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Minneapolis Bistro’s Window Display Is the Most Whimsical Sight This Side of a Wes Anderson Movie

Grand Cafe partnered with In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater for a delightful new window display

A new moving art installation is pure joy on display at Grand Cafe
John Yuccas/Eater Twin Cities

“We always imagined we’d use this for art displays,” said Nikki Klocker, Grand Cafe’s chief of operations referring to the new eye-catching window display created by In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theater.

Klocker along with chef Jamie Malone have created a blush pink oasis of casual elegance inside the South Minneapolis restaurant. Since taking over from previous tenants, the restaurant has garnered rave reviews for French cuisine, fine wines, and divine service. The duo have always played close attention to artful details, from the vintage crystal serving pieces, to the silver trays food is delivered upon, to the must-follow Instagram account that encourages us once a week, “It’s Friday, Act like it.”

All day long, people stop to peer inside the window and watch the new movement inside the display, a plush dog replica of the restaurant, where pampered pooches dine, sip, serve, and cook just like the people inside. One lone cat peruses a menu.

Inside a window display, stuffed dogs dine at a replica of Grand Cafe
The view from inside the dining room is just as fun as from the outdoor patio

Klocker said that she and Malone approached the theater and asked them if they’d be interested in creating something for the restaurant’s window. She said they spoke at length about the restaurant, looked at the menu, and even discussed a serious love of Wes Anderson movie sets.

A wolf in a yellow patterned dress dines on creme brulee
Many of the dogs move: feeding themselves, wagging tails, and sipping vermouth

What resulted was a recreation of the restaurant down to impressive minutiae with animated details. Dogs seated at the bar wag their tails ever so slightly as they go in for a kiss. Peas on a cheese tray seem to dance. A host reviews the reservations on the books, all with Fluffybottom-type dog names.

A dog puppet sips a pink drink at a white table set with cheese and grapes
A delightful imagining of a restaurant where the grapes and cheese dance and dogs sip vermouth

The kitschy little scene calls to mind the old Dayton’s 8th floor displays during the holiday season.

A gray and white cat puppet sits at a tiny table, reading a Grand Cafe menu
The only cat in a crowd of pups eyes a menu, his whisker twitches every so often

In the Heart of the Beast is a theater in Minneapolis’ Powderhorn neighborhood that is known for creating outstanding works with puppets made from found, recycled, and repurposed items.

A blonde dog chef leans over little plates of oysters, a cake, and the pots behind him jostle back and forth
A pup chef mixes and plates dishes straight from Grand Cafe’s menu
Toy pots are on top of a stove with pasta and a langoustine claw peeking over the edges
The pots jostle back and forth, with langoustine claws and pasta cooking
A brown dog puppet in a white shirt and black tie looks over his spectacles at the host stand
Checking reservations
Inside the reservation book the dog puppet looks over, all of the names are dog-related
Four top for the Barkington party
The window behind the patio seats, tables set with dahlias and white linen
The window behind the patio seats, tables set with dahlias and white linen
Chef Jamie Malone and Nikki Klocker outside Grand Cafe. Jamie wears an apron with a white towel tucked at the waist. Klocker wears a black sheath dress and a rabbit-eared chic hat
Chef Jamie Malone and Nikki Klocker outside Grand Cafe
Chalkboard on the sidewalk advertises the Snack Attack happy hour deal with drawings of two Italian greyhounds, Pork Chop and Eleanor
Look for Eleanor and Pork Chop’s portrait in the new window
A gold frame gives credit to the artists at In the Heart of the Beast that created the delightful display
Credit to the artists at In the Heart of the Beast that created the delightful display

Grand Cafe

3804 Grand Avenue South, , MN 55409 (612) 822-8260 Visit Website