TAMPA — The Museum of Science & Industry announced Wednesday that Ovations Food Services of Lutz will manage the facility’s food and beverage operations.
The new Everything’s Fresh Market will emphasize healthy and made-to-order food when it opens in August. The food court will offer salads, panini sandwiches and a Yogurt Cafe with multiple flavors and toppings.
The museum’s MOSI cafe, which previously was managed in-house, was shut down earlier this year after the state temporarily closed the cafe due to health inspection violations.
“This new partnership will enable MOSI to focus solely on its non-profit mission — science, technology, engineering, art and math education,” the museum said Wednesday in a press release.
Ovations manages food operations at more than 140 facilities in North America, including the Straz Center in Tampa, the Lakeland Center in Lakeland, and Ruth Eckerd Hall and the Capitol Theatre in Clearwater. Ovations is a subsidiary of the Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment firm Comcast-Spectacor, a Comcast company.
Five companies bid for the multi-year contract, MOSI communications director Shannon N. Herbon said.
Robert Thomas, MOSI’s board chairman, said in an April interview that Lowry Park Zoo hired Ovations to provide food and beverage service during his time as chairman of the zoological society.
Ovations, he said, “learned how to crack the code for these types of venues. They do a great job.”
Ovations will remodel the building’s food operations and renovate the space. Until the expected reopening in mid-August, the company temporarily will operate a food cart.
On March 12, a Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation inspector temporarily closed the cafe after rodent droppings and roaches were found throughout the kitchen. An inspector cited the cafe for dirt and dust buildup on walls and storage shelving, and for a microwave encrusted with food debris, the state report said.
The inspection violations were fixed so the cafe could reopen the following day, but museum officials voluntarily closed it for a professional cleaning. The board then decided to seek outside vendors who could more efficiently provide food services. The museum made do with a rotating assortment of food trucks.
“My children grew-up enjoying all that MOSI has to offer,” Ken Young, president of Ovations, said in a press release. “And now, I get to be a part of bringing the very best in the food industry, on behalf of Ovations, to future generations visiting the museum.”