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Case Study — The Capital Grille Restaurant Design

Case Study — The Capital Grille Restaurant Design

Location: Kansas City, MO

Project Size: 18,000 SF

Services: Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing


Based in Philadelphia, JKRP Architects handles nationwide architecture design for The Capital Grille on behalf of their client, Darden Restaurants. The firm needed an MEP team to tackle the restaurant’s relocation in Kansas City to a new space in the Country Club Plaza.

The new site – a uniquely shaped two-story space within an older building – is located in a 100-year-old high-end outdoor mall. Preserving the historic look and feel of the area while upgrading the building services was of utmost importance to the City and Plaza ownership, which presented Dialectic with unique challenges in how they approached the century-old structure. Additionally, the space had previously been used for retail and required significant renovations to create a more open environment.

JKRP needed to capture as much usable space as possible to facilitate the fit-out of the project, which allocated most of the first floor to customer-facing spaces, leaving the basement for storage and equipment. Having two kitchens – one in the basement and one on the street level – created interesting HVAC and plumbing design challenges, including figuring out how to route fresh air to the basement and intercept grease before it got to the wastewater disposal system.

JKRP turned to Kansas City firm Dialectic Engineering to tackle the project.


Dialectic took advantage of the basement space for much of the necessary HVAC, electrical and plumbing equipment, and the team was able to hide some of the ductwork and wiring above the ceiling, which vented exhaust out of the kitchen while abiding by the Plaza’s strict requirements. Dialectic also made sure JKRP had the necessary clearances for duct and ceiling sizes and locations for registers and fixtures.

The Dialectic team understood that precise HVAC control and redundancy required a complex HVAC system using two air-cooled chillers, variable air volume (VAVs) and fan terminal units (FTUs). They designed a catwalk system for suspended equipment, ensuring full access to all the HVAC units, as well as a dedicated mechanical room for floor-mounted equipment. Dialectic also modified the fresh air intake from the alley, resolving an odor issue from nearby trash receptacles. To prevent grease from entering the wastewater disposal system, Dialectic installed a deep grease trap outside the building.

“I think the most important thing Dialectic did is maintain a consistent and open line of communication,” says JKRP Managing Principal Paul Georges, AIA.


Not only was Dialectic able to actively troubleshoot during construction – a tremendous help to JKRP – the team also finished the project on time and on budget.

“They make our job easier because they’re very proactive,” says JKRP Principal Jason Wistreich, AIA, LEED AP. “When we ask questions, we get a quick response, and they always follow up. Our firms have developed a very good relationship that we’re able to work through things seamlessly. I look at Dialectic as our partner, not as our vendor.”

Today, The Capital Grille’s Kansas City location is one of Darden’s largest and highest-performing restaurants, and JKRP continues to partner with Dialectic on all of its Darden projects.

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