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Stir, in Philadelphia Museum of Art, Prepares for October Opening

Posted July 10, 2018 5:34 p.m. EDT

First, you eat.

In early October, the dining facilities at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a neo-Classical landmark built in 1928, will be the first component of the Frank Gehry-led redesign of the museum’s interior to open to the public.

Gehry was selected for the renovation in 2006, but the wheels for the master plan didn’t start turning until 2010. (The whole project will be completed by 2020.)

A 76-seat restaurant called Stir, to be run by Starr Catering, which came up with the restaurant’s name, will be warmly wood-paneled in Douglas fir, with a ceiling that undulates, Gehry-style. Central to the ceiling is a gridlike sculpture of curved crisscrossed slats and beams. Gehry’s contribution to the restaurant includes the tables and chairs, but not the tableware.

The chef Mark Tropea, a former chef for residents of 15 Central Park West, an apartment tower in New York, will preside over the open kitchen. He plans to offer seasonal fare with strong local connections, like Kennett Square mushrooms, Barnegat scallops and a burger topped with Lancaster cheddar.

A new, enlarged cafeteria, also run by Starr Catering, is part of the plan. The dining options do not have an outside entrance, so museum admission is required for entry.

“We envision it as part of a total museum experience,” Gail Harrity, the museum’s chief operating officer, wrote in an email.

Stir will open only during museum hours, so just lunch and brunch will be served; the cafeteria will be open from morning until late afternoon

Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, philamuseum.org.