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.” As an innovative pandemic pivot, these trailblazers boldly opened QueenBurger to rave reviews for backyard smash burgers and cocktails and will open its permanent home in the American Tobacco Campus in 2022. 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. Vanderwalker – also owner of Vanderwalker Design -- lends her design talent to innovative hospitality concepts.