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Lula Cafe’s Jason Hammel will head up MCA’s new restaurant

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

In 2015, the Museum of Contemporary Art announced a renovation of its facilities, including the construction of a new restaurant that will be accessible from street level and is being positioned as a destination for dining aficionados. Today, MCA director Madeleine Grynsztejn officially announced that Jason Hammel, best known as the owner of Lula Café in Logan Square, will serve as the head chef of the restaurant. In a statement, Hammel revealed that his new project at the MCA will function as both “a restaurant and take-away counter,” serving cuisine that he describes as ‘real, delicious, and contemporary.”

The restaurant will be just one component of a $16 million redesign of the MCA's facilities, led by Los Angeles architects Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee of Johnston Marklee (who will also serve as creative directors of the 2017 Chicago Architecture Biennial). British painter Chris Ofili will assist with the design of the restaurant, while Mexican design duo Pedro y Juana will be tasked with creating the look of a new engagement space on the museum's second floor called the Commons (concept rendering pictured above). A new space on the third floor will offer classrooms and a meeting space.

Work on the renovations (which will not expand upon the museum's existing footprint) will begin this fall. No completion date was announced, but The New York Times reported last week that organizers are hoping to complete the project in time for the opening of the MCA's Takashi Murakami retrospective in June 2017.

As she has previously stated, Grynsztejn noted in a release that the renovations are intended to attract new audiences to the MCA. “Every space and service the museum offers should create a meaningful social and cultural experience, and with this redesign, we are positioning the museum to connect with a wider audience that is even more diverse and inclusive.”

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