By Sophia Jones
Patisserie 46 in South Minneapolis stands as them model of a world-class pastry spot that also is central to the down-home neighborhood experience.
John Kraus still remembers the moment he fell in love with pastry. It was a bite of brioche that did it. “I was walking through one of the Queen’s rose gardens one summer morning on my way to The Dorchester in London, where I was working in the kitchen,” says the award-winning pastry chef, then a gangly 19-year-old from rural Kentucky with no prior professional experience in baking. “I tasted that first brioche from a place called Pâtisserie Valerie. I had seen the phenomenal pastries served with afternoon tea at The Dorchester, but it was in this moment, surrounded by all of these magnificent, delicate flowers, eating this magnificent, delicate pastry, that I was truly blown away. I knew I had to devote my life to this art.”
Two decades later, after heading pastry programs at Nashville’s Magnolia’s restaurant and NoMI at the Park Hyatt Chicago, followed by more than a decade teaching pastry for Chicago’s French Pastry School, John opened Patisserie 46 in 2010 with the hopes that his baking could draw the same type of emotional response that first taste of brioche elicited from him. “I want my customers to realize that somebody really put their heart and soul into designing the dessert they’re eating,” says John, who recently led Team USA to take home the bronze medal at the prestigious pastry competition, the Coupe du Monde de la Pâtisserie (the first time the United States has placed in a decade).
At the intersection of 46th Street and Grand Avenue in Minneapolis’s walkable Kingfield neighborhood, Patisserie 46 is the epitome of a neighborhood bakery—named for, engrained in, and fueled by the place in which it exists. John originally fell in love with the Twin Cities while teaching a class at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and in December 2009, 45 minutes after his last graduation ceremony at Chicago’s French Pastry School, John made the move to Minneapolis. Patisserie 46 opened six months later on July 6, 2010. Kingfield was more than ready for a conveniently located pastry shop, but Patisserie 46 filled more than just a physical void. This community was hungry not only for irresistible breakfast pastries and bread, but a gathering place that felt personal. At sunrise on the first day, a line of patrons trailed down the street. It’s been that way every morning at Patisserie 46 ever since.