February 2011 – Bloomington, Minn. – Krech, O’Brien, Mueller and Associates and building partner PCL Construction recently celebrated the opening of Pita Pit at Mall of America. Located at the third-floor food court beneath the mall’s movie theater complex, Pita Pit boasts exotic toppings, zesty signature sauces and a healthy-food-served-fast approach. KOMA provided architectural services for the restaurant as they executed their first presence in the greater Twin Cities metro area.

“Pita Pit was excited about going into Mall of America as it is a high-profile location,” said project manager Jon LeNoble. “Our charge was to help Pita Pit achieve an eye-catching, visually pleasing presence that separated them from the other food options in the area while still appropriately reinforcing the company’s visual brand.”

Differentiating the restaurant from others in the food court was a challenge, as the immediate vicinity is dense with visual complexity. “There are numerous restaurants and multiple visual elements competing for customer attention,” said LeNoble. “But the team at Pita Pit recognized this and made the decision to invest in high-quality materials and finishes – such as glass and stainless steel tile – to help achieve a look that separated them from the others.”

LeNoble continued, “We worked closely with representatives from MOA as well as Pita Pit director of construction Duane Dlouhy to ensure that the design and construction processes went as smoothly as possible. It really was an enjoyable experience … Duane was fantastic, and the entire team worked collaboratively to move efficiently toward project completion.”

In addition to finding creative ways to differentiate Pita Pit from its neighbors at the food court, LeNoble cited the tight space – just over 560 square feet – and a troublesome column as two of the project’s more significant challenges. “We were surprised a bit by what we found when we opened up the existing column enclosure,” he said. “The drawings didn’t show it, but in addition to a wide flange it contained a roof drain and a 2” gas supply line. Our hope had been to reduce the size of the column enclosure to lessen its visual impact, but we wound up needing to basically keep it the same size. But I think we were able to work it into the overall aesthetic in a way that minimizes its presence.”

“Pita Pit was very clear that they wanted to convey a ‘fresh thinking and healthy eating’ feeling at the store. Working with their existing brand elements and some new components, I think we did just that.”

For more information about Pita Pit, visit www.pitapitusa.com.