The Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art Cafe’s calming atmosphere mimics that of the actual museum right around the corner.
Walking straight through the museum will lead you to the cafe, where paintings adorn the walls and acoustic covers of popular songs fill the air. The space is complemented by two rooms on the northern side, which are perfect for business meetings or other occasions, according to Chantel Farmakis, one of the assistant chefs and events manager at the cafe.
While food always has been associated with the museum in the form of hors d’oeuvres and delicacies provided by gourmet cooks, the space customers see today provides meals from scratch from Head Chef Ralph Filipelli and the staff from Luna’s Fine Dining and Catering.
Executive Director Dr. Brett Knappe says that he’s happy to have a facility in St. Joseph that caters to the community.
“One of the great things about having a facility that serves the community as a whole is the ability to also provide a service that we can do lunch. I think that’s an important thing for our museum, to allow people to come in, have the opportunity to have a meal and see some free art.”
Farmakis explains that although Filipelli’s background is in Italian, the diversity on display in the cafe’s menu is worth noting, as items are switched out weekly.
“We had a ‘Bacon Week’ one week, and last week we did chicken salad,” Farmakis says. “It just depends on the week, but we’ve heard great reviews from everyone coming in.”
Everything from taco salad, artichoke soup and quiche to various desserts like their signature chocolate truffles has been available. The staff cooks almost anything and is open to suggestions, Farmakis says.
And the atmosphere contributes to the dishes. In many ways, they work off each other.
“We’re all very excited about being able to be a little bit more artistic with the food,” Farmakis says. “We’ll have the dessert set up really nice — we did almost like a ‘Game of Thrones’ thing, with paves, strawberries and whipped cream, so every week it’s kind of fun to do different things for the museum, because we know, ‘Hey, this is an art museum, let’s put our own art into it and make it fun and really colorful.’”
But the cooks also look for inspiration around the community as far as events go.
“I love the fact that we’re doing everything from scratch. I love that it’s at a good price point. I love that we get kind of the older crowd, but sometimes we get some of the younger people in too, and they’re like, ‘Wow, this is so good; this is so neat,’” Farmakis says. “It’s just the whole experience of being connected with people. People come in, and they’re like, ‘Everything is great across the board.’ Then they leave raving about it, and we hear in the back and are excited about it every time. It never gets old.”
The Albrecht-Kemper Museum of Art Cafe, 2818 Frederick Ave, is open from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.