Owamni by the Sioux Chef isn’t the country’s first indigenous restaurant. But it’s probably the most influential, and without having served a single meal.
“We hope to be a role model,” said Chef / Co-Owner Sean Sherman. “We hope that a lot of people will adopt some of our ideas and that there can be indigenous restaurants in every city.”
The restaurant, which is about to open, is a centerpiece of the new $ 24 million Water Works riverside park in downtown Minneapolis. In 2014, Sherman and partner Dana Thompson founded the Sioux Chef, a catering and food education company. Two years later, the couple submitted their restaurant proposal to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.
“When we started Sioux Chef with almost nothing, I couldn’t imagine our first full-service restaurant would be such a large, huge project,” said Sherman, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe. “And on such a beautiful, holy site in Dakota.”
It refers to the nearby Owámniyomni (roughly “the place of falling, swirling water”), the Dakota name for today’s St. Anthony Falls, the only major cataract on the Mississippi.
During the busy warm weather season, Owamni serves lunch and dinner and follows a hybrid service format with table service in the dining room, online ordering on the terraces and take-out for picnics nearby.
“Because we have this great location, we know there will be a lot of curious people coming,” said Sherman. “We just want to make it easy for everyone. It will be a place that is unpretentious and […]