The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens announced today that it has ushered in a new era of destination dining on its historic grounds by contracting with Palo Alto-based Bon Appétit Management Co. for dining and catering services. Bon Appétit begins providing service at The Huntington on Nov. 1.
Once a Gilded-Age millionaire’s estate, The Huntington now welcomes 750,000 visitors a year and features five dining spaces: the main café, with indoor and outdoor seating and sweeping views of the Huntington mansion and grounds; the Rose Garden Tea Room, nestled between the Rose and Herb gardens; the Chinese Garden tea shop (known as the Freshwater Pavilion), overlooking a lake in a traditional Chinese Garden; the Rose Garden patio, open on weekends; and the coffee shop at the Education and Visitor Center. In addition to providing dining services at The Huntington’s various locations, Bon Appétit also will provide catering for private events.
As part of this new relationship, The Huntington and Bon Appétit have invited Border Grill cofounders Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger and Blue Window co-owner Kajsa Alger to launch several new dining concepts at The Huntington. (More details to be released in the following weeks.)
“We are tremendously excited about this new endeavor,” said Laura Trombley, Huntington President. “At a time when cuisine has become key to every type of cultural experience—from museum going to concert watching—we believe it’s critically important to have dining here reflect the high quality that is The Huntington standard. Food is no longer incidental—it is part of our culture. And, according to some, it is everything. We want wonderful, memorable food to be part of the greater Huntington experience.”
In early 2016, The Huntington interviewed several prospective local and national restaurant and catering operators. A committee composed of Huntington staff, the president, and overseers and trustees reviewed proposals and worked together to make a final determination.
“Standout features of the Bon Appétit proposal included their commitment to quality, taste, and sustainability,” said Trombley. “We consider sustainability to be of key importance at The Huntington—whether we are considering how to lower our water use, narrow our carbon footprint, or determine what types of seafood we serve.” Bon Appétit has been a leader in sustainability matters for decades. Said Bon Appétit CEO and Cofounder Fedele Bauccio, “I couldn’t be more excited to bring our focus on sustainability and fresh, seasonally driven local food to The Huntington.” Bauccio has been widely recognized for his work in sustainability for many years, perhaps, Trombley noted, “well before it became a household term.”