Lucky Linden Hills.
The neighborhood is home to so many first-rate food experiences: Tilia, Harriet Brasserie, Clancey’s Meats & Fish, Zumbro Cafe, Naviya’s Thai Brasserie, Sebastian Joe’s and the just-opened Upton 43 all make a home in the small commercial district huddled around 43rd and Upton and south Minneapolis.
Coming this spring, that mix is going to get even better, with the advent of Rose Street Patisserie, the work of Patisserie 46 baker/owner John Kraus.
The shop, now under construction, is located in a building sandwiched between Upton 43 and Settergren Ace Hardware at 2811 W. 43rd St.
I spoke with Kraus this morning.
Q: So, the worst-kept secret in Minneapolis is finally out of the bag, eh?
A: Well, we’re going to try and serve champagne and things like that, and to do that you have to have a liquor license, and the hearing is tomorrow. I’m not sure how that news gets out, but it does. I just want to make chocolate chip cookies, you know?
Q: What’s the back story?
A: It’s been about a year in the making. Once I started doing the Coupe [the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie, widely considered the baking Olympics; Kraus competed last winter at the event in Lyons, France, and the American team took home the bronze medal], I kept thinking that another neighborhood needed another patisserie. I mean, I was the one who said, ‘Every neighborhood in America should have a patisserie.’
And there’s something about Linden Hills that I’ve always enjoyed. And I kept thinking, ‘Maybe this is the right spot for a second Patisserie 46.’ I was hemming and hawing about it. You know, I don’t need to do this, I don’t want to do this.
But there I was at the Coupe, and I kept going to these tremendous pastry shops in Lyon. They reminded me why I started. They inspired me. The whole Coupe experience changed my life. I started thinking, ‘I don’t want to be 60 and look back and wish that I’d done something.’ So now is the time.
I live in Linden Hills, I was having coffee one day when I saw the building, and I started to take a look. It’s tucked away, and I thought that it could be amazing. While I was thinking about it, I left for France. And one day in Lyon, I had a very personal connection with a piece of brioche, and at that very moment I was reminded of the moment that I realized that pastry was what I was meant to do.
It was when I was working in England, all those years ago. I used to walk through the queen’s rose garden on my way to work. There was a place called Patisserie Valerie, it’s where I took my first bite of brioche. I was walking through the garden, surrounded by all those fantastic roses, eating that brioche, and that was the singular second when I fell in love with pastry.
There I was in Lyon, and I don’t typically eat brioche. But I did, and it hit me. Yeah, that was my inspiration. And then the rose garden -- it's perfection, it's gorgeous -- kept harkening back to me. Those moments are crucial in your life, you know? I want people to have those memories.
That’s when the name came to me. The rose is my favorite flower, Rose — in Italian -- is my mother’s middle name, a rose is the first sugar flower I ever made, the queen’s rose garden is such a special place for me. It all kind of hit me: Why not name it Rose Street Patisserie? Besides, there’s no 46th over here in Linden Hills, so we couldn’t dive into that.
Q: Will you be doing baking at both facilities?
A: Here in Linden Hills we’re going to be mostly doing breads and breakfast pastries. I always knew that if I ever opened a second location, it wouldn’t be a drop-off facility. A bakery isn’t a bakery if it doesn’t smell like bread. You can’t trust a pizza place if it doesn’t smell like pizza. We’ll move most of our bread production over here to Linden Hills, and we’ll keep other baking over at Patisserie 46.
Q: Is Rose Street going to look and feel the same as Patisserie 46? Or will it be a whole new ball game?
A: The spirit of the place won’t be different. The decor will be different, I guess it’s a little sexier. But it’ll still be a family-friendly environment [laughs]. Part of it I want to be a surprise. It’s about the same amount of seating, and it will have the same counter-service setup. There’s going to be a mezzanine, for people who want to stare out the window and relax. And it’s going to be more communal, with bigger tables. We’re going to test personal space issues [laughs]. In France, you’re practically sitting on top of one another. We won’t be like that, but we do want people to share their moments, and talk, and communicate.
What I really want to do is find the finest products that I think need to be introduced, whether that’s coffee, or tea, or whatever. But there won’t be any pretension. We just want to get people the experience they might not otherwise find in their daily routine, a noble effort to make people’s lives better for five minutes. It’s the quest for perfection that we all know we’re never going to attain. We’ve forgotten to take those moments.
Q: And you’ll be serving champagne, right?
A: Well, I hope so, we’ll find out tomorrow [laughs]. We’ll have a small, really refined but obviously affordable wine-by-the-glass list, some whites, some reds, some roses. We’re not going to be a wine bar, but we do want to be able to make it an all-encompassing experience, and allow people to take a moment, breathe, relax and share something that has inspired us over the years, and a dessert and a glass of champagne is a really wonderful way to experience that.
But we’ll also have chocolate chip cookies. You’ll be able to come in for petit gateau and champagne, or bring in the kids for cookies.
Q: Will Rose Street also feature the kind of small savory menu that you do so well at Patisserie 46?
A: Yeah, there might be a BLT, and I’ll never turn my back on the tartine. But not too much. I don’t want a menu that’s cumbersome. We won’t have ice cream, but we’ll have lots of chocolates. We’re really going to increase that. It’s exciting.
Q: When’s the opening date?
A: At first I wanted to say ‘early spring,’ but let’s just say ‘spring.’ It’s going slower than I thought it would. One of the things that a pastry chef should never involve themselves with is construction [laughs].