The Heavy Table is a daily Twin Cities-based magazine passionately telling the stories of food and drink — from roots to table — in the Upper Midwest.
The Heavy Table’s allegiance is to diners. In an environment where so much food coverage is repackaged marketing and PR, we do our best to pierce the veil and give you an unvarnished view of the scene. Our goal is to document our gastronomic landscape without bias or favor, showing our readers precisely what we’re seeing.
We are interested in small, neighborhood restaurants; ethnic eateries with a story to tell; great home cooking; Upper Midwestern culinary traditions; stuff that’s hilarious; recipes that work; recipes that fail spectacularly; current events; local food; heirloom food; and people at all levels of the food creation, preparation, distribution, and consumption chain.
We write to be understood, to be accurate, and to entertain. The Heavy Table is a positive voice with integrity. We will call people out on lousy value and bad hospitality. But we prefer to celebrate the delicious, the creative, the honest, and the heartwarming.
You can find us here at our website, in newsletter digest form, in our biweekly Tap newsletter covering restaurant openings and closings, on Twitter, and (with tons of original content) over on Instagram.
We look forward to serving you.
Editor and Publisher
James Norton | email@example.com
James Norton is the co-author of a book about Wisconsin’s master cheesemakers. His latest book was published by the University of Minnesota Press and is called Lake Superior Flavors. Norton has written about food for Culture: The Word on Cheese, The Takeout, Gastronomica, Popular Science, Saveur.com, Minnesota Monthly, and City Pages (as a weekly restaurant reviewer). You can hear him regularly on Minnesota Public Radio, the Current, and WCCO news radio. He is one of two partners behind Chef Camp Minnesota. He is 82 restaurants into a 92-restaurant tour of independent eateries on Lake Street in Minneapolis. This essay is a pretty good exploration of why and how he does what he does.
Ted Held | firstname.lastname@example.org
A lifelong resident of the Midwest, Ted is a lover of spicy food, noodles, and the wonders of the Maillard reaction. When he’s not playing music, riding his bike, or working as a web developer, he spends his time seeking out new and exciting flavors, or trying to re-create them in the kitchen of his Minneapolis home.
Paige Latham | email@example.com
Paige Latham is a native Minnesotan, Cicerone Certified Beer Server, and novice home brewing judge who loves educating others about beer, especially old or obscure styles — gruit, anyone? She started working at Punch Pizza before she could drive, and now works part time at the Four Firkins Beer Store and writes Alcohol by Volume. Her work has also appeared on MN Beer Activists and The Six-Pack Project. A dedicated home cook who takes a vacation day during ramps season, Paige also plays percussion in a concert band. She occupies a Whittier loft with one cat, but is more likely to be out biking to a happy hour than at home.
Joshua Page | firstname.lastname@example.org
Joshua Page became fascinated with food as a young latchkey cook in Southern California. He developed a passion for eating out while working in “the industry” in college and procrastinating (and accruing debt) as a graduate student. Now a professor of sociology at the University of Minnesota, Joshua also loves to write — when it’s not about crime, law, and punishment, his musings are about Twin Cities eateries.
Amy Rea | email@example.com
Amy Rea is a freelance writer who lives in the suburbs and doesn’t hate it. She grew up on the comfort foods of northern Minnesota and still loves to check out small-town diners and cafes, especially if they have homemade mashed potatoes and killer sandwiches. She’s written two guidebooks to Minnesota (Minnesota, Land of 10,000 Lakes: An Explorer’s Guide and Backroads & Byways of Minnesota) and blogs about Minnesota for WCCO. She’s married with two almost-grown sons and a highly neurotic Border Collie. She spends much of her free time reading and spouting off about books at her blog.
Becca Dilley | firstname.lastname@example.org
Becca Dilley is the co-author of The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin, a professional photographer, and the founder of the Independent Wedding Association. Her photos have appeared in Minnesota Bride, Saveur, and the Star Tribune. She won a red ribbon with her Grandma Dilley’s pickled watermelon rinds in the 2009 Minnesota State Fair.
Brenda Johnson | email@example.com
Brenda Johnson’s style sprouts from the concept of using natural light for everything – food, portraits, architecture, interiors, and so forth. It’s the best way to capture an image in its true form. Sometimes it works and sometimes she has to wait until the light changes. And sometimes she needs to bend the light a bit or break down completely and add a flash. To see what she’s up to these days, please visit her website at www.bjohnsonphotos.com.
Brianna C. Stachowski | firstname.lastname@example.org
Brianna C. Stachowski writes about and photographs farming, food, adventure, and travel for both online and print publications throughout New York, Massachusetts and Minnesota. Originally from Minnesota, Brianna followed her love for photography (and her husband) to the Northeast but like most Midwesterners she found her way back. When she isn’t behind her camera Bri likes spending her downtime helping out on the family farm, learning about flowers and rocks, hiking the local landscape, and daydreaming about her next big adventure. Her latest work can be found on her website www.bricstachowski.com
Isabel Subtil | email@example.com
Isabel Subtil is a native of Portugal, a country filled with passionate people, exotic colors, incredible scenery, and amazing food. Starting at a young age, she worked in her family’s pottery factory and later started her own business as a buying agent, specializing in housewares and home decor. She followed her heart to America in pursuit of a formal education in photography and digital imaging. Her ability to capture food photography and food culture stories is the culmination of these life experiences. She loves cooking, eating, sampling new ingredients, styling and photographing, proof of which can be seen in her latest work at www.isabelsubtil.com.
Aaron Landry | firstname.lastname@example.org
Aaron Landry co-founded the Heavy Table with James Norton in 2009 and was the site’s Producer for over five years. He has a multidisciplinary background in online media, politics, and technology. He loves pizza, cheeses, and almost anything that can be drunk. Born and raised outside of Stillwater, MN, he has called both Saint Paul and Minneapolis home. Aaron now lives in Honolulu, Hawai‘i and still assists with the Heavy Table’s operations. His personal site is aaronlandry.com.
Heavy Table was the City Pages readers’ choice for Best Blog for five years running (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014) before they retired the honor, was named as part of the Star Tribune’s Taste 50 in 2009, and made #5 on Vita.mn’s 2012 list of Best Local Blogs. As per the Tangential (quoted in Vita.mn’s All Stars of the Twin Cities), the site is “Continuing to set the bar — or table, as the case may be — for independent food coverage.” And Kyle Nabilcy, writing in July 2015 for the blog Irony or Mayo, wrote: “As always, I feel the need to recommend the work of Heavy Table; a website maintaining the standards of print criticism is doing good work.”
The site’s North Coast Nosh event series was named “Best Foodie Event” in 2012 by Minnesota Monthly. The site was profiled on CNN’s Eatocracy, and named a best local blog by METRO in 2010, and its contributors have appeared on the Splendid Table, MPR, WCCO radio with John Hines, FOX 9, KSTP, and other outlets. Heavy Table was named one of 10 Minnesota food blogs worth a read in the Mix in July 2014.
Heavy Tablers have written or contributed heavily to books including Minnesota Lunch (James Norton, Susan Pagani, Jill Lewis, Lori Writer, with photography by Katie Cannon, Becca Dilley), Minnesota Farmers Market Cookbook and Eat More Vegetables (Tricia Cornell), Lake Superior Flavors and The Master Cheesemakers of Wisconsin (James Norton and Becca Dilley), Shefzilla: Conquering Haute Cuisine at Home (with photography by Kate NG Sommers), and Food Lovers’ Guide to the Twin Cities (James Norton). You can read the first draft of Knife Skills (James Norton’s unpublished culinary serial novel) on this site.
About Our Star System
Full-length reviews on the Heavy Table are accompanied by a star rating from 0 to 4 stars. A 1-star review isn’t negative; it’s mixed. Even a 1/2 star restaurant will have one or two positive points worth mentioning.
Our star ratings are contextual. That means you can have a four-star taqueria or a four-star hot dog restaurant. The amenities and service will, of course, differ from those at a four-star fine dining restaurant, but certain ideas are valid no matter the format: good ingredients, skillful and consistent preparation, and warm, competent hospitality.
We are fully aware that it’s difficult, if not insulting, to attempt to boil a restaurant down to a simple star rating, just as it’s insanely reductive to boil a film down to a thumb jammed up or down. That said, we use these ratings as a condensed thumbnail of the review, as a jumping-off point for reader discussion, and as a way to clarify our reviewers’ thoughts and remind them that, ultimately, they must take a firm stand when they write. We do not adhere to any firm timetable when reviewing restaurants. As diners’ advocates, we view our duty as the assessment of any food and/or drink being sold at full market prices.
Our Ethics Policy
Restaurant reviews are sacred. If we’re handing out stars or even publishing a brief listing, we are not being compensated in cash or trade by the establishment. The evaluation will be done with magazine funds and on an anonymous basis. Any sponsored content will be clearly marked as such.
Sponsored content will not include reviews, short or long. As with all content on the site, the Heavy Table has final say on all wording in sponsored content and will ensure that all claims or statements made are either colorful and subjective or verifiable as factual. Sponsored information and contests on third-party services (deals or promotions on Facebook or Twitter, for example) will always be clearly marked as sponsored.
The Heavy Table accepts product samples, books, and event tickets for review consideration. Anything valued over $100 US (including but not limited to trips, appliances, fancy liquor, etc.) will be disclosed explicitly in any coverage on the site. If a writer or a member of his or her immediate family has a direct financial and/or professional relationship with a subject of an article, he or she will not write about that subject without a full disclosure of the relationship.
Our Comments Policy
Think of this as the counterpart to our ethics policy. As long as you’re even vaguely on topic, you can post anything you want (short of nasty personal attacks and destructive rumoring) under your real name and email address. Or, you can post uncontroversial statements anonymously. And for the love of Pete, if you feel that a restaurant may have given you food poisoning, the people to talk to are that restaurant’s management and/or the relevant health authorities.
- Appreciation of the seasonal, the local, and the truly creative
- Personalized partnerships with advertisers and sponsors
- Exploration of context
- Aesthetic grace
- Unflinching criticism tempered by sympathy for those who dare to attempt something difficult
- Truly original content
- Nimble use of technology to best convey good information to readers
- Stories featuring real people
Submissions or Corrections | email@example.com
The Heavy Table relies on its staff for the overwhelming bulk of its stories and photos. If you have a story and/or photo that you think falls within our mandate, feel free to pitch it to us. We can’t promise to publish what you’re offering, but we will answer all inquiries promptly and with respect. Also note: the Heavy Table strives to be as accurate and timely as possible. If you spot an error or have a quality-related concern about anything on the site, please drop us a note. For more detailed thoughts on pitching stories to the Heavy Table, read this post.
Tips | firstname.lastname@example.org
If you’ve got news, gossip, events, great food-related content or other bits of information that may be of interest to our readers, please send them our way.
Sponsored Content and Advertisement | James Norton | email@example.com
If you’re a culinary business with a good story to tell, please let us know. Ads, sponsored content, or a full online media campaign might be the best way to get your story out to our readership. Our sponsored content is clearly marked as such, and written by professionals who weigh equally both the site’s editorial mandate and the importance of conveying your story with accuracy and passion. For more detailed thoughts on talking about your business with the Heavy Table and its readers, read this post.