The Charlie Awards is an annual event that celebrates the exceptional contributions of the Twin Cities-area restaurant, food and beverage industry. Since the outset of COVID-19, the Charlies has been on hold until we feel it is appropriate and safe to again host the awards. As a sister brand to Foodservice News however, we will continue to create digital Charlies content and cover the amazing restaurants, chefs, and staff that make our local restaurant community what it is.

Be sure to subscribe to our Foodservice News and Charlies Newsletter HERE. Follow us on social media, and check out our podcast.

Conversations, ideas and advice from Charlies alumni

Foodservice News and the Charlie Awards are excited to announce the launch of The Charlies Podcast series, which will feature hosts Nancy Weingartner-Monroe and Sue Zelickson discussing a number of important topics with past Charlies winners and finalists. The goal is simple—leverage the knowledge and experience of the Charlies community and speak to issues and solutions during this dramatically changing time in the restaurant market.

Podcast Topics & Overview


COVID-19 has ripped open our social fabric unlike any other catastrophe in recent memory, and the hospitality industry, which makes its living feeding people, was faced with its employees going hungry.

But in the midst of all this need, people like Heidi Andermack and Amy Lynn Brown of Chowgirls have helped both feed and employ hospitality workers through the Minnesota Central Kitchen. And Wayne Kostroski of Taste of the NFL and Taste Fore the Tour continues finding innovative ways to ensure as many people as possible aren’t going hungry. Find out how these Charlies winners are not only surviving this pandemic but helping others thrive.

Opening New Concepts

Chefs tend to be risk-takers, and tireless workers, so even in the midst of an unfathomable pandemic, we are seeing some gutsy souls opening new concepts or drastically re-tweaking existing ones to better serve the new diner.

Justin Sutherland—the busiest chef in the Twin Cities when it comes to opening new concepts—and Yia Vang, who is finally transforming his successful pop-up model to brick-and-mortar, will unmask just long enough to give us the behind-the-scenes journey of opening a restaurant with both hands tied behind their backs.

Social Justice

The Twin Cities were altered forever with the killing of George Floyd, and the need for social justice became a must-have conversation for restaurants who employ a significant number of immigrants and deal with issues affecting healthcare, racial injustice and hunger/food insecurity.

Emily Hunt Turner, the founder of All Square and the 2020 Charlies Community Hero, will talk candidly about why her not-for-profit is even more relevant today. Then Jametta Raspberry, Charlies’ Rising Star and owner of House of Gristle, gives her no-holds-barred take on what is needed to make kitchens more humane for both women and people of color.

Presenting Sponsors

Featured Sponsors