MINNEAPOLIS-Crescent City Beignets, the New Orleans café style restaurant chain, said this week that it has signed a franchise deal with two local franchisee to develop four restaurants in the Twin Cities.

The restaurants, which range in size from 1,800 sf to 2,200 sf, will be located in Coon Rapids, Maple Grove, White Bear Lake and on St. Paul’s Grand Avenue. The first of the four will open within a year, with the rest to open soon after that, according to the company.

The franchisees, who have formed a limited partnership called Big Easy Beignets, are Mimi and Tom Doran. Both are restaurant veterans, including owning an Irish pub in Anoka, MN. Mimi Doran is a former executive director of the Grand Avenue Business Association in St. Paul.

“The look and feel of the shops and the architecture and old buildings surrounding Grand Avenue have always reminded me of New Orleans,” Doran says.

Crescent City Beignet’s menu highlights beignets and café au lait, and also includes Creole dishes, po boy sandwiches and entrée salads.

The Houston-based Crescent City Beignets chain has 12 restaurants across the country and 80 units in development.

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