University of Missouri student dining facility uses tile to define unique dining venues

More than 42,000 sq. ft. of tile – including large-format – were used at The Restaurants at Southwest

The Restaurants at Southwest, University of Missouri’s (Mizzou or MU) newest dining facility, features a collection of distinct dining venues, each with its own character, arranged to create a variety of dining experiences. From the soaring, two-story space of the Legacy Grille to the old-world charm of the pasta venue Olive & Oil, the new 600-seat dining center serves as the social hub of the Southwest Neighborhood and can accommodate 2,500-3,000 students living in the nearby residence halls and fraternity and sorority houses.

The finish materials selected by the designers on the project – KWK Architects and associate architect Lawrence Group – reinforce the concept menu and character for each venue, and tile was the first choice for the flooring and walls surfaces. 

“Tile provided a wide range of design possibilities, durability and ease of maintenance unmatched by other materials. Tile also contributed to the sustainable goals of the project, which is anticipated to achieve a LEED Silver certification,” said Sara Koester, AIA, Principal at KWK Architects. 

More than 42,000 sq. ft. of tile costing an estimated $200,000 were installed at The Restaurants at Southwest, said Project Manager Derek Kutz of tile contractor Richardet Floor Covering, Perryville, Mo. A team of up to 12 installers had just 10 weeks to complete the intricate tile project, which included 20,000 sq. ft. of floor tile; 22,000 sq. ft. of wall tile; 20 different styles of Schluter metal edging; 48 different tile styles; 620 50-lb. bags of mortar; 268 units of epoxy grout and 100 units of grout. The main tile manufacturers used on the project included: Crossville, American Olean, Marazzi USA and Daltile. Floor tile formats included 6” x 6”, 12” x 12”, 12” x 24”, 6” x 24”, 24” x 24” and 6” x 36”.

“This was by far one of the most tedious tile jobs, with the most tile patterns and selections, that we have ever worked on,” said Kutz. “We were able to stay on top of the tile design details by having one worker behind the blueprint and one on the wall at all times.”

Legacy Grille

The main venue of the dining facility is the Legacy Grille, which is designed to celebrate the rich heritage of MU sports and is filled with historic photographs in large wall murals, accented with the patterns and colors of the school’s mascot, the tiger. Unglazed ceramic mosaic tile in a multicolored, custom tiger-striped pattern is used on the venue fronts and soffit. 

Small-size tile (1” x 1”) worked well for creating the curved shapes of the tiger stripes, one of the more challenging tile jobs on the project. Tile installers spent 10-12 hours cutting the 1’ x 2’ tile sheets into the desired pattern. The complex pattern was laid out on the floor and approved by the architect prior to being pieced together on the wall during installation. 

 

Tiger Avenue Deli

The Tiger Avenue Deli has an urban feel and features hot deli sandwiches fresh off the grill. Bright orange tiles pop across the back wall to animate the venue and add to the “sizzle” feel. 

1+5+3

The soup-and-salad venue, 1+5+3, features dark brown subway tile on the back wall as a contrast to the bamboo wood venue front, and a shocking lime green glass tile accent band across the front signals that this is the “fresh and healthy venue.”

1839 Kitchen

The home-cooking station, 1839 Kitchen, has a traditional look with raised wood cabinets, copper accents and “marble” counters. A two-colored, two-sized tile pattern was used to animate the back wall and add to the residential character. 

 

Olive & Oil

Olive & Oil, a Mediterranean and pasta concept, features hand-painted, decorative tiles and painted plaster walls for an “old-world” feel. 

Truffles

The dessert venue, Truffles, has a rich palette of glass tiles in golds and purples and chocolate- and caramel-colored walls and ceilings. 

Tile was used for the flooring
material throughout the dining areas in multi-colored, multi-sized patterns, with each seating area having its own, well-defined pattern and circulation area. Tile offered the durability needed for this type of facility, as well as the ease of maintenance. 

Porcelain tile with the appeal of concrete and cut stone was used in all seating areas except Olive & Oil, where wood-look tile was used to add warmth to the space. Quarry tile was used for the rest of the venues’ flooring and food production kitchens.

Tile contributed to several of the sustainability goals on the project as well, as many of the tiles were made from recycled materials and green-squared certified.

Kutz said one of the greatest challenges on the project was meeting the tight deadline and coordinating the tile installation around the subcontractors working in the same spaces. Open communications and scheduling among all subcontractors were the key to keeping the project on track, said Kutz. The tile installers worked a minimum of 12 hours a day, and a couple of Saturdays, to complete the project on schedule.