Skip to main content

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

Screen Shot 2022-04-25 at 11.00.01 AM

Walz wants to use surplus money to send direct payments to Minnesotans

It's a renewed effort from a previous proposal from Walz and Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan's supplemental budget in January.

Ron Johnson

Jan. 6 committee says aide for WI senator tried to give fake elector info to Pence

The attempt was discovered through text messages in the ongoing public hearing held by the Jan. 6 select committee.

Stock U of M sign

Minnesota state colleges boosting tuition again by 3.5%

The Minnesota State system's Board of Trustee's approved the increase Wednesday.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Friday, June 24

The next daily update will be provided Monday, June 27.

Pro choice rally

Walz, Jensen react to historic Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade

After voting to overturn Roe, conservative Justice Clarence Thomas has hinted contraception and same-sex marriage protections should follow.

16362 County Rd 81, Maple Grove, Minnesota - October 2021 (4)

2-year-old killed in crash on County Road 81 in Maple Grove

The crash occurred Thursday evening on County Road 81.

police tape

BCA issues new details about St. Michael standoff, shooting

New details say a St. Cloud police officer struck the suspect with gunfire.

Screen Shot 2022-06-23 at 2.21.45 PM

92-year-old driver killed in rural Scott County crash

The crash happened around 12:30 p.m. Thursday.

Screen Shot 2022-06-24 at 7.29.06 AM

Big-time rain totals flood Highway 10 in central Minnesota

More rain and storms are expected Friday and Saturday morning.


Charges: Driver had just left local bar before deadly Shakopee crash

Witnesses said they were unable to help the 19-year-old Eden Prairie man who died in the crash after becoming trapped.

Chet Holmgren

Thunder selects Chet Holmgren 2nd overall in NBA Draft

The Minneapolis native becomes the highest-drafted Minnesotan in NBA history.

Screen Shot 2022-06-23 at 2.21.45 PM

One airlifted after crash on rural Scott County highway

The State Patrol shut down Highway 282 in both directions Thursday afternoon.


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.

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.

Clubhouse Jager has reopened, with the same controversial owner

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