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As its name suggests, Grand Lux Café was designed with the intention of creating the ultimate dining experience. By incorporating a selection of rich fabrics and textures, custom handcrafted details and upscale materials such as natural stone into its design, the restaurant easily achieves the “upscale casual” appearance that it strives to project. While the first of its kind was opened several years ago in Las Vegas, other locations have since been established around the country. Among the most recent additions to the chain, which is a sister brand of The Cheesecake Factory, is the Grand Lux Café at the Town Center Mall in Boca Raton, FL, which includes elegant mosaic work that was manufactured by Mosaico Italiano of Pompano Beach, FL.
The idea for Grand Lux Café originated when David Overton, founder of The Cheesecake Factory Restaurants, was approached by The Venetian Resort, Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, and asked to design an upscale casual restaurant concept for their property. Excited with the possibilities, Overton traveled to Europe to study Italian trattorias, French bistros and the grand cafes and pastry shops of Vienna. During his tour, attention was given to food, architecture, décor and design, which provided the inspiration for what the restaurant is today.
“Grand Lux Café defines a new category in dining, that of the super upscale casual restaurant,” stated the corporation. “Taking design and style themes from the Old World cafes and bistros of Europe, Grand Lux Café provides our guests with an escape from the ordinary.”
The interior design of the Florida location was created by The Cheesecake Factory’s own in-house design team. Mosaico Italiano was contracted by Grand Lux Café in the summer of 2006, when construction on the Florida location commenced. The 11,000-square-foot restaurant features Inca Gold, Giallo Reale and Rojo Alicante 5/8- x 5/8-inch micro-mosaics, which were used for the floor design throughout the space as well as for some wall areas.
Additionally, American Stone Co. of Houston, TX, was hired to provide surfacing material as well as to install the stonework. The company is collaborating with Grand Lux on other locations as well, according to Bob Walker of American Stone Co., project manager.
“Each one has a little different design, but the majority are close to the same,” he said. “We are doing one in Las Vegas that is twice the size, but obviously it is a little different because it is connected to a casino.”
Walker explained that the mosaics at the Boca Raton eatery were primarily used for two medallions that were part of the floor design. “The big one is approximately 10 feet wide x 10 feet long,” he said, adding that this is a half medallion at the main entrance to the restaurant. “The other is 5 x 5 feet, and more oval, at the mall entrance.” The mosaics were also used in a geometric pattern at the corridors.
The mosaics were mesh-mounted on 12- x 12-inch tiles at Mosaico Italiano’s factory and shipped to American Stone Co.’s shop. “We fabricate them here,” said Walker. “They are installed on HardieBacker™ board, shipped to the jobsite and installed in two days. It took about a week and a half to fabricate.”
According to Walker, the fabrication process entailed following a drawing to get the correct size and shape of the pieces. But overall, the entire process - including the installation - went smoothly.
“We installed it pretty easily, but it did take some time,” said the project manager. “We had to line up the different cuts and different colors.” He added that thinset and grout from Mapei were used in the installation process.
Further adding to the overall ambiance of the Grand Lux Café in Boca Raton are marble tabletops and hand-blown glass fixtures. Additionally, motifs borrowing from the great artists of the “grand cafe” era envelop the dining area, bringing warmth and personality to the space. “Designed for grandeur, but never forgetting comfort, the inviting dining rooms are perfect for a cozy party of two or a festive party of 20,” stated Grand Lux Café management.