How the Super Bowl committee helped convince La Belle Crepe to reopen

The owner shut the place down; here's why he changed his mind.

Just last week Alain Lenne was so fed up with trying to do business in downtown Minneapolis he closed his restaurant and walked away. 

Now he's getting ready to reopen and is excited about what lies ahead for his shop on Nicollet Mall, La Belle Crepe

What explains the change? Well, he took a break for one thing. But he also got a call from the Super Bowl organizers that Lenne says helped change his outlook. Here's what happened:

'Closed until further notice'

La Belle Crepe sits right on Nicollet Mall, which has been torn up by reconstruction work for what seemed like 125 years. But was actually only three years. 

Lenne had tried to have fun with it ("a front row seat for Nicollet Mall mega reconstructions"). He'd written to the mayor pleading for help (no response).

Finally, this month he put up a sign saying the shop was closed until further notice because of the hardship of the long construction project, telling WCCO he's lost an estimated $200,000 as the rebuild has kept pedestrian traffic away. 

What changed his mind?

Lenne got away from the Twin Cities by taking a short vacation in his native France. And while he was there a got a call from a guy with the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, Lenne tells the Star Tribune

From across the ocean the Minneapolis caller painted a picture of what Nicollet Mall will look like in a few months. They're expecting 25,000 people on the mall every night for 10 straight nights, Lenne told the Star Tribune, and the busiest section of the mall will be right in front of La Belle Crepe. 

The mall will be the center of Super Bowl Live, which will feature ice carvings, music stages, and lots of wintry, football-y stuff. Planners have just released the first drawings of how they envision Super Bowl Live. 

Lenne said all the activity outside his restaurant door looks like fun and he told WCCO it could give him a chance to make up some of his losses. 

He normally closes La Belle Crepe at 3 p.m. but Lenne told the Star Tribune he now plans to keep the tiny shop open at night during the run-up to the Super Bowl and may have a cart outside on the mall selling popcorn and hot chocolate.

Besides, he says, after holding on through three summers of construction "it would be stupid to give it up now," with the city promising work on the mall will be "substantially complete" next month.

Next Up


Eagan-based Villaume Industries pays $90K fine in gender discrimination case

After the Minnesota Department of Human Rights found the company refused to hire women, Villaume committed to reforms


11 more people charged in massive magazine scam plead guilty

In total, 63 people from across the U.S. were charged in what prosecutors called the "largest elder fraud scheme in the nation."

Alex Stalock

Wild goalie Alex Stalock claimed off waivers by Oilers

The South St. Paul native will be heading to Edmonton.

Mortensen becker-finn

Shakopee GOPer posts DFL lawmaker's personal cell number on Facebook

Rep. Erik Mortensen has been accused of 'doxxing' Twin Cities lawmaker Rep. Jamie Becker-Finn.

derek chauvin

Minneapolis scraps plan to pay 'influencers' to share information during Chauvin trial

The plan to pay influencers to share city-approved messages during the trials of the officers charged in George Floyd's death drew criticism.


Toddler called 911 and said 'baby' was dead, turned out to be her doll

We're checking into whether the doll is named 'Chucky.'

Target Center

NCAA Women's Final Four 2022 will be held in Minneapolis

The NCAA unveiled the logo for the 2022 Final Four on Monday.


As golf season approaches, book your round now at Dacotah Ridge GC

The stunning course is designed by world-renowned architect Rees Jones.


Pedestrian killed in hit-and-run in St. Paul Sunday evening

The incident occurred near the intersection of Phalen Boulevard and Atlantic Street.


New steakhouse opens in former Belle Vie space

It's being operated by the group behind Borough and Parlour.

Open 'til 4 a.m.? Twin Cities bars might be when the Super Bowl is here

A bill at the Capitol would let Twin Cities bars stay open longer on Super Bowl weekend of 2018

Open 'til 4 a.m.? Twin Cities bars might be when the Super Bowl is here

A bill at the Capitol would let Twin Cities bars stay open longer on Super Bowl weekend of 2018

Where to eat in Minneapolis during Super Bowl week

There are plenty of food options near downtown if you're hitting the big game or just want to be near the action.

52 Surly beers will be on tap at HopCat ahead of the Super Bowl

It will includes rare brews and flagships – here's what to expect.

Clubhouse Jager has reopened, with the same controversial owner

The bar shut down five months ago after a staff walkout.

Screen Shot 2021-02-16 at 12.36.33 PM

Diner the latest Minnesota restaurant to get help from Barstool Sports fund

The Barstool Fund is also helping out a nightclub in St. Cloud.

Bar Luchador

Another Twin Cities restaurant closes for good, this time Bar Luchador

It follows on the heels of Muddy Waters and Bachelor Farmer shutting down.