Bon Appetit Magazine’s 50 Best New Restaurants
4501 S Western Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60609
About 555 International
For three decades, 555 International has managed 130 employees to provide design, development, and fabrication services to the leading retail and restaurant businesses in Chicago. The firm stays busy designing spaces and making cool custom products for many of Chicago’s hottest retailers and restaurants, including Girl and the Goat and Coda Di Volpe. Its founder and president James Geier is internationally recognized for his stunning retail work. He has designed spaces for such a diverse span of clients as the Green Bay Packers and Gucci. While Founding Partner Paul Ohadi has a metal manufacturing business that creates custom lighting fixtures. Ohadi’s custom business paired with Geier’s designs resulted in a successful architectural firm that has caught the attention of Eater Chicago, Hospitality Design magazine, and Chicago Tribune.
Last year Roister, located in the Fulton Market, was one of four Chicago restaurants to be listed in Bon Appetit Magazine’s 50 best new restaurants in the nation. 555 took the meal preparation process into account for this open space design. A casual family-style was used so diners can get comfortable and enjoy the open views of the kitchen. From custom-designed wood ceiling beams with inlaid copper to an open wood fireplace at the heart of the kitchen, the design team fulfilled the owner’s desires for a casual but elegant atmosphere. The International Interior Design Association also gave Roister the RED award for best hospitality project.
William Harris, Greg Bradshaw, Kristina O’Neal, Adam Farmerie
James Beard Award, HA & D Award
224 Centre Street, 3rd Floor, New York City, NY 10013
AvroKO is an architecture and interior design firm with a focus on concept-driven spaces. It has designed award-winning restaurant, bar, hotel, retail, and residential projects from New York to Hong Kong. Recognition has included The James Beard Award and HA & D Award. The suite of companies also includes a branding studio, an independent furniture line, and a hospitality group offering such services as food and beverage concept development. They have offices in New York, San Francisco, Bangkok and London, but the company has designed many of Chicago’s high-end restaurants. AvroKO is a favorite of the Boka Restaurant Group, which runs 14 of the highest-rated restaurants in the city.
From its food to its design, Momotaro is a winner. It was No. 5 in the Tribune’s Top 50 Best Restaurants in Chicago, as well as winner of the Chicago Eater’s So Hot Right Now award. The design was nominated for a James Beard Award and won a Jean Banchet Award for Best Restaurant Design, as well as being a finalist for a Hospitality Design Award from Upscale Restaurant Magazine. The 11.5k-square-foot space centers on post-World War II era Japan, when Japanese and Western styles merged. A key design feature is the two-story pendant lighting. The space is filled with strong vertical lines, representing the Japanese attention to form and order. In 2015, the firm managed the interiors, custom furniture, and lighting and graphics for Swift and Sons, named one of the best new steakhouses in Chicago by Time Out Chicago and in the U.S. by Zagat. The steakhouse is designed to invoke 19th century Chicago at the height of the city’s cattle trade business. The design won Hospitality Design’s Best Upscale Restaurant award, as well as an honorable mention in Fast Co. Design’s Innovation by Design Awards.
AIA Chicago Small Project Award, ASLA Merit Award, James Beard Award
165 West Chicago Avenue, Third Floor, Chicago, IL 60654
Bureau|AD is a boutique architecture and design firm founded in 2012 to work on residential, hospitality, institutional, and commercial projects. The firm is known for its sensitivity to detail, space planning, and sustainability. Founder and Principal Tom Nahabedian is a Chicago native who worked in various Los Angeles-based architectural firms prior to establishing Bureau |AD. His residential and hospitality works have been recognized by prestigious organizations like the AIA, James Beard Foundation, and the American Society of Landscape Architects.
Bureau has designed two high-end restaurants for Principal Tom Nahabedian’s restaurant entrepreneur cousin, Carrie Nahabedian. Brindille won the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Restaurant. The French bistro takes its theme from its name, Brindille (meaning “little branch” in French), which Bureau reinforced with delicate branch-like glass and metal light fixtures. The Parisian-inspired space offers sophisticated, yellow-tinted lighting with clean, dark walls.
1010 S Wabash, Chicago, IL 60605
About bba Architects
bba Architects specializes in high-end, single-family residences and restaurants, with a focus on sustainable practices. Gary Beyerl, AIA, co-founded the firm in 1993 with his now-retired partner Steven Burns. Beyerl leads the firm with Edward Twohey, AIA, who joined the firm in 1994. The firm is mainly known for its luxury residential projects but, under Twohey’s leadership, there was a surge of hospitality and restaurant designs. One of its famous clients is Top Chef runner-up Dale Levitski’s Chicago restaurant, Frog N’ Snail.
Blues legend Buddy Guy contracted Burns and Beyerl to design his club, Buddy Guy’s Legends, one of downtown’s go-to blues venues. For Guy, a true blues bar shouldn’t be too polished, and should have a vintage vibe that transports its clients back in time. It was built in the style of old-school blues venues with a retro look. Its interiors are adorned with exposed red-brick walls and its white and blue tile floors add a fun splash of color to the funky space. Some of the additional features of Buddy Guy’s Legends are a main stage, billiard room, and private party facility. Burns and Beryl designed a two-story 16,000 square foot building with the bar located on the first floor and Guy’s production offices are located on the second floor.
D + K interiors, Architecture, and Management
1147 W. Ohio, Suite 103, Chicago, IL 60642
About D + K interiors, Architecture, and Management
Some of the best restaurants in the country are designed by D+K Interiors, Architecture, and Management. It is a full-service design, architecture, and interiors firm that has works found at the Times Square and at the Dolce Italian in Chicago’s Godfrey Hotel. Co-owner and Principal Corey Dunne focuses his designs around attention to detail and function, while fellow Co-owner and Principal Paul Kozlowski focuses on ecologically responsible designs and new smart building technology. D+K boasts a collaborative design process that will involve research on a client’s target market and intentional design that will improve service flow.
The firm’s design of the Backdoor Saloon has been nominated for the International Restaurant and Bar Design Award for Surface Interiors. The restaurant, which features locally sourced food and craft cocktails, is a completely immersive space with rich details from the architecture to the interior decorating. A tin-pressed ceiling, ornate wall-to-wall bar, and warm wood wainscoting help give the space its Victorian-era Wild West feel.
Chicago Magazine Emerging Power Players,
StarChefs Rising Star Restaurateurs Award
2001 W Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60612
About Heisler Hospitality
Hospitality entrepreneur Matt Eisler teamed up with designer Kevin Heisner in 2006 to form Heisler Hospitality, a firm that creates some of the best concept-driven restaurants in the city. The duo was named “Emerging Power Players” by Chicago Magazine, and Eisler was included in Crain’s Chicago Business’s “40 under 40” list. In 2015, they earned a StarChefs Rising Star Restaurateurs Award. Some of Chicago’s newest restaurants and bars have hired Heisler Hospitality for its contemporary design. Many of the firm’s clients have been included in the annual Best Bar Lists of Chicago Magazine and Bon Appetit’s 50 Best Restaurants in the City.
Opened December 2013, Heisler’s Sportsman’s Club offers craft beers from around the world and has a diverse cocktail menu that changes daily. In honor of the original Sportsman’s Club bar, which served the neighborhood’s Polish immigrants, the renovated tavern has preserved pieces of the bar’s history like the original art deco bar. The bar features exposed brick, wood, and leather wall-lined booths, and metal-grated open shelving. Sportsman’s Club was named one of Chicago’s Best Bars by GQ Magazine, and it was a runner up for Bar of the Year in Time Out Chicago’s 2017 Bar Awards.
2855 West Diversey Avenue, Chicago, IL 60647
Moss is a full-service architecture and design studio serving residential, retail, and commercial sectors. It assists clients from site selection through the permitting and construction process. Moss creates site-specific designs with an emphasis on integrating natural light and air, creating and protecting green spaces, and using sustainable materials. The firm was co-founded by Laura Cripe and Matt Nardella, AIA, LEED-AP. Cripe is a certified permaculturist and urban farmer and manages the firm’s business development. Graduate of the NewSchool of Architecture, Nardella returned to his hometown of Chicago to establish his own firm after spending a decade designing sustainable architecture in San Diego. Moss was selected to be part of the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s 50 Designers, 50 Ideas, 50 Wards Exhibit. The firm also won the Historic Preservation Award for its adaptive reuse development project in Logan Square.
Moss designed Appellation and Pastoral, a restaurant and bread and cheese shop. Located in Andersonville, the space was previously occupied by a small grocery store. The firm gave it a more updated look by using natural materials and a modern layout that can accommodate a separate restaurant and shop. A custom wine rack separates the retail and restaurant spaces. The cozy restaurant centers around a slab-wood bar accented by exposed brick around the far walls. The marketplace shows off a striking, pressed-tin ceiling.
Rugo / Raff Ltd. Architects
20 W Hubbard Street, Floor #5, Chicago, IL 60654
About Rugo / Raff Ltd. Architects
Multidisciplinary Rugo / Raff Ltd. Architects provides new construction and historic renovation for residential and retail projects. Before starting his own practice, Principal and Founder Steven Rugo, AIA, worked with the prominent Chicago firm Booth Hansen. The firm’s work has been featured in The New York Times, Architectural Record, Architectural Digest, Traditional Home magazine, and LUXE Magazine. One of the firm’s first restaurant client is Flat Top Grill Chain; the firm has designed several branches, which can be found all over the country. The firm eventually built a professional relationship with the Alinea Group. It has worked on designs for Alinea Group’s award-winning restaurants like Aviary, Next, and Roister.
Founded by the world-renowned chef Grant Achatz, Next Restaurant won a James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in America. The Michelin Star restaurant changes its menu every four months to provide a unique culinary experience to every customer. The design needed to be simple to match the restaurant’s fluctuating moods. A highlight of the design is a private dining room featuring an LED-backlit wall in bright pink and blues that serves as a high contrast for the rest of the restaurant’s dark earthy tones.
SPACE Architects + Planners
2149 North Talman Ave., Chicago, IL 60647
About SPACE Architects + Planners
In the last 17 years, SPACE Architects + Planners has designed some of the hippest spaces in Chicago. Jean Dufresne and Jay Keller established the firm with the goal of creating a collective of architects and designers who have a passion for creating modern spaces. SPACE Architects became known when it started developing contemporary condominiums in Wicker Park and, soon enough, its restaurant projects started to gain traction in the media. The firm’s works are often featured by online magazines such as Curbed Chicago, Eater Chicago, and, Dwell.
BIXI is the firm’s latest project, and has made waves in the Chicago restaurant scene. Brewpubs are the newest food trend in Chicago and BIXI is the newest addition to the bunch. But unlike its competitors, BIXI puts an Asian twist on the usual pub offerings. The firm designed a contemporary restaurant with subtle nods to the restauranteur’s Asian heritage. The owners want its patrons to enjoy their drinks in peace so SPACE Architects opted for a dark and moody feel for the first floor. Its focal point is the mural of the restaurant’s namesake, Bixi, a Chinese dragon turtle that symbolizes the owner’s journey in the industry.
Woodhouse Tinucci Architects
AIA Chicago Firm of the Year Award
230 W Superior, 6th Floor, Chicago, IL 60654
About Woodhouse Tinucci Architects
David Woodhouse, a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA), started his own firm in 1987 after working with two prominent Chicago firms, Stanley Tigerman and Associates and Booth Hansen and Associates. In 2014, he was joined by Andy Tinucci, AIA, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Advanced Professional (LEED AP), whose work has received the Architectural Record Houses Award and AIA Chicago Distinguished Building Award. Together they formed Woodhouse Tinucci Architects, an award-winning firm that provides detail-oriented architecture and interior design services. Woodhouse Tinucci Architects wins an AIA award almost every year and it has been internationally published in over 60 publications.
The firm’s design for More Cupcakes won two AIA Chicago small project awards. The biggest challenge for this project was its limited space. More Cupcakes was only 550 square feet, but the firm was able to design a shop that had enough space for its clients and a full kitchen. Customers can quickly peruse through the cupcakes sitting on open-glass shelving. While the butter cream-colored backlighting is broken up by custom-designed white swirling lights, made to resemble frosting. The project was also featured in Chicago Architect, Architect Magazine, and CS Interiors.