After a search of available properties, the decision was made to move a couple of miles up the road to 3800 N. Mesa Street. While the new location offered a larger interior and significantly more parking, the Means family also recognized the property came with some challenges. “The question at hand was how do we carry the signature look and feel of our restaurant into a new space that, in many ways, was dramatically different than our original home?” said Mesa Street Grill’s general manager Aaron Means. The Means family decided to enlist the help of a team of local design and construction experts to lead the renovation. Isaac Castaneda Jr., owner of Designs by Isaac was a key part of that team to bring the look and feel of the original Mesa Street Grill into the new space.
The original restaurant was generously decorated with original paintings and prints as well as small sculptures that Means and his wife Annette acquired during trips to France, Italy and other stopping points across the globe along with classic advertising posters. “Annette had a great sense of style. She created an environment inside the restaurant that was inviting and yet very upscale,” said Means. They wanted to continue with the same theme when they moved to the new location but knew that would face some challenges.
One of the hurdles of the project was the bright colors on the walls from the previous owners. “The former occupant of the new space was Haskins House restaurant. The interior was painted in UTEP orange and blue. All of that had to be resurfaced and repainted. Beyond that, my most pressing thought was how to carry the look and feel of the original, rustic Mesa Street Grill into a larger, more contemporary space,” said Castaneda. He went on to say the imposing 16-foot ceilings of the new location were in stark contrast to the original location with its low tin ceiling. “To support the transition we constructed tin-adorned, drop ceiling structures, interspersed throughout the restaurant. The color and the pattern of the tin on the drop panels matched closely to the original ceiling design and tone. Mesa’s art collection and memorabilia was brought over and carefully placed inside the space,” said Castaneda. The design group even paid attention to the details of the bar—going as far as matching the color characteristics of new bar’s granite top to Mesa’s original pub-style bar surface.
Renovations of the new space took four months. The transition was smooth enough that the restaurant closed for only a week as preparations were made for the grand opening celebration at their new home. The design of the new restaurant was extremely well received. Customers embraced the new look and the new location. “I really like what they accomplished. It’s a new, modern space – but yet they were able to maintain the charm and feel of the original restaurant,” said Phil Robinet.
“I think that Isaac and the other talented individuals who contributed to the construction and interior design did an exceptional job. They helped to bring our design standards to a whole new level without sacrificing the warmth, inviting luxury that has always been central to our branding,” said Aaron Means.
The opportunity to work with a popular fine dining restaurant was an incredible experience for Castaneda. “This was a project that brought me a great deal of personal satisfaction. Being able to contribute to Mesa Street Grill’s legacy was a tremendous honor for me,” said Castaneda.