OMSI guests eat science – in ‘THEORY’

See why this newly ‘reimagined’ eatery has been created to be far more than just a place to dine at the museum …

Bon Appétit souse chef Robert Remillard serves up enticing appetizers.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
The days of serving “ho hum” food at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) in their café are over – and the transformation of its café goes way beyond a redecorating job.

Its new name – “THEORY” – reflects the food service’s new approach to dining, OMSI President Nancy Stueber told East Portland News at its grand opening earlier this year.

At the grand opening of THEORY, OMSI Development Director Mark Patel (holding baby Eva), OMSI President Nancy Stueber, Bon Appétit’s Sam Currie, and Chef Sydney DeLuna, all agreed that they’re thrilled with their new “science café”.

“The restaurant is now like the rest of the museum,” Stueber said, “to create wonder in the science of everyday life. We see THEORY as another ‘access point to science’. There’s no better way to encourage our guests to explore science, than to give them a great meal – and a science lesson – at the same time.”

In addition to good food, Stueber pointed out, the café also offers exhibits, displays, science demonstrations and events.

“We’re proud to say that this is unique; a place where you can have a great meal – and also learn about the science of food,” Stueber said.

OMSI Sr. Science Chemistry Demonstrator Elizabeth Dannen demonstrates how to make fresh ice cream – using liquid nitrogen.

Guests Arlene Heitzler, Megan Strong, Sharr Stark, and Peter Stark enjoy the ambiance of THEORY.

On hand was Bon Appétit Management Company District Manager Sam Currie, who was beaming as he showed guests around the new restaurant, which his company caters. “All of the food we serve here is seasonally fresh, made from scratch, and prepared with locally sourced ingredients, as much as possible.”

Currie said that Bon Appétit has been the caterer for OMSI for about six years.

“We’re really excited about taking this partnership to the next level – exploring science and food. When people get together and break bread, and share food and conversation, it’s the cornerstone of ‘building community’,” Currie added.

Chef Joaquin Fernandez takes a bubbling hot pizza out of the new brick oven.

In addition, the café is sourcing its ingredients from about 90 local farmers and producers, too. “It all adds to the great flavors created by our chefs.”

Stueber pointed out OMSI Development Director Mark Patel as being the person behind the creation of THEORY. “I’d call myself a co-conspirator,” Patel admitted with a smile.

“Portland is a big food town,” Patel added. “A lot of people talk about the value of ‘handcrafted food artistry’ – but, not many are talking about the science of food. This is a great opportunity to revitalize the café space, while providing great food, and teaching the science behind it.”

THEORY provides good food, in a fun learning atmosphere at OMSI.

The 9,100 square-foot THEORY, which retains its stunning riverfront view, may become a destination in its own right. It’s open Sundays through Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., and open later, until 8:00 p.m., on the weekends.

OMSI is located at 1945 SE Water Avenue. For more information, see their website: CLICK HERE.

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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