When Gavin Kaysen opened Spoon and Stable in November 2014, his plan was to launch his second Twin Cities restaurant within three years. He’s ahead of that goal.
Kaysen is taking over the former home of the Blue Point, 739 E. Lake St. in downtown Wayzata. The Blue Point closed in August 2015 after a three-decade run.
“I’m thrilled,” he said. “It’s a great space. There are 30 years of memories inside that restaurant. That’s such a good feeling.”
After looking at what he estimates to be 40 spaces over the past year, Kaysen said he immediately fell for this one.
“I’m a ‘gut’ person,” he said. “This just feels right. I’m only ahead of my three-year timeline because this opportunity came along.”
Why expand? “When I worked for Daniel [Boulud], I would ask him, ‘Why do you keep opening more restaurants?’ ” said Kaysen. “And he would tell me, ‘When you have your own restaurant, you’ll understand.’ And he was right. You do it because you want to create opportunities for your team. Sometimes that means opening a new space.”
He signed the lease last week, and told his staff Monday afternoon.
“In some ways, it’s the worst-kept secret in town,” Kaysen said with a laugh. “Last night, the people at Table 11 said, ‘Chef, congratulations on your new restaurant.’ So I figured that we should schedule a meeting and tell everyone.”
So far, no name. But the plan is to open a French brasserie.
“I want to serve really great escargot, roast chicken, a bibb lettuce salad, all the things that I love to eat,” said Kaysen. He’ll start with dinner, eventually adding weekend brunch, followed by weekday lunch.
“I think that there’s a lot of people out there looking for lunch,” he said. “I can see us doing a quick prix fixe lunch — a salad, trout amandine, chocolates, and then you’re out,” he said.
Kaysen is also hoping that the new restaurant will have a bakery component. “The smell, the warmth that a bakery brings to a restaurant, is so unique and so awesome,” he said.
Shea, the Minneapolis design firm (and the creative force behind beautiful four-star Spoon and Stable, the Star Tribune’s 2015 Restaurant of the Year), is handling the design duties on the 5,800-square-foot space, which includes a courtyard patio.
“We’re going to open up the space and brighten it up,” said Kaysen. “It needs a lot of work.”
Kaysen said he knew it was a good omen when he walked into the former Blue Point kitchen and spied a trio of distinctive-looking pepper mills crafted by the father of his friend Maisie Wilhelm, artist Robert Wilhelm.
“Maisie gave me one as a gift, and I kid you not, there were three of them there,” he said. “I mean, that’s a sign.”
Kaysen is hoping for an opening date in the first quarter of 2017.