Trying to decide on a place for lunch, but tired of the same old options available on campus? The Museum Café could be just what you’re looking for.
Open Monday-Friday from 11 A.M. to 3 P.M., the Museum Café is located in the lower level of the North Dakota Museum of Art, behind Twamley Hall. The cafe serves affordable lunch items that are anything but mundane.
While the menu isn’t extremely long, the cafe excels in quality and creativity. Their salmon BLT sandwich ($9) puts a high-end spin on an old favorite. Other interesting sandwich options are the artichoke and goat cheese ($8), and the soppressata sausage and fig ($9).
Not feeling adventurous? The museum club is a tasty classic. Each sandwich is served with plain or parmesan kettle chips, or you can upgrade to salad, soup or grapes for an extra dollar.
If a salad is more your taste, the cafe has choices for you: the mediterranean, caesar or chef’s salad for $8, $9 and $10, respectively. Add chicken for $2 or smoked salmon for $3. I recommend the salmon. Like most restaurants, there are a variety of dressings to choose from.
Entrees include beef stroganoff ($9) and a brown rice bowl ($8). A great vegetarian option, the rice bowl includes sweet potatoes, walnuts, spinach, dried cherries and avocados over brown rice, all tossed in their maple cider dressing. Add chicken for $2 if you think it needs a little something extra.
For dessert, the creme brûlée will satisfy your sweet tooth, and for only five bucks.
Maybe you just want to take a break from your busy schedule and get away from the crowded campus for a bit. Take a seat and enjoy a cup of the cafe’s signature roast coffee for only $2.50. They also serve a variety of hot and iced teas, as well as fresh lemonade and sparkling water for the same price.
There are also daily specials and soups that are definitely worth checking out. Specials are posted on the museum’s website, www.ndmoa.com.
The menu, which changes often, is designed by NDMOA executive chef Heather Schneider. Schneider has had an extensive culinary career, working in professional kitchens on the west and east coasts, as well as Canada and Europe.
What sets this place apart from the rest is the quality, atmosphere and service you get for the price you pay. During my visit, I got a delicious lunch (the salmon BLT and coffee) for around $12. I don’t know about you, but I could easily spend the same amount at Taco John’s or McDonald’s, and my experience would be nothing great, save for the greasy comfort food.
The atmosphere at the cafe is decorative and elegant, while at the same time comfortable and casual. The walls are adorned with paintings, the tables subtly decorated with flowers. I mean, it’s part of an art museum, so it’s expected to have great presentation, right?
One thing I should mention is that it is small, with seating for about 20-24. I imagine if it were full it could feel a little crowded. On the other hand, during my visit it wasn’t busy at all, and the small size made it seem cozy.
The service was friendly, helpful and prompt. Granted, there was only one other table besides mine at the time.
After your meal, consider taking a look around the art gallery. The North Dakota Museum of Art, created in the 1970’s, “serves as the official art museum of the state of North Dakota,” according to their mission statement.
Operated primarily off donations, the museum collects and exhibits visual art works of the Northern Plains region. The organization also hold events, such as the upcoming 26th Annual Benefit Dinner and Silent Art Auction as well as performances put on by the Myra Presents Concerts series.
If you’re looking for a new spot for lunch that’s a step up from the same old-same old, the Museum Café is definitely worth a try.
Ben Godfrey is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected]