The Exploratorium’s SEAGLASS Restaurant, seismic joint takeout café, and event catering menus are inspired by the museum’s iconic exhibits and spirit of experimentation, and feature locally, sustainably sourced products. Led by the vision of Chef Loretta Keller of San Francisco’s COCO500, the seismic joint and mobile “food trikes” offer healthy, kid-friendly, multicultural food to a wide demographic, while the restaurant and catering offerings translate the Exploratorium’s themes of playfulness, perception, and curiosity into a museum dining experience unlike any other. Bon Appétit Management Company, a recognized leader in sustainable sourcing and foodservice, supports the Exploratorium’s dining programs.
- SEAGLASS Restaurant: This 200-seat waterfront restaurant is located within the Bay Observatory building, at the end of Pier 15, and offers stunning views of the bay and the Bay Bridge. The menu caters to a wide range of palates, pairing local seafood with innovative cuisine in dishes such as marinated sardines with avocado, red onion pickle, lime, and sea salt, and a Sonoma Coast kelp salad with quinoa, while also offering a localized take on classic, cheesy Welsh rarebit. Diners can experience unique exhibits within the restaurant, including the innovative Icy Bodies, an artwork by Exploratorium artist Shawn Lani in which fragments of dry ice spin like comets across a sheet of water below the glass-topped bar. Thermal Mixing, created by the Exploratorium Outdoor Studio Team and Dr. Mark Stacy of U.C. Berkeley, is a colorful triptych of panels swirl like giant mood rings on the back wall, showing a compelling visualization of what happens when water of two different temperatures mixes - just as it does right outside in the Bay. While it caters primarily to museum guests, the public can access the restaurant from an exterior entrance.
- seismic joint: Located at the Embarcadero end of Pier 15, where the historic bulkhead meets the recently retrofitted pier, the 700-square-foot seismic joint provides crowd-pleasing, informal dining options to hundreds of Exploratorium guests and public visitors daily. Oriented toward families, the to-go menu includes items such as crispy fried haddock in a lemony yogurt as well as clam chowder — made in New England, Manhattan, Mexican or Vietnamese styles.
- Trikes on the go. A twist on to-go food, the Exploratorium’s custom three-wheeled carts offer snacks and hot and cold beverages, including coffee drinks. The ‘food trikes’ move freely around the outside of the Exploratorium.
- Event catering: To educate, challenge, and delight adult guests at the Exploratorium’s special events, including the popular After Dark series, Curiosity Catering offers unique and perceptually challenging food and drink options such as a kombu-yuzu martini or, in the “perception bar,” a choice between a devil’s food cake with vanilla icing and its lookalike black bean cupcake with sour cream ‘frosting.’
Presenting Curiosity Catering Co.
Executive Chef Loretta Keller and Operations Manager Clay Reynolds have partnered with sustainable food service pioneer Bon Appétit Management Co. to form Curiosity Catering.
Loretta Keller, Executive Chef, is known for her use of high-quality, small production ingredients in menus heavily influenced by the flavors of southern Europe and the Mediterranean. She worked with Jeremiah Tower — who with Alice Waters is credited for the birth of California cuisine — for several years at Stars and Stars Café. Her restaurant COCO5OO in the dynamic South of Market district has become a regular fixture in the San Francisco Chronicle’s “Top 100” restaurants. Ms. Keller established a new standard for museum dining in San Francisco with the launch of the Academy Café and the Moss Room Restaurant in 2008 at the California Academy of Sciences. She is a 2009 James Beard Foundation Award Finalist for Best Chef in the California/Pacific region.
Clay Reynolds, Operations Manager, began his career in Louisville, Kentucky, learning from some of the region's most talented restaurateurs and developing a passion for wine and spirits. He relocated to San Francisco in 2001 and worked at some of the city's iconic dining destinations, including The Cypress Club and Fleur de Lys. Noticing that the city's chefs focused on small-batch, local ingredients that offered better flavors and more vibrant textures than their mass-produced counterparts, he wondered why this same approach was not being applied to the world of wine and spirits. Clay brought this vision to life at COCO5OO in 2005, and again at the Academy Café and The Moss Room in 2009, and he has been a pioneering champion of artisanal producers of wine and spirits ever since.
Bon Appetit Management Company is an on-site restaurant company offering full food-service management to corporations, universities, and specialty venues. Based in Palo Alto, CA, Bon Appétit has more than 500 cafés in 32 states, including eBay, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Getty Center. All Bon Appétit food is cooked from scratch, including sauces, stocks, and soups. A pioneer in environmentally sound sourcing policies, Bon Appétit has developed programs addressing local purchasing, the overuse of antibiotics, sustainable seafood, the food and climate change connection, humanely raised meat and eggs, and farm worker welfare. It has received numerous awards for its work, from organizations including the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the James Beard Foundation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Seafood Choices Alliance, and The Humane Society of the United States.
Curiosity Catering operates in partnership with the Exploratorium, working with Silva Raker, Director of Business Development.
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