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Curated lunch at the Crocker Cafe

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As unlikely locations for business lunches go, Crocker Cafe by Supper Club is a work of art.

Tucked in a light-filled atrium on the first floor of Crocker Art Museum, Crocker Cafe is all things to all patrons: a grab-and-go sandwich-and-salad stop; a casual eatery where you order food at the counter and bus your own dishes; and a full-service restaurant with linens, flowers and its own menu.

Look through the slideshow for a look at menu offerings

Crocker Cafe is hidden in plain sight — two blocks away from downtown financial and government offices on Capitol Mall and two blocks from the CalPERS castle. Yes, it’s popular with museum-goers and ladies who lunch. But in six visits in the past three months, I’ve eavesdropped on a sales presentation, two job interviews and at least one lovers’ lunch. Those smartly dressed ladies lunching around a large table? They were as focused on their smartphones as they were on the bow-tie pasta and BLTs before them.

Crocker Art Museum is regarded as one of the best small museums in the West, and as with restaurants inside larger museums from New York to Seattle, the Crocker’s restaurant is as well curated as the museum’s art collections: locally focused and globally influenced, with rotating exhibitions — er, ever-changing specials — that keep people coming back.

Crocker Cafe is operated by Matt and Yvette Woolston, proprietors of Supper Club, one of the brighter-shining stars orbiting Sacramento’s dining scene in the past few years but a restaurant which has since gone supernova.

The Woolstons, who also own and operate Matteo’s Pizza & Bistro and Matteo’s Cellar in Carmichael, provide catering services at Crocker Art Museum. At Crocker Cafe, chef Matt Woolston paints an engaging menu of seasonal salads and soups, soaring sandwiches, comfort-food plates and bistro entrees.