Native American Restaurant Startup Smashes Kickstarter Record
Chef Sean Sherman brought in nearly $150,000 from 2,358 backers in 30 days
By Whitney Filloon

A forthcoming Native American restaurant in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area just set a crowdfunding record. The wildly successful Kickstarter campaign from chef Sean Sherman, a.k.a. The Sioux Chef, brought in nearly $150,000 from 2,358 backers in 30 days; as the Star Tribune reports, that’s more individual backers than any other restaurant to ever raise funds on the platform.

Per Eater Minneapolis, Sherman specializes in “First People’s cuisine, or pre-contact Native American fare,” utilizing ingredients like native plants, wild game and fish, and corn, squash, and beans, but no dairy, sugar, or wheat. He already owns and operates a food truck, the cleverly named Tatanka Truck, and hosts frequent pop-ups and catering events in Minnesota and the surrounding states.

The restaurant will be called The Sioux Chef: An Indigenous Kitchen and will feature “traditional cooking on open comal grills,” Eater Minneapolis notes; it will also house a culinary education center for indigenous peoples.

The Kickstarter campaign drew backers from as far off as New Zealand. One backer wrote: “I’m happy to see this kind of project. I’m an enrolled tribal member of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and is great to see our people making advances like this.”

Native American cuisines are wildly underrepresented in U.S. restaurants: The dining capital of New York City has precisely zero Native American restaurants, for instance. But as the local-seasonal mantra and foraging have taken hold in recent years, perhaps we’re finally on the brink of seeing a surge in indigenous restaurants that’s long, long overdue.

The $148,728 raised also makes The Sioux Chef the sixth most-funded restaurant in Kickstarter history. Crowdfunding has revolutionized restaurant financing in recent years; instead of relying on private investors who typically hand over cash in exchange for part ownership and a percentage of the profits, budding restaurateurs can instead lean on their communities to fund their projects with considerably less strings attached.

Missing Person - Twin Cities

Got an email asking if we could help spread the word about Ger Vang, who has gone missing. Spread the word you guys, this is what we do.

Ger Vang a bubbly vibrant young girl has been missing since Friday, July 20, 2013. She was last seen by a co-worker as her shift ended at 11:30pm at Mall of America. Her friends and family has been trying to reach her on her cell phone in hopes of a safe return. However, it’s been days without a single phone call from Vang and she hasn’t been to work according to her employers.

Meet Minnesota’s first Somali woman police officer

The Twin Cities has the largest Somali community outside of Somalia, and one Somali woman is one of the latest to be sworn in to a metro area police department.

Kadra Mohammed is one of the first 12 new Metro Transit Police Officers. “I’m excited, definitely excited.” She is the first sworn in female Somali officer in Minnesota and quite possibly the country. “It’s just a step forward, I plan on making more steps forward in my career, so I’m very excited for that.”

Fox 9 first met Kadra over a year ago when St. Paul police hired her to be a community service officer. She was also the second officer in the country to wear a special hijab with her uniform.

Now, she will have a badge and a gun, while she rides Metro Transit buses and trains.

“She represents that large population of Somali women who use transit. I hope when they see her on the train on the bus they feel more comfortable.” Said Chief John Harrington

The first Somali sergeant in the US, Waheid Siraach, who is currently on a leave of absence to train national police back in Somali, awarded Mohammed her badge. “To have first Somali female officer in Minnesota, it’s an historic day for the people of Minnesota and the Somali community.”