After enjoying a surge in business following its Food Network exposure a year ago, a west-side restaurant is expanding.

Teresa's Mosaic Cafe and its chef, David Matias, were thrilled to go up against celebrity chef Bobby Flay in a huevos rancheros "throwdown."

"Even though we lost, we feel like we won," says Matias, noting that his 30 minutes of fame brought him customers from all over the country and from Canada.

Local diners, too, were excited about seeing a hometown cafe on the show. "Now, we're hoping they're excited about these improvements," Matias says, adding, "Thank you, Tucson, for your support."

Teresa's Mosaic is adding at least 10 tables and expanding its bar with a "spectacular" design, he says.

The design is a nod to the Oaxacan homeland of his mother, Teresa Matias, co-owner of the family restaurant and its namesake. There, the "Arbol del Tule" is said to be the tree with the largest diameter in the world. It grows in Santa Maria de Tule, Oaxaca, Mexico, her hometown.

Designer Kegan Tom of The Architecture Company in Tucson came up with an abstraction of a tree made out of rebar, to frame the restaurant's entrance, whose branches will come inside the bar to be decorated with artwork and lights.

Above, an abstraction of the sky will include ceiling tiles layered at different levels and a dark blue ceiling, so "it feels like you're outside," Kegan says.

The "whimsical, fun" interior redesign will also include an abstraction of a bird, artsy panels, and a wall of mosaic tiles.

"They're a very fun client because they're open to different ideas," Kegan says.

David Matias says it's a way of bringing "a part of my mom's soul" to her restaurant.


Teresa's Mosaic Cafe, at 2456 N. Silver Mosaic Drive (near Ironwood Hills Drive and Silverbell Road), remains open for business during the construction, which is scheduled to be complete Dec. 15.

(Late in the construction, the restaurant does expect to be closed for about a week for flooring work.)

Norma Coile