An award-winning French bakery and patisserie in Maple Grove, should be on any short list of local must-stops.
Really, it’s more of a weekly must-stop, because the sheer quality is phenomenal and unique to Maple Grove.
Situated in an airy site off Bass Lake Road, Chez Arnaud attracts a varied clientele all of whom likely leave enamored with the eclairs, macaroons, tarts, Madelines, baguettes, sandwiches and other delectables that owner Arnaud de Rambures produces on a daily basis.
Opened just last year, Chez Arnaud has already expanded to a White Bear Lake location, and with a baker with the skill of de Rambures it’s no wonder. Support it, because Chez Arnaud is a business that Maple Grove would sorely miss.
Let’s start with the baguette, though. As most bakery-goers know, a good baguette, though seemingly simple, is no easy task to prepare properly. Yet when one finds a good baguette its simple genius can be overwhelming; a baguette is often the standard by which a bakery is judged. If so, gauge Chez Arnaud by the fact it recently won the Best French Baguette of the Twin Cities award at a competition put on by the Alliance Francaise at the Saint Paul University Club. Arnaud beat out Lucia’s, Rustica, Breadsmith, the Bikery, and New French Bakery, to name a few, for the honor. Pair one of these with a nice wedge of cheese and an apple, and it’ll be the best lunch you have all week.
Chez Arnaud offers a daily case of delectables like several eclairs, apple and pear tarts, tiramisu, chocolate cake, and a bevy of other little goodies that probably will be the highlight of any eater’s day. Also available are a selection of sandwiches, of course served on house-made baguette, and quiches and salads.
Breakfast of jam and butter on a croissant would start any day right; get a baguette or ciabatta for that night’s dinner and you’re set. Coffee is solid (Lavazza, an Italian standard-bearer of quality) and espresso drinks are available, so Chez Arnaud is great any time of day for studying, working or just hanging out.
You have to admire de Rambures for his dedication to Maple Grove. Not many bakers of his caliber would eschew the urban core of Minneapolis and St. Paul to open in a strip mall off Interstate 494, yet the success of Chez Arnaud has proven his prescience. Yes, people in Maple Grove (and the surrounding cities) are savvy enough to appreciate the simple delight of a high-quality baguette, and it would likely behoove other bakers to draw the same conclusion about the suburbs.
So go, get a baguette and a light-as-a-feather eclair, and see for yourself. You will return.