The existing museum store was reconfigured to make room for the casual dining spot. Michael Waddell
The newly-opened Cafe Brooks. Michael Waddell
Visitors to the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art during its centennial celebration this year can now enjoy a light snack with a latte or a glass of wine from the new Café Brooks, a casual and family-friendly eatery from the team of Paradox Catering & Consulting, including chefs Jimmy Gentry and Jessica Lambert and owner/CEO Alia Hogan.
“We felt in this new day, our priority should be to present art and offer a more casual café with quick-to-serve menu options that are also delicious,” said Dr. Emily Ballew Neff, Brooks Museum executive director.
“Memphis has a reputation for great food so there are many formal dining options near Overton Park for visitors who would like to include having a sit-down meal before or after their museum experience.”
Paradox will operate the newly created café located inside the museum’s rotunda. The café went into an existing retail space that was divided to accommodate the new offering and a revised museum store.
The grab-and-go menu includes bagels, croissants, cookies, hummus, soups and salads, as well as Korean BBQ tacos and sandwiches such as a reuben on a pretzel croissant. Beverages includes several types of coffee drinks, as well as teas, wine and Memphis-brewed beer.
“Because we are surrounded by fine art, we have certain parameters in place in terms of insurance, liability, and so forth, and so we needed to be able to work with a group sensitive to the daily demands of an art museum,” said Ballew Neff.
The museum’s previous restaurant, the Brushmark Restaurant at the Brooks, closed in February 2016, and that space underwent several renovations including new windows with allow visitors an unobstructed view of Overton Park. Now named the Terrace Room it is a rental space for corporate and social events. The renovations are all part of the museum’s centennial celebration.
The opening of the café coincided with the opening of the highly acclaimed public art installation Brooks Outside: Intrude.