Our Inspired Suggestions for the Name of the New Menil Cafe (and You Can Name It, Too)
3. Marinetti and Fillia
The Futurist Cookbook is a totally not made-up thing.
Back in 1930, John and Dominique de Menil hadn't yet amassed a world-class art collection, let alone bequeathed it to an immensely lucky Houston. In fact, when infamous Futurists Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and Fillìa released their Manifesto of Futurist Cooking, the de Menils hadn't yet tied the knot. In a bit of edible-art-revisionist-history, I see a sumptuous wedding with all the delights of a futurist meal for the enjoyment of the guests. Perhaps an appetizer of atomized roses, sniffed under a flood of red light, and Chicken With Ball Bearings would have made a lovely centerpiece. Given how laughable and polarizing the Manifesto was at the time, and how similar it is in exploratory temperament to such temples of modern gastronomy as Grant Achatz's Next and Alinea, not to mention our own avant-garde outpost, The Pass, I think it only makes sense that a forward-thinking art collection borrow from an unexpectedly forward-thinking (if after the fact) pair of artist/chefs in branding its own forward-thinking cafe. For the grand opening, I suggest passed hors d'oeuvres of Polyrhythmic Salad.
4. Mickey's or Mayenne
I would call it Mickey's at The Menil, because the de Menils strongly supported Mickey Leland, the first black congressman from Houston, or Mayenne, because "Menil" is also the name of a township in the French department of Mayenne.
5. The Renzo Piano Bar
It's what he would have wanted. The Italian architect became famous in Europe for his modern designs -- particularly his work on Paris's Centre Georges Pompidou. When he met Dominique de Menil, in 1980, the two decided to collaborate on his first American design. The main building of the Menil was designed by Piano to resemble a large house that just happened to hold a lot of art and have great natural lighting by which to view it. After the museum was completed, Piano posited that it needed a cafe, and the spot he suggested just so happens to be the exact spot where the new cafe will be built. Renzo Piano, always ahead of his time. Someone give that man a Piano bar!