La Belle Vie, and the ultimate auction item

When the news was announced last week that La Belle Vie (510 Groveland Av., Mpls., was closing on Oct. 24 after a 17-year-run, the four-star restaurant’s remaining reservations were snapped up in a few hours.

Fortunately, one deep-pocketed soul can have a final opportunity to enjoy the restaurant’s well-seasoned hospitality.

Attendees at the Minneapolis Taste of the Nation event (already sold out) on Oct. 18 at the Loews Hotel (601 1st Av. N., Mpls.) will have the opportunity to bid on an early December holiday party at La Belle Vie, with a menu created by several dozen staffers who have worked in the restaurant over the years.

The auction benefits Share Our Strength, which works to end child hunger in the United States.

“It’s going to be a helluva party,” said La Belle Vie chef/owner Tim McKee. “I was putting together the list and I thought, ‘I know that a lot of good people have come through La Belle Vie over the years, but holy cow, this is a staggering list.’ I can’t wait for the opportunity to have all of those guys in the same room.”

The roster includes Shane Oporto (La Belle Vie’s current chef), Mike DeCamp (Monello), Jim Christiansen (Heyday), Adam Eaton (Saint Dinette), Danny Del Prado (Burch Steak and Pizza Bar), Matthew Bickford (Icehouse) Niki Francioli (La Belle Vie’s current pastry chef), Diane Yang (Spoon and Stable), Adrienne Odom (Parasole Restaurant Holdings), Michelle Gayer (Salty Tart) and more.

But there’s booze in the blender …

The Mall of America, home to Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. (396 South Avenue,, the Hard Rock Cafe (5115 Center Court, and the reopening-this-winter Rainforest Cafe (306 South Avenue, is getting ready to add another entry into its stable of eatertaineries.

When it opens next spring, Margaritaville (344 East Broadway, will be one of 24 restaurants (in the U.S., Mexico, Australia, Canada and the Caribbean) based upon singer Jimmy Buffett’s popular 1977 song of the same title.

Expect to encounter peel-and-eat shrimp, nachos with guacamole and pico de gallo, taco salad, fish tacos, crab mac-and-cheese, burgers, Key lime pie and a long line of margaritas (including several sold in 22-oz. take-home blender cups, naturally), all served in a tropical island-inspired setting. Merchandise and live music, too, all sprawled across 9,000 square feet.

From Philadelphia

Michael Solomonov, chef/owner of Philadelphia’s Zahav — one of the country’s most exciting restaurants — will be dropping into Spoon and Stable (211 N. 1st St., Mpls., on Nov. 4 to celebrate the launch of his first cookbook: “Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $35).

The event includes a five-course meal with beverage pairings (tax and tip inclusive), along with a copy of the book. Cost is $225 per person; reservations available at

Open, and closing

Now open: Birch’s on the Lake (1310 W. Wayzata Blvd., Long Lake, is up and running in the former Billy’s Lighthouse. The brewpub is serving lunch (Wednesday through Friday), dinner (daily) and weekend breakfast.

A reminder: Masa (1070 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., is closing Oct. 24, after a 10-year run.