Michelle Vanderwalker


Years of Participation


Michelle Vanderwalker is the artistic force behind Durham, NC's Kingfisher Cocktail Bar, QueenBurger and Queeny's -- with partner Sean Umstead. Kingfisher’s ground-to-glass cocktail program celebrating North Carolina’s fruits and vegetables -- served in Vanderwalker’s handmade ceramics -- has been praised by Garden & Gun, PUNCH and The Wall Street Journal, to name a few. Vine Pair named Kingfisher among the “10 Best New Cocktail Bars of 2019” and Tales of the Cocktail’s 2020 Spirited Awards nominated Kingfisher as a “Regional Top 10 Honoree.” In 2021, they expanded their dynamic brand once again with the community in mind with Queeny’s – a neighborhood bar and grill, coupled with a bookshop and podcast studio. As an innovative pandemic pivot, these trailblazers boldly opened QueenBurger to rave reviews for backyard smash burgers and cocktails in the American Tobacco Campus in 2022. Vanderwalker, who is also owner of Vanderwalker Design, and was celebrated in Durham Magazine’s “Women of Achievement” issue, lends her design expertise to innovative hospitality concepts.
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