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Inside Gavin Kaysen’s Latest Sensation: Bellecour

The James Beard Award winning chef’s Wayzata restaurant is set to open tomorrow.

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A black and white photo of Gavin Kaysen
The celebrity chef will open his second restaurant tomorrow.
Katie Cannon

Not unlike a modern day Indiana Jones in kitchen clogs, Gavin Kaysen was investigating the vestiges of a shuttered Wayzata eatery. What had once been the height of grandeur in the area had aged not-so-gracefully into a room full of hospitality relics. The layout was dominated by its low ceilings and the building was actually three buildings that had grown into one. Gingerly stepping through the room, undoubtedly doing the math of what the reality would cost to bring this space into a new era of glory, something bright caught his eye. He unearthed a couple of large, hand-carved peppermills. The distinctive colors reminded him of someone and he immediately took a picture and sent it to his friend on the east coast, “Did your Dad make these?” Sure enough, he knew these pieces and the family that were connected to these well-worn, lovingly aged pieces. It was an undeniable sign, there was something pulling the Bloomington-born chef into this special place in the western Minneapolis suburb.

Barman Robb Jones, Gavin Kaysen, bakery and pastry maven Diane Yang and chef de cuisine Nick Dugan.
Katie Cannon / Eater Twin Cities

Those mills, which unfortunately don’t grind very well, now have a special place tucked into the kitchen where he can look at them while working the pass inside Bellecour, which opens tomorrow March 15. The restaurant he and his team have built was inspired by his mentor Daniel Boulud’s own Bellecour in Lyon, France.

The cafe entrance
Katie Cannon

When reservations to Bellecour opened earlier this month, people clamored for seats, booking over 1,000 reservations on the first day possible. Multiple phone lines were ringing and even the chef was attempting to answer every email request that arrived in his inbox.

Peek inside at the pastry case.
Katie Cannon

Before stepping inside the restaurant, here is everything important to know about the space and the food.

Not a bad idea.
Katie Cannon

The Bakery Is Open

Diane Yang and an entire team of dedicated bakers have headed west to get the new bakery rolling and it’s already open for service. The cozy space will offer a selection of baked goods daily like a simply serene banana bread, croissants, macaroons, cookies plus fancier desserts, like a meringue -swirl topped lemon torte and there is an entire selection of fresh breads including baguettes and a perfect miche adorned with a flour rose. Best of all, every treat inside the bakery is priced at $7 or less. Find the entire menu here.

The one cafe table inside the bakery.
Katie Cannon

The Cafe Isn’t Meant for Lingering

It’s best to grab and go while the bakery side is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day except Monday, when they close. There is only table available inside and just a few window perches. Once the weather cooperates, there will be seats available for guests to enjoy pastries in the garden.

Stacks of pastries and rows of Dorothy’s blend coffee.
Katie Cannon

Dorothy Approved Coffee

Everything Kaysen does draws from his love of family and respect for friends. As with Spoon & Stable, there are small tributes hidden throughout that pay homage to those he credits for his success. The specialty house coffee is a blend of Tanzanian, Rwandan and Papua New Guinea coffee beans and named for his grandmother, Dorothy.

These coveted bar seats are first come first serve.
Katie Cannon

Nothing Fussy at the Bar

The bar director, Robb Jones, is known for his quiet humble nature and ability to mix a fantastic cocktail. His vibe can be sipped through the cocktails made here, full of fresh juice, a careful balance of spirits and a reasonable service time. This isn’t about the craft cocktail flashy mixing theater, but about creating delicious beverages that enhance the meal. Try sipping the sublimely subtle twist on a classic French 75.

Robb Jones’ domain.
Katie Cannon

Reservations Are Tough to Get, But Don’t Give Up Hope Yet

There are still a handful of 9:30 pm dinner reservations available near the end of April or beginning of May, but if you’ve got some patience and spunk, there’s still hope for a first bite of rotisserie chicken after the doors open. Don’t tell anyone else, but there are several first come, first served seats still available in the beautiful bar area.

Cozy seats on the bar side of Bellecour.
Katie Cannon

It’s Got the Feel of An Elegant Living Room

Kaysen and his wife, designer Linda Kaysen partnered with Shea design to create a comfortable, cozy room that is anything but overwhelming or intimidating.

There are pops of Provincial blue strategically placed around the restaurant.
Katie Cannon

Meanwhile the Kaysen’s young sons have created a coloring club for children visiting the neighborhood. Early displays of their art can be found in the bakery.

It only looks hand painted, but it’s actually from a store you probably know.
Katie Cannon

The color palette is pulled from the French countryside and the most striking visual elements in the rooms actually came from a home decor store. The large floral mural with the animals in the private dining room and the wall hangings in the bathrooms are actually a Linda Kaysen find from Anthropologie.

A small glimpse at the wine selection from sommalier Nicolas Giraud
Katie Cannon

Nico’s Pouring

The wine list has been written and sourced by Nicolas Giraud. The French-born wine expert was a longtime employee at Meritage and Brasserie Zentral before making this leap out into the Western Suburbs.

The dining room at Bellecour, that Shea helped design along with Linda Kaysen
The dining room at Bellecour
Katie Cannon

Garden Party

Outside the private dining room and kitchen window, it’s possible to catch a glimpse of where additional seats will be once the weather warms. Right now, the trees are wrapped with twinkle lights and the space will feature a full living wall of plants and more greenery, creating a little sanctuary in the middle of the city.

Light streams into the open chef’s kitchen.
Katie Cannon
The larder at the kitchen also houses a few select French cookbooks from Kaysen’s mentors.
Katie Cannon

In the Larder

These blue shelves are stocked with spices, but still allow for diners to view the chef, and he can look out over the room once business is humming. Also stored here are a few select cookbooks from his friends and investors, Thomas Keller and Daniel Boulud.

These dining room seats are currently booked for months after the opening.
Katie Cannon / Eater Twin Cities

Doors officially open tomorrow March 15 and the bar starts serving at 4 p.m.

Subtle pops of red and light fixtures that look like white wine glasses.
Katie Cannon
Set for service.
Katie Cannon

Bakery Hours:

Closed Mondays

Tuesday – Sunday: 7am to 3pm

Restauran Hours:

Tuesday – Thursday:

Dining Room: 5pm – 10pm

Bar: 4pm – 11pm

Friday – Saturday

Dining Room: 5pm – 10pm

Bar: 4pm – Midnight

Sunday

Dining Room: 5pm – 9pm

Bar: 4pm – 10pm

Lunch and brunch service will be added at a later date.

Bellecour

739 Lake Street East, , MN 55391 (952) 444-5200 Visit Website

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