Mesa City is the “café” version of the New York City food landmark Mesa Grill.

It features a smaller size, less expensive menu, and simpler environment than the full Mesa experience and is more a neighborhood restaurant than a destination one. Pentagram modified and updated design elements created for the Flatiron District original in 1991 to suit a new space on the Upper East Side five years later.

We retained design motifs that defined the “brand identity” of the original but re-interpreted the elements for the new space. The same cowboy print material has been used on the banquettes at Mesa City as at Mesa Grill, but the color palette (for paint, carpeting, vinyl tile, linoleum tabletops) has been updated to a more fashionable range. The oversized photographic images used as artwork on the Grill walls have been blown up as and even larger, collage fabric mural lining the space and adding much needed sound-absorbing surfaces. To further address concerns about the sound level in the smaller space, we specified carpeting for the floor – not missing the opportunity for visual fun by specifying alternating panels in the blue and yellow shades of corn tortilla chips.

We also re-made the Grill’s custom perforated light fixtures with a painted interior surface. The lighting thus becomes the vehicle for the splashes of color that characterize the food and the environment at both restaurants. Another successful “trademark” used in both spaces is a glass wall between the busy kitchen and the dining room, which visually connects and stimulates the action between these areas.

Through these refreshing re-uses of identifying designs, we've effectively “sub-branded” a successful establishment.