A lot has happened over at Minneapolis fine-dining institution La Belle Vie. In January, we learned that Johnny Michaels was out as head barman (and is currently designing the cocktail program at Tim McKee's Uptown spot, Libertine). In early April, it was announced that Adam Gorski, formerly of Eat Street Social, was in as full-time La Belle Vie bartender. And later that month, it was announced that Bill Summerville was also out as managing partner.
Eater Minneapolis sat down with La Belle Vie's chef de cuisine Mike "YC" DeCamp and new managing director and partner Matthew Anderson to find out what has changed, what's happening currently, and what we can expect moving forward amidst all these shuffles. Here's the lowdown.
1. Summerville OUT, Anderson IN. Matthew Anderson has stepped in as new managing director and partner of La Belle Vie immediately following the departure of Bill Summerville. Anderson is no stranger to the restaurant scene and was general manager at the original iteration of La Belle Vie when it was in Stillwater. Anderson said that they will use their combined experience and knowledge (including Assistant General Manager, Craig Coulter) "to make sure that everyone who comes in has the same great experience they had before". As far as the wine side of things go, they've enlisted the help of wine expert Jay Hanahan to help with the wine list.
2. Michaels OUT, Gorski IN. The cocktail program is making some adjustments. A few of Johnny Michaels' classic creations remain on the menu including the Parlez-Vous and the Old Cuban, but Adam Gorski is now the creative lead for the bar and has been expanding his role since stepping in. Anderson said of Gorski, "I think he's doing a really good job of taking what Johnny had done and not re-inventing the whole entire program but starting to make it his own. He's taking ownership of what was there and starting to introduce his own style into it."
3. DeCamp still IN and McKee..."he's omnipresent". Although Tim McKee is focusing much of his efforts on the upcoming Uptown restaurant, Libertine, he remains very active as executive chef and owner of La Belle Vie. Chef de cuisine Mike DeCamp has been with La Belle Vie since the beginning (sixteen years) and in his current role for the past six years. DeCamp said, "That's been my role forever. I try to run the place like Tim would want it and maintain it the way Tim would want it to be. I'm just like 'lil Tim'." The two will continue to collaborate on menus. Anderson mentioned, "It's fun to watch them bounce ideas off each other. It's pretty cool to see."
4. Eaton OUT, ??? IN. While DeCamp and McKee remain in their respective roles, there is a little bit of a shake up in the kitchen. Senior sous chef Adam Eaton has departed La Belle Vie to start working at The Strip Club Meat and Fish in St. Paul with the eventual intent of moving into their upcoming sister restaurant, Saint Dinette. This has left a vacancy at La Belle Vie's kitchen with Anna Gasper as the remaining sous chef.
5. Quality Standards, IN. Anderson and DeCamp stressed the fact that the restaurant still has the highest standards food and service-wise. The menu will continue to evolve every three weeks as ingredients become available and the service will remain at the highest level ensuring that the dining customers leave feeling that they've had the best experience possible.
· Bill Summerville OUT at La Belle Vie [Eater MPLS]
· Adam Gorski OUT at Eat Street Social, IN at La Belle Vie [Eater MPLS]
· All Coverage of La Belle Vie [Eater MPLS
[Photo: Tasting the Twin Cities]