Fort Worth museum serves up afternoon tea break
The Kimbell Café is back, but not the way you remember. The art museum lunch counter remains a box-lunch cafe, but it’s drawing crowds for a new feature: afternoon tea.
From 2 p.m. daily except Monday, guests can settle in for a leisurely tea service including pastries, fruit, tea sandwiches and house-made jellies and jams.
It’s simple, but served in the Kimbell’s elegant cafe or sunny patio.
“It’s a perfect location,” said
Kimbell chef Peter Kreidler, restoring cafe service slowly as the museum limits attendance during the pandemic. “It’s such a beautiful restaurant. A tea seems like it fits.”
The tea service began for the recent “Queen Nefertari’s Egypt” exhibit, with museum patrons hitting the cafe hungry in midafternoon after tours.
Now that those crowds are gone, April, May and June are a good time to book a table for tea any day, or maybe even as a late lunch.
For $25 a couple — three for
$37.50, or just order a second pot of tea for $5 — the cafe serves Kreidler’s chicken salad and pimiento cheese tea sandwiches plus pastries.
One day last week, the tea service included oatmeal-raisin minicookies, lavender shortbread and house-made mini-muffins and scones with house-made pineapple jam and strawberry jelly,
The tea itself is from New Yorkbased Harney & Sons, featuring an Earl Grey, ginger-peach, a green tea and a very smooth decaf orange-pekoe.
It’s yet another idea that sprang from COVID-19 isolation.
“We were sitting up here during quarantine trying to think what we could do,” Kreidler said.
Tea service was obvious. It’s been a success in the past when offered at the old Ashton Hotel dining room downtown, the new Ashton Depot or at the old Gardens Restaurant in the Fort Worth Botanic Garden.
“I know the antique malls do it. But this seemed like something special we could do,” Kreidler said.
“It’s worked. On weekends, it’s wild in here.”
After nearly 50 years as a buffet, the museum’s busy lunch line was converted to an order counter last fall, when the Kimbell reopened.
Since museum patrons come from around the world, the Kimbell is keeping more precautions than local restaurants.
Soups, sandwiches, salads and quiche are served in takeout containers, with real dishes and silver expected to return later in the year.
The food itself hasn’t changed much. On a recent weekday, the lunch menu included beef stew or black-bean-and-corn soup, a salmon-dill quiche or a ham-and-salami sandwich (one item $12.59, two $14, including salad, fruit and a cookie).
There’s also a takeout sandwich “sack lunch” for $12.
You don’t need a reservation for lunch.. But you do need one for tea. I tried to go unannounced on a Sunday and it was sold out.
The Kimbell Café is inside the museum’s original Kahn Building, 3333 Camp Bowie Blvd.; 817-332-8451, extension 721, kimbellart.org.
(Across the street, Cafe Modern is expected to reopen next month under Wolfgang Puck Catering and new chef