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How Are The Charlies Recipients Chosen?

Collage by Steve Hamburger

The short answer is: very carefully.  But here's the longer answer:

The Charlie Awards is the only peer-based food awards in the Twin Cities. It honors individuals and businesses that are exemplary representatives of the greater Twin Cities area food and beverage community. Now in its eighth year, the awards honor the tradition started by Charlie’s Café Exceptionale, a restaurant that after a 49-year run closed its doors in July of 1982. The fine-dining establishment still remains a symbol in the Twin Cities of expertly prepared food and exceptional service. It attracted the celebrities of its time and had a rabid following for its potato salad.

Since taking over the production of the event in 2017, Foodservice News employs its monthly publication, as well as mailings and social media, to solicit nominations. In addition, we collect nominations at the Charlies Kick-off event in late summer and online. The final list is then reviewed and researched and a panel of past Charlies recipients and advisors vote on three finalists for each category. No one knows the outcome until the winners are announced from the stage. 

We do our best not to include past winners in the same category two years in a row or multiple finalists from the same company, but there are some cases where there is such overwhelming support of one person or venue that it may occur. Since we’re honoring the best of the best, we don’t feel guilty should this happen—well, maybe only a little guilty.

From the finalists, Foodservice News picks the winner based on the feedback from the voters and from the comments during the in-person selection. 

Categories differ a little each year, and in 2019 we added four new categories. The Twin Cities is a hotbed of cutting-edge restaurants, beverage innovators and outstanding chefs, servers and restaurateurs. It’s a tough job, but we’re glad we get to do it. 

To buy tickets, contact us at info@charliesexceptionale or 612-767-3239 or at our website www.charliesexceptionale.com.

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