FORT MCDOWELL YAVAPAI NATION’S WE-KO-PA CASINO
To achieve this, Rippe Associates worked closely with the casino’s management to evaluate the existing operations and identify opportunities for improvement. Based on their findings, they developed a comprehensive plan to redesign the flow of the foodservice facilities, improve kitchen efficiency, and upgrade the overall dining experience.
The scope of work included the renovation of the casino’s main restaurant, Ember, which received the Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence for three consecutive years since 2019. Ember’s impressive wine selection encompasses 22 countries with 800 wines by the bottle and 26 wines by the glass. These include 32 wines that scored a perfect 100 points on Wine Spectator’s world’s best wine lists. Rippe Associates prioritized functionality by designing the kitchen with efficiency in mind, ensuring that chefs could prepare meals quickly without any delays.
The new bar and lounge area was designed to offer patrons a more relaxed and informal atmosphere while taking advantage of the surrounding scenic views. Featuring a spacious outdoor patio, the new area provides ample space for guests to enjoy a drink while taking in the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.
In addition to Ember, the renovated casino also features a variety of other food and beverage offerings, including the Ahnala Mesquite Room, which serves a wide range of Southwestern cuisine, and the Buffet, which offers an extensive selection of international dishes. The casino also features a coffee shop, plus a sports bar, with a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere in mind. The design of the sports bar incorporated modern touches with a focus on creating an engaging environment where guests can enjoy their favorite sports game while dining.
In addition to the dining facilities, Rippe Associates also redesigned the back-of-house operations, including the kitchen, dishwashing areas, banquet kitchen supporting a 25,000-foot space, and food storage facilities. The new kitchen layout allowed for a more streamlined operational flow, minimizing travel distance for kitchen staff, and optimizing the overall kitchen productivity. By introducing new or updated technology and equipment, they increased the kitchen’s efficiency while enhancing the quality and consistency of the food.
Rippe Associates’ foodservice design scope for the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation’s We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort’s dining area was well-executed, creating unique and functional spaces that appeal to a diverse range of guests and their needs. The redesign of the foodservice facilities aligns with the Resort’s broader renovation and is an excellent reflection of the focus on modern aesthetics and efficiency. Its successful design can be seen in the continued recognition received by Wine Spectator and the positive reviews among customers visiting the updated space.
Location: Fort McDowell, AZ
166,341 SF total
246 hotel rooms
25,000 SF meeting space
BOH: Kitchen, dishwashing area, banquet kitchen, and food storage facilities
“frk has had the good fortune to with Rippe Associates for more than 20 years on many projects together. Our focus is the K-12 market and we have always appreciated the deep knowledge base, attention to detail, and extensive experience the team at Rippe Associate provides for educational design. We have also greatly valued the professional, yet personal approach, their designers take with our clients. When working with Rippe, we are always confident the project will be a success!”
Thomas C. Wollan, AIA, LEED AP
Partner at frk architects + engineers
“When it comes to dietary planning, Rippe is always first on my list when team building. They have a strong understanding of all the issues, are creative problem solvers, and are consistent with their execution.”
Daniel J. Rectenwald, AIA, ACHA, NCARB
Vice President, Principal at HGA
"The development of Elmhurst Hospital’s replacement campus was complex. The Rippe team supported our vision to transform healthcare foodservice. The result was exceptional reviews from our patients and staff, along with a facility that supported efficient operations."
David E. Reeves
Past President of the Association for Healthcare Foodservice (AHF)
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