News that the state’s top fine-dining establishment, La Belle Vie, would be closing recently rocked the Minneapolis dining scene.
Owner and chef Tim McKee told food critics at the Star Tribune and Mpls.St. Paul Magazine that several factors ultimately did the restaurant in after more than 17 years in business, including nearly a decade near the Loring Park neighborhood. He chalked it up to higher costs, labor shortages, road construction and a growing minimum wage.
La Belle Vie will serve its influential French-Mediterranean cuisine until its lease ends on Oct. 24. The restaurant moved from Stillwater to 510 Groveland in Minneapolis in 2005.
Several of the more than 40 La Belle Vie employees will lose their job in the closing.
La Belle Vie and its owner have an endless roster of influences on the dining scene around Minneapolis and the state. McKee is credited as a mentor to several of the Twin Cities’ upcoming and well-established restaurateurs, from Jack Riebel of Il Foro to Sameh Wadi of Saffron and World Street Kitchen, and Erik Anderson and Jamie Malone of the much-anticipated Brut. Former La Belle Vie chef de cuisine Michael “YC” DeCamp left the longtime post earlier this year to lead the kitchens at Monello and Constantine in Hotel Ivy.
“That’s what I wanted to do, to change the way people in Minneapolis, people in the Twin Cities, experienced food. I wanted to elevate the level of dining in the Twin Cities. When I see articles calling us Best New Food City in the country I like to think I was part of it,” McKee told the magazine’s Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl.