J. Alexander’s Restaurants - Multiple Locations

Restaurant group grows its brand with bold design

National restaurant group J. Alexander’s wanted to design a new restaurant prototype that would elevate the dining experience while expanding the brand’s reach into new markets.

Shea Design was hired as the architect and selected VAA to provide structural engineering for the new restaurants on greenfield sites in Lexington, KY; Raleigh, NC; and King of Prussia, PA.

Our Approach

VAA’s structural engineering work included collaborating with the architectural team to ensure the restaurants would be structurally sufficient while providing the bold design and contemporary finishes J. Alexander’s envisioned for the spaces.

The restaurants’ exteriors contain similar elements, including oversized windows, cultured stone and raised roof entrances that evoke Prairie-style design, yet each location has distinctive features for a unique appearance.

The structural team incorporated several complex design components into the project. The abundance of exterior glass reduced the wall space between the windows to handle lateral force and the roof of the Lexington restaurant was challenging due to its flatter and thinner profile. Close coordination with Shea on certain aspects, such as the arrangement of column locations to prevent interference with restaurant operations, was critical to accomplish the envisioned design.


The project resulted in three new restaurants that blend modern fixtures with natural materials to create an upscale ambiance. Design elements like the cantilever entrance and clerestory add architectural interest, while the elegant furnishings reflect the restaurant’s status as a modern classic.

Interested in more of our work in the hospitality industry? Check out the Lat14 Restaurant Conversion project.