MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There is no shortage of ways the best of the Twin Cities restaurant industry earns recognition. So while the new Charlie Awards ceremony joins a long list, it also promises something different.

The awards, which will be coming up Sunday, Nov. 20, are named after the former Minneapolis restaurant Charlie’s Cafe Exceptionale, which closed in 1983.

Culinary expert Sue Zelickson wanted to pay tribute to one of her favorite eateries, and wanted to recognize the industry for all it does to help out non-profit fundraisers.

“Have you ever gone to a fundraiser where there aren’t a ton of chefs that have left their restaurants on a Saturday night to dish out food,” asked Zelickson.

The Charlies will be handed out for best local restaurateur, chef, server as well as others, which are voted on by people in the industry.

Then there are the food awards, given out to restaurants in each neighborhood in the Twin Cities.

“Everyone had a right to send in an item that represents their restaurant to put up on a website,” said Zelickson.

More than 100 submissions came in and online voters have decided the short list.

The best will be decided by a nine-person panel of judges that includes WCCO-TV’s Jason DeRusha, who also writes about food for Minnesota Monthly Magazine.

“I will be going to some of the people’s favorites and I will then judge the favorite dishes,” said DeRusha.

According to DeRusha, the Charlie Awards are different because there’s more of a process to deciding the winners.

Proceeds from the event will go towards Second Heartland Harvest, the Upper Midwest’s largest hunger relief organization.

Comments (6)
  1. TrudyB says:

    La Grolla on Selby Ave in St. Paul – owner was Donald Trump’s personal chef. Fetuccini w/creamy lobster sauce & tiger prawns and also the Zuppa di Pesce is fabulous!!!!! the tulip for dessert and of course their Italian coffee. hope you visit there

    1. Zuppa Pesci says:

      Had it, worst dining experience I’ve had in a LONG time. Cold service, cold slow food.

  2. Swamp Rat says:

    Hey, what about “Mama V’s” lutefisk pasta entre? Too bad beans-&-dogs aren’t on the MN best chefs’ menus. It’s cheap, many variations to serve, and the best affordable dish in town for us plebeians. Better yet, I know this great Midwest culinary delight that everyone likes–Booya! Why doesn’t this culinary delight make the awards?

  3. Skin Boy says:

    “Have you ever gone to a fundraiser where there aren’t a ton of chefs that have left their restaurants on a Saturday night to dish out food,” asked Zelickson.

    uhhh..yes??? No??? What’s the question again??

  4. maxey says:

    And the Charlie Award for best noodles in sauce goes to….

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