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Upcoming Minneapolis Restaurant Will Focus on Indigenous American Cuisine

A new restaurant from the Sioux Chef

Sean Sherman
Photo: The Sioux Chef / Facebook

The Sioux Chef, the indigenous food education and catering team that broke Kickstarter records with its first restaurant crowdfunding campaign, has announced plans for another restaurant to open in late 2019. The group, led by chef Sean Sherman, is teaming up with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the Minneapolis Parks Foundation to open an indigenous food restaurant at a new riverfront pavilion called Water Works. This new concept joins Sherman’s previously announced Kickstarter restaurant, still in progress, in the Sioux Chef portfolio.

The new restaurant, the first in the Minneapolis Park System to be open year-round, will include an outdoor counter-service portion with outdoor seating in addition to a full-service dining room. Wood-fired cooking will feature prominently, and true to the Sioux Chef’s mission, the food will be free from European ingredients. “We’ve cut out things that weren’t here before [Europeans came to America],” Sherman explains. “So we’re not using any dairy, wheat flour, processed sugar, beef, pork, or chicken, and are just really being creative with proteins and plants and agriculture that was here before.”

The Water Works location at Owamni Yamni in the Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park has been a “sacred site of peace and well-being for the Dakota and Anishinaabe people for millennia,” Sioux Chef co-owner Dana Thompson said in a press release, and the entire Water Works pavilion project will seek to honor this heritage. In addition to opening the restaurant, the Sioux Chef will grow indigenous plants at the pavilion and hold educational events “so people can see this diversity of food that’s all around us,” Sherman says.

The Water Works restaurant is one of a few projects the Sioux Chef has in the works as a part of the newly launched nonprofit NĀTIFS.org (North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems).

“We have a larger-scale plan of creating an indigenous food hub in the city of Minneapolis that has the restaurants and the educational training center,” Sherman says. “And then we want to satellite out to the tribal regions around us and help them open up their own indigenous food businesses and create this food network, and then eventually move those indigenous food hubs to other big cities.”

Native American Restaurant Startup Smashes Kickstarter Record [E]
The Sioux Chef picked for parks eatery at old Fuji-Ya site [Minneapolis Business Journal]
Sioux Chef Lands A First Home: Water Works [Mpls St Paul]

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