Chef Gavin Kaysen Reveals New Destination Restaurant and Café at Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis
Two-time James Beard Award-winning Chef Gavin Kaysen today announces his newest restaurant and a café are set to open in June. Guests will be transported to the Mediterranean through Mara, an immersive and every-occasion restaurant and bar, and Socca Café, a street-front café for nourishing grab-and-go meals, located inside Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis. Reservations for Mara will open in May.
“When I lived in Switzerland, I would take the train down to southern France and spend time in areas around the Mediterranean Sea,” shares Chef and Restaurateur Gavin Kaysen. “It was there that I fell in love with the lifestyle and the cuisine. I would often travel alone so I could observe and taste my way around the small villages. I’d see families, friends and loved ones join together over a meal. It was how they lived, connected with each other, and how they sparked conversation.”
“When Chef Daniel Boulud opened Boulud Sud in New York City, it revived my love and appreciation for this cuisine. Since then, I’ve wanted to open a restaurant with roots in the region. I’m grateful to partner with Four Seasons to make this happen. It’s a brand that evokes travel, curiosity and craftsmanship - all of what I remember when I think of that time in my life and the adventures I had there. I still have my journals from those moments, and I’ve tapped into them when thinking about the design, the menu and the overall experience.”
The newest concepts will be anchors for visitors, neighbours and the downtown community to gather and restore through cuisine, drinks and warm spaces.
“At Four Seasons, we believe life is richer when we truly connect with people and the world around us, and this is just what Chef Gavin is inviting us to do at Mara and Socca,” explains Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis General Manager Florian Riedel. “This destination restaurant and café capture the essence of the Mediterranean lifestyle so beautifully. In these sun-lit spaces with warm colours, natural wood, fragrant herbs and fresh ingredients, life will slow down. People will come together and be fed in every sense.”
Mara: An Intersection of Land, Sea and Craftsmanship
Mara, the Greek word for beautiful, brings restorative dining to Minneapolis, transporting guests to coastal destinations and rolling landscapes. Upon arrival, the senses will be ignited through the meticulously curated design by award-winning hospitality design firm AvroKO. The restaurant’s airy and bright dining space is balanced by the rich palette of bold reds, alluring golds, accents of pistachio and misty blues that embody land and sea. Each space is enhanced by natural textures of warm walnut, foliage and awe-inspiring global and local artwork. Scents from the inspired, flavourful cuisine will come soaring through the air from the open kitchen that connects guests with the food and culinary team, perfectly encapsulating the land, sea and craftsmanship of the dynamic region.
Mara’s dining room, with spacious seating for 124 people in the main area, thoughtful private dining spaces and intimate chef’s tables, will serve as the ultimate respite from snowfall in the winter, and the place to admire Minneapolis’ beauty in the summer. From the 14-foot (4.3 metre) high full-glass windows that open up the space, the beautiful ambiance of the dining room complete with wood coffers reminiscent of an outdoor trellis, to olive chandeliers that hang down like branches overhead, every element engages the visual senses with vibrancy, curiosity and ease.
The cuisine is shareable, craveable, and light, exploring the flavours and techniques of 22 countries including southern France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, and beyond. Mara’s menu makes space for both the familiar and unexpected with options such as a simple but utterly perfect bistecca carved tableside, a communal presentation of whole branzino for sharing, homemade flatbread, and spreads including hummus drizzled with herb zhoug and labneh topped with za’atar.
Mara’s kitchen will also be home to a one-of-a-kind, temperature-controlled Chocolate Room. Here, artisans will craft craveable confections offered in the dining locations, creating Four Seasons Hotel Minneapolis housemade chocolates and more.
The Cocktail Bar at Mara
The Cocktail Bar is a warm and elegant haven woven thoughtfully between the lively social spaces and luxurious dining areas of Mara that imagines Minnesota’s mill history in an Italian framework, also designed by AvroKO. It offers an inviting landing place for business meetings, pre-flight bites, and post-work cocktails. Expert mixologists will make their mark on perfected classics and seasonal drinks under the opulent and gold painted cove ceiling and branching chandelier encapsulating the featured bar. There’s room here for the non-imbibers, too, as thoughtful and compelling temperance (non-alcoholic) drinks round out the offerings.
Socca Café: Bright, Nourishing and Uplifting
Cheerful service, the aroma of artisanal coffees roasting and fresh gourmet pastries will greet guests as they turn the corner of Hennepin and Washington and experience the contemporary, street-front Socca Café. Its spacious and approachable design design by AvroKO serves as a welcoming and inviting setting for neighbours and guests to nourish their mornings and afternoons. The floor-to-ceiling windows usher in cascading natural light absorbed by the rustic accents of the custom wood counters and tables wrapped with pops of warm yellow and marigold fabrics and decor.
This open space will stand as a social anchor of generosity and hospitality serving the community with soulful dishes for any part of the day’s transitional flow. The name is inspired by socca, a thin, gluten-free pancake or crepe made from chickpea flour dating back more than 8,000 years ago. It has become a universal staple that anchors everyday cuisine in most Mediterranean countries. Chef Gavin brings this philosophy of socca to life in the café by fuelling the day with nutritious offerings. From morning coffee to power lunches, sublime pastries and satisfying afternoon pick-me-ups, the grab-and-go fare and generous service is missioned to uplift downtown dwellers, guests and visitors throughout all parts of their day.
More on Mara and Socca Café
About Gavin Kaysen
Gavin Kaysen is the two-time James Beard Award winning chef and owner of Soigné Hospitality Group, which includes two restaurants in the North Loop: Spoon and Stable and Demi. Bellecour Bakery at Cooks of Crocus Hill has locations in the North Loop and St. Paul. His catering company KZ ProVisioning, created in partnership with Chef Andrew Zimmern, fuels the Minnesota Timberwolves, Lynx and Wild. Kaysen hosts a virtual cooking class called GK at Home designed to connect the community through food. He is the co-founder of Heart of the House Foundation, a non-profit organization created to sustain the growth, health, and prosperity of the Soigné Hospitality family now and in the future. Follow him on Instagram.