Art and food -- identical cousins all the way. Just ask Mr. Potato Head. We sculpt it, shape it, paint it and mold it.
A modern art museum without food is an insurance office.
At the Mattress Factory's BoxSpring Café on the North Side, chef Rich Rosenthal of M Catering often pairs the upstairs installation art with the victuals below.
For the recent India: New Installations, several Indian dishes on the menu complemented the exhibit. Following this year's upcoming Marie Antoinette-themed Urban Garden Party in June -- where Rosenthal will be one of several caterers -- perhaps Antoinette's painting "Still Life with Ham, Bottles and Radishes" might inspire a casserole.
The café, located in the lobby of the museum, has been under Rosenthal's direction for about a year. Though dubbed a "grand opening," an event last week was intended to celebrate Rosenthal's finishing touches.
"I wanted to make sure we got the staff trained properly and that we worked out any problems along the way," explains Rosenthal. "I finally feel we can say: 'We're done.'"
The vegetarian-friendly dishes are prepared at M Catering and assembled at the café's small kitchen. Food is delivered daily (the café is open Thursday through Saturday) and table service is provided.
The finger-fare includes guacamole with tortilla chips, garlic hummus and toasted pita chips, and vegetable crudités with creamy Parmesan dip.
For hungrier patrons, BoxSpring offers Niçoise salad, garden wraps, soups served with ciabatta bread and a Vietnamese chicken sandwich (grilled chicken topped with carrot-radish slaw, cucumber, cilantro, scallions and a sesame sambal spread). Featured pizzas and quesadillas round out the larger plates. Kids with a taste for the traditional can enjoy a PB&J or a grilled-cheese sandwich, with a side of juice box.
Maybe just need a sugar-buzz? Smoothies, frappes and desserts provided by West End's Vanilla Pastry Studio are also available.
"It's a casual menu but will change," says Rosenthal.
"Just like the art."
The Mattress Factory
500 Sampsonia Way