(Mirror) There’s something about museums that makes me hungry…and not just for knowledge. After spending a few hours cramming information into my mind, I just want to sit down, give my feet a rest and enjoy a bite to eat and a cocktail or glass of wine.
I have a friend who travels for work extensively and she says that she’s discovered that the cafés in most art museums are often among the best places to eat in any city.
Sure enough, the café at NSU Art Museum is pretty damn good. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for rest of the local museums in and around Wilton Manors and Fort Lauderdale. Luckily, most are located adjacent to some top-notch dining establishments. When you’re done feeding your brain cells and want a little nourishment for the rest of your body, check out these options.
African-American Research Library and Cultural Center
2650 NW Sixth St., Fort Lauderdale
This museum, only the third of its kind in the U.S, with more Black history books and books written by Black writers than any other facility in the country, doesn’t have its own café, but Betty’s Soul Food Restaurant (954-583-9121, bettyssoulfoodrestaurant.com), located nearby at 601 NW 22nd Rd., offers some great fare.
Bonnet House Museum & Gardens
900 N. Birch Rd., Fort Lauderdale
Not much in the way of dining options at the landmark estate, but it does host an annual fundraising soiree on Nov. 30. The fully catered affair, includes live entertainment, full bar and holiday music. For more information, call 954-563-5393 or go to Bonnethouse.org. There are also many restaurants located just a few minutes away on A1A.
Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
1101 Biscayne Blvd., Miami
Looking much more inviting than a laboratory, [email protected], the museum’s café, is a cozy and welcoming oasis. Whether it’s midday lunch or for a late afternoon pick-me-up, the energetic café provides indoor or al fresco seasonal dining including: artisan pastries, made-to-order salads, pizzas, snacks and Starbuck beverages as well as wine and soft drinks. [email protected] is located on Level 1 of the West Wing of the museum. Admission to the museum is not required to dine at [email protected] For more information, call 305-434-9600.
International Swimming Hall of Fame Museum
One Hall of Fame Dr., Fort Lauderdale
This museum, just off Las Olas and A1A, is a masterpiece of camp. Exhibits include an entire display devoted to Johnny Weissmuller, best known for his role in a series of Tarzan movies and as an Olympic gold medalist in swimming and diving. There are also displays on swimming and diving, Olympic medalists, synchronized swimming, water polo and, oddly enough, the Titanic! Grab lunch before or after across the street at The Naked Crab (1140 Seabreeze Blvd., 954-564-1000, nakedcrab.com).
Museum of Discovery & Science
401 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale
The museum recently closed its Subway and Auntie Anne franchises and will be re-opening its own café soon. Until then, visit some of the great places in nearby Himmarshee Village; Tacocraft Taqueria & Tequila Bar (204 SW 2nd St., 954-463-2003), ROK:BRGR (208 SW 2nd St., 954-525-7656), Pizza Craft (330 SW 2nd St., 954-616-8028) or Himmarshee Public House (201 SW 2nd St., 954-616-5275).
NSU Art Museum
1 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale
Stonewall Gallery, 2157 Wilton Dr, Wilton Manors
While it doesn’t offer a café, the gallery is just a few doors down from the Naked Grape Wine Bar & Tapas (2163 Wilton Dr., 954-563-5631, nakedgrapewinebar.com) which offers some incredible happy hour deals and the best service in town.
Vizcaya Museum and Gardens
3251 S Miami Ave., Miami
The café and gift shop for the luxurious mansion and museum has been temporarily relocated to its North Patio under an air-conditioned tent, while the former space is being renovated. The menu has been revised and features salads, sandwiches, gelato, espresso, homemade cookies and hot and cold beverages. When the renovation is complete, you’ll be able to experience the splendor of dining in the old Deering estate with its original marble and terrazzo floors restored to a gleaming finish and arched windows showcasing the whimsical shell-encrusted murals above the swimming pool. The café also hosts special events such as wine tastings and “Tea on the Terrace.” For more information call 305-856-8189.
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