Café enhances museum’s allure

Whether they are admiring art or searching the halls for harrowing hauntings, patrons of Ohio University’s Kennedy Museum of Art will soon have coffee to accompany them.

The Ridges Café will open in the Kennedy Museum’s first floor at Lin Hall and will offer weekly breakfast and lunch options, including soups, paninis and sandwiches, as well as coffee and espresso drinks, said Elizabeth Tragert, administrative associate at the museum.

“It’s been something the director of the museum has had in mind for some time,” Tragert said. “It makes a fuller experience … it completes the museum-going experience and could raise funds for the museum.”

Tragert said the museum, which attracts 10,000 guests a year, has had a need for a food option for some time — and that it won’t compete with local businesses.

The shop is made possible by a $127,000 gift from OU alumni Wilfred and Ann Lee Konneker. A contest was held to name the café, with Shawna Bolin, assistant university planner in Facilities Planning and Space Management, and Athens resident Mark Parkinson submitting the winning name.

“There’s really nothing else on The Ridges,” Tragert said. “People up here will certainly take advantage of it. It’s more of a draw to the museum.”

Although a specific date for opening is not yet known, OU expects to complete renovation this month, Tragert said. The Ridges Café will employ five students upon opening.

Ed Fisher, owner of local business Purple Chopstix, 371 Richland Ave., said he also thinks The Ridges needed a food option. Fisher added he has supported the idea for some time and does not think it will draw patrons away from his business.

“It might even be beneficial in some ways,” Fisher said.


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