Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam has a vast variety of exhibitions, special events and other attractions to offer its visitors. Among one of them – the eponymous restaurant on the ground floor of the tub, the new wing opened for visitors in 2012. Stedelijk restaurant offers an unmissable pleasure of the views over Museum Square and Van Baerlestraat, to be enjoyed through an entirely glass façade or at the spacious modern terrace. The restaurant design created by the design bureau Concern is a successive continuation of the new wing architecture by Benthem Crouwel Architects.

Photo John Lewis Marshall
Photo John Lewis Marshall

People involved in the project consider themselves true Amsterdammers that’s why working on the Stedelijk facilities was a very special experience for each of them. Stedelijk museum has been a cultural landmark for locals and visitors since its opening in the 19th century. Today many people come here to have a break between exhibitions but also to enjoy the art inspired food, Friday night jazz and an always-warm welcome.

Museeum had a chat with the Stedelijk restaurant’s head chef Dylan Groen and director Dennis Rekers and found out some interesting facts from the restaurant’s daily life.

What is different about working in a restaurant attached to a museum rather than an independent one? Dennis: We have 3 restaurants at the Stedelijk Museum: Restaurant Stedelijk, the Cafe Zadelhoff and the staff canteen. Because there are so many of them in one museum it's like a hotel without rooms. But instead of rooms we have art, exhibitions, openings etc. We go with the flow of the museum and the guests it attracts.

What is the most surprising thing you've learned from a museum environment? Dylan: The large amount of guests we accommodate with good exhibitions, for instance 2500 guests a day during the last period of the Dumas show.

What's driving the museum restaurant scene today? Is it food, design or concept? Dennis: It's a mix, good honest food, a surprising presentation and a very warm welcome.

Could you see a museum restaurant becoming an attraction by itself? Dennis: The new building itself is an attraction. We call it the "badkuip" - "Bath tub". There are museum restaurants that are attractions by themselves, but we are just a very busy Amsterdam restaurant. We attract not only the museum crowd, but a lot of people from all over Amsterdam.

Have there been any unusual food requests in your practice? Dennis: Haha, yes. For the convention What Design Can Do we worked with the famous chef Alex Attala from the D.O.M. restaurant in Brazil with 3 Michelin stars. And we served ants on pineapple.

I would love to go back to the late 70's-80's New York art scene, with all the pop-art artists and make them a big last supper!

Have you ever had to come up with an art inspired menu for a special museum event? Dylan: Yes, we made a layer cake for a Mondrian event with the famous Mondrian colors and squares.

Are you an art lover yourself? If yes, who would you like to cook for and what? Dennis: Yes I am. I'm a big Giacometti fan and I love pop-art. I would love to go back to the late 70's-80's New York art scene, with all the pop-art artists and make them a big last supper!