Back in the olden days, art museums did not have restaurants. Why would anyone eat at a museum? That made about as much sense as taking a picture with a telephone. But modern life is all about changing paradigms, and museums now give as much thought to designing their dining rooms as to planning their galleries. When New York’s Museum of Modern Art reopened in 2004 after an extensive makeover, its dining options got almost more press than its redo.
In Texas, the unwritten rule that forbade eating in the vicinity of great art was breached by the Kimbell Art Museum, in Fort Worth, in 1981. Soon, tourists and townies alike were crowding into its popular buffet. The tide had turned, and when it came time to add a new wing or building, museums began to allot serious space to feeding the hordes. “Refreshments will be served” became the mantra of any museum worth its Alexander Calder mobile.
What awaits the famished Texas art lover today? Happily, you can dine without leaving the air-conditioned comfort of the building at five art institutions in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston. Three other cities—Austin, El Paso, and San Antonio—lag behind, although the Blanton Museum of Art, in