The Midwestern Restaurant With An Art Collection To Rival The Met

Sometimes, the best dining experiences come in the most unexpected places. Small towns in the American Midwest aren't typically known for their exciting cuisine, but if you hunt around, you can get something that's more than hearty. The Midwest is home to local delicacies, flavorful cheeses, world-class pizza, and a history that draws on Indigenous culture. Chefs have started to take note; in recent years, restaurants serving midwestern classics have popped up in foodie havens like Pasadena and Brooklyn. But the Midwest has more to offer than Chicago-style hot dogs and, in some cases, the kind of fine dining that you typically only find in major cities.

The modest city of Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is home to the headquarters of insurance giant Sentry. Sentry's vast campus includes more than offices: it boasts one of Wisconsin's top golf courses, a boutique hotel, and a small theater. It's also home to various dining options, like the intimate upscale restaurant Muse. Muse is one of the Midwest's hidden gems, with exceptional ambiance and a menu that values the region's unique cuisine. 

Muse offers fine dining with museum-worthy art

Muse opened in 2017, headed by Executive Chef Christopher Ault. Rated one of the best restaurants in Wisconsin by OpenTable, Muse focuses on elevated, locally-sourced cuisine with American and Italian influences. Menu offerings change with the seasons, but you can expect to find hand-made pasta, fresh-caught fish, and steaks. Bottles of wine are displayed along the walls; Muse is also known for its extensive wine list, featuring over 350 labels. Prefer spirits? Muse has a well-curated cocktail menu featuring old standbys and seasonal craft creations. 

One of the restaurant's biggest draws, though, is its art collection. Muse features a rotating collection of work by some of the biggest names in modern art. A signed print by Pablo Picasso numbered 32/50 is bound to impress, but don't overlook the other works on display. Muse's collection includes "Dos Personajes" by 20th-century Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo, known for his innovative printmaking techniques, and "Composition Fantastique," a color lithograph by Marc Chagall. The restaurant also houses work by glass artist Dale Chihuly and a painting by LeRoy Neiman, done in the artist's characteristic vibrant style.

Whether you're an art lover who likes food, a food lover who likes art, or simply a Wisconsinite in search of something new, Muse offers an exceptional dining experience.