The restaurant scene in the booming city of Austin is one of the most beloved in the country. The architecture of these spaces reflects that, in addition to a serious commitment to sustainability. Many of these architects use both the natural landscape and Texan elements in their designs. They also look to incorporate the original framework, local materials, and local artisans whenever possible. Community is integral to each of these architects’ purposes. The following list ranks the best restaurant architects in Austin. These are architects who specialize in creating sophisticated and 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

FAB Architecture

Patrick Ousey
Pam Chandler

AIA Austin Design Award,
AIA San Antonio Design Merit Award

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 studied and graduated from at the University of Texas School of Architecture and worked previously at firms in Los Angeles. Today, FAB Architecture has become one of Austin’s leading design firms. They work on a multitude of projects, including master planning, multi-family and affordable housing, hospitality spaces, office buildings, and recreational facilities. The firm has earned several awards, especially from the San Antonio and Austin chapters of the American Institute of Architects. 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/brewery combination projects. One such example is their work on Red’s Porch. Drawing on Cajun, Southern, and Tex-Mex influences, the design includes bar space in the garage downstairs, a game room, and an upstairs porch. A steel framework is accented by warm, wooden details. The restaurant has optimal gathering space for its clientele. Red’s has expanded and worked with FAB on those projects as well. Another design by FAB is North by Northwest, another restaurant/brewery in the heart of Austin. The micro-brewery’s design incorporates stone and wood, with vaulted ceilings to mimic the lodges in the Northwest National Parks. The functioning silo in front of the establishment contains 25k pounds of barley, and all beer is brewed right on site.

Joseph M. Bennett Architects

Joseph M. Bennett

2720 Bee Caves Road, Austin, TX 78746

About Joseph M. Bennett Architects

A small, service-oriented firm founded in 1998, Joseph M. Bennett Architects works closely with their clients and has a principal on every endeavor. The firm was founded by Joseph Bennett, who has been practicing architecture in Austin since 1985. Now, the office has six full-time employees. Some of their work has been featured on the Austin Cool House Tour (selected for sustainable and energy-efficient designs), the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Austin Homes Tour, and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). The firm is especially involved in sustainable design. They have submitted many of their projects through the Austin Energy Green Building program and have received the top certification. While more residential, this firm still creates commercial designs for spaces, including restaurants, throughout Austin.

Featured Projects

One recent project that was just completed is 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 space was essentially a blank space, and JMBA helped the first-time owners realize their vision, with 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-foot warehouse in the Warehouse District for the popular nightspot. The original walls and wood structural pieces were refinished to feature them in the new design. The $250k project involved a new storefront, roof, and suspended floor.

Levy Architects

Stephen Levy

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

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. They have coined their style as “Texas contemporary,” embracing both the fundamental design principles of contemporary architecture and the historical elements of Texan architecture. Levy has had their work featured in such publications 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, a Preservation Texas Honor Award, and 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 that energy radiates throughout the space. Levy Architects removed 511 square feet from the building, which ended up creating a beautiful outdoor dining patio. The mantra “local, local, local” was constantly returned to throughout the process, and local craftsmen, artisans, and companies were used to bring the project to life. Bufalina Due is another restaurant project that Levy Architects designed. Inspired by a 100-percent experience of the food itself, the design is very minimalist. Simple wooden tables fill the space with white walls, wooden shelving, and iron lighting fixtures. A stone wall in the exterior of the space anchors the design.

A Parallel Architecture

Eric Barth
Ryan Burke

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

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, although they have been collaborating since 1997. The award-winning firm is located in downtown Austin. Barth, principal, was awarded the AIA School Medal and Certificate of Merit from the University of Texas School of Architecture. Prior to founding his own firm, he worked with Page, Tom Hurt Architects, and Alterstudio. Burke also graduate from the University of Texas School of Architecture. Prior to A Parallel Architecture, he worked with Sant Architects in Los Angeles. Diane Hong also serves as a project architect for the firm. A Parallel Architecture has been featured in publications such as Austin Home, Luxe, ArchDaily, Austin Monthly, and Design Bureau. Recently, the firm received an AIA Design Award and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Gold Award.

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 space was conceived of as a calm sanctuary in an otherwise industrial neighborhood. The design gives guests space directly from the pedestrian-heavy 6th Street. The warm interior spaces and simple yet sculptural roof combine the home and the sacred, which was Qui’s vision for his restaurant. The design earned the firm a 2016 AIA Austin Design Award. 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 perfectly utilized to include a 50-seat dining room with bar seating, communal tables, and banquettes. Pine, steel, concrete, and marble serve as the materials in the restaurant, and the cross crossing of wood panels in the ceiling great a homey, woven effect. Skylights and mirrors help to expand the space.

Baldridge Architects

R. Burton Baldridge

AIA Design Awards

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

About Baldridge Architects

A featured project is Gardner, culturally and culinarily inspired by Scandinavia. The space was originally a 1960s post office, and new, natural lighting against muted tones was introduced. 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 in from above, and also to conceal the loft filled with 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 space (especially during 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.

Featured Projects

Baldridge Architects believes that a well-designed space can go beyond merely providing shelter and amenities or simply facilitating commercial or institutional goals. The firm, initially best known for its residential work, splits its time between commercial and residential projects. Baldridge takes care to craft and execute each project deliberately in order to curate space, light, mass, and texture. Going beyond trends to provide a sense of transcendence and permanence, the firm’s nine architects work with clients to fashion classic and timeless designs. 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 in recent years.

Chioco Design

Jamie Chioco

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

1306 Rosewood Avenue, Austin, Texas 78702

About Chioco Design

Founded in 2005 by Jamie Chioco, Chioco Design is a small firm in Austin, Texas. Chioco graduated from the University of Oklahoma School of Architecture. A resident of Austin for 20 years, Chioco is personally invested in the design elements of the city. The firm’s designs, especially restaurant and bar, can be seen all around the city. Chioco has also expanded to work on projects in Tennessee, Colorado, and California. The firm is dedicated to using local talent and materials. Working on projects ranging from residential to larger-scale commercial work, Chioco knows how to communicate with both homeowners and the commercial world. Function is of utmost importance to this firm. They have been featured in Architect Magazine, Archdaily, Eater Austin, The Austin Chronicle, and Apartment Therapy.

“Oftentimes, it’s the restrictions and constraints of a project that inspire us to come up with creative solutions.” -Jamie Chioco

Featured Projects

One unique and iconic project is their collaboration with Torchy’s Tacos. They have currently provided the designs for 35 Torchy’s locations. Each one is different and captures the eclectic vibe of Torchy’s. The location on South Congress features a bold design that seems to get inspiration from an old car wash. The extensive outdoor area is perfect for the fast food Austin establishment. The lighted “Torchy’s” sign on top adds a modern element. Another unique undertaking is the ‘micro’ restaurant called Counter 3.Five.VII. Designed so that everyone in the intimate 26-seat restaurant will have direct contact with the chef, the space embodies a collaborative environment. Because there will be no servers (and no tips), design elements such as custom silverware holders are displayed on the tables so new cutlery does not have to be delivered for each course. Sliding doors are used as the partition between the restaurant and the spacious wine bar area.

Clayton and Little

Paul Clayton
Emily Little

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 created their firm founded on the idea that architects need to be good listeners. Clayton received his Master of Architecture from Texas Tech University. He 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 by the Austin Chronicle twice, Little is especially fascinated by historic preservation and is invested in her hometown of Austin. She has served as president for — and on board of — the Heritage Society of Austin, in addition to many more 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 to be used for a 70-year-old, family-run restaurant. The design included both restaurant and event space, with distinct entry points for the separate guest experiences. New outdoor patios, a bar, and a restroom pavilion were added to assist with large events. Another featured restaurant project is Clark’s Oyster Bar, located on West 6th. The 1,400-square-foot former Portabla Restaurant was renovated from the inside out with all new equipment. The dining area is now situated around a 300-gallon aquarium. Stained wood, polished stone, and patterned tile was used to create a simple but rich palette. The restaurant also a cozy outdoor dining area with an awning.

Furman + Keil Architects

Gary Furman FAIA
Philip Keil AIA

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

708 Rio Grande Street, Austin, TX 78701

About Furman + Keil Architects

Founded in 1995 by firm Principal Gary Furman, Furman + Keil Architects has enjoyed over two decades of serving both residential and commercial clients in the Austin area. The firm focuses on building sustainable and timeless structures that strike a fresh balance between local tradition and creative design. The firm’s success has led to them expand their scope in recent years to include small-scale commercial projects. The firm is led by native Texan Furman, honored as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 2011, and Philip Keil, winner of the AIA Austin’s FAIA Community Service Award (2016) and past president of AIA Austin (2014). Furman + Keil has won numerous awards, including the AIA Austin Honor Award (2016). Publications such as Better Homes & Gardens, Austin Home, Urban Home, Texas Monthly, Austin Monthly, American Architects, and Luxe Interiors + Design have also featured the firm.

Featured Projects

One of their recent projects is Irene’s, a classic American bar and restaurant. The inspiration came from one of the owner’s grandmothers, who embodied “real-life” 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 add to the space, which was a remodel of a metal warehouse building, once 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. New warm wood paneling, in addition to local limestone, were added to increase warmth throughout the space.

Dick Clark and Associates

Mark Vornberg
Kevin Gallaugher
Kim Power

Austin Green Award,
AIA Austin Chapter Design Award

207 W 4th Street, Austin, TX 78701

About Dick Clark and Associates

Dick Clark and Associates was founded in 1979. Though Dick Clark himself recently passed away, the firm continues to create work in and around Austin, as well as in other areas of Texas. Clark attended the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture and Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. In 2013, Clark became a fellow of AIA. He has also received the inaugural Downtown Austin Alliance Award for helping to revitalize downtown, including the Warehouse District, where the firm has their offices. The firm has also recently received an AIA Austin Chapter Design Award and an Austin Green Award, and has been noted in several publications for their exceptional work.

Featured Projects

A recent restaurant project is their design for Nightcap, a 2,012-square-foot dessert and cocktail bar. The charm of a bungalow is met 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. Every room-turned-restaurant provides a unique dining experience. 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-foot restaurant embodies an outsider’s view of Texas with several taxidermied busts, leather, and antlers. The outside dining space is a little more subdued with a steel blade awning, modern sconces, and sugi ban wood siding.

Michael Hsu Office of Architecture

Michael Hsu

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

Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78756

About Michael Hsu Office of Architecture

Formerly Michael Hsu Design Office, Michael Hsu Office of Architecture was founded in 2005. From the beginning, the focus has been on locally engaged, design-driven architecture and interiors in Austin. Michael Hsu is founding principal. There are three partners at MHOA: Jay Colombo, Maija Kreishman, and Micah Land. Working in residential, commercial, and restaurant spaces, the firm is especially focused on using natural materials, and they’re active in many re-use projects. The firm is committed to sustainability and decreasing their carbon footprint. They also try to assemble teams of local craftsmen and artists to create furnishings, light fixtures, textiles, and artwork whenever possible. MHOA earned the 2016 AIA Austin Firm Achievement Award. The firm is also a certified Minority-Owned Business Enterprise in Austin.

Featured Projects

Considered one of the premier restaurant architects in Austin, MHOA designed Uchiko, the sister restaurant to one of the most popular in Austin, Uchi. 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 upstairs from the restaurant. The striking cascading light fixture was custom installed by the architect, and there is a vibrant collage wall installation created by the artist collective, Sodalitas.