Our Noteworthy columnist Laura Westlund, a long-time Edina resident, is a regular at Patisserie Margo on Valley View Road. This fall, she stopped by to chat with the bakery’s owner and namesake, Margo Bredeson, to chat about the 25-year history of the business.
I first heard of Patisserie Margo at a party at an art museum in Minneapolis. Someone asked where I lived, and I was surprised by the response when I said Edina: “Oh! We love the quiche there. It’s the best quiche in America!” I learned then that a small bakery tucked in the middle of a strip mall in Grandview, across from Davanni’s, served the creamiest, Frenchiest quiche in the Twin Cities (and perhaps the entire country), along with rainbows of macarons, cinnamon-dusted morning buns and such an array of croissants, breads, cakes, cookies and pastries that it’s impossible to run in for just one treat.
Fast forward 20 years to the spring of 2020, and I was often buying a quiche, a baguette or a few ginger cookies to bring to friends to keep us all connected during the early isolating days of COVID-19—and to support my favorite bakery. I couldn’t imagine living without Margo’s almond croissants, even (or especially) during a pandemic.
The many devoted customers of Patisserie Margo rallied, and this French bakery and gathering place, now located in another strip mall at the corner of Valley View Road and Wooddale Avenue, is thriving. “People have been amazing,” Margo Bredeson says as she recalls the challenges of the past few years. “The community support was tremendous, and we’re doing great.”
Two themes emerge clearly as Bredeson describes her 25-plus years as a baker and business owner in Edina: family and neighbors. All of Bredeson’s four children have worked at the bakery, and her husband, Eric, handles the business and wholesale distribution side of the business. “This is absolutely a family business,” Bredeson says, laughing, as her nephew and his family arrive for lunch, and his toddler immediately runs to Margo, requesting ,“Toast!”
Over the years, many longtime customers feel like family as well. Bredeson has accompanied several clientele through major life events, attending (and providing dessert for) weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, another generation of weddings and even memorial services. “With some customers, we’ve come full circle … it’s lovely,” Bredeson says.
Bredeson began her immersion in French baking at a cafe in Madison, Wisconsin, followed by a stint at the Hotel Sofitel in Bloomington. She was the pastry chef at 510 Groveland in Minneapolis—several times, as she took breaks while raising her children. She actually started Patisserie Margo in the kitchen at 510 Groveland, making muffins, scones, cookies and bread for wholesale accounts during the restaurant’s off hours. (By trading desserts and bread for the use of the space, Bredeson was able to start her business without going into debt.) After two years, she made these goodies available to all of us—first at the Grandview location on Gus Young Lane for 17 years, in a second location at a tiny storefront in Excelsior for 10 years and now from the site in the Pamela Park neighborhood.
Moving the bakery across Edina was the most memorable event of Bredeson’s career. Patisserie Margo had to leave Grandview without knowing where it would go next, so Bredeson rented a semitrailer to store her equipment. “My enormous oven had to be cut in half,” she says. “I cried and cried. My bakery looked like a war zone—that was a low point.”
But family and neighbors came to the rescue. Bredeson found a former hardware store 2 miles away that could be transformed into a bakery, and her extended family painted, built the bathrooms, set up furniture, refinished the woodwork and did everything that needed to be done to create the space.
Her new landlord invited her to store her equipment at the adjacent gas station, which was vacant before its own transition from Wally’s Mobil to Town Hall Station, now another immensely popular destination across the parking lot from Patisserie Margo. And Jerry’s Foods, Bredeson’s neighbor in Grandview, welcomed her to its kitchen when the grocery store wasn’t using it (usually from 2 until 10 p.m.) so that she and her team could fill orders. “Jerry’s was so kind,” Bredeson says, noting how wonderful it is when local businesses can help one another. Patisserie Margo operated from these various bases around town during an entire whirlwind summer until the bakery was established in its new home in September 2015.
“Margo is incredible,” says Rob Burley, whose salon is just a few feet west of Patisserie Margo’s door on Valley View Road. “I don’t know anyone who works as hard as she does. Margo never leaves anything to chance—even after baking for so long, and for so well, she still makes sure that everything is perfect before it goes out. She is absolutely committed to quality in everything she does.” Burley pauses, thoughtful, before saying: “Margo is also very committed to butter.”
“This is really, really fun,” Bredeson says of her years baking French treats in Edina. “I’ve really had the best experience that could happen in this business: such strong community support and remarkable, loyal customers.”
Everyone in town seems to enjoy Patisserie Margo—the mayor stops by for coffee, friends meet for lunch, families reserve special cakes for parties and holiday traditions [and] people come together for business meetings. “Even the neighborhood boys ride their bikes here and come in for macarons,” Margo says, delighted. “How great is that?”