The Palette Café: Yet Another Solid Reason to Visit the FIA

The Flint Institute of Arts is the second largest art museum in Michigan and one of the largest museum art schools in the country. Its collection exceeds 8,000 pieces and dates back 5,000 years. It also screens a variety of films each weekend, starting in September, from the comfort of its 330-seat theater.

The fact that the venue’s in-house cafe makes a mean turkey bacon gouda sandwich? Now that’s just the cherry on top. 

The Palette Café, located next to the museum’s gift shop, is led by Chef Antwain Trimble, who studied at the Pennsylvania Culinary Institute and previously worked in the kitchens of the Hilton Garden Inn in Ann Arbor and Westin Book Cadillac in Detroit.

“I’ve been to a lot of different places, but Flint is home” says Trimble, who attended Carman Ainsworth High School before moving to Pittsburgh in 2000. “I’m excited to be back.”

Since taking the reigns at the Palette in April, Trimble has been experimenting with different specials each week, paying close attention to what performs well and what doesn’t. He plans to release a new menu by the end of the summer that features customer favorites — based off of both the current menu as well as the weekly specials.

While the new menu has yet to be solidified, there are a few items that Trimble confirms will make the list. These include the Turkey Rachel, the Caprese Sandwich and the Cobb Salad. 

The FIA has also talked about launching open mic nights in the near future. When they do, Trimble plans to have a special bar menu that’s “short and sweet,” with items like chicken wings and homemade caramel corn.

Sweet treats are favorite of Trimble, who highlights different pastries and desserts throughout the week in the cafe’s glass display. “I make a very delicious salted caramel cheesecake that has a pretzel crust,” he says.

According to Trimble, the cafe is busiest on Wednesdays, when the museum hosts Art à la Carte — an free lunchtime program focusing on the arts. The event kicks off at 12:15 p.m., and participants are welcome to bring their lunch or grab something from The Palette. (The next three Art à la Carte events will show the three-part PBS series, The Mystery of Matter: Search for the Elements, which explores the discovery of the basic building blocks of matter. For details, click here.)

The Palette is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p..m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. 

Members of the FIA receive a 10 percent discount. To place a carry-out order, call 810-249-0593.  

To read the current menu, click here.

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