Overview

The restaurant scene in the booming city of Austin is one of the most beloved in the country. The architecture of these spaces reflects the city’s growth and a serious commitment to sustainability. Many of these architects use Texas’s distinctive natural landscape in their designs. They also try to incorporate local materials and local artisans whenever possible. Community is integral to each of these architects’ processes. The following list ranks the best restaurant architects in Austin. These are architects who specialize in creating sophisticated, open hospitality spaces based on the needs and aspirations of the chefs and restaurant owners they collaborate with during the design process. Many have received awards or have worked on award-winning restaurants.

Top Architects

A Parallel Architecture

Architects:
Eric Barth
Ryan Burke

Awards:
AIA Design Award,
National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Gold Award

Address:
803 1/2 West Avenue, Austin, TX 78701

About A Parallel Architecture

Founding partners Eric Barth and Ryan Burke established A Parallel Architecture in 2008, an award-winning firm located in downtown Austin; the co-founders had already been collaborating since 1997. Barth was once awarded the AIA School Medal and Certificate of Merit from the University of Texas School of Architecture. Prior to establishing his own firm, he worked with Page, Tom Hurt Architects, and Alterstudio. Burke also graduated from the University of Texas School of Architecture and worked with Sant Architects in Los Angeles before the studio’s inception. Diane Hong is another important member of the team and serves as a project architect for the firm. The studio has been featured in publications such as Austin Home, Luxe, ArchDaily, Austin Monthly, and Design Bureau. The firm once received an AIA Design Award and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Gold Award for its exceptional work.

Featured Projects

A Parallel Architecture collaborated with Top Chef and James Beard Award winner Paul Qui for his flagship restaurant Qui. The 3,000 square foot property was conceived as a calm sanctuary in an otherwise industrial neighborhood. The design gives guests a serene space away from the pedestrian-heavy 6th Street. The warm, interior design and simple, sculptural roof generate a feeling of the sanctity of home: Qui’s vision for his restaurant. The design earned the firm an AIA Austin Design Award in 2016. A Parallel Architecture also designed Unit D Pizzeria, the last unit in a mid-century modern shopping center. The small, 1,600 square foot space was used perfectly to include a 50-seat dining room with bar seating, communal tables, and banquettes. Pine, steel, concrete, and marble serve as the main materials in the restaurant’s design, which also features crisscrossing wood panels in the ceiling that evokes a homey, woven effect. Additional skylights and mirrors expand the space.

Baldridge Architects

Architects:
R. Burton Baldridge

Awards:
AIA Design Awards

Address:
1010 West Lynn Street, Unit B, Austin, TX 78703

About Baldridge Architects

Baldridge Architects believes that a well-designed space can go beyond merely providing shelter and amenities, farther than simply facilitating commercial or institutional goals. The firm, best known for its residential work, splits its time between commercial and residential projects. Baldridge takes care to craft each project deliberately in order to curate space, light, mass, and texture. The firm’s nine architects work with clients to fashion classic, timeless designs that go beyond trends to provide a sense of transcendence and permanence. Their work has been featured online and in print in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Architectural Record, dwell, Design Bureau, Luxe, Conde Nast Traveler, and Metropolis. The firm has also won several notable awards, including AIA Design Awards.

Featured Projects

The featured project is the Gardner restaurant, which is culturally and culinarily inspired by Scandinavia. The space, originally a 1960s post office, was updated to include natural lighting to contrast its muted tones. The design included service islands that ran across the dining space so servers would not have to leave the space. A wood-clad linear skylight was created to bring more light from above and also to conceal the loft’s mechanical equipment. Another interesting restaurant collaboration was their project with Stubbs Barbeque. On a three-week deadline, Baldridge designed the green room for musicians who perform at the restaurant, especially useful for events like the music festival Austin City Limits. They renovated the interior of a disused 1970s Airstream trailer and converted it into a space for musicians. The project won a Design Award from the AIA Austin Chapter in 2015.

Chioco Design

Architects:
Jamie Chioco

Awards:
Urban Land Institute Awards,
Best Outside Design – Restaurant and Bar Design Awards

Address:
1306 Rosewood Avenue, Austin, Texas 78702

About Chioco Design

Chioco Design is a small firm in Austin, founded by Jamie Chioco in 2005. Chioco graduated from the University of Oklahoma School of Architecture. As a resident of Austin for 20 years, Chioco is personally invested in the design elements of the city. The firm’s designs, especially for bars and restaurants, are prominent all around the city. Chioco’s work spans not only the Austin area but also Tennessee, Colorado, and California. The firm is dedicated to using local talent and materials, with function serving as a central aspect of its work. The studio’s work includes residential and large-scale commercial projects, some of which have been featured in Architect Magazine, Archdaily, Eater Austin, The Austin Chronicle, and Apartment Therapy.

Featured Projects

One unique and iconic project is the firm’s collaboration with Torchy’s Tacos. Chioco has provided the designs for three of its locations—two in Austin and one in Denver—each one unique yet still embodying the eclectic vibe of Torchy’s. The location on South Congress features a bold design inspired by an old car wash. It features an extensive outdoor area perfect for the Austin fast-food establishment, complemented by a fluorescent Torchy’s sign on top that adds a stylish element. Another unique undertaking is the micro-restaurant called Counter 3.Five.VII. The quaint 26-seat restaurant embodies an intimate environment designed to keep everyone directly in contact with the chef. Custom silverware holders are placed on the tables for patrons who need new cutlery after each course. Sliding doors are used as the partition between the restaurant and the spacious wine bar area.

Clayton and Little

Architects:
Paul Clayton
Emily Little

Address:
1001 East 8th Street, Austin, TX 78702

About Clayton and Little

Clayton and Little are led by two principals, Paul Clayton and Emily Little, who founded their firm on the idea that architects need to be good listeners. Clayton received his Master of Architecture from Texas Tech University and has been involved with the Texas Society of Architects, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards, the United States Green Building Council, and the Austin Energy Green Builder Program. Little studied cultural anthropology as an undergrad before earning her Master of Architecture, both at the University of Texas at Austin. Named Austin’s Best Architect twice by the Austin Chronicle, Little is especially fascinated by historic preservation and is invested in her hometown of Austin. She has served as president and board member of the Heritage Society of Austin as well as a number of other community organizations.

Featured Projects

Clayton and Little have worked on numerous restaurant projects. A fantastic example of their work is Mattie’s at Green Pastures, for which they converted a 120-year-old Victorian home for the 70-year-old, family-run restaurant. The design included both restaurant and event space, with distinct entry points for separate guest experiences. New outdoor patios, a bar, and a restroom pavilion were added to accommodate large events. Another featured restaurant project is Clark’s Oyster Bar located on West 6th. The 1,400 square feet site of the former Portabla Restaurant was renovated from the inside out with all new equipment. The dining area is now situated around a 300-gallon aquarium and features stained wood, polished stone, and patterned tiles to create a simple but rich palette. The restaurant also has a cozy outdoor dining area with an awning.

Dick Clark and Associates

Architects:
Mark Vornberg
Kevin Gallaugher
Kim Power

Awards:
Austin Green Award,
AIA Austin Chapter Design Award

Address:
207 W 4th Street, Austin, TX 78701

About Dick Clark and Associates

Dick Clark and Associates was founded in 1979 and operates in Austin as well as in other areas of Texas. Mark Vornberg serves as principal of the studio and works with partners Kevin Gallaugher and Kim Power to create contemporary residential and commercial designs in the region. The firm has received many accolades including an AIA Austin Chapter Design Award and an Austin Green Award. It has also been noted in several industry publications for the team’s exceptional work.

Featured Projects

A restaurant project designed by the studio is the Nightcap, a 2,012 square feet dessert and cocktail bar. Every room within the establishment provides a unique dining experience. The charm of the bungalow is infused with a moody and modern vibe while still preserving the original framework. An additional entry point was added to the east side to give an extra outdoor dining space. The firm also provided the designs for Lonesome Dove, the first Austin restaurant by the Fort Worth celebrity chef Tim Love. The 4,700 square feet restaurant embodies Texas: several taxidermied busts, leather fixtures, and antlers are featured. The outdoor dining space exudes a subdued atmosphere and features a steel blade awning, modern sconces, and sugi ban wood siding.

FAB Architecture

Architects:
Patrick Ousey
Pam Chandler

Awards:
AIA Austin Design Award,
AIA San Antonio Design Merit Award

Address:
2300 S Lamar Boulevard, Austin, TX 78704

About FAB Architecture

FAB (“For a Better”) Architecture was founded in 1996 by husband and wife team Patrick Ousey and Pam Chandler. Ousey and Chandler both graduated from the University of Texas School of Architecture and worked for firms in Los Angeles. Today, FAB Architecture has become one of Austin’s leading design firms. They work on a large variety of projects including master planning, multi-family and affordable housing, hospitality spaces, office buildings, and recreational facilities. The firm has earned several awards, most of which are from the San Antonio and Austin chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Many of their projects have been featured in regional and national outlets, such as Luxe Magazine, Tribeza, HGTV Magazines, Austin Monthly Home, Interni Magazine, and Metropolitan Home.

Featured Projects

FAB has been involved in several ambitious restaurant and brewery combination projects. One such example is their work on Red’s Porch. Drawing on Cajun, Southern, and Tex-Mex influences, the design includes a bar in the garage downstairs, a game room, and an upstairs porch. The restaurant features optimal gathering space for its clientele with a steel framework accented by warm, wooden details. Another design by FAB is North by Northwest, another restaurant and brewery in the heart of Austin. The micro-brewery’s design incorporates stone and wood, with vaulted ceilings that mimic the lodges in the Northwest National Parks. The functioning silo in front of the establishment contains 25,000 pounds of barley, and all the beer is brewed right on site.

Furman + Keil Architects

Architects:
Gary Furman FAIA
Philip Keil AIA

Awards:
AIA Austin Firm Achievement Award,
AIA Austin Honor Award
Texas Association of Builders Star Award

Address:
708 Rio Grande Street, Austin, TX 78701

About Furman + Keil Architects

Founded in 1995 by firm principal Gary Furman, Furman + Keil Architects works to serve diverse residential and commercial clients in the Austin area. The studio focuses on building sustainable and timeless structures that strike a fresh balance between local tradition and creative design. The firm’s success eventually led to an expanded project scope that includes small-scale commercial buildings. The firm is led by native Texan Furman, an honored Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 2011, and Philip Keil, winner of the AIA Austin’s FAIA Community Service Award in 2016 and a former president of AIA Austin in 2014. Furman + Keil has won numerous awards, including the AIA Austin Honor Award in 2016. Publications such as Better Homes and Gardens, Austin Home, Urban Home, Texas Monthly, Austin Monthly, American Architects, and Luxe Interiors + Design have featured the firm.

Featured Projects

One of the studio’s recent projects is Irene’s, a classic American bar and restaurant. The inspiration came from one of the partner’s grandmothers, who embodied authentic Southern charm. The owners wanted to create an unpretentious space with a focus on service, hospitality, and style. A funky palette and low-key materials enhance the space, which was a remodel of a metal warehouse building that previously housed a car repair shop. Another noteworthy design is Italic, a down-to-earth rustic Italian restaurant. The restaurant, headed by Chef Drew Curren, occupies a corner of the 1954 modernist Starr building. The design incorporates scale, color, and texture to the seemingly endless room. The original terrazzo floors and concrete structure of the existing framework were preserved, and new wood paneling and local limestone were added to increase warmth throughout the space.

Joseph M. Bennett Architects

Architects:
Joseph M. Bennett

Address:
2720 Bee Caves Road, Austin, TX 78746

About Joseph M. Bennett Architects

Founded in 1998, Joseph M. Bennett Architects is a small service-oriented firm with dedicated principals who work closely with clients in every project endeavor. The firm was founded by Joseph Bennett, who has been practicing architecture in Austin since 1985. The studio’s stellar work has been featured on the Austin Cool House Tour, the AIA Austin Homes Tour, and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). The firm is especially involved in sustainable and energy-efficient designs. They have submitted many of their projects to the Austin Energy Green Building program, which earned the top certification for the firm. While focused on residential projects, this firm also creates designs for commercial spaces throughout Austin.

Featured Projects

One project completed by the studio is the Apothecary Cafe and Wine Bar. The owners came to the firm with the idea of opening an establishment that served coffeeshop fare during the day and an eclectic mix of beer and wine at night. The site was initially a blank space until JMBA helped the first-time owners realize their vision of a warm and vibrant space that would attract a multicultural and multi-generational crowd. Another excellent design was Miguel’s La Bodega Restaurant and Cantina. JMBA renovated an old 7,172 square feet warehouse in the Warehouse District for the popular nightspot. The 250,000-dollar project includes original walls and refinished wood structural pieces. It also features several new fixtures like a storefront, a roof, and a suspended floor.

Lake Flato

Address:
1224 East 12th Street, Suite 430, Austin, TX 78702

About Lake Flato

Community-focused and sustainable development lies at the center of Lake Flato’s design process. The architecture studio was founded in 1984 by eponymous founders Ted Flato and David Lake, industry veterans and Fellows of the AIA (FAIA) who specialize in modern and responsible design infused with creative flair. A key principle of the firm is that every design should be rooted in its environment, a trait evident in its diverse work in the hospitality, higher education, residential, and eco-conservation markets. Sustainability is also integral in the studio’s process, as it uses local materials and collaborates with local craftspeople to craft environmentally-friendly buildings around the city.

Featured Projects

Featured is the Il Sogno Restaurant, a Lake Flato project located near downtown San Antonio. The 3,400 square feet property carries an aesthetic design that combines classic charm with contemporary elegance. Its layout features a waiting area, a bar, a kitchen, and a dining area with vaulted ceilings and rustic pipe trusses. The fine-dining establishment’s design embraces the ambiance of authentic Italian markets with an interactive dining experience, as the kitchen area is visible to diners from the comfort of their seats. The main dining space has large glass doors that open up to a sophisticated courtyard area.

Levy Architects

Architects:
Stephen Levy

Awards:
AIA Design Merit Award,
Preservation Texas Honor Award,
Heritage Society of Austin Honors

Address:
2438 West Anderson Lane, Suite B-2, Austin, TX 78757

About Levy Architects

Founded by Stephen Levy, Levy Architects is dedicated to creative, team-based design. The firm has coined “Texas contemporary” as their signature style, embracing both the fundamental design principles of modern architecture and the historical elements of Texan architecture. Levy had their work featured in publications such as the American Business Journal, Texas Architect, Green Building Magazine, Austin American Statesman, and Tribeza Architects. The firm has also earned several awards including an AIA Design Merit Award in 2013, a John Staub, and a Preservation Texas Honor Award, as well as honors from the Heritage Society of Austin. The Austin Business Journal has consistently named them as one of the Top 25 Architects in Austin and their work has been featured in the AIA Homes Tour.

Featured Projects

Levy Architects recently worked on Barley Swine, which was designed to capture the energy of a bustling dinner party. Every seat in the restaurant has a view of the kitchen, and a lively energy radiates from there to the rest of the space. Levy Architects removed 511 square feet from the building, which ended up becoming a beautiful outdoor dining patio. “Local, local, local” was the theme of the design process: local craftsmen, artisans, and companies brought the project to life. Bufalina Due is another restaurant project designed by Levy Architects. The interior’s minimalist design allows a focused food experience without any distractions. Simple wooden tables fill the space, which features white walls, wooden shelving, and iron lighting fixtures. A stone wall in the exterior of the establishment anchors the design.

Michael Hsu Office of Architecture

Architects:
Michael Hsu

Awards:
AIA Austin Firm Achievement Award,
IIDA Texas/Oklahoma Chapter Retail Design Excellence Award,
Austin Business Journal Commercial Real Estate Award

Address:
Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78756

About Michael Hsu Office of Architecture

The Michael Hsu Office of Architecture (MHOA) was founded in 2005. Since the beginning, the studio has been focused on locally engaged architecture and design-driven interiors in the Austin area. Founding principal Michael Hsu works with partners Jay Colombo, Maija Kreishman, and Micah Land in handling projects for residential, commercial, and restaurant markets. The firm is committed to sustainability and decreasing their carbon footprint by using natural materials and working in reuse projects. They also assemble teams of local craftsmen and artists to create furnishings, light fixtures, textiles, and artwork whenever possible. The studio is a certified Minority-Owned Business Enterprise in Austin and its team’s quality work has earned MHOA the 2016 AIA Austin Firm Achievement Award.

Featured Projects

MHOA designed Uchiko, the sister restaurant of Uchi, one of the most popular dining establishments in Austin. A simple Japanese farmhouse serves as the inspiration for the design. Solid bronze, hard stained brick, rough sawn walnut, and wood siding are all parts of the color palette used in the space. The light fixtures, which are custom walnut boxes, are hung from a branch-like structure. A wall of vintage cabinets separates the bar from the dining space. Another restaurant design is La Condesa. A cast-in concrete stair is in the center of the space and leads to a bar on the second level of the restaurant. Other features include striking, cascading light fixtures custom-installed by the architect and a vibrant collage wall installation created by the artist collective Sodalitas.

STG Design

Address:
828 W 6th Street, Suite 300, Austin, TX 78703

About Michael Hsu Office of Architecture

STG Design is a full-service studio that focuses on quality architecture and interior design completed through meticulous planning. The firm’s award-winning portfolio spans a wide spectrum of commercial fields including education, healthcare, hospitality, and urban mixed-use sectors. Jim Susman and Jack Tisdale established the architecture firm in 1976 and currently serve as principal architects of the studio together with CEO David Johnston. The four-decade partnership between the co-founders has become the company’s cornerstone, one that upholds a collaborative and dedicated approach to any project. The same principles have led the company to industry acclaim, earning numerous awards and positive client remarks.

Featured Projects

Our editorial team especially liked the Boiler Nine Bar and Grill: the 9,600 dining establishment flaunts a modern design that evokes a welcoming and open atmosphere. The stylish interiors feature predominantly wood and metal materials, from the bar counter and railings to the furniture and ceilings. Projects like this have brought STG countless recognitions from various industry bodies. Its most recent accolades include the 2019 Best Regional Project Award of Merit for Residential/Hospitality from ENR and the 2019 Commercial Real Estate Award for Office Development from the Austin Business Journal. The studio also ranked number 1 in Austin Business Journal’s Top Interior Design Firms for 2019 and landed coveted spots in top architecture firms lists by Architectural Record, Austin Business Journal, and Nashville Business Journal.