About The Charlie Awards Show
The Charlie Awards is an annual event that celebrates the exceptional contributions of the Twin Cities area restaurant, food and beverage industry. The centerpiece for the third annual Charlie Awards was on Sunday, November 17th at the Pantages Theatre in downtown Minneapolis. After the entertainment-packed show, we continued the celebration at the IDS Center Crystal Court. Immediately following the after-party, a four-course VIP dinner was hosted by last year’s honorees at the Walker Art Center.
Tickets for the CHARLIE AWARDS were available on our website, at the box offices of the State, Orpheum and Pantages theatres; or at any Ticketmaster outlet.
Tickets for the main show and after-party were $35 ($25 for members of the food & drink community).
Tickets for all three events, including the VIP Dinner, were $125 ($95 for members of the food & drink community), with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Open Arms of Minnesota, the only nonprofit organization in Minnesota that cooks and
delivers free meals specifically tailored to meet the nutrition needs of individuals living with life-threatening illnesses.
The VIP Dinner included a four-course meal created by the 2012 Charlie Award-winning chefs:
- Amuse Bouche – Doug Flicker
- Appetizer – Steven Brown
- Entree – Lenny Russo
- Dessert – Michelle Gayer
About The Charlie Awards
The Charlie Awards recognizes the exceptional contributions of the Twin Cities metro area food and restaurant industry, including:
• Corporations and businesses (e.g. food suppliers, vendors, retailers, wholesalers)
• Institutions (e.g. hospitals and schools)
• Beverage manufacturers and suppliers (e.g. breweries, wineries, distillers, coffee, beer and wine crafters)
• Culinary schools
• Restaurant staff (e.g. wait staff, bartenders, maitre de, pastry chef)
• Food Trucks
• Coffee Shops
The awards consist of two components – individuals and businesses honored by their peers and outstanding food recognized by the public and industry leaders. Awards for individuals and businesses are determined by a vote of all restaurants participating in the Charlie Awards. Each restaurant participating has one vote in the following categories, with the individual/business having the most votes in each category receiving recognition:
Outstanding Emerging Chef (a professional working for less than five years)
Outstanding Restaurant Item
Outstanding Food Truck Item
Outstanding Interior Design
Outstanding Pastry Chef
Outstanding Local Craft Brew
Outstanding Cup of Coffee
Outstanding Beverage Program
Food receiving recognition is determined by both the public and a panel of experts. Any non-franchised restaurant or food truck is eligible to enter one food item they believed is representative of their business. The restaurants are grouped in the following neighborhoods:
Northeast Minneapolis/North Metro
Twin Cities South Metro
St. Paul/East Metro
Twin Cities West Metro
Any member of the general public is invited and encouraged to vote online for their favorite menu item. The two menu items in each neighborhood receiving the highest number of votes become finalists. The three food truck items receiving the highest number of votes become finalists.
A panel composed of local multi-industry professionals evaluates the finalists, and then selects one food item to be recognized at the Charlie Awards.
The panel consists of professionals from the following industries:
Culinary Arts Schools
Wholesale Food Producers
Institutions (i.e. Hospitals, Corporations, Schools)
Sponsors for the Charlie Awards are: General Mills, US Foods, Open Arms, Minnesota Monthly, Open Table, Minnesota Business, Cities97, Mingle, Intermix Beverage, Palm Trading Company, Kohler, Colle+McVoy, Eliesa Johnson, Minnesota Restaurant Association, G&K Services, Horizon Foodservice Equipment, Chameleon Concessions, Gartner Studios, Minneapolis 2Night, Chef’s Productions and Tiger Oak publications.
History of The Charlie Awards
The awards are named after the legendary restaurant, Charlie’s Café Exceptionale, which was a mainstay in downtown Minneapolis until the 1980s. The Charlie Awards were created to recognize the organizations, businesses and individuals that comprise that our metro area food and restaurant industry to ensure a diverse, vibrant and creative lifestyle and economy. The Charlies were the inspiration ofMinnesota’s own culinary expert and James Beard award-winning food journalist, Sue Zelickson.