2019 Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Readers’ Choice Award Winners

Photo via Angry Catfish Instagram

Photo via Angry Catfish Instagram

Bike Shop– Angry Catfish Bicycle Shop and Coffee Bar

With a stylish Instagrammable interior and a pared-down product list that emphasizes quality and dependability, Angry Catfish is the perfect antidote to the one-size-fits-all sporting goods warehouses that once dominated the local bike shop market. Sip on a cortado from Catfish’s in-house coffee bar while perusing premium bicycles from brands like Salsa, Surly and All-City. 

Silver: The Hub Bicycle Co-Op

Bronze: Tangletown Bike Shop


Photo via Wild Rumpus Facebook

Bookstore – Wild Rumpus

Ready to feel old? The ‘90s babies that visited the now-beloved Linden Hills bookstore when it first opened are now old enough to return to Wild Rumpus with their own children in tow. Thankfully, the store’s fantastical whimsy and revolving menagerie of furry friends has remained firmly intact. Here’s to Wild Rumpus, and the whole new generation of literary adventurers they’re busy creating.

Silver: Magers & Quinn Booksellers

Bronze: Moon Palace Books


Photo via Acme Comedy Club Facebook

Comedy Club – Acme Comedy Club

For all intents and purposes, Acme is the First Avenue of the Twin Cities comedy scene. Just like the “House that Prince Built,” Acme is a nationally acclaimed venue known for drawing top-tier headliners and also serving as an incubator for local talent on the rise. 

Silver: Brave New Workshop

Bronze: Sisyphus Brewing


Photo via Hot Comics & Collectibles Facebook

Comic Book or Games Shop – Hot Comics & Collectibles

Boasting the largest collection of comics, toys, games, and other pop culture ephemera across three locations Twin Cities Metro, Hot Comics has been a local institution since the mid-90s and shows no sign of slowing down. The shop also hosts an annual Free Comic Day, proving that great power can come with great responsibility. 

Silver: Source Comics & Games

Bronze: Level Up Games


Photo by Aaron Davidson

Lake – Lake Superior

Cruising to a repeat title after last year’s KOABD win, the greatest Great Lake remains breathtakingly beautiful and just a little bit scary for yet another year.

Silver: Lake Minnetonka

Bronze: Bde Maka Ska  



Photo via Frankie Lee Instagram

Local Album of the Year – “Stillwater” by Frankie Lee

Frankie Lee has always had a knack for sharing the stories of rural Americana, but on his latest “Stillwater,” the itinerant troubadour has turned the focus inward. Chronicling the rapid changes occurring in his titular hometown, Lee has crafted an honest and austere album as a tribute to the humble, simple places still left in the Midwest. 

Silver: “Double Negative” by Low

Bronze: “Taboo” by Nyasia  


Photo via Trampled by Turtles Instagram

Local Music Group or Band – Trampled by Turtles

Now a decade and a half into their careers, Duluth’s favorite sons haven’t shown any signs of slowing down. 2019 saw Trampled by Turtles drawing massive crowds at outdoor music festivals and amphitheaters, getting their own signature beer from Bent Paddle, and even sponsoring a little league baseball team. As we head into 2020, the band is gearing up to release an EP of covers. Sounds like a “Victory” to us!

Silver: Doomtree

Bronze: Hippo Campus


Sean Tillmann, better known as Har Mar Superstar, performing at Eaux Claires 2016 // Photo by Kevin Kramer

Har Mar Superstar // Photo by Kevin Kramer

Local Solo Music Artist – Har Mar Superstar

While he spent most of the year in duet mode with his new band Heart Bones, Minnesota’s mustachioed maven of music still grabbed plenty of headlines in 2019. Between playing his first show in his hometown of Owatonna, rocking a Wendy’s on Lake Street, and belting out the National Anthem at the Twin’s home opener, Har Mar’s stock might be higher than ever. 

Silver: Charlie Parr

Bronze: Chastity Brown


Photo via Lauren Anderson Facebook

Local Comedian – Lauren Anderson

A fixture of the improv scene since she first began performing at Brave New Workshop in 2004, Lauren Anderson has skewered every worthy pop-culture phenomenon over the past 15 years with equal parts scorn and affection. A brilliant comedic performer in her own right, Anderson is also beloved for training a generation of comedy performers with BNW’s improv classes.

Silver: Tommy Ryman

Bronze: Ellie Hino




Photo via Basilica Block Party Facebook

Music Festival – Basilica Block Party

It’s fitting that the Basilica Block Party would take home the gold in 2019—the year of its 25th anniversary and one of its strongest lineups in recent memory. Set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Basilica of St. Mary in downtown Minneapolis, the annual music festival is loved by the pious and the heretical in equal measure. Praise the Loud! 

Silver: Bayfront Blues Festival

Bronze: Rock the Garden


Photo via First Avenue Facebook

Music Venue – First Avenue

One of the nation’s most iconic rock clubs and a true jewel of Minneapolis nightlife, the mighty First Avenue has played host to multiple generations of talented performers while staying locally owned and maintaining a sterling record of integrity. Long may they reign. 

Silver: The Armory

Bronze: Dakota Jazz Club


Photo via Surly Facebook

Outdoor Music Venue – Surly Brewing Festival Field

How do you make the state’s best destination brewery even better? Stick a great outdoor music venue behind it! Surly’s Festival Field not only books top-flight artists like Gary Clark Jr., Tame Impala, and Spoon, but it also provides an excellent concert experience. Plentiful food truck options, reasonable lines and lots of free water make Surly’s Field a go-to, even for the non-drinkers.

Silver: Bayfront Festival Park

Bronze: Lake Harriet Bandshell


Photo via Science Museum Facebook

Museum – The Science Museum of Minnesota

In the immortal words of one William Sanford Nye: “SCIENCE RULES!” And so does the Science Museum of Minnesota. An incredibly reliable adventure for children, the Science Museum has also expanded its adult-oriented Social Science programming over the past few years with live music, celebrity appearances (David Harbour from “Stranger Things”!) and a newly remodeled Omnitheater.

Silver: Minneapolis Institute of Art

Bronze: Walker Art Center  


Outdoors Store – REI

Minnesota has more co-ops than just about any state in the country, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that the member-owned outdoors giant REI took home top honors this year. With three Twin Cities locations (one containing a towering indoor climbing wall) and a dizzyingly large selection of adventure gear, REI proves tough to top. 

Silver: Midwest Mountaineering

Bronze: Cabela’s  


Photo via Electric Fetus Facebook

Record Store – Electric Fetus

The recorded music industry may be in a tailspin, but that hasn’t slowed down the Electric Fetus one bit. Boasting a superb range of music on vinyl, cassette, and CD, and welcoming but knowledgeable staff, the Fetus also programs great in-store performances and meet-and-greets on the regular. 

Silver: Hymie’s Vintage Records

Bronze: Mill City Sound



Photo by Ellen Burkhardt

Small Town – Grand Marais

Nestled in a natural bay near the northernmost tip of Minnesota’s North Shore, Grand Marais is a gateway to our state’s unspoiled natural beauty. With cultural attractions like the North House Folk School and a great drinking spot in Voyageur Brewing, Grand Marais is a must-stop on your way up to the BWCA and Superior National Forest. 

Silver: Lanesboro

Bronze: New London


Photo via MN DNR

State Park – Gooseberry Falls State Park

Just a few miles outside of Two Harbors, Gooseberry Falls checks all the boxes for an awesome North Shore hike. Lovely waterfalls, lakeshore views, and a river gorge, plus miles of bike trails crisscrossing the park. While summer tends to be the most popular time to visit, don’t miss out on the breathtaking frozen falls of wintertime when you’re planning your next cross-country ski trip. 

Silver: Tettegouche State Park

Bronze: Itasca State Park


Photo via Leviticus Tattoo Facebook

Tattoo Parlor – Leviticus Tattoo & Piercing 

One of the Twin Cities’ best-looking tattoo shops got even prettier last year when Leviticus completed their remodel. Owned by veteran artist Kurt Melancon, the Longfellow shop has a sterling reputation for professionalism and maintains a large staff of quality artists. Don’t worry, the koi pond still winds its way through the store.

Silver: Saint Sabrina’s

Bronze: Jackalope Tattoo 


Photo via Rewind Facebook

Vintage Shop – Rewind

Founded by Sarah Hoese in 2006, Rewind has grown into a neighborhood destination in Northeast Minneapolis thanks to its well-curated mix of sensible vintage wear and campy kitsch. Fans of retro jewels and furs will be in heaven, but Rewind also makes a point to keep their goods relatively affordable. 

Silver: Lula’s

Bronze: Fly Vintage & Vinyl


Photo via Art of Adam Turman Facebook

Visual Artist – Adam Turman

Something like Minnesota’s version of Shepard Fairey, Adam Turman’s bold, comic-inspired style is as instantly iconic as it is recognizable. Best known for his bright, vibrant mural work and screen-printed posters, Turman is now a brand unto himself with credits spanning multiple Fortune 500 companies and national names. 

Silver: Eva Margaret

Bronze: Chuck U


More 2019 Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Winners:


Wine & Spirits

■ Beer

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5