Meta All Microsites Pixel

The Best Restaurant Architects in Houston

20 Min Read

Houston is a hot spot for a variety of international cuisines. From Asian to European fares, the city offers iconic dishes that satisfy all kinds of cravings. Restaurateurs and chefs based in Houston ensure that both their food and dining areas are a feast to the eyes. Helping restaurant owners create the most stylish restaurants in the city are 15 architects below. These architects have impressive restaurant projects in Houston and surrounding areas. They have award-winning projects published in multiple publications. All of them are experts in the industry, with 5 to 50 years of experience.

Michael Hsu Office of Architecture

1906 Ashland St, Houston, TX 77008

Michael Hsu Office of Architecture believes that design is for everyone. The firm designs spaces that connect people with nature and manifest a sense of wellbeing. Michael Hsu Office of Architecture has a strong sense of materiality and believes in the active collaboration of client, designer and artisan. The spaces designed by the studio engage local, regional and global communities.

Michael Hsu Office of Architecture was founded in 2005 to unite people through design. The firm is a nationally award-winning, fully integrated architecture and interior design practice. Its work is rooted in hospitality and includes a range of project types such as large mixed-use developments, adaptive reuse projects, public realm design, architectural branding, single family homes, hotels, restaurants, workspaces, and bespoke furniture design. Projects can be found throughout Texas and across the country. Michael Hsu Office of Architecture has offices in Austin and Houston and staff representing the firm in Dallas and Denver.

The firm has designed countless restaurants across the state, including several in Houston. Food and beverage projects range from fast casual spaces to some of the city’s finest dining. Houston restaurants include Uchi, Uchiko, da Gama, Local Foods, Katz’s Deli, Ninfa’s Uptown, La Lucha, Superica, Loro, and the recently completed Il Bracco.

Project by Michael Hsu Office of Architecture

The firm has been featured in a wide range of local and national publications including Metropolis, dezeen, Architectural Record, Wallpaper, Texas Architect and Paper City.

Studio RED Architects

1320 McGowen St, Houston, TX 77004

Established in 2004, Studio RED Architects is a firm operating under the hands of seasoned veterans. Its members have a combined 107 years of industry experience, proving their reliability in all architecture-related needs. These members are affiliated with the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Some are LEED Accredited Professionals focusing on sustainable designs. The firm consists of six partners, each with impressive profiles. Each brings their expertise to the table, making the firm an expert in all kinds of projects including commercial and hospitality.

A sample of the firm’s noteworthy restaurant projects is Goode Co. Kitchen & Cantina. Located in Houston, the 5,504-square-foot restaurant features old-world and modern elements. Transforming an existing facility, the firm highlighted the use of century-old reclaimed wood materials matched with exposed brick walls. Handcrafted lights and select pieces from the owner’s family collection bring character to the space. One of its most interesting features is the circular bar with intricate details in the base.

Project by Studio RED Architects

Studio RED Architects solidifies its industry standing through a series of awards collected over the years. In 2015, it was named the Firm of the Year by AIA Houston. Its most recent features are in PaperCity Magazine, The Daily Record, and Houston Business Journal.

Abel Design Group

777 Post Oak Blvd, Suite #350, Houston, TX 77056

For Abel Design Group, design is a way of life. Its managing principal, Jeffrey Abel, for instance, has practiced architecture and design for over 20 years. An Assoc. AIA and a LEEP AP, Abel motivates his team to consistently apply innovation and drive across all projects. Whether it is a corporate, restaurant, or retail project, excellence and client-centric solutions are top priorities for Abel and his team. Its outstanding projects dot different parts of the globe, including 13 states in the USA.

One of the firm’s expertly crafted designs is Mastro’s Houston. Providing top-notch architecture services for the project, the firm created a high-end restaurant and bar at the heart of the Uptown Houston complex. As a flagship Texas restaurant, the 11,700-square-foot facility features grand interiors with a Southern flair. Eye-catching crystal chandeliers, a sleek black bar, and a large wine cellar are some features that make this restaurant truly Texan. Sliding glass doors separate the main and the alfresco dining area. The outdoor patio has a stunning water feature that makes the dining experience even more enticing.

Project by Abel Design Group

In 2022, Abel Design Group won the Pinnacle Award for Small-Sized Firm of the Year given by the IIDA Texas Oklahoma Chapter. Its projects have graced various publications including the Associated Construction Publication, PR News Wire, and Houston Business Journal.

Powers Brown Architecture

2100 Travis St, Suite #501, Houston, TX 77002

Winner of the 2008 Irving Gill Distinguished Architecture Award, Powers Brown Architecture is a reputable firm led by an equally reputable founding principal. Jeffrey Brown, FAIA, CEO, received the Irving Gill Distinguished Architect Award in 2008 and 2014. His reputation is supported by outstanding projects for both the public and private sectors. He is an expert in strategic planning and graphic communication, both essential in architecture and design. As a member of the Ontario Association of Architects (OAA) and the Nova Scotia Association of Architects (NSAA), Brown’s influence is felt inside and outside of the US.

Brown and the firm’s talents and expertise are showcased in its many restaurant projects in Houston and beyond. A sample is Vin, a luxurious restaurant in downtown Houston. The restaurant’s dark interior represents a feeling of exclusivity. The red leather chairs and benches are highlighted with lit frosted glass to create a sense of warmth throughout the space. Geometric lines in the ceiling and dividers provide points of interest. A sleek bar with an Onyx stone countertop and backlight is found in the center. Red lanterns are placed in the main dining area, providing intimate lighting to the space.

Project by Powers Brown Architecture

Powers Brown Architecture’s designs are press favorites. Among the publications that featured the firm are Houston Business Journal, Texas Architect Magazine, Houston Chronicle, and SaltWire.

Method Architecture

2118 Lamar St, Suite #200, Houston, TX 77003

Ego-free architecture is the Method Architecture way. Though a big firm with a wide reach, it maintains a small firm-like attitude. It means operating under a client-centric process that caters to each client’s individual needs. This approach is applied by the company in all projects including hospitality, retail, restaurant, and breweries. Licensed in 26 states, Method Architecture serves clients all over the US.

In Houston, one of its clients is Yi Peng. Yi Peng is a Thai restaurant constructed in an existing building. The firm provided interior buildout for the project; its design is inspired by the Yi Peng Lantern Festival. Colorful lanterns and murals surround the restaurant. Mixed with industrial design elements, the unique design separates the restaurant from other dining venues and Thai restaurants in Houston. To provide more seating areas, the firm added a second-floor mezzanine into the design.

Project by Method Architecture

Method Architecture’s ego-free leadership is guided by Jake Donaldson, AIA, LEED AP. Donaldson, a master’s degree holder from the University of Houston, has a degree in environmental design, too. He received the GHP HYPE Impact Award from the Greater Houston Partnership in 2019. His affiliations include the Texas Society of Architects, Tilt-Up Association, and Urban Land Institute (ULI).

Jackson & Ryan Architects

2370 Rice Blvd, Suite #210, Houston, TX 77005

Named 2018 APEX Award Winner by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) Houston, Jackson & Ryan Architects is built through collaboration. It begins with the partnership of Guy Jackson and Jeffrey D. Ryan, the firm’s principals. Both AIA members, Jackson and Ryan have significant contributions to the firm. Jackson, an inductee in the Rice University Athletic Hall of Fame and recipient of the William Marsh Rice Scholarship, has over 35 years of experience in the field. Ryan, a Harvard University alumnus with a master’s degree in Urban Design, has in-depth experience in designing for different industries including hospitality and higher education. By collaborating, the two lead the firm in creating structures that redefine people’s lives.

Project by Jackson & Ryan Architects

Founded in 1986, the firm has designed many captivating structures in Houston and surrounding areas. One of its best restaurant designs is Davis Street. Completed in five months, the modern restaurant is designed to accommodate up to 174 seats indoors. An additional dining area is provided on the restaurant’s patio. On this patio, the restaurant’s logo is prominently displayed. Curtain walls surround the storefront, blurring the divide between the indoor and outdoor. This allows indoor diners to catch a glimpse of the golf course across the restaurant. Inside, the restaurant features a giant glass wine storage and an aluminum chain curtain that separates the private dining area from the main dining space.

MC2 Architects

5600 Rose St, Houston, TX 77007

For MC2 Architects, design and construction are always connected. Founded by Chuong Q.B Nguyen and Chung Q.B Nguyen in 1995, the firm uses the brother’s talent in architecture and skills in construction to accomplish the most complex projects. Each design component is construction-informed. This way, form, and function are both satisfied. By combining design and construction, the process becomes faster and challenges are easily solved. The firm also has an established network of subcontractors, further expediting the process. The result is stress-free construction for clients.

MC2 Architects’ design and construction expertise are what efficiently built Triniti Restaurant. This 5,000 square feet restaurant is a nominee in the 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards for design and has won the 2013 Paper City Design Award for Commercial Project Interior Architecture. Located in a 1936 art-deco building in Houston, the restaurant’s design delivers impact through the clever use of perforated aluminum panels in the exterior. This statement piece provides two functions: block heat while letting guests see the outside view. Contemporary interiors feature a huge wine rack, floor-to-ceiling glass panels, and a stunning bathroom.

Project by MC2 Architects

Chung Q.B. Nguyen is an FAIA member and a LEED AP. Chuong Q.B. Nguyen is a licensed contractor with 38 years of industry experience. Their exceptional work has graced different publications, including Paper City Magazine, Culture Map Houston, and Texas Architect.

CONTENT Architecture

3221 Milam St, Suite #1, Houston, TX 77006

CONTENT Architecture’s pride is its team of industry professionals. Each member is backed up by a solid body of work and educational background; these help tremendously in solving the most challenging design issues. Jesse Hager, the firm’s principal, is a University of Washington and University of Texas alumnus with expertise in construction management and architecture. An AIA member and LEED AP, Hager’s extensive portfolio covers commercial, residential, and health care projects. He continues to prove himself through various awards including the 2017 Ben Brewer Award Recipient for Young Architect of the year by AIA Houston. Leading by example, Hager engages his team to exhibit excellence in everything they do.

Project by CONTENT Architecture

Showing excellence in restaurant design is the firm’s work on The Honeymoon Cafe and Bar in downtown Houston. Inspired by New Orleans, the cafe’s design features details commonly found in homes in the French Quarter. The place showcases pops of color and vibrant lighting mimicking New Orleans’ festive atmosphere. Inspired by the galleries and balconies in the French Quarter, the cafe has a glass storefront that connects the interior to the street. This energetic cafe has been featured in Texas Architect and Zagat.

Natalye Appel + Associates Architects

2523 Bartlett St, Houston, TX 77098

Founded in 1987, Natalye Appel + Associates Architects has a client-focused collaborative process. It is a collective of talented individuals committed to generating the best ideas that satisfy a client’s goal. For the firm, a limited budget is an opportunity to exercise creativity and deliver high-quality designs. The team knows that exploring new ways of using structural systems and materials is tantamount to producing unique outputs. Because of the firm’s effective process, it has received several accolades including the 2012 AIA Houston Firm of the Year award.

A sample of the firm’s top-quality work is Saint Arnold Beer Garden & Restaurant. This one-of-a-kind project features several points of interest. It begins with the giant steel frame and corrugated sheet panels setting the industrial tone of the beer garden. Inside, a spectacular church-inspired interior awaits. Intricate details are found in the arched entryways, the murals, and the exposed wooden beams. The intricately designed beams prominently display metal hardware, continuing the industrial theme found in the exterior.

Project by Natalye Appel + Associates Architects

Heading the firm’s client-centric collaborative approach is Natalye Appel, FAIA, LEED AP. Appel, founder of the firm, has a master’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania. With over 35 years of experience, Appel’s career consists of creating exceptional designs and teaching future architecture professionals in Texas.

Dillon Kyle Architects

1500 West Alabama St, Houston, TX 77006

Each of Dillon Kyle Architects’ designs is different and responds to a client’s needs and personality. To create client-specific designs, the firm goes on a journey with its clients to discover their unique vision and make this vision work through collaboration. The result is always a fresh take on design, influenced by the firm’s expertise in contemporary style. The firm ensures each design is elegantly crafted, exercising restraint while pushing the envelope.

Showcasing the firm’s out-of-the-box take on design is Canopy Restaurant. The design has the right amount of sophistication and creative elements. All are immediately captivated by the giant bird’s nest sculpture hanging on the restaurant’s ceiling. Photographic murals surrounding the dining area are entertainment to the eyes. These statement pieces shine because of the muted colors and materials chosen throughout the entire space. The storefront panel is a necessary addition; it brings natural light in, reinforcing the feeling of being one with nature while dining.

Project by Dillon Kyle Architects

Dillon Kyle, AIA, leads the firm’s personalized approach to design. His outstanding educational background includes a master’s in architecture from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. He finished his undergraduate course at Princeton University. He has practiced in New York, San Francisco, and Houston.

Montgomery Roth Architecture & Interior Design

5120 Woodway Dr, Suite #3039, Houston, TX 77056

John Montgomery and Lisa Roth are Montgomery Roth. Founding the firm in 1998, Montgomery and Roth visualized a company that fulfills dreams. Whether it is a commercial or residential space, the duo puts forth trendsetting designs appreciated by owners and end-users. Their expertise comes from reputable educational institutions and experiences throughout their career. Montgomery is a University of Louisiana–Lafayette alumnus with 30 years of experience. His strength is in design, production, and architectural management. Roth, AIA, is a member of the American Association of Interior Designers. She is a Tulane University School of Architecture alumnus with professional experience inside and outside of the US. They work with a team of equally talented interior designers and architects to create dream spaces for their clients.

One of the firm’s exceptional restaurant designs is The Rouxpour, an upscale restaurant in Houston. The design takes cues from the New Orleans style, reflecting the cuisine served in the restaurant. It captures the festive mood of the Louisiana city, while still exhibiting restraint. The elegant restaurant features French doors welcoming guests into the lovely wooden interiors. An impressive wine case is displayed in the dining hall next to the bar, enticing guests to taste the restaurant’s delectable offerings. Modern, rustic, and luxurious elements meld together to create a truly unique culinary experience.

Project by Montgomery Roth Architecture & Interior Design

The firm’s inspired designs are featured in REjournals, Austin Business Journal, Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post, and Houston Chronicle.

Rottet Studio

808 Travis St, Suite #100, Houston, TX 77002

Rottet Studio members are innovators. They set the trend and the rest follows. The firm stays ahead of the game by exceeding the expectations of both the clients and the design team. For its extraordinary drive, the firm has earned the 2019 Firm of the Year Award from AIA Houston. Multiple publications featured the firm, including Galerie Magazine, Houston Business Journal, Sleeper Magazine, and The Hollywood Reporter.

The firm’s dedicated team is led by Lauren Rottet. Founding principal and president, Rottet inspires by delivering excellence herself. She is a University of Texas alumna who became the first woman to receive the FAIA and FIIDA status. Her numerous awards include the Chicago Athenaeum Award.

Project by Rottet Studio

A sample of the firm’s extraordinary restaurant designs is Philippe Restaurant. This Houston-based dining facility combines old-world and contemporary elements. At daylight, the restaurant’s high ceilings and curtain walls provide guests with a relaxing dining atmosphere. At night, the entire restaurant turns into a more intimate space filled with warm lights. One of the highlights of the design is the bar made with granite countertops and a base with stamped wooden pallets.

Browne McGregor Architects

520 Post Oak Blvd, Suite #880, Houston, TX 77027

Browne McGregor Architects builds spaces that are aesthetically pleasing, functional, and sustainable. Established in 1995, this midsized firm exceeds client expectations by checking its own boxes. For the firm, a stunning design must perform its function so clients are ensured of a return on investment. The firm promotes sustainability by creating durable, efficient spaces. This care for its clients and environment makes the firm one of the most reliable in Houston. Its wide reach extends to 17 US states and 4 countries.

The firm’s noteworthy projects have graced various publications, including Houston Chronicle, REjournals, Houston Business Journal, and Minuteman Press. One of its notable restaurant projects is Freddy’s. For the project, the firm renovated an existing restaurant and transformed it to reflect Freddy’s brand. Following the restaurant chain’s brand design, the firm provided construction documentation and adaptation of the prototype’s layout and design details. The restaurant features a diner-style design with the logo prominently displayed at the center of the building. An open parking area has been included in the layout.

Project by Browne McGregor Architects

Founders Charles Browne and Jim McGregor are the brains behind the firm’s outstanding works. Both AIA members, Brown and McGregor each have their individual accomplishments to offer. Browne has a master’s degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. His expertise includes commercial, science, and health care projects. McGregor, LEED AP is a master’s degree holder from Rice University. His expertise includes sustainable building technology, planning, and design.

identity Architecture

111 Travis St, Houston, TX 77002

Featured by the Houston Business Journal and Houston Chronicle, Identity Architects thrive on engagement. It engages both employees and clients. At the office, the firm employs a no doors policy to encourage collaboration of ideas and sharing of expertise. It has an open culture that harnesses communication across all employees regardless of status. Encouraging this positive working environment are principals David Kastendieck and Keenon Rayner, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP. Kastendieck is a University of Houston alumnus who focuses on corporate, medical, and retail design. Rayner is a Texas Tech University master’s degree holder with expertise in design and project management.

By actively engaging with the client, the firm learns exactly what they need. Using their expertise, the team provides smart, cost-effective design solutions.

Project by identity Architecture

A sample of the firm’s successfully completed projects is Étoile Cuisine et Bar. The brief was to create a warm, inviting restaurant that makes French cuisine more approachable. The firm managed to deliver a sophisticated design that remains humble through the materials used. Wooden pallets, brick walls, and hardwood flooring are familiar elements that make the space feel comforting.