St. Paul feeds its appetite for business awards

The winners of the newly-created St. Paul Business Awards include a bunch of eating and drinking spots.

When a city wants to say thanks to some of its favorite businesses, maybe the best way is by raising a glass – or a fork.

That might work for St. Paul, where six of the eight winners of their first annual business awards were companies that make or serve food or drinks. The list also includes a gym to work off some of those calories and a financial services company to help make the most of the business success.

The categories are set up to honor an old company and a new one, a big one and a small one, and ones owned by women and people of color. There's also a people's choice award and one that combines all the other categories.

The winners in this first year of the St. Paul Business Awards are:

  • In the category for businesses that have been around at least 20 years, Captain Ken's Foods. The company was started in 1967 by a retired St. Paul fire captain famous for his baked beans.
  • For businesses that are less than five years old, Tongue in Cheek. This option for fine dining and craft cocktails on the city's east side opened a couple years ago.
  • For big companies (50 or more employees), Securian. The successor to Minnesota Life, the company still provides insurance but also does financial and retirement planning from their national headquarters downtown.
  • For small companies, Kamp's Food Market. It's an old-fashioned butcher shop on Western Ave.
  • For women-owned businesses, Urban Growler Brewing Co., which says it's Minnesota's first woman-owned microbrewery.
  • For minority-owned businesses, Element Gym, which specializes in boxing and fitness training.
  • The People's Choice award went to Tin Cup's, a restaurant and bar on Rice Street that's a gathering place for St. Paul's North End neighborhood.
  • And the winner of the Open For Business award, which is a mash-up of all the other categories, went to El Burrito Mercado, the venerable market and restaurant on the city's West Side.

Companies were nominated by residents with winners chosen by a committee of St. Paul business people.

The city produced a video paying tribute to the winners.

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