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The Best Restaurant Architects in Washington DC

10 Min Read

Restaurant architecture is a whole different beast when it comes to building and giving life to spaces. It’s a tug of war between design and purpose, making sure that aside from looking beautiful, the end result is also cost-effective and functional.

The thing with restaurant builds is that one small detail can make or break the whole design: that is why it’s important that you employ the best, most experienced architects to provide your restaurant design and build. In this post, we tackle the best restaurant architects in DC.

CORE architecture + design

1010 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 405, Washington, DC 20007

For 30 years, CORE architecture + design has been turning the visions of their clients into real tangible spaces that they can grow into. Their design process integrates the client throughout the process, making sure that they get the whole 360 preview of what they want to achieve.

Some would say that this kind of process is prone to hit road bumps, but at CORE they thrive in difficult situations. One of their notable clients is Dean and Deluca, a hit coffee shop that you might have seen on social media for their amazing coffee and luxurious, relaxing interiors. The firm’s determination to push boundaries in architecture and design has won them awards. The Silva, a notable building in Washington, DC, is one of the award-winning projects of the CORE. It won them the 2022 AIA|DC Chapter Design Award in Architecture and the 2022 Award for Special Merit

Grizform Design Architects

1311 Naylor Court NW, Washington, DC 20001

The hospitality industry calls for specific solutions when it comes to the overall design and architecture of each space. Grizform Design Architects understands that, for restaurants, those spaces need to be functional and profitable, making sure that all the needs of a restaurant are met within the design.

Griz Dwight is the principal and owner of the firm. He grew up loving architecture, and went on to earn a bachelor of arts in studio art from Williams College. He then received his master’s in architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. His experience in the field, and long love for design and architecture, are the very foundation of the firm’s success. One of its notable projects is Dauphine’s, a beautiful mixture of materials merged into this beautiful dining space.

Architecture, Incorporated

1902 Campus Commons Drive, Suite #101, Reston, VA 20191

William Drury and Rusty Shaw are the masterminds behind Architecture, Incorporated. Both of the principals graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University. The company offers both Architecture and Interior Design Services, all of which have covered various clients from Healthcare to Hospitality. They hold client service as their core value. They want to make sure that the client gets what they envisioned, even if it means pushing the company’s boundaries.

The Barcelona Wine Bar is a testament to its commitment to excellence in the field of architecture and design. This beautiful project looks like it was carved right out of a tree. The center of this project is the wide open bar with a marble countertop, it breaks the monotony of the wood and earthy design and adds a subtle luxury to the whole room.

GTM Architects

7735 Old Georgetown Road, Suite #700, Bethesda, MD 20814

A commitment to serving the needs and vision of the client is what GTM architects do best. This practice has also won them multiple awards, including the 2022 IIDA MAC retail award for their project, District Dogs. George Myers established the company in 1989. He had received both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Architecture from the University of Maryland. GTM uses a collaborative studio environment. Doing so helps promote proactive communication in their teams in order to achieve what their client wants for their projects.

At GTM, the client is the main priority: they are responsive to the needs and wants of the client and help them achieve what they envisioned. The help and collaboration of their knowledgeable team—all experienced in architecture and design—makes this possible. Pluma by Bluebird Cafe is one of their notable projects—it’s a new establishment in the area. The firm installed bright and light interiors that pop out of the normal storefronts you see in DC.


3333 K Street NW, #60, Washington, DC 20007

In the fall of 2010, close friends David Tracz and David Shove-Brown established //3877, a multi-disciplinary firm that focuses on single-family, multiple-unit residential, commercial, restaurant and hospitality projects. In seeking success while working with these various project types, //3877 begins with the very simple process of asking questions and listening carefully to the answers, prioritizing the concepts of partnerships and teamwork. //3877 is committed to providing innovative and creative designs to enhance and enrich the lives of clients, partners and communities.

In recent years, architecture and design firm //3877 has completed numerous restaurant projects ranging from fast casual to full-service. In 2021, the team’s project in collaboration with KNEAD Hospitality + Design, GATSBY, was recognized as the winner of the Best Full-Service Restaurant Design, Check Under $50 category of the Restaurant Development + Design awards. Recently completed F&B projects in the firm’s portfolio include Aslin Filling Station, Compliments Only, Cracked Eggery, Junction Bakery & Bistro Chevy Chase, Mi Vida 14th Street, and Nighthawk Pizza.

Travis Price Architects

2805 Chesterfield Place NW, Washington, DC 20008

Architecture and design aren’t always about just building structures for the sake of having space. It can also be a means to reconnect with the earth and create spaces that have deeper meaning and purpose. Travis Price Architecture does that and more, crafting architecture that will reflect today’s vision and be tomorrow’s legacy. At the core is Travis Price, a celebrated architect and environmental pioneer. His work for the environment creates the framework of design for his firm.

Even though their approach and philosophy may seem earthy and green, they can also work with clients whose overall vision may not be all earth tones. Jerry’s Sub and Pizza shows how well the firm works with virtually any client. The modern aesthetic of the remake fits the client’s vision while still applying Travis Price’s spiritual approach to design and architecture.

SAINT – Studio for Architecture and Interiors

1635 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20009

What sets Studio for Architecture and Interiors (SAINT) apart is its specialization in concept-driven, restaurant, and nightclub design. They work closely with their clients, understanding what it is they want out of their spaces. In order to create that space, SAINT collaborates with individuals who share their vision.

Francisco Beltran and Michael Francis worked together to establish SAINT. They both believe in the true capacity of collaboration between like-minded individuals and what it can do to help other people. The Denson Liquor Bar looks like it came straight out of The Great Gatsby. The art deco floors and gold trims give this bar a classic, elevated look.

Nahra Design Group

5335 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 640, Washington, DC 20015

If there is one thing that Nahra Design group is best known for it is modern design. The company was established in 2010 by Architect John Nahra, who is also a visiting teacher at the Catholic University of America School of Architecture and Planning. John is a practicing and licensed architect in 8 different states in America. He graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering and received his master of Architecture all from The Catholic University of America.

Nahra Design Group prides itself on its expertise in modern design. The Mosaic Bistro is a great example of the firm’s ability. This project features a modern twist on classical elegance. The cream-colored walls were accentuated with the dark brown wood details and champagne-colored seats. It’s a classic-looking design with hits of modern elegance highlighted by the light cream and champagne colors.


1322 14th Street NW, Washington, DC 20005

Some design and architectural work can feel bland and underseasoned, but the dynamic duo Jim Cronenberg and José Tohá bring in a new kind of spice when it comes to architectural and design projects for restaurants. Jim received his Masters’s Degree in Architecture from Yale University in 1998. José, on the other hand, received his Master’s Degree in Architecture from The Catholic University of America in 2001. The two architects met, and in November 2002, they established Grupo-7. They have since completed projects both in and out of the USA. Their modern approach pays attention to the spatial experience, the materials used, and the lighting.

This modern approach doesn’t leave behind the need to address and conform to the vision, ideas, and realities of the clients. When working with commercial clients, especially restaurants, Grupo-7 understands both the importance of deadlines and that deadlines can be flexible. It also understands the importance of functionality paired with great aesthetics.