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Be Part Of The Charlie Awards

With the deadline extended to Friday, September 26, there’s still time to participate in the 2014 Charlie Awards.

It is free to enter, and each participating restaurant will be able to post details on their establishment along with a photo of what they consider to be its top dish in order to vie for Outstanding Restaurant Food Item.

The fourth annual Charlie Awards, which showcases the Twin Cities local and thriving independent food and beverage industry, will be held Sunday, November 16 at the Pantages Theater (710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis) beginning at 3:30 p.m.

Each restaurant that submits an application (found online at honorthyfood.com) will receive a ballot. Voting starts on Monday, September 29. The person or establishment receiving the most votes from you and your peers will win the coveted “Outstanding Restaurant Food Item” award. Other awards participants may vote on include: Lifetime Achievement; Community Hero; Outstanding Chef; Outstanding Emerging Chef (a food professional with five years or less of experience); Outstanding Service; Outstanding Restaurateur; Outstanding Restaurant; Outstanding Interior Design; Outstanding Pastry Chef; and Outstanding Bartender.

There will also be two “Diners’ Choice” awards given for Outstanding Restaurant Food Item and Outstanding Food Truck. For the former, two restaurants from each of six neighborhoods will emerge as finalists based on votes from the general public. A panel of experts will then choose one winning food item from the finalists. For Outstanding Food Truck, the truck receiving the most votes from the general public will be honored.

A panel of experts will choose Outstanding Local Craft Brew, Outstanding Cup of Coffee, and Outstanding Beverage Program.

The Charlie Awards showcases everything involved with the Twin Cities independent food and beverage industry: restaurants, beverage manufacturers, suppliers, culinary schools, chefs, restaurant staff and more. The awards are named after the legendary restaurant, Charlie’s Café Exceptionale, which was a mainstay in downtown Minneapolis until the 1980s.

This year’s Charlie Awards events include the main show, an after-party at the IDS Crystal Court and a Chef’s Dinner at Windows on Minnesota (50th floor of the IDS) featuring four courses of menu creations by 2013 Charlie Award winners Lucia Watson, Sameh Wadi, Jack Riebel and Diane Yang.

Tickets for the main show and after-party at the IDS Crystal Court are $35 each ($25 for members of the food community).

The cost for attending all three events (awards show, after-party and Chefs Dinner at Windows on Minnesota) is $150, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Open Arms of Minnesota. Open Arms is the only nonprofit organization in the state that cooks and delivers free meals specifically tailored to meet the nutritional needs of individuals living with life-threatening illnesses.

The after-party will feature sample-size dishes prepared by the culinary students of Art Institutes International Minnesota, Hennepin Technical College, Le Cordon Bleu and the St. Paul College.

Tickets for the Charlie Awards are now available online at honorthyfood.com; at the box offices of the State, Orpheum and Pantages theatres; or at any Ticketmaster outlet.

Sponsors of the Charlie Awards include General Mills, US. Foods, Open Table, Bellisio Foods, Intermix Beverage Co., Colle+McVoy, Minnesota Monthly, Minnesota Business, Casa Verde Design, Mise en Place consulting, Wells Fargo, Winthrop & Weinstine, G&K Services, Minnesota Restaurant Association, Minnesota Business, Mpls2Night, and Marquette Hotel.

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