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OMSI's guests eat science - in 'THEORY'!

by: DAVID F. ASHTON - Cafe 'THEORY' provides good food, in a fun learning atmosphere, at OMSI. The days are over of eating “ho hum” food at café in the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) – 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 THE BEE at its recent grand opening.

“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.”

On hand for the opening ceremonies 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 smiled.

In addition, the café is sourcing its ingredients from about 90 local farmers and producers. “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 grin.

“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.”

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 am until 6 pm – and it’s open later, until 8 pm, on the weekends.

OMSI is located on the east Willamette Riverbank, just north of the Ross Island Bridge, at 1945 S.E. Water Avenue. Look for the big red tower and the OmniMax Theater dome. For more information, go online to: www.omsi.edu