Bellecour, Gavin Kaysen’s four-star French bistro and bakery in Wayzata, has closed permanently.
Kaysen announced the closure Thursday in an e-mail from his Soigné Hospitality Group and on social media.
“As you know, the future of the hospitality profession has been rocked and will continue to be rocked by the pandemic,” he wrote. “ ... Over the last four months, we have done everything we can to pivot, adapt and change models in an effort to support the community, provide meaningful work for our team, and have a space to welcome you back to once again.
“As the days and weeks have gone by, we have realized that in a location that is so dependent on seasonal success we are losing more than we can sustain. When the pandemic came, it was just as we were gearing up for the season, and our ability to bounce back has been extremely limited.
“As a result, we have come to the painful decision to close Bellecour effective immediately,” Kaysen continued. “The loss of this restaurant fills me with sadness and frustration, but I remain humbled by the overwhelming support from my management team and guests.”
Bellecour opened in 2017, the second Minnesota effort from the James Beard Award-winning chef and restaurateur, who had previously won accolades for Spoon and Stable in Minneapolis.
In his review, Star Tribune restaurant critic Rick Nelson called Bellecour “the rare Twin Cities restaurant that knows exactly what it is — in this case, a straight-up, modern French bistro — and then goes about the business of doing what it does very, very well.”
It was an already eventful week for the restaurant and Kaysen’s company. A pop-up Bellecour bakery, featuring the handiwork of pastry chef Diane Moua, opened Monday in Minneapolis, across the street from Kaysen’s Spoon and Stable.
On Tuesday, the Wayzata restaurant closed for deep cleaning after a team member tested positive for COVID-19.
Bellecour had only just returned to indoor dining, after offering takeout for the last few months.
Last Thursday, in a panel discussion with the Star Tribune on the future of restaurants, Kaysen foreshadowed Bellecour’s end.
“Bellecour has only been open for a week, so I don’t have a ton of data. In the summertime we would normally do 300 to 400 people on a Saturday night. Now we’re doing 100 to 120. That won’t fly for long,” he said.
“I’m asking myself, ‘Does the brand stay open to stay open?’ I don’t have a great answer just because I don’t have enough data yet, but in the next three weeks I will have that data to really understand what sort of pivots we need to take. What happens when it’s cold? What do we do when we can’t sit outside anymore? That changes the game for everybody.”
Kaysen’s other restaurants, Spoon and Stable and Demi, as well as the Bellecour pop-up bakery, remain open.
More than two dozen Twin Cities restaurants have closed since a March 16 order from Gov. Tim Walz halting dine-in service statewide to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Patios were allowed to reopen June 1, and indoor dining resumed June 10 at 50% capacity.
Bellecour’s closure is among the more high-profile restaurant casualties of COVID-19. It is the third four-star restaurant to close, following In Bloom in St. Paul's Keg and Case Market, and the Bachelor Farmer and its bakery/cafe, which were located down the street from the new Bellecour pop-up.