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These Twin Cities Restaurants Stepped Up for Their Communities in 2022

The restaurants that brought their mission beyond the plate

A glass door into a restaurant with a decal that says “Owamni.”
Full-service Indigenous restaurant Owamni.
Heidi Ehalt

It’s an Eater tradition to round out the year with a survey of local food experts — editors, writers, reporters, and a select few others — on the highs, lows, and surprises of the past 365 days in dining. Today, our panel looks at local restaurants that stepped up for their communities in 2022, and how they did it. Have thoughts to share? Feel free to add them in the comments.

Stephanie March, food and dining editor of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine

I think the Fhima family is one that continues to support and host charitable organizations, gives away a lot of free food to anyone who needs it, and tries hard to champion the downtown scene (which is a very important flag to fly).

Mecca Bos, food writer, chef, and Hidden BIPOC Foodways founder

Owamni continues to be the most important restaurant in the country. Ideas like “local” or “farm-to-table” are meaningless and hollow without Indigenous perspectives and focus on the true and original meaning of American food.

Trish Gavin, bar maven and Eat Street Crossing beverage director

I really love and appreciate what Houston White is doing in North Minneapolis. I adore his coffee shop with the mission of making specialty coffee welcoming and diverse and how his embrace of the North Side and BIPOC endeavors is going to diversify our scene.

James Norton, editor and co-founder of Heavy Table newsletter

This is kind of an unconventional spin on that question, but I think the arrival of Owamni is a huge deal for everyone around here — it’s bringing a lot of recognition to the pre-colonial American Indian pantry and to the food stories that were saved (and lost) after the colonial conquest of the United State. It’s already become a crucial piece of the culinary narrative fabric, and it means a lot to a great many people.

Justine Jones, editor of Eater Twin Cities

Owamni’s mission, in all its layers, is remarkable — and so is that of NATIFS and the Indigenous Food Lab at Midtown Global Market.