The Philadelphia Museum of Art is Debuting New Food Experiences Featuring Regionally-Based Chefs
Constellation Culinary Group, the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s exclusive food and beverage partner, has embraced the museum’s commitment to Philadelphia-based art and makers with new food and beverage options beginning on June 18, when the museum’s Café reopens to the public for the first time since March 2020. Regionally based chefs, artisans, bakers, and brewers will be serving local goods to museumgoers at the Café, Espresso Bar, and the newly renovated Balcony Café, which is scheduled to open in July. The Philadelphia Museum of Art recently unveiled the completion of a transformational phase of work guided by the renowned architect Frank Gehry that offers new opportunities to celebrate the city and to showcase works by artists with connections to Philadelphia.
In the Café, the museum’s largest food outlet, visitors will find locally grown produce, local bread products, and locally sourced beers as part of the daily menu. Constellation Culinary Group will be launching a Chef in Residence program in which a local chef will “take over” the Local & Global station in the servery. Guest chefs will begin their residency the first weekend of each month, coinciding with the popular Pay-What-You-Wish admission offering on the first Sunday of the month and every Friday night from 5:00–8:45 p.m.
The schedule for the Chef in Residence program is as follows:
- July 2021, James Beard Award Nominee Tova du Plessis, Essen Bakery
- August 2021, Nana Wilmot, Georgina’s Foods
- September 2021, Melissa Fernando, Sri’s Company
- October 2021, Nok Suntaranon, Kalaya
- November 2021, Mike Jenkins & Melody Lauletta, Keep
“From James Beard nominees to individuals who are bringing the best of authentic, global cuisine to town, museumgoers are guaranteed a stimulating and original dining experience during their visit,” said Scott Steenrod, Managing Director of Constellation. “This new series creates a cohesive experience which expands on the definition of art to include the world of culinary arts.” The Café menu will now reflect the ever-shifting dietary needs of visitors and staff by providing more vegan and gluten-free options, indicated by a new illustrated icon system for easy selections.
In addition to new flavors, Café staff will wear redesigned uniforms which include a t-shirt exclusively for the Philadelphia Museum of Art by locally based artist Alisa Wismer. Notable new features of the Café space will include wood butcher blocks by Lauren Dombrowiak of Honorable Oak, baskets by Karen Wychock of Times Gone By, carved wooden spoons by Stephanie Trowbridge of Stephanie Trowbridge Shop, and vases and bowls by Lauren Rider of Rider Ceramics. Many of these pieces, curated by the Director of Retail Christine Doobinin, may also be purchased at the museum’s retail shop. In addition to these features, Constellation Culinary Group has placed a renewed emphasis on sustainability throughout the food outlets by decreasing single-use plastic, and improved sourcing from purveyors who focus on sustainable products, compostable packaging, and eco-friendly serving utensils.
The museum has also partnered with Fresh Artists, a non-profit that collaborates with local students to create works of art that are reproduced and installed in public buildings throughout the country. Reproductions of the works will be displayed and rotated periodically in the Café space.
The Espresso Bar, located within the North Vaulted Walkway on the ground floor, will now offer an authentic, expertly crafted coffee experience, and will exclusively serve Philadelphia-based roaster Passero’s Coffee. To accompany coffee drinks, the Espresso Bar will offer sweet delicacies such as scratch-made tarts, cookies, and Okie Dokie’s gluten-free donuts. The shift from grab-and-go items back to handmade specialty items begins June 18.
The Balcony Café will also present a new dining experience, offering local beer and wine selections, along with elevated coffee drinks made with Passero’s Coffee, and house-made snacks such as gougères, spiced nuts, and Lost Bread Co. pretzel shortbread. The Balcony Café will be the perfect spot to end a museum visit and is tentatively set to reopen mid-July.