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MN Restaurant Association Honors 2018 Award Winners



Wayne Kostroski and Barbara Hunn Miesen are the newest inductees into the Minnesota Hospitality Hall of Fame.

Barbara Hunn Miesen celebrated her 81st birthday earlier this month, and the owner of Keys Café and Bakery got to continue the festivities November 19 when she was inducted into the Minnesota Hospitality Hall of Fame.

“My whole life has been this place, it’s a lifestyle, it’s who I am,” said Miesen, who gave a fiery acceptance speech that included a short rendition of Freddie Mercury’s “We Are the Champions,” and bringing her four children and 13 grandchildren on stage.

Key’s Café, which as nine locations, has been in business for 45 years and Miesen continues to work at the original location on Raymond Avenue in St. Paul.

“Everything I do, I do it because I love it,” she said. “And I’ll continue to do it as along as I can.”

Wayne Kostroski of Cuisine Concepts and Franklin Street Bakery was the night’s second inductee into the Hall of Fame, which recognizes a restaurant operator with more than 20 years of experience who is deemed a legend in the industry.

Kostroski is founder of Taste of the NFL, a mainstay event on the eve of the Super Bowl since 1992. The fundraising event, which pairs celebrity chefs and football greats representing each NFL team and serving plates at 35-plus food stations, has raised more than $25 million dollars for hunger relief since its inception.

During the awards event at Bunker Hill Golf Club in Coon Rapids, the Minnesota Restaurant Association also recognized the recipients of several additional honors.

Restaurant of the Year: Joan’s in the Park

Restaurateur of the Year: JJ Haywood, CEO of Pizza Lucé

Restaurant Sustainability Award: Morgan’s Farm to Table, located within the Best Western Premier Nicollet Inn in Burnsville

Restaurant Neighbor Award: Grandma’s Restaurant Company

Allied Vendor of the Year: Heartland Payment Systems

ProStart Educator of Excellence: Marilyn Fagerness, North Branch Area High School

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