Gavin Kaysen's Bellecour Isn't Even Open, and It's Already Booked Up

The acclaimed chef is returning to French cooking

When Gavin Kaysen's second restaurant, a French spot called Bellecour, opens outside of Minneapolis next week, it will be rather full. Within a day of opening reservations on OpenTable, the restaurant has been booked just shy of 1,500 times. "We've got like 125 to 140 [seats] booked for every night for the next two months," Kaysen, who was surprised by the response, says. 

Bellecour, which is named for the central square of Lyon, is a return to a fully French restaurant for Kaysen, who worked as the executive chef at Daniel Boulud's Cafe Boulud before leaving New York in 2014 for his hometown, where he opened Midwestern destination Spoon and Stable. "It's traditional bistro French food," he says. "It's the type of French cuisine that I love to cook and eat, and something that I miss cooking on a daily basis." That means dishes like moules frites, bouillabaisse, a terrine of foie gras and duck à l'orange. 

The spot will also have a double-duty bakery, run by Spoon and Stable's pastry chef, Diane Yang, which will bake bread for the restaurant and be open to the public looking for croissants and coffee in the morning or loaves to go with dinner. The menu here is mostly classical with Paris-Brest, kouign-amann and loaves of pain de mie, with a few American sweets slipped in like monkey bread and chocolate chip cookies. While it officially opens next week, Kaysen shares that the bakery is in soft-open mode this week.

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With all of those reservations comes high expectations from diners, Kaysen says. "We have to anticipate that that's the reality." Still, when asked what he is most excited about, it's to "get open. It's been a lot of buildup to get to this point."