Owamni: The US’ finest new restaurant?

Key takeaways:

  • The Sioux Culinary expert Sean Sherman and Dana Thompson use food as a guidepost to a secret piece of history, all while starting an (r)evolution of “valid” North American food varieties.
  • On the back porch at Owamni – the Minneapolis, Minnesota, eatery possessed via Sean Sherman and Dana Thompson – the late-night sun cast my pastry in a characteristic spotlight.

Marigold-shaded agave squash caramel flowed gradually down the sides of a sunflower-seed cake the shade of sandstone, and a dark red berry sauce gleamed on a maple Chaga cake so natural in tone, it felt like it was culled from the backwoods floor.

The association with nature is unmistakable here, where clearing perspectives on the Mississippi Waterway, alongside organized native plants like grassland dropseed – whose high-protein seeds can be eaten crudely or ground into flour – scratch themselves into the scene like a work of art.

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“We named this café Owamni from the Dakota name OwamniYomni, for the cascade that used to encompass this region,” said Thompson, a relative of the Wahpeton Sisseton and Mdewakanton Dakota clans. “It was supposed to be just about as lovely as Niagara Falls. Soul Island was the most consecrated of the four islands here, and the Dakota and Anishinaabe people group would take their kayaks there for service, and ladies would come from a long way away to conceive an offspring there.”

Thompson’s granddad, who contributed authentic information to the book Where the Waters Assemble and the Waterways Meet, a chart book of the Eastern Sioux distributed in 1994, made it feasible for this significant piece of native history to reside.

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