The year is 2020, and the world – as we know it – is coming to an end.

A pandemic has devastated and forever changed the restaurant industry, the media sector is beset with layoffs and low morale, awareness of systemic racism has perhaps never been higher, and it’s still incredibly hard to get a decent slice of affordable pizza in Minnesota.

Enter Heavy Table 2.0.

The Heavy Table is a reader-supported, independent voice reporting on food and drink in Minnesota and the Upper Midwest. Our goal is to create a collective of storytellers responsible to one another and to our community, creating lively, engaging, relevant, sometimes painfully honest, sometimes brutally hilarious culinary stories.

We intend to examine the Upper Midwestern farm-to-table movement and support local food ecosystems by telling the stories of local farmers and the chefs, brewers, and distillers who utilize their products. We endeavor to center immigrant and BIPOC perspectives whenever possible, as these are the stories that give our region its unique flavor, and these are the stories that are under-represented by corporate media. We also seek to platform young voices, and help develop the next generation of Minnesota and Wisconsin writers and photographers tackling food stories in the Upper Midwest and beyond.

We are reader-supported, and are accountable to our readers for the quality and quantity of our content. If you subscribe to us, your money will allow us to pay writers, illustrators and photographers, to support our editor/lead writer, to pay for the locally-made food that we eat and the beverages we drink, and to communicate clearly and effectively over social media.

When reporting, we will always side with the truth. For this publication, we believe that honest, transparent, complex, and nuanced reporting will produce more gains for the health of society over the long term than advocacy will.

We are committed to the traditional concept of diner’s advocate-centered reviews of restaurants, believing them to be useful for diners, illuminating for chefs and owners, and both challenging and educational for writers. However we will not begin publishing critical reviews until the COVID-19 and related economic crisis has at least begun to turn around, allowing restaurants an opportunity to rebuild and reconnect with the public at large.

As our funding scales up, we will endeavor to pay our writers, illustrators and photographers higher rates until we approach and (ideally) surpass the market average for similar publications. We will also work to assign, edit and publish increasingly long, complex, and investigative stories, as our resources allow. The type of story we’ll be able to publish at $1,500 of reader support a month will be very different from what we’ll be able to do at $4,500 a month. We will be open to sponsored content and underwriting opportunities, but our first loyalties and the bulk of our publishing effort will be spent on serving and enlarging our community of subscribing supporters.

If you don’t support us, tell us what we can do to win your support. If you do support us, tell your friends. If you friends support us, we’ll be able to sustain our work, fight the good fight, and forever change for the better the way our part of the world views its chefs, farmers, servers, owners, diners, and people.

There’s room for you at the table. Pull up a chair!