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.
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.
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.
Before stepping inside the restaurant, here is everything important to know about the space and the food.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Doors officially open tomorrow March 15 and the bar starts serving at 4 p.m.
Tuesday – Sunday: 7am to 3pm
Tuesday – Thursday:
Dining Room: 5pm – 10pm
Bar: 4pm – 11pm
Friday – Saturday
Dining Room: 5pm – 10pm
Bar: 4pm – Midnight
Dining Room: 5pm – 9pm
Bar: 4pm – 10pm
Lunch and brunch service will be added at a later date.