Justin Sutherland, St. Paul restaurateur and a “Top Chef” contestant on Bravo, continues to shine as he and several St. Paul and other east metro food and drink establishments, including Meritage, Red Rabbit and Can Can Wonderland, came up winners at this year’s 2019 Charlie Awards, the annual event recognizing the Twin Cities’ creme de la creme in the dining and hospitality industry.
Award recipients were announced at Minneapolis’ Pantages Theatre on Sunday night during the eighth annual event.
Sue Zelickson, Minnesota Broadcast Hall of Famer, James Beard Award winner in food reporting and co-founder of the Charlie Awards, was taken off guard when she was presented with the annual Lifetime Achievement Award. So this was why the Charlie Awards crew had been keeping her away from planning meetings, Zelickson said when she received her award on stage.
Proceeds from the Charlie Awards benefited Open Arms, the nonprofit meal-delivery service.
Here’s a list of the winners, whittled down from three finalists in each of the 13 categories (*new category):
- Outstanding Service: Meritage, St. Paul
- Outstanding Restaurateur: Luke Shimp — kindRED Hospitality (Red Cow, Red Rabbit in Minneapolis, St. Paul and surrounding suburbs)
- Outstanding Restaurant: Hai Hai, Minneapolis
- Outstanding Baker/Pastry Chef: Christina Kaelberer — Edwards Dessert Kitchen, Minneapolis
- Outstanding Chef: Justin Sutherland — Pearl and the Thief, which is relocating from Stillwater, and Handsome Hog, St. Paul
- Rising Star: Joshua Walbolt — Lat14, Golden Valley
- Beverage Innovator: Marco Zappia — Martina, Colita, both in Minneapolis
- Outstanding Bartender: Sean Jones — Fhima’s, Minneapolis
- Best Brewery*: Lift Bridge Brewing Co., Stillwater
- Entertainment Restaurant Venue*: Can Can Wonderland, St. Paul
- Outstanding Caterer*: Chowgirls Killer Catering, Minneapolis
- Hidden Gem: Birch’s on the Lake, Long Lake
- Community Hero: Nathan Sartain — Saint Paul College, St. Paul
Following the awards ceremony, culinary students from ProStart and St. Paul College catered food at Seven Steakhouse next door under the guidance of Pat Weber from Mise en Place consulting and Seven’s chef Seth Bixby Daugherty.