Museums add upscale dining to list of offerings

January 26, 2010 8:53:38 AM PST
When you think of museums, you probably think of art, not food. But there's a new trend in upscale dining inside museums. Maybe the art gets them in the door, but museums are now finding they can keep their visitors a little longer with an interesting menu and enjoyable setting to take in a meal. It brings the museum-going experience to a whole new level.

It's becoming a trend to take in a meal at a museum. And not just any meal, but an upscale one in a setting that goes well beyond the museum cafeteria of years ago.

"We're in a beautiful art museum, so our presentations really tie into that," Aaron Breitman said. "And it's almost art on a plate."

It's the creation of Rodolfo Contreras, inside the Guggenheim Museum's restaurant, called The Wright. The name comes from Frank Lloyd Wright, the museum's architect, and the design inside the restaurant is certainly Wright-inspired in its lines and curves.

"The great thing about this space is that depending on where you're seated or where you're standing, you really get a whole different feel and you see all the different angles throughout," Breitman said. "Which is the same qualities we have in the museum itself."

It makes The Wright perfect for those visiting the museum and even for those who just want an interesting place to eat.

At the new home of the Museum of Arts and Design at Columbus Circle, there's also a restaurant on the ninth floor called Robert.

"You see the park, you see the city, it's an incredible view," one customer said.

That view, which sweeps uptown to the park and beyond, it gives diners a living canvas. But there's also the decor.

"The restaurant is a continuation of the museum in itself," Robert's Ana Harris said. "We have video art pieces, we have modern furniture, we have beautiful lighting installations."

Of course, a strong emphasis on design makes sense, considering the galleries below. But there's also the food, prepared by Brady Duhame, an American menu with Mediteranean notes. Perhaps a heavier meal in the evening when there's live music, or lighter fare when visiting during a tour of the museum.

The Wright serves lunch most days. Dinners are only Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. As for Robert, it's open lunch through late night, every day.

CLICK HERE for more information on The Wright.

CLICK HERE for more information on Robert.