Monterey Bay Aquarium Update


Service Systems Associates named food service provider for Monterey Bay Aquarium; Chef Cindy Pawlcyn continues as culinary partner
SSA to provide dining options that reflect the Aquarium’s mission

ContactMonterey Bay Aquarium has selected Service Systems Associates (SSA), one of the country’s leading hospitality management companies, to be its new culinary operator. Under a multi-year agreement, the Denver based company will take over the service operations for Cindy’s Waterfront, including its café and coffee bar, full-service restaurant, and private event catering in February 2015.

The partnership between the two organizations started 10 years ago when SSA was selected to manage the aquarium’s Gift and Bookstores. “SSA is excited to expand our partnership with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and we will create unique and memorable dining experiences for guests just like the vibrant retail experience currently offered,” said Tim Brantley, SSA Chief Executive Officer.

“We’re very pleased about the expanded partnership with SSA,” said Mimi Hahn, the aquarium’s Vice President of Marketing. “The company’s commitment to the environment through its green initiatives aligns perfectly with the aquarium’s mission, to inspire conservation of the oceans.”

SSA also prides itself on its ability to support and expand its clients’ missions and to offer the latest trends in culinary and retail operations. SSA manages culinary and retail amenities at more than 40 zoos, aquariums and museums in the U.S.

Award-winning culinary partner, Chef Cindy Pawlcyn, preserves her indelible culinary stamp with a farm-to-table menu and inspiring seasonal dishes in both the café and restaurant. SSA’s proven track record in managing cultural organization culinary operations is expected to bring an exciting fresh perspective to an essential part of the aquarium’s lauded guest experience.

“We will continue to use our expertise and resources to provide outstanding culinary and retail experiences to the guests and members of the world’s most popular aquarium,” said Brantley.

As a leader in incorporating eco-friendly practices in daily operations, SSA is committed to the aquarium’s Seafood Watch program and uses its guide in purchasing sustainable seafood for all of its culinary operations across the United States. It also plans to continue the emphasis on fresh, local and seasonal ingredients and on wild-caught and farmed seafood that adheres to the highest standards of the aquarium’s respected Seafood Watch program. Brantley added that SSA chefs plan to give guests a culinary experience that’s rich in local flavor while featuring sustainable seafood dishes.

SSA has been a supporter of the aquarium for many years, not only through the retail partnership, but also as a business partner in the aquarium’s quest to inspire a new generation of ocean stewards.

The aquarium celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014 and is home to sea otters, sharks, octopuses, tunas, penguins and thousands of other marine animals. Popular exhibits include the three-story Kelp Forest, touch pools and a million-gallon Open Sea exhibit. In August 2014, the world’s largest travel site, TripAdvisor®, named the Monterey Bay Aquarium as the best one in the world.

The mission of the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the ocean. Through its award-winning exhibits, education programs and cutting-edge marine research, it has established itself as a leader among aquariums worldwide. It is consistently ranked as the No. 1 aquarium in the United States and the top aquarium for families. It has reached more than 55 million visitors, and tens of millions more through its website and through outreach programs like Seafood Watch. The aquarium’s Seafood Watch program works to transform the seafood market in ways that support sustainable fisheries practices and fish-farming operations. Cindy’s Waterfront brings Pawlcyn’s indelible culinary stamp to Monterey County. Aquarium visitors can enjoy Pawlcyn’s inspired seasonal dishes both in the full-service restaurant and cafe and coffee bar. The beautiful space offers delicious dining and spectacular ocean views.


Headquartered in Denver, Service Systems Associates, and its sister company K-M Concessions Inc., manages retail and culinary amenities at museums, botanic gardens, zoos and aquariums in the United States, including the Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Dallas Zoos, Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, History Colorado Center, Saint Louis Science Center, the Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry and Monterey Bay Aquarium among other notable cultural attractions. The company is a national leader in guest service operations for cultural attractions, serving over 26 million guests annually.


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