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La Boulangerie Marguerite Is French For ‘We Have Kickass Croissants’

I assume. My French is limited.

Em Cassel|

The spinach, feta, and walnut croissant (left) and classically perfect ham and cheese croissant.

From 2011 until 2019, 300 13th Ave. NE in Minneapolis was home to the Maeve’s Cafe, the neighborhood staple that moved into that corner address after 15 years on Johnson Street. But things have been rockier since Maeve’s moved out in 2019. The spot was briefly Mary Ellen’s Bistro, which closed in October 2022—ya know, pandemic and all—and it’s been empty since, a lonely space next to the always-bustling Anchor Fish & Chips.

Now, this building is bustling again too, thanks to François Kiemde and Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde and their bakery, La Boulangerie Marguerite. After opening in St. Paul in 2017, Kiemde (a West African-born French pastry chef) and Borgmann-Kiemde (his Midwestern wife and business partner) expanded in September with this second location in Minneapolis’s Sheridan neighborhood. (And I know Marguerite doesn't mean kickass or croissants—the bakery is named for their daughter, whose wonderful story they share here.)

I missed Mary Ellen’s era, but Marguerite’s is much brighter and lighter than Maeve’s. The black and white checkered floor remains, and some of the white subway tile, but now the walls are white too, and adorned with maps of Northeast and paintings of the neighborhood and bits of ephemera in brass frames. It feels more open, but still friendly and cozy, with a staff that contributes to that vibe. “Would you like those warmed up?” the woman weidling tongs behind the counter asked, after we ordered a selection of sweet and savory croissants and danishes. Oh, would we.

Em Cassel

A boulangerie isn’t the same thing as a patisserie (as I learned, just this weekend, sipping coffee and Googling as I waited for my pastries to get toasty). We use the words—which refer to both the baked goods and the places that make and sell them—loosely here, but a “patisserie” is more confectionery than bakery, according to Le Cordon Bleu. That means a focus on sweets like éclairs and macarons and mille-feuille, the delicate and decadent side of things. A “boulangerie,” on the other hand, emphasizes classic French breads like the baguette—and in France, you’ve gotta bake your bread on-premises to hold the title.

There are also “viennoiseries,” baked goods originating from Austria, not France, that are made with yeast-leavened dough similar to bread. So things like, well, the things we ordered from La Boulangerie Marguerite—croissants, brioche—these things are, technically speaking, viennoiseries. We’ll conclude the history lesson here and get back on track: The viennoiseries at this boulangerie are tres bien.  

We begin our indulgent breakfast with the lemon danish ($4.50) a not-too-sweet, not-too-tart little number with sunshine yellow lemon curd dotting its center like a yolk. If, like me, you prefer savory pastries to sweet, this is one you could compromise on splitting with a sugar-loving friend.

Warmed in the oven, La Boulangerie Marguerite’s ham and cheese croissant ($5.25) is classically perfect—and I consider myself a connoisseur. (French!) Some bakeries pack too much ham inside, where it sits at the center in a lumpy letdown, preventing the dough from cooking through properly. Not at LBM, which delicately layers its croissant with slices of salty meat and cheese for a texturally perfect experience. 

But the best baked item we tried may have been La Boulangerie Marguerite’s spinach, feta, and walnut croissant ($5). A puck-shaped creation stuffed with spinach and nuts and crested with a core of feta, it positively bursts with flavor. It’s garlicky, it’s salty, it’s tangy, it’s flaky. It’s like a Cheddar Bay Biscuit crossed with spinach artichoke dip. A Feta Bay Biscuit, if you will. 

Em Cassel

La Boulangerie Marguerite also has a number of donuts, along with several other kinds of danishes, sandwiches, and a soup of the day (broccoli cheddar during our visit). If you want a more robust breakfast, they’ve got acai bowls and avocado toast; if you’re here for lunch, they’ve got quiche lorraine and a caprese panini. (There’s also a “Maeve’s Meets Marguerite’s Tuna Melt Panini,” which should scratch an itch for folks who miss the former tenant.) There’s a full coffee menu—and soon, a chalkboard behind the counter promises, bloody marys and mimosas and craft beer and wine.

If you’re just popping by for coffee, La Boulangerie Marguerite has plenty to take home with you besides bread. A fridge by the door is stocked with cheeses and salami and pickles, with a selection of grab-’n’-go sandwiches and salads. And of course, you could always pick up a box of pastries, something I considered on the way out before exerting uncharacteristic self control. Though I did buy a baguette for the road—a trip to the boulangerie seems incomplete without it, no? 

La Boulangerie Marguerite
Address: 300 13th Ave. NE, Minneapolis
Hours: Open daily from 7 a.m.-3 p.m.

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