Our Inspired Suggestions for the Name of the New Menil Cafe (and You Can Name It, Too)

Courtesy of the Menil Collection
A rendering of the new cafe in Menil Park.
The new cafe at The Menil Collection seems like it's been in development forever. But recently we received some promising information that leads us to believe the café is, in fact, happening -- and soon!

The press office for the Menil announced that the café will be housed in one of the 20th-century bungalows that surround the museum. It will be located directly across from the main entrance of the museum, off Sul Ross Street, next to the museum bookstore.

Chef Greg Martin, formerly of Cafe Annie, Cafe Express and Taco Milagro, will be operating the new space.

This is all welcome news, but the most exciting part of all this is that the café doesn't yet have a name. The folks in charge want the public to name it, so they're holding a competition.

Submissions must be e-mailed to CafeNameGame@menil.org by Monday, November 25, to be considered, and the winning choice will be announced on January 6, 2014. The winner will receive a table for two at a V.I.P. preview lunch.

You should all definitely submit an option or two, but don't count on winning. We at Eating...Our Words came up with pretty much the best options ever.


1. La Pensée
I'd name the garden cafe La Pensée, which means "the thought" in French, because it is thought and interaction that represent the power of art on the human experience. This seems fitting, as the de Menils were humanists. Plus, it's got a nice little ring to it.

Brooke Viggiano

2. The Bungalow
I would name it The Bungalow, because it sounds cool, and because the cafe will be in one of the bungalows. Simple but apt.

Mai Pham

Location Info


The Menil Collection

1515 Sul Ross, Houston, TX

Category: General

Menil Park

1533 Sul Ross St., Houston, TX

Category: General

Cafe Express - CLOSED

3200 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Taco Milagro - CLOSED

2555 Kirby, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

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My Voice Nation Help

Just call it The Menil Cafe. It is a name that is precise, unpretentious, has durability. Stupid, cutesy names have a short life and often curse the location. It would be like naming a bar, Mars. Cute for about 2 minutes.


All of these suggestions are terrible.  La Pensee in particular is really bad, as it sounds too much like penis and any sign bearing the word would be rightly vandalized.  I don't want to think about penises while I'm eating, thanks.

The best choice would be Munchies at the Menil.  It's whimsical!

paval topcommenter

Dominque & John's Piano Bar and Cafe

Menil's- Piano Bar and Cafe

D&J-Piano Cafe

definitely something honoring the legacy of Dominique and John Menil as well as Renzo Pianos influence on them and the buildings housing the collection. Playing with the architects last name allows for a lot of options. 

Of course a piano should be part of the inventory in the cafe as including RPs name would invoke the expectation of a piano in it. 

Josette Arvizu
Josette Arvizu

What kind of animal takes photos of artwork at a gallery?

Molly Martin
Molly Martin

It depends. If they pronounce it MenNILL, it could be the Menil Grill, but if they want people to pronounce it MenEEL, it could be Menil Meal. Either way, it would be a nice way to figure out how to pronounce it.

Christopher Alden
Christopher Alden

How about... "You Can't Take Pictures at Our Art Museum Cafe"


Cy & Muse

Which is what one does taking in the collection, with offhand references to Vance Muse, Menil's director of communications, and Cy Twombly. And of course the late Flora & Muse.


But, if they don't feature a Schlumburger on the menu, well...............

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