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Philadelphia Museum of Art to Open New Restaurant, Stir, Designed by Frank Gehry

Restaurant will open to the public in October 2018

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is pleased to announce Stir, the new restaurant designed by architect Frank Gehry as part of the Museum’s facilities master plan. Stir will be operated by the Philadelphia-based Constellation Culinary Group and will open on October 16, 2018. It will be the only Gehry-designed restaurant offering fine dining to the public anywhere on the East Coast.

Stir will offer the first visible note of Gehry’s distinctive architectural style in the Museum’s public spaces—a signature touch of the architect who is currently transforming much of the interior of the Museum’s 1928 building through the Core Project, scheduled to be completed in 2020. The restaurant’s centerpiece will be a striking sculptural element, shaped in Douglas fir and flowing in form, that extends across the ceiling above the main dining room.

Stir will offer guests a rich and varied dining experience with an emphasis on seasonality and local sourcing. It will serve as a culinary destination for museumgoers seeking not only to enjoy a fine meal in a beautiful contemporary setting but also extend their visit and enhance their experience of the Museum’s collections and programs.

With seating for 76 people, Stir will convey a warm, intimate, and inviting ambiance. In addition to its dramatic, undulating ceiling, it will contain comfortable seating and tables designed by Gehry Partners. Its walls and ceiling will be clad in Douglas fir and its floors in red oak. The ebullient Gehry touch will be seen in a palette of materials that includes frosted glass, felt, steel, leather, bronze, and onyx. Stir has also been designed to provide views into the kitchen, providing an opportunity to see the staff at work.

Adjacent to Stir will be a new cafeteria, much larger than the Museum’s previous cafeteria, that will seat 160 guests. The Café extends the entire width of the building, with windows offering views to the East Terrace and its garden on one side and across the Schuylkill River to West Philadelphia on the other. It will feature stations for artisanal sandwiches, a seasonal rotation of salads, brick oven pizza, and specialty coffee, enabling visitors to enjoy the convenience of quick service and casual dining with a wide variety of options. Another feature to anticipate, opening with the North Entrance at street level in early 2019, is a new espresso bar in the Vaulted Walkway that is being made accessible to the public once again, for the first time since the mid-1970s. There visitors may sip coffee and sample house-made pastries, relax, and chat, while catching unexpected views of the building’s monumental façades through the skylights above.

Gail Harrity, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, said: “As we envision the future visitor experience, we are delighted to be developing these exciting new dining options—for people who want a wonderful fine dining experience, for families with children looking for casual dining with lots of options, for people who are connecting with their friends over great coffee in an amazing space. We are delighted that in designing our dining facilities, Frank Gehry and his team have surpassed our expectations. We look forward to welcoming our visitors to these new spaces in just a few months.”

Mark Tropea, the newly-appointed Executive Chef, stated: “Here is the Stir menu in two words—local and inspired. Whether stopping in for brunch or lunch, we expect that our guests will be delighted with our curated culinary offerings—from small plates that include Roasted Jersey Peaches, Seared Barnegat Scallops, and a farm-fresh Corn Bisque, to main dishes like a Dry-Aged Farm Stand Burger topped with Lancaster cheddar, Kennett Square Wild Mushroom Frittata, and handmade torn pasta bursting with regional flavors. The beverage menu features a variety of signature mixed drinks, wines by the bottle and glass, and a refreshing selection of local beers.”

Stir will be open for lunch Tuesday through Friday, from 11:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Brunch will be offered on Sunday. Reservations can be made beginning October 16 via Open Table or by calling 215-684-7990.

About the Core Project

The Core Project is an ongoing physical transformation and renovation of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s historic main building led by Gehry. This phase of the master Plan will add 67,000 square feet of new public space, an additional 23,000 square feet of gallery space, with an equal amount devoted to the display of American art and for the presentation of contemporary art. Combining infrastructure improvements with a reorganization of circulation at the heart of the building, the Core Project will greatly improve the experience of the Museum for its visitors, dramatically enhance access for the community, and provide more room for the display of its renowned collection.

About Frank Gehry

Frank Gehry has built an architectural career that spans over six decades. Mr. Gehry received his B.A. in Architecture from the University of Southern California in 1954, and studied city planning at Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Born in Toronto and based in Los Angeles since 1947, Mr. Gehry has produced public and private buildings across America, Europe, and Asia. Hallmarks of Mr. Gehry’s work include a particular concern that people exist comfortably within the spaces that he creates, and an insistence that his buildings address the context and culture of their sites.

About Constellation Culinary Group

Launched in 2008 and reimagined in 2018, Constellation Culinary Group is dedicated to providing best-in-class dining experiences for one-of-a-kind events, cultural centers, professional settings, restaurants and cafes. With over nineteen locations in eight cities, including internationally renowned cultural institutions Carnegie Hall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the New York Botanical Garden, Clark Art Institute, and the Pérez Art Museum Miami, we bring culinary visions to life. We consistently create unforgettable experiences with the help of our skilled and thoughtful people, who believe in Constellation’s company mission and philosophy that good food connects us.

About the Philadelphia Museum of Art

We are Philadelphia’s art museum. A landmark building. A world-renowned collection. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.


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For additional information, contact the Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art by phone at 215-684-7860, by fax at 215-235-0050, or by e-mail at pressroom@philamuseum.org. The Museum is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call 215-763-8100.