THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART CHICAGO OPENS MARISOL RESTAURANT
CHICAGO (September 2017) – The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s new restaurant, Marisol, is slated to open late September 2017. With local chef, Jason Hammel at the helm, Marisol re-imagines the relationship between food, art and design in an immersive art environment curated by renowned British artist Chris Ofili.
The restaurant is inspired by the spirited French/Venezuelan artist, Marisol Escobar, who was a star of the New York art scene in the 1960s. A good friend of Andy Warhol—Marisol appeared in his films, “The Kiss” and “13 Most Beautiful Girls”— she gave the MCA its first artwork, Six Women, in 1968 and, thereby, started the museum’s world-class collection of contemporary art.
Built upon a twenty-year relationship with Midwestern farmers, chef Hammel’s menu incorporates vibrant vegetables and handmade pastas, alongside meticulously sourced meat and seafood. Hammel has created a playfully designed menu that varies with the seasons, filled with thoughtful and contemporary flavors, inspired by the artistic surroundings that fuel the mind, body, and soul. The menus reflect not only the seasonal availability of local ingredients, but also, the open artistic environment in which the dishes were created. In addition, the space's take-away counter, The Street, will offer coffee, pastries, and inventive small-bites, welcoming both those passing-by, as well as destination travelers.
Marisol’s dinner menu will showcase imaginative dishes including the Marisol Salad (Apple, Dill, Macadamia Nut, Pecorino, Marisol’s Natural Food Salad Dressing), Crispy Eggplant (Roasted Grapes, Pistou, Sweet and Sour Pork) and Steamed Swordfish (Cauliflower, Cherry Tomato, Uni Hollandaise).
Lunch offerings will include lighter plates of vegetables and sandwiches, full-bodied entrees, and signature sweets. Standouts on the lunch menu include the Marisol Sandwich (Grilled Skirt Steak, Spring Onion Jam, Runny Farm Egg, Avocado), French Omelet (Cured Salmon and Crème Fraiche, Sourdough Toast) and Fried Trout Sandwich (Cherry Tomatoes, Bacon, Bibb Lettuce, Gribiche.)
The dessert menu, crafted by pastry chef Alison Cates (Honey’s, Perennial Virant), focuses on breathing new life into ingredients to create innovative dishes. With a background in preservation - canning and jam making, Cates utilizes the intense flavor from stone fruit pits to add a nutty flavor to the noya ice cream in the Chocolate Namaleka (Almond, Cherry, and Noyaux). Other highlights include a Sunflower Tart (Buckwheat, Seasonal Blackberries) and the Castella Cake (Brillat-Savarin, Honey, Figs). Inspired by the traditional post-dinner coffee and milk service, the Tres Leches (Coconut, Squash, and Cajeta) dish, one of chef Cate’s favorites, is soaked in a cinnamon sweetened condensed milk made in-house.
The beverage program at Marisol will offer a large selection of food-friendly natural wines, craft cocktails and unique spirits, along with one of Chicago’s deepest vermouth and aperitif lists. The bar program will include exceptional craft cocktails like the #13 (Batavia Arrack, Falernum, Cocchi Americano, Lime, Angostura Bitters, Mint), as well as a nod to the famous sculpture that ignited the museum’s inception, 6 Women (Ransom Dry Vermouth, Buffalo Trace, Ransom Sweet Vermouth, Angostura Bitters, Lemon Peel). Creating a signature “Marisol blend,” local West Loop roaster, Metric Coffee Co., will be available throughout all outlets.
MCA Director Madeleine Grynsztejn assembled a world-class creative team to develop the new concept that intertwines art, food, design, and education throughout the MCA’s public spaces. Located at street-level, Marisol was designed to be a welcoming place to meet, dine, and participate in Chicago’s contemporary art scene. The restaurant exists in an architectural space designed by Johnson Marklee, which includes vaulted ceilings, vivid colors, and a centerpiece art mural by Chris Ofili. Ofili’s mural is brimming with imagery that flows through every surface, color, and texture of the décor, and which is echoed by the vibrant and distinctive flavors of Hammel’s cuisine.
The restaurant accommodates up to 125 guests in the main dining area, bar, and private dining room. Showcasing The Street, the space’s takeaway counter, offers casual seating with places to meet, dine, or just plug-in is also offered, along with convenient counter service. The lively neighborhood restaurant is open beyond museum hours and will serve dinner Tuesday through Sunday 5:30pm to 10pm with the bar open until 11pm Friday through Saturday. Upcoming weekend brunch service will be offered in a shared plate format, and the daily takeaway counter, The Street, with expected hours of 8am to 10pm, will launch at a later date in the coming weeks.