An Indigenous restaurant located on a sacred site in Minneapolis was named Best New Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation. Dana Thompson and her 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 we’re doing and trying to do for sovereignty, spiritual well-being and other Indigenous chefs across the country,” Thompson told the Star Tribune.
Owamni is a modern, Indigenous, full-service restaurant located in the Water Works Pavilion in Mill Ruins Park, or OwamniYomni, the sacred site of peace and well-being for the Dakota and Anishinaabe people. It prioritizes buying food from Indigenous producers locally and across the country. It also removed colonial ingredients like wheat flour, cane sugar, dairy, beef, chicken, and pork, which are foods not originally from this land.
The menu consists of a mix of Indigenous game, fish, birds, and insects with wild plants, Native American heirloom farm varieties, and locally grown produce. Some of the interesting items on the menu include Red Cliff lake trout, grilled forest mushroom, duck sausage, cricket seed mix, and elk and turkey sandwiches. Reading some of those, you may think it will 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 people. Making this culinary culture accessible has long been Sherman’s focus.
If you’re interested in making a reservation, do so well in advance. They’re booking months out, so there will be a wait. Patio tables overlooking the Mississippi River are on a first come, first served basis.