UMMA’s Serene BYO Dining Secret
When the University of Michigan Museum of Art reopened with its glamorous new wing in March, one thing that was missing was the café—we were supposed to get a place to have nosh, sip a cup of tea, or quaff a glass of wine. I’d heard rumors that a favorite local restaurant was going to open a branch there. That deal never materialized, however, and the museum reopened without its anticipated watering hole.
But my ears pricked up when I took a docent-led tour through the museum not long ago. Our guide mentioned that the cafe space, though not staffed or serving food, welcomed visitors. That came back to me when I made a special trip to Le Dog (410 E. Liberty) last week for one of their rare offerings of cassoulet, the famous and famously complicated duck, lamb, and bean stew of southwest France. I needed a setting to match the food, and the broken bench in front of Kinko’s just wouldn’t cut it. I walked over to State Street and a few minutes later I was in UMMA’s airy dining room, seated at a comfortable table with my book (The Plague of Doves) and my cassoulet.
A few other tables were occupied by students tapping on laptops. It was quiet. I could read and savor. I could come and go, and not worry about the check. What a perfect place for solo lunch. Afterwards, I wandered a little through the building and soaked up art before going back to work.
No more cassoulet at Le Dog for a while, but next week (Tuesday and Wednesday, May 5-6) pozole is on the menu. I’m thinking nearby Silvio’s Organic Pizza might also have some good carryout possibilities for my lunch at UMMA.