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From the Editor: Come to Finnegans for the Charlies Nominations



Have you ever come up with a clever name or description and then learned that someone else has been calling their hamburger the Big Mac much longer than you have?

Now in my third year of helping produce the Charlie Awards, I just discovered that while I’ve been referring to them as an “Academy Award-style event for the local foodservice community,” the James Beard Awards are referred to as “the Oscars of the food world.” 

I’m no math major, but why did I never put two and two together? Talk about embarrassing. It’s like appearing in US magazine’s “Who Wore It Better” feature and not wearing it better. 

I know it’s two different versions of the same idea, but they both lead to one conclusion: We need a new tagline. 

And I think I came up with another totally original idea: The Charlies are the People’s (in the Industry) Choice Awards!! We are peer-nominated, and because of this distinction, I think we’re special. 

Attend our event in February and you can dress to the nines, or come right from the kitchen. We have world-class entertainment, charming hosts and a mission to throw a party for the very people who are always called into service to throw parties for other people. 

It’s the local foodservice industry folks’ day to kick up their heels, cheer for their peers and revel in the unique and all-consuming world of foodservice. 

But before we get to the award ceremony, we need to nominate candidates and then narrow that list down to three finalists in 15 categories (find categories and descriptions online at foodservicenews.net under the Charlie Awards tab). This year we’ve added Outstanding Coffeehouse and Outstanding Club Chef, and tabled Beverage Innovator (we’ve got that covered with our other drink categories) and entertainment venue. The three finalists will be promoted and then one of them will be selected to come up on stage at the Pantages Theater to receive their Charlies Plate.

The voting process has never been this much fun. When was the last time you stuffed a ballot box while stuffing your face? Or while drinking a beer?

The Charlies Kickoff, which kicks off the official Charlies season, is Monday, September 16, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Finnegans Brewer’s Den in downtown Minneapolis. We’re excited to be hosted by Finnegans, a company supporting hunger alleviation and social entrepreneurship, along with making great beer. Proceeds from the Charlies go to Open Arms, a nonprofit that delivers healthy meals to people dealing with life-threatening diseases. 

As we go to press we’re in the process of finalizing the two panels who will give short presentations to provide some insights into hospitality issues. We’ve found that busy restaurant people need more than a couple of reasons to venture out on a workday. 

The event is free and thanks to our sponsor, Society Insurance, the first round will be on them. Finnegans is also giving us happy hour prices on additional drinks, and there will be plenty of munchies. In addition to beer, we’ll be serving wine and soft drinks. 

To help ensure we have enough ballots—and even more important, enough food—RSVP to Rachel at rknudson@franchisetimes.com. 

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