Friday, February 13, 2009

Renaissance Dining at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

It's been 75 years since the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art opened in Kansas City, Mo. Internationally recognized for its inventory of more than 33,500 art pieces, including renowned collections of Chinese and photographic art, the museum also offers another treasure - the truly lovely Rozzelle Court Restaurant.

When I moved to this area during the '70s, the court was more of a courtyard garden set amidst 15th century Italian architecture and sun-drenched openness. But all that changed, in 1981, with the addition of a ceiling full of skylights, and a restaurant that has become a museum centerpiece.

Self-service dining keeps prices affordable but there's no shortage of seasonal gourmet fare, from Greek Chicken Wheat Wrap with Grilled Chicken Breast, Provolone, Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumbers, Kalamata Olives and Honey Dijon; to Nelson Chicken Salad with Fresh Fruit and Candied Pecans; and Roasted Turkey with Turkey Gravy, Buttered Pasta, Squash and Roasted Red Peppers and Fresh Baked Roll. And you'll have a tough time choosing dessert, from biscotti to Mississippi Mud Bars and Nelson Key Lime Pie.

But perhaps the best part about eating here is the atmosphere. It's not often you'll find yourself dining in the U.S., in a 15th century Italian courtyard.