Live, from the 2015 Charlie Awards
Winners of the fifth annual Charlie Awards were announced Sunday afternoon at the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis. The awards celebrate excellence in the Twin Cities’ food and drink scene.
Spoon and Stable was named Outstanding Restaurant. In his acceptance speech, chef/owner Gavin Kaysen noted that the award came the day before the restaurant’s first birthday. Spoon and Stable’s Robb Jones was named Outstanding Bartender.
Two other relative newcomers were big winners: Gyst Fermentation Bar was awarded Outstanding Bar Program, and Tatanka was named Outstanding Food Truck.
Marshall Paulsen of the Birchwood Cafe was named Outstanding Chef. The Emerging Food Professional award — which honors excellence in the food and beverage industry for those working in the Twin Cities market for no more than five years — went to Thomas Kim of the Rabbit Hole.
Karyn Tomlinson of Borough was named Outstanding Pastry Chef.
There are no nominees in the Charlie Awards, so every winner is a complete surprise, which makes for some wonderfully spontaneous speeches. Tomlinson’s might have been the best.
“Are you sure?” she asked, with a laugh.
In a Charlie Awards first, Corner Table was handed the Outstanding Restaurant service award for the second consecutive year.
The historic Commodore Bar and Restaurant, revived late last month after decades as a private events space, was awarded Outstanding Restaurant Design.
In the Outstanding Local Craft Beer category, the winner was the 300 IPA from Fulton Beer.
Lifetime Achievement honors went to Molly Broder of Broders’ Cucina Italiana, Broders’ Pasta Bar and Terzo, and the Community Hero award was handed to Seth Bixby Daugherty.
Winners in most categories are selected from a voting pool of more than 125 independently owned Twin Cities food-and-drink establishments.
Entertainment included an amusing takeoff on the Celebrity Mean Tweets segment of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” with good sports Thomas Boemer and Nick Rancone of Revival, Patrick Atanalian of Sanctuary and Sameh Wadi of Saffron Restaurant & Lounge reading aloud from not-so-nice Yelp commentary on their restaurants.
Amol Dixit of Hot Indian Foods changed the lyrics in a medley of songs that threw some hilarious shade at Yelp commenters (“Why are you so mean?” he sang, to the tune of the Police’s “Every Breath You Take.” “I used to be carefree, now I’m so angry.”) as well as the Minneapolis City Council’s proposed Working Families Agenda.
But the highlight had to be when co-host Thomasina Petrus, setting a new standard for award programs everywhere, named all 34 sponsors of the event through a fantastic extended jazz riff, set to Sly and the Family Stone’s “Thank You for Letting Us Be Ourselves.”
The Charlies are organized by Ivey Awards founder Scott Mayer and longtime Twin Cities food advocate Sue Zelickson, and are named for Charlie’s Cafe Exceptionale, the downtown Minneapolis restaurant that closed on July 21, 1982, after a 49-year run.