An Indigenous restaurant on a sacred site in Minneapolis has been named Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation. Dana Thompson and her husband and partner, Chef Sean Sherman, opened Owamni in 2021 with a mission to revitalize and re-identify North American cuisine.
“We are so proud to be recognized for all that we do and try to do for sovereignty, spiritual well-being and other Indigenous leaders across the country,” Thompson told the Tribune of stars.
Owamni is a modern, full-service Indigenous restaurant located in the Water Works Lodge at Mill Ruins Park, or OwamniYomni, the sacred site of peace and well-being of the Dakota and Anishinaabe people. He prioritizes purchasing food from local Aboriginal producers and from across the country. It also removed colonial ingredients like wheat flour, cane sugar, dairy products, beef, chicken, and pork, which are not foods native to this land.
The menu consists of a mix of native game, fish, birds and insects with wild plants, varieties from Native American ancestral farms and locally grown produce. Some of the interesting menu items include Red Cliff Lake Trout, Grilled Forest Mushrooms, Duck Sausage, Cricket Seed Mix, and Elk and Turkey Sandwiches. Reading some of them, you might think this is going to be an expensive meal. We were pleasantly surprised to see prices ranging from $7 to $17.
More than three-quarters of the staff are indigenous. The team is made up of Anishinaabe, Mdewakanton Dakota, Navajo, Northern Cheyenne, Oglala Lakota, and Wahpeton-Sisseton Dakota. Making this culinary culture accessible has long been Sherman’s goal.
If you want to make a reservation, do it well in advance. They book for months so there will be a wait. Patio tables overlooking the Mississippi River are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.
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