On Sept. 28, husband-and-wife owners Francois Kiemde and Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde joined Minneapolis Council Member Michael Rainville to hold a ribbon cutting for the grand opening of La Boulangerie Marguerite, known for their croissants and pastries.
The new location takes over the former Maeve’s Café spot, and more recently Mary Ellen’s Bistro before it at 300 13th Ave. NE.
Its opening represents a dream the couple worked hard to achieve — one that was a long time in the making.
"Fourteen years ago when we were just dating, I was a teacher at Minneapolis Public Schools, and we had a friend who lived only a couple blocks from this location," Melissa Borgmann-Kiemde told FOX 9 of the location’s origins. "We said ‘Wouldn’t that make the cutest little bakery?’ We picked it out then, but getting married was the first order of business."
Francois lived in Madison, Wisconsin, at the time, owning his own bakery in Francois’ Bakery & Café. Before that, he studied at the French Culinary Institute in New York City, now known as the International Culinary Center, after immigrating to America from Burkina Faso in West Africa at the age of 25 in 1995.
After moving to Minneapolis to be with Melissa — "It was either he moves here or I go there," Melissa says — they had a daughter together, Marguerite, named after her sister.
The outside of La Boulangerie Marguerite. located at 300 13th Ave NE in Minneapolis (Photo by Nick Longworth)
On a roundtrip home from her parent’s wedding anniversary in Nebraska, the idea to make their dream a reality together was officially hatched.
"My dad was speaking to Francois, saying we’re not getting any younger," Melissa said. "We Googled locations coming back home, and somewhere outside of Sioux Falls the idea was born."
Their first location at 1279 Randolph Ave. – formerly PJ Murphy's Bakery – opened in 2017, offering croissants, apple fritters and donuts.
"It was challenging at the beginning, it hasn’t always been smooth," Francois said. "But we’re still standing, even after the pandemic."
Six years into establishing their first location and expanding their brand together, the building they first spotted all those years ago became available, allowing them to move in.
"We owe our very existence to our neighborhood in St. Paul, and we hope to have the same support here," said Francois. "We’ve already noticed we have."
The Northeast location will offer all the familiar breads and sweets, with the addition of savory options such as ham and cheese croissants, soups and coffee, all with available seating for patrons.
"The idea was always to take the bread, and add protein to it," Melissa said.
"In St. Paul, we also don’t have seating capacity. We always wanted to create a community and place for people to sit," said Francois. "We want to take you to Paris."
Long-term the duo hopes to make their business a family one, with their daughter eventually taking over the reins. Admittedly, that path still has to be forged with its namesake.
"We want to see this legacy passed on to her, but right now it’s in the negotiation stage," said Francois with a laugh. "She sees what we’re doing, and we want this to be hers when we retire."
"The whole way we’ve felt led down a particular path," Melissa said. "Our story has a bit of fate tied into it."