Ginkgo Restaurant and Café

Landmarks, 2.58350
Alternate Name
Evelyn's Pantry
Ginkgo Tea Room
In 1963 Suzette Morton Davidson, chairman of the board and Joy Morton's granddaughter, saw a need for a small eating facility, so she commissioned Arthur Myhrum to convert the Administration Building's second floor into the Ginkgo Tea Room. The tea room and the Ginkgo Gift Shop below it, opened in 1964, but only remained there until 1969 when the space was repurposed for staff offices. At this time, Myhrum was designing a new Visitor Center which included a restaurant.

The expanded Ginkgo Tea Room reopened in 1973 with an adjacent snack shop called "Evelyn's Pantry," named for Evelyn Naser, the tea room's first manager. An article in The Morton Arboretum's summer newsletter of that year described the space:

The Ginkgo Tea Room and Evelyn's Pantry provide a serene and beautiful setting overlooking Meadow Lake in which to have luncheon, afternoon tea, or a choice from the a la carte menu in the Pantry. Japanese lanterns illuminate the tea room, and a number of handsome pressed plant specimens by the late Lowell Kammerer decorate the walls. Potted herbs are placed on each table.

In time, the Ginkgo Tea Room and Evelyn's Pantry were renamed the Ginkgo Restaurant and Café. With the construction of a new Visitor Center in 2004, the restaurant underwent a redesign. The space now features floor to ceiling views of Meadow Lake and was decorated with natural stone saved from the original Visitor Center. The seating area can accommodate up to 350 people and can be divided into smaller spaces, available to rent for private events.

The restaurant underwent another renovation that was completed in 2018. The food stations in the service area were replaced with a more streamlined layout where guests order and pay in a central location and then proceed to the dining area.