The 2021 Twin Cities Vegan Comfort Food Challenge Champion

Minneapolis-based Reverie Cafe and Bar’s “Long Haul Burger” impressed voters and earned top honors in this year’s challenge.

The chefs and founders of Reverie, Kirsten Wiegmann and Jeffery Therkelsen, are the official Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge Champions. Kirsten and Jeff were awarded a $150 cash prize and certificate, presented at a special online ceremony on March 20.

Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge diners gushed about the flavor and creativity of the burger, as well at Reverie’s outdoor seating. Some of the comments that came in:

  • “It was smoky. It was rich. It was like dating a cowboy that you want to introduce to your friends.”
  • “Best vegan burger ever – even meat-eating friends preferred it over “real” burgers!”
  • “This rocked my world. Honestly can’t believe that chèvre was vegan. The mushrooms were otherworldly. The outdoor tent situation was dope.”

Namaste Cafe’s Vegan Masala Meatballs in Chili-Tomato Sauce won second place. This is the second year in a row that both Reverie and Namaste have been among the top finishers in the competition. Last year’s Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge champion was Root to Rise Kitchen. Awards are based on diner votes.

The Twin Cities Vegan Comfort Food Challenge encouraged area chefs to offer new plant-based dishes at their restaurants throughout the month of February, and diners had the opportunity to cast online votes for their favorite dish. Additional awards were given based on diner comments and committee members’ experiences at the restaurants. Throughout the metro area, 15 dining establishments at 19 locations took part:

  • Avocadish, 2 locations (Dinkytown & Graze Provisions and Libations) | Winner: Fresh, Friendly, and Fabulous
  • Namaste Café, Hennepin in Uptown | Winner: Marvelous Melding of Flavors
  • Birchwood Cafe South Minneapolis, Seward | Winner: Indulgently Creative
  • The Naughty Greek, 2 locations in St. Paul | Winner: Fantastically Fresh and Filling
  • Curry in a Hurry, South Minneapolis, Seward | Winner: Wonderfully Warming and Aromatic
  • Parkway Pizza, 4 metro locations | Winner: Savory Splendor
  • Hard Times Cafe, Minneapolis, West Bank | Winner: Sophisticated Spicy Dish 
  • Keefer Court Bakery and Cafe  Minneapolis, West Bank | Winner: Deeply Flavorful
  • Minneapolis Marinara, pop-ups, online | Winner: Rich and Spicy
  • Miss Garret’s Vegan Soul, NE Minneapolis | Winner: Spectacularly Soulful Spread
  • Nightingale, Uptown, Minneapolis | Winner: Hearty and Delicious
  • Root to Rise Kitchen, NE Farmers’ Market, Northside Plant-Based Pop-Up, Minneapolis | Winner: Fabulously Fine Dining
  • Soul Bowl, Graze Provisions and Libations, Downtown Minneapolis | Winner: Tropically, Tantalizingly Tasty
  • Hark! Cafe, Downtown Minneapolis | Winner: Fabulous Minnesota Fusion

The 2021 Twin Cities Vegan Comfort Food Challenge was the 3rd year of the Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge. This was the biggest challenge yet, garnering a lot of public attention. Here’s a look at the numbers:

  • Minnesota Monthly Magazine covered the challenge.
  • Over 400 diners voted.
  • Posts about the challenge reached over 16,000 diners on social media.

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