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They say that you go to an art museum and stop to eat at the restaurant on the side. At Crystal Bridges Museum of Art in Bentonville, you go for the art AND the food. Then again, why not go just for the food?
In case you ever wondered, the on-site restaurant at Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville is called Eleven because it opened on the eleventh day of the eleventh month in the year twenty-eleven.
I’ve been popping in to grab a bite or sip of coffee at Eleven since it opened on 11.11.11, and I am just one of many locals known to come in just for the dining experience. However, I will never turn down a quick side trip to see my favorite paintings to say hi. Crystal Bridges Museum is a world-class museum, after all.
When Crystal Bridges first opened, its Eleven restaurant focused on imitating the museum’s theme: American Art. As the years have gone by, the museum has branched out a bit, and so has the cuisine.
Executive Chef Tim Ordway focuses on Southern cuisine and ingredients that draw inspiration from revolving exhibits. For example, when Diego Rivera’s America exhibition came in the spring/summer of 2023, Chef Tim would put a Mexican-inspired spin on ingredients and cocktails.
Above all, Eleven provides a welcoming space for museum guests to stop by and hang out, pause over a beverage or a meal, and breathe in the gorgeous space.
Eleven is open for lunch every day (closed on Tuesdays) from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The menu is all about accessibility for everyone, whether your diet is vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free or everything in between, and highlights sandwiches, burgers, salads, sides, kids meals and signature dishes.
I highly recommend enjoying Crispy Seasoned Fries with signature Eleven spice and sharing an Heirloom Tomato Salad. Talk about a perfect combination of hot comfort food with mixed greens, heirloom tomato wedges, striped beets, and burrata drizzled with Banyuls vinegar and olive oil.
Another dish I recommend to get the whole “Eleven experience” is the Grilled Squash and Beans signature dish. With a focus on local farmers and artisans, this dish features summer squash and runner beans with tahini vinaigrette, seasoned bulgur and sunflower seed gremolata. If you’ve never tasted runner beans, they are similar to fava beans – which I’ve always described as the filet mignon of beans.
Eleven also has Bar and Bites from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday nights, highlighting crafted small plates, cocktails and wines. Be sure to stop by before 6:30 p.m. to enjoy happy hour.
The Coffee Bar and grab-and-go hours are the same as the museum. So, if you miss lunch at Eleven, grab an Onyx Coffee Lab espresso or coffee and an extensive grab-and-go assortment of pastries, snacks and sandwiches.
Bentonville is a unique area overflowing with fabulous restaurants, coffee shops and bars. Eleven at Crystal Bridges has all that in one location… and more!
Did you know that they offer premier culinary experiences? Plan to add these events to your calendar and make your reservations.
All these culinary require reservations; more information can be found on the Eleven website.
While it is true that Crystal Bridges is an exceptional museum experience in Bentonville’s backyard, you may be missing out if you haven’t stopped to admire and breathe in all Eleven offers regarding food and drink.
Eleven will leave you with a comfortable, relaxing space like the museum and marveling. And to savor every bite.
Eleven at Crystal Bridges
600 Museum Way
Monday, Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday – 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Tuesday – CLOSED
Thursday, Friday – 11 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., 4 – 8 p.m. (Bar and Bites) (Happy Hour 4 – 6:30 p.m.)
Thursday, Friday – 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. RSVP, Evenings in Eleven five-course menu
Coffee Bar Grab & Go – Regular museum hours
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