Gavin Kaysen — one of the nation's top young chefs — plans to open his new North Loop restaurant Merchant near the Bachelor Farmer at 211 N. 1st St.
Kaysen has left behind a job as executive chef of the acclaimed Cafe Boulud in New York City to work on the rollout of his new restaurant, which will open in the fall.
In a recent interview, Kaysen said the menu will be "French by design and American by taste."
He said he's been watching the city's restaurant scene grow in recent years and is excited to be able launch his own venture. Kaysen grew up in Bloomington and recently moved his family to Edina.
Kaysen said he's received a lot of support from Twin Cities chefs about his plans for Merchant.
Merchant will move into the space formerly home to the nonprofit Smile Network — a 6,400-square-foot space in a 1906-era building once home to a horse stable.
"I really was drawn to the history of that part of town, and I loved all the character," Kaysen said.
The restaurant will feature an 80-seat dining room, lounge area, bar and two private dining rooms.
Menu items will include pastas and grains paying tribute to the area's milling history, seafood and game meats, among other things.
"I love exploring all types of food and am drawn to foods that have good acid and seasoning taste to them," he said. "I also love grilling over open flames."
Kaysen has worked for noted chef Daniel Boulud since 2007 and said he'll strive to create the welcoming, family-like culture in Boulud's restaurants at Merchant.
"He treats people like family," he said.
Kaysen's accolades include making it on Food + Wine Magazine's Best New Chefs list in 2007 and receiving the James Beard Foundation's Rising Star Award in 2008.
As for Merchant, he's excited to help support young talent and bring more attention to the city's flourishing food culture.
"To me this is just the beginning of my career," he said.