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Art Hill Construction Work

A bulldozer pushes piles of dirt around on Art Hill in front of the St Louis Art Museum in Forest Park on April 14, 2010. Workers dug up the land on Art Hill to install stormwater drainage as part of the museum's expansion project. David Carson dcarson@post-dispatch.com

ST. LOUIS • The $161 million renovation and expansion of the St. Louis Art Museum will include a 100-seat "destination restaurant" and a 60-seat casual café, museum officials announced today.

Both dining areas will be located in a new David Chipperfield-designed East Building. The main restaurant will feature floor-to-ceiling windows that look out on Forest Park, and the café will be situated nearby, next to a new gift shop. 

The museum is working with food-service consultant Art Manask to find a restaurant operator that can run the dining concepts as well as oversee the museum's catering needs.

"Once upon a time, museums would hire a large food-service provider to handle its entire food-service operation," Manask says in a statement. "That is still the best option for many museums, but there is also a national trend of larger companies partnering with a local restaurateur, or national and regional restaurateurs taking on museum restaurants and creating unique, regionally influenced restaurants and cafés. All of these options are viable possibilities in St. Louis."

The restaurants, as well as the rest of the museum's expanded campus, are expected to open in mid-2013. At more than 200,000 square feet, the expansion will increase the museum's gallery and public spaces by 30 percent and will more than double its parking capacity. To read more about the project, go to slam.org/expansion.