Mission Restaurant Supply shines a light on the Valley’s restaurant scene.

Project Mission Restaurant Supply
Location McAllen
Client Mission Restaurant Supply
Architect Candid–Works
Design Team Candid Rogers, FAIA, Fernando Morales, Rogelio Rodriguez, Assoc. AIA
General Contractor Joeris
Civil Engineer Melden & Hunt
Structural Engineer Chanin Engineering
MEP Engineer Trinity MEP Engineering
Landscape Architect Heffner Design Team
Photographer Leonid Furmansky

The Rio Grande Valley (RGV), a region known for its rich and varied cuisine, is home to a growing restaurant scene—and to a new Mission Restaurant Supply store designed by the San Antonio-based architecture firm Candid–Works. Project architect Fernando Morales explains that one of the design goals for the project, which is located in McAllen, was “to buck the stereotype of big box stores being bland and boring.” The project aims to redefine the typology by prioritizing luminous interiors and seamless connections to the surrounding environment. Though there were unique challenges associated with breaking ground at the onset of the pandemic, the project persisted, with a focus on efficiency, durability, and longevity; it opened in early 2021.

The 22,360-sf McAllen store acts as a central hub for the Rio Grande Valley and surrounding areas, providing small wares as well as heavy equipment for restaurant installations. The business offers in-store sales support and also serves as a central point for outside sales, supplying equipment for new and established restaurants. 

There is minimal pedestrian traffic nearby, so the design aimed to create an eye-catching presence along the street by captivating motorists with glimpses of shiny stainless-steel appliances. The architects opted for a significant amount of glazing, although it meant that the south and west facades would face intense sunlight and be prone to heat gain. To mitigate the heating and cooling load caused by excessive sunlight, a “veil” in the form of a steel-framed shading structure with perforated corrugated metal was applied to the facade as a treatment to the upper glazing. This feature not only provides the requisite solar shading but adds visual interest, along with a sense of lightness. At night, the store “glows like a jewel box,” says Morales. 

Improving energy efficiency and structural resilience drove many of the design decisions. The building’s white exterior serves not only as a design statement but also as a strategy to reflect excess heat. Its roof design, and slope specifically, make it feasible to install a rainwater capture system in the future. Concrete tilt-up wall construction was used instead of pre-engineered metal as a means of bolstering the structure against the destructive potential of severe storms, and the ramp-accessible entry is elevated 24 inches above grade to safeguard against potential floods. The surrounding landscape design, spearheaded by Heffner, combines xeriscape elements with culinary-themed, drought-tolerant plants, providing a vegetative buffer that enhances the experience for passersby. (These landscaping efforts have even gained praise from local officials and commissioners.)

Visitors enter the store through a corner entry strategically placed to engage both the south and west parking areas. The building defies stereotypes, creating a user experience centered on comfort, dynamism, and visual engagement. The interiors comprise a multiplicity of spaces, including retail, showrooms, a restaurant-grade working kitchen and bar, a warehouse, and office/meeting spaces. The front two-thirds of the building is dedicated to retail and open to the public, while the remaining third serves as a warehouse to support commercial kitchen installations across the region. The high ceilings and tall glazing allow daylight to reach all interior areas, including the upper portion of the building, which houses a mezzanine for outside sales, offices, and community-accessible meeting rooms. 

The demonstration area serves as an educational tool for restaurant owners, allowing them to explore equipment through a hands-on experience in order to make more informed purchasing decisions. The kitchen includes refrigeration, exhaust, and dishwashing areas, mirroring a real restaurant setup, and the bar showcases thoughtful design elements, like a tile treatment featuring a unique pattern created by the owners. 

With the RGV’s rising restaurant scene, the Mission Restaurant Supply is positioned as a key player in supporting the thriving culinary landscape, and its building stands out as more than a flagship store; it represents the company’s recognition of the significance of the region’s market. The McAllen store has become pivotal for the business, with the commitment to design excellence and collaborative spirit among all parties involved contributing to a successful outcome. Now approaching its third anniversary, the project is a testament to what can be achieved through dedication and teamwork. Its success suggests that it could serve as a template for future Mission Restaurant Supply locations and to showcase the potential for upgrades across the company’s existing establishments.  

Mario Serna is a PhD student at Texas A&M University and an architecture instructor at South Texas College.

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