WHAT: The Pepper Mill Café is the new eatery at the Penn Museum, located at 3260 South St. The café is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Monday; 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday; and 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The café is located on the second floor of the Penn Musuem, with wall-to-wall windows overlooking two interior gardens.
THINK LOCAL: The café’s new manager, Restaurant Associates, is ensuring the eatery features items that are fresh and seasonal, with some locally sourced ingredients. This fall, for example, patrons will be able to sample a variety of menu items with apples, including apple turnovers—a move that showcases the bounty of local growers and the cooking skills of the café staff. General Manager Tia Triplett says this focus is the cafe’s response to the wishes of its patrons, giving them food with “great, locally sourced ingredients.”
MENU OPTIONS: The café is full of fresh and made-to-order items, including two daily soup offerings, a variety of sandwiches (such as tuna on grain bread; mozzarella, tomato and pesto on brioche; and a turkey and brie on a small, thin baguette. There’s also a salad bar that features more than 26 toppings, including blue cheese, crisp broccoli, and quinoa to give your greens some earthy, grainy heft. A signature mezze plate (perfect for vegetarians) contains hummus, stuffed grape leaves, feta salad, marinated olives, cucumber-tomato salad and pita chips.
HOT LUNCH, PLEASE: For those who prefer their meals on the hearty side, the café features a variety of rotating hot lunch options, from a custom-made naan flatbread personal pizza to sustainable arctic char with mango papaya slaw. This fall, Triplett says the menu will begin featuring more seasonal fare, including chili and stews.
DIFFERENT NEEDS: The café always has plenty of meat- and dairy-free options, and will be featuring some gluten-free items, as well. Menu items come in varying sizes, and the staff changes soups and hot food selections on a daily basis. They plan to introduce a frequent-diner card—perfect for faculty and staff who work at the Museum, as well as students and patrons who frequently visit the space.
AFTER HOURS: The café also plans to host light supper options, food and wine pairings or a specially prepared menu option on Wednesday evenings, when it’s open until 7:30 p.m. Triplett says these evenings are meant to showcase not only what the café can do (think cheese pairings with martinis), but the breadth and depth of some of the Museum’s wares, including a fun, educational evening dedicated to juniper.
MORE INFO: A new website with a daily menu is coming soon. Until then, visit the Penn Museum website: www.penn.museum.
Originally published on September 30, 2010