 2013 "America's Classics" awards recognize C.F. Folks, a lunch counter in Washington, D.C.; Prince's Hot Chicken Shack in Nashville; Frank Fat's, a Chinese-American destination in Sacramento, and Keens Steakhouse, which opened in New York City in 1885.
Previous "America's Classics" recipients in Minnesota are Al's Breakfast in Minneapolis (2004) and the Pickwick (2007) in Duluth.
The Kramarczuk family hasn't celebrated, yet. "We've been too busy," said Nick Kramarczuk. "But we're going to figure out a way to celebrate with our employees and our customers, because we didn't get here by ourselves, obviously."
Father and son will receive their Beard medallion at the foundation's annual gala awards ceremony May 6 at New York City's Avery Fisher Hall.
"I wouldn't miss that," said Nick Kramarczuk.