Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Cafeteria

Location: Arlington, Va.

Project type: food service

Client: DEA


  • dining rooms
  • kitchen
  • serving area
  • vending
  • exhibitry
  • HVAC

This design for new dining and food service facilities is located on the first floor of an existing high-rise building. The 7,200-square- foot space houses a new kitchen, serving area, dining room and vending machine area. A stand alone HVAC system was also provided, with new equipment located in a parking garage below.

The design is organized around a circular central core. It serves to connect the u-shaped dining space and provides a highlighted central focus using back-lit fabric ceiling elements. To make the facility DEA specific, the architects conceived a built-in exhibit documenting the history of the agency. The exhibit (provided by the DEA Museum) is integrated as a graphic band of images on the central core.

The serving area resembles a food court with multiple vendors in order to provide more of a consumer choice experience while simultaneously maximizing functionality for the actual single concessionaire. The design provides a level of polish and sophistication above the standard mall-type food court.