Twin Cities chef Gavin Kaysen’s new French restaurant in Wayzata is nearly booked for its first two months, the day after it began taking reservations. The restaurant booked 1,800 reservations in the first 24 hours, a spokesman said.
The restaurant is called Bellecour for the town square at the center of Lyon, the unofficial food capital of France. The theme: contemporary French with a prairie twist. Norwegian Cod and Star Prairie Trout sit on the menu with duck a l’orange, steak frites and bouillabaisse. The restaurant opens March 15, but it’s too late for reservations that first week.
Some reservations remain at 9 p.m. later in the month and in early April, according to the Open Table website.
But Bellecour also has an attached bakery for takeout with limited seating and first-come, first-served bar seating. Kaysen’s first Twin Cities restaurant, Spoon and Stable, was booked for months after opening in downtown Minneapolis.
Those yearning for a table could learn some lessons from another hot spot, the Lexington in St. Paul, which reopened early last month.
Owner Josh Thoma said the restaurant initially booked “lightly,” then added more tables as the operation got its sea legs. Thoma said the first two weeks of the St. Paul landmark at the corner of Lexington and Grand avenues booked within 24 hours.
A Bellecour spokeswoman said the new restaurant will open more tables once things are running smoothly.
“There is nothing more exciting, humbling and terrifying than to see those reservations move so quickly,” Kaysen said in a statement. “It also changes the game, the expectations become higher.”
As for the Lex, it remains booked on weekends through April. Thoma said patrons line up on Saturdays for the 3 p.m. opening even though food isn’t served until 5 p.m.
Minnesotans apparently like to try new things and they like to be first. Thoma chuckled about the huge demand at the Lexington: “I thought we’d be busy, but not like this.”