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Aspen Art Museum announces new concept for its restaurant

Chef Brian Banister’s Rooftop Café will open Dec. 3

Staff report
Chef Brian Banister and Aspen Art Museum food and Alex Fonseca on the site of their incoming Rooftop Cafe, opening Dec. 3.

The Aspen Art Museum has appointed a new culinary team and will launch a new restaurant in its rooftop space when the building reopens on Dec. 3. The renamed Rooftop Café will be led by Chef Brian Banister and food and beverage director Alex Fonseca, the museum announced.

The pair will work closely with nearby farms and community partners on the new restaurant, set beside the outdoor art installations in the rooftop sculpture garden.

“I am delighted to welcome chef Banister and Alex Fonseca to the Aspen Art Museum team,” director Nicola Lees said in the announcement. “As the premier rooftop restaurant in Aspen, we have a unique opportunity that combines the city’s iconic setting atop a creative institution in the center of our community. The Rooftop Café is truly a gathering place not only to enjoy the company of fellow diners, but to serve as a venue that promotes dialogue and community connections, integrated within our vibrant artistic programming.”



Bannister and Fonseca succeed the husband and wife culinary team of Julia and Allen Domingos, who originated the museum’s rooftop So Café concept and led it since the new building’s opening in 2014. Their last day of operation at the museum was Oct. 16, when an extended closure began to prepare for the installation of this winter’s “Andy Warhol: Lifetimes” exhibition.

“We are very proud to have developed the AAM’s food and beverage program as the founding culinary partner of this fabulous Aspen institution,” the pair wrote last month. “While we have enjoyed our collaboration with the museum over the past eight years, we feel it is time to shift our focus on family and our next culinary venture.”




In addition to the new dining service, the museum will continue to operate The Slippery Slope, a functioning sculpture by Los Angeles-based artists Adam Stamp that serves as a bar on the rooftop and opened last year.

Banister said the restaurant would team with local farms and the food cooperative Farm Runners to source ingredients from the Roaring Fork, Gunnison and Grand valleys.

“The Rooftop Café’s offerings will reflect many of my personal passions around sustainability, plant-based cuisine and community agriculture,” Banister said in the announcement. “You will see this in a menu that is continuously updated throughout each season, making it a unique addition to Aspen’s culinary scene.”

Fonseca added an expanded beverage program is in the works including a selection of natural and biodynamic wines from smaller winemakers from around the world as well as coffee from Bonfire Coffee in Carbondale and beers from Casey Brewing in Glenwood Springs and Primitive Beer from Longmont.

“I am confident we’ll place the Rooftop Café among the best of the après-ski destinations in the city,” Fonseca said.

Cafe service hours will coincide with the museum’s schedule, Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. In addition, there will be a focus on après from 3 p.m. to closing including an après food menu and activation of The Slippery Slope.


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