With a small army of workers painting gallery walls and installing lighting fixtures this month, the new Pérez Art Museum Miami is getting ready to welcome thousands of visitors into its 200,000 square feet of bayfront space when it opens in December, in time for Art Basel.
And now, the museum has tapped a chef to feed all those hungry art aficionados:
Stephen Starr, the Philadelphia-based restaurateur whose empire includes 31 dining destinations and exclusive catering contracts at seven cultural institutions, will lead the still-unnamed restaurant at Pérez Art Museum. The catering arm of Starrs organization also will handle food and drinks for all of the museums banquets and private events. Starr's contract with the museum runs for seven years.
Stephen really appealed to us because of his experience at other institutions as well as with his restaurants, said Hollie Altman, the museums director of special events and sales. We met with a lot of groups who were either very good at catering or had successful restaurants. But Stephen really has this young, dynamic team thats able to come to Miami and bring its culinary experiences from both aspects.
Starrs restaurant in the new Herzon & de Meuron-designed museum will be open during museum hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, in addition to extended evening hours, until 10 p.m., on Thursday. It will seat about 70 people inside, under a slanted ceiling, and about 30 outside; both dining areas feature views of Biscayne Bay.
The restaurants aim is to lengthen the stay of museum guests, but also of course to raise their overall satisfaction, said Simon Powles, president of Starr Restaurants Catering Group.
We hope to provide everything visitors could want during regular museum hours, which primarily will focus on a lot of great lunch dishes and snack items, Powles said. Well also be open one night a week, and wed love to take advantage of that by offering beer dinners, wine dinners, cooking demos. And I really hope we can make Sunday brunch a destination opportunity: Come have brunch down by the waterfront; spend the morning with us.
The restaurants menu, like its name, is still a work in progress Powles said his team has a team trip planned to Miami in early August to hammer out those details but expect at least some influence from Starrs flagship restaurants, Buddakan and Morimoto.
Well definitely incorporate some signature Starr dishes, like dim sum from Buddakan and sushi from the Morimoto and Makoto menus, Powles said, adding that the fare and price points will be family friendly.
In addition to serving the restaurant, Starrs kitchen will have the capability to handle on-site banquets of up to 400 people at the museum.
We pride ourselves on delivering restaurant-level cuisine at all of our private functions, Powles said. The best feedback we get from clients is when they tell us their food didnt taste like a mass-produced, catered dinner.
Museum leaders also have talked with Starr about rotating in seasonal dishes based on the background of exhibiting artists. Starr and his Asian-leaning cuisine should have no problem finding food to fit with the works of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who will be featured at the museum from December through March. But what about when the spring-summer Caribbean: Crossworlds of the World installation comes to town? Does he have recipes in his repertoire to complement Brazilian painter Beatriz Milhazes fall exhibit?