There’s so much more to Philadelphia than cheesesteaks and soft pretzels. Philly has a booming foodie culture growing, and all those chefs need restaurants to put them in. Luckily, Philadelphia has a long list of architects and designers in the city who know how to help. Creating the perfect restaurant environment is crucial to the culinary experience, and you want the best of the best to help bring those places to life. So check out the Top 10 restaurant architects in Philadelphia, who are being recognized by professionals in the industry for their cutting-edge work.

Top Architects

Assimilation Design Lab

David Whipple

AIA Philadelphia Emerging Architect Prize,
AIA PA Honor Award,
AIA Philadelphia Merit Award,
Remodel Magazine Award

224 S Melville St, Philadelphia, PA 19139

About Assimilation Design Lab

In the Newbold area of Philadelphia, around the corner from the famous Geno’s cheese-steak restaurant, are the offices of Assimilated Design Lab. Founded in 2012, Assimilation Design Lab, LLC (ADL) is a young, dynamic architecture firm that strives to assimilate theory-based design solutions with programmatic needs specific to each project and client. ADL is lead by Principal David Whipple, AIA. Before starting his own firm, Whipple worked at Brett Webber Architects, Michael Ryan Architects, Bloomfield and Associates, and Stokes Architecture. He is a graduate of the School of Architecture at Syracuse University. The firm offers services in pre-design, design, construction, and sustainable design. The firm has won numerous awards, most recently the 2016 AIA Philadelphia’s Philadelphia Emerging Architect Prize, the 2014 AIA PA Honor Award, the 2014 AIA Philadelphia Merit Award, and a 2014 Remodel Magazine Award. They were also a 2014 James Beard Design Award Finalist.

“As far as getting started, I grew up working construction and loving art.  So not knowing what to do with my life, I put the two things together that I enjoyed as a teenager, and came up with architecture.  I really had no idea what they did.  Once I got to college, I fell in love with the design, the thought process, and theory of creating space.” – David Whipple

Featured Projects

For the Tria Taproom located at 2005 Walnut Street, David Whipple used the building’s historic fabric of exposed bricks and windows to create a unique feel. The Pennsylvania architects used blackened steel and white Carrera marble at the bar. The bar in Rittenhouse Square is unique, though: Tria Taproom takes the word “taproom” literally; there’s not a bottle in the building. Nearly two dozen draft beers, a dozen draft wines, four draft cocktails, two draft ciders, and a draft kombucha make up the beverage list. Tria Taproom was named Philadelphia magazine’s “Best of Philly” Beer Bar in 2014 and consistently earns a spot on Draft Magazine’s “America’s 100 Best Beer Bars.”

Most recently, the firm completed 3 restaurants: Sate Kampar, Good Dog Bar, and Baology, all within the city. They were also a part of the Tria Fitler Sq project, which unfortunately closed. They also have one currently on the boards on Frankford Ave.

“My inspiration.  To me, the built environment and how we inhabit and perceive space is something that is complex and beautiful.  It can impact all of our senses, our emotions, our daily lives.  Walking into the pantheon for the first time is awe-inspiring.  So my goal or inspiration is to provide that same feeling and understanding of space for my clients.” – David Whipple

DAS Architects

Susan M. Davidson
David A. Schultz

National Association of Interior Designers First Place\

1628 John F Kennedy Boulevard, Philadelphia, PA 19103

About DAS Architects

DAS Architects, one of the country’s top design firms, was founded by Susan M. Davidson, IDC and David A. Schultz, AIA, in 1990. DAS offers a full range of architectural, interior design, and procurement services. DAS’s resume includes renovations to Jekyll Island Club, an historic resort originally created by J.P. Morgan, as well as the Tidewater Inn, Inn at the Beach Club, Hyatt Centric Hotel, Hotel Metro, the Granary, the Beacon in Philadelphia, and Wolfgang’s Steakhouse in Manhattan. DAS designs are regularly featured among the country’s top designers in publications such as Hospitality Design, Nation’s Restaurant News, Contract Design, Chef Magazine, Restaurants USA, Retail Design, Interior Design, and Interiors. Schultz and Davidson serve as co-founders and principals at DAS. Schultz has over 25 years of experience in the industry and has worked on over 150 signature hospitality projects. Ms. Davidson is responsible for the oversight of all interior design at the firm. Her work for “Le Bec Fin” won First Place from the National Association of Interior Designers. The firm is affiliated with the American Institute of Architects, Pennsylvania Society of Architects, the Foundation for Architecture, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the Urban Land Institute.

Featured Projects

DAS Architects were the Architect of Record for Union Trust Steakhouse at 717 Chestnut Street. The restaurant opened, in 2009, is high-end, 440-seat steakhouse in a converted classical bank space. DAS reinvigorated the building, which is an embodiment of rich Philadelphia history that once served as The Union Trust Company Bank, built in 1888. Just a block from Independence Hall, DAS Architects took advantage of Its soaring, vaulted ceilings and built an expansive balcony. DAS worked to bring to life the grand-arched windows that overlook the Historic District of Philadelphia and integrated soaring, 65-foot, illuminated engraved ceilings, architecturally accented walls, multiple private rooms, and a breathtaking wraparound mezzanine overlooking the whole site.

Harman Deutsch Architecture

Brett Harman
Craig Deutsch
Rustin Ohler

631 N 12th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123

About Harman Deutsch Architecture

Based In the Poplar neighborhood of Philly, Harman Deutsch (HD) Architecture was founded in 1999 by Brett Harman and Craig Deutsch. Their lead principals are Harman, Deutsch, and Rustin Ohler, a graduate from Temple University. Harman Deutsch Architecture now employees a team of over 20 staffers who offer construction administration, code consultation, site development, interior renovations, and new construction for mixed-use buildings, restaurants, hotels, retail space, office buildings, multi-family housing, and private residences. They’ve worked across Philadelphia, including locations in Liberty Square, Chestnut Street, the Manayunk neighborhood, Delmar Street, the Spring Arts neighborhood, and Catherine Street. Harman Deutsch Architecture’s work has been featured in Philly Voice, Patch.com, philly.com, and Curbed Philly.

Featured Projects

Led by Chef Jeremy Noel, Brauhaus Schmitz is one of the most authentic German bierhalles and restaurants in the United States. Located at 718 South Street in Philadelphia, it is has changed how the city looks at German foods. Philadelphia Magazine has honored Brauhaus Schmitz with three “Best of” titles in their annual “Best of Philly” issues and noted the important design work that Harman Deutsch Architecture did to help bring the restaurant to life. HDA’s work included complete renovation of an existing building’s 8,300 square feet into into the 100-seat, authentic German restaurant, with two new residential units above. The German bierhalle offers traditional Bavarian decor. HD designed a wooden, overarching roof that welcomes you into the wooden and brick homey design within. Hops and barley plants sit on top of wooden shelves, and antique lights cast an old-fashioned sensibility on the customers inside.

Stokes Architecture

Richard Stokes

Preservation Alliance Grand Jury Award
Washington DC Historic Preservation Award

2103 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

About Stokes Architecture

Formed in 2000 by Richard Stokes, Stokes Architecture is a full-service architecture firm that specializes in a wide range of projects, from large-scale hospitality design to small-scale interior fit-outs. Stokes, AIA, LEEP AP, serves as principal. He is a licensed architect in six states and the District of Columbia and a member of NCARB, Philadelphia Preservation Alliance, and the AIA. Prior to founding his firm, Stokes worked at Venturi Scott Brown and at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson. He has a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Architecture from Kent State University. Stokes Architecture has been awarded the Preservation Alliance Grand Jury Award and the Washington DC Historic Preservation Award and has been featured in Hospitality Design, Smithsonian Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Philadelphia Magazine, Surface Magazine, OnTap Magazine, and Zagat’s.

Featured Projects

When working with chef and owner Jason Cichonski, Stokes Architecture wanted to make Ela at 627 S 3rd Street in Philadelphia high-end, yet accessible atmosphere, for his latest and most personal endeavor. Located in the Queen Village area of Philadelphia, Ela is a 75-seat bar and restaurant whose interior lends itself to the hip sensibility Cichonski brings to his food. Stokes Architecture created an identity and, ultimately, an interior scheme based on two parameters: a small budget and a few nonspecific reference images provided by the client. The result is a warm yet industrial interior, spotted with quirky design elements that create an intimate and unique dining experience. Stokes was also the architect of record for the new Fette Sau restaurant in Philadelphia at 1208 Frankford Avenue. The firm’s first collaboration with Brooklyn Chef and Restaurateur Joe Carroll is a second location for his popular BBQ restaurant, after New York, and he wanted to branch out to Fishtown. While the Brooklyn location was confined to a small, former auto garage, Stokes Architecture had a much larger site to work with in Philadelphia. Designed to look like a large animal barn, Fette Sau features salvaged wood rafters surrounding communal picnic tables. The restaurant also displays large custom paintings of illustrated butcher meat charts, explaining the various cuts and grades of the meat the customers are eating.


Jerry K Roller
Paul Georges
Glenn Werner
David Urffer

100 E Penn Square #1080, Philadelphia, PA 19107

About JKPR

Founded in 1984, JKRP Architects is a full-service architecture firm built on relationships in the Center City neighborhood, just next door to City Hall. JKPR offers a wide range of services that balance design, scope, and cost across every step of the project. Jerry K Roller, AIA LEEP AP, is also the founder of the firm. He has served as president of AIA-PA and regional director and vice president on the National AIA Board. He is also an active board member of the BIA of Philadelphia. Roller is joined by Paul Georges, AIA, who joined JKRP in 1986. Glenn Werner, AIA, LEEP AP, has been part of JKRP since 1987. He’s also a member of the American Institute of Architects, Philadelphia, the ACHE/American College of Healthcare Executives, the Builders Industry Association Green Committee, the Healthcare Facilities Managers Association of Delaware Valley HFMADV, and the Morgantown Area Business Association. David Urffer, AIA, joined in 1998 and is on the board of directors. The firm also includes Robert McCall, AIA, Jonathan A. Broh, AIA, and Jose J. Hernandez, AIA, NOMA, NCARB, as principal architects.

Featured Projects

JKPR was the architect of record for The Capital Grille at 1338-46 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. The project resulted in a formal 230-seat restaurant that features custom mahogany millwork, dramatic coffered ceilings, custom chandeliers, and a state-of-the-art open kitchen. The restaurant offers steak, seafood and drinks in an old-school gentleman’s club vibe. To keep up with demand, JKPR was brought back to design and produce three additional private dining rooms along the Broad Street exposure, which were added a year later, increasing the square footage by 1,000 square-feet. The firm added approximately 60 seats, cementing the Capital Grille as part of the “Avenue of the Arts’” culinary renaissance. The firm also worked at the restaurant Plate at the Trilogy Towers at 8440 Limekiln Pike in nearby Wyncote. The restaurant features modern American cuisine. Unique design establishments by JKPR include a custom stone patio with a splashing waterfall outside, with a unique lit-up elliptical bar inside. Plate seats 150 customers and features two private dining nooks that are framed by unique, beaded metal curtains.


Alan Metcalfe
Aaron Goldblatt

American Association of Museums Excellence in Exhibition Design Award,
City of Philadelphia Commerce Department and the Community Design Collaborative Storefront Challenge Best Overall Design,
HGTV Fresh Faces of Design,
Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums “Buildy” Award,
PA Brownfields Conference Extreme Makeover Award

211 N 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

About Metcalfe

In 2002, Alan Metcalfe invited one of his clients, Aaron Goldblatt, then deputy director at the Wagner Free Institute of Science, to join together to start their new firm. The firm has worked on a number of restaurant and dining projects, including the bar and lounge Coda at 1712 Walnut Street and the gastropub Goat Hollow at 300 West Mount Pleasant Avenue, the latter of which was awarded the 2015 HGTV Fresh Faces of Design award. Metcalfe, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB, worked as lead designer and partner at three Philadelphia firms before starting Metcalfe. He holds a Master of Architecture from Columbia University, a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Tufts University, and is a LEED AP and NCARB certified. The firm’s work has been featured in a variety of publications, including The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Context Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The New York Times. The firm has also been feted with a long list of awards, including the 2017 American Association of Museums, Excellence in Exhibition Design Award; the 2016 City of Philadelphia Commerce Department and the Community Design Collaborative Storefront Challenge, Best Overall Design; the 2015 Mid-Atlantic Association of Museums “Buildy” Award; the 2014 City of Philadelphia Commerce Department and the Community Design Collaborative Storefront Challenge, Best Overall Design; and the 2013 PA Brownfields Conference, Extreme Makeover Award.

Featured Projects

Metcalfe Architects designed The Little Treehouse Play Cafe, located at 10 W Gravers Lane in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia. Feted in 2010 with the Best of Philly Awards Best Kids’ Party Venue, the firm designed the renovation of this 6,000-square-foot café and children’s play center to provide a safe, creative, and actively engaging experience for children, while still providing a relaxing, cozy, and sophisticated environment for the adults who are coming with them. The play area is divided into age-appropriate zones and features custom-made installations created from natural materials and designed to promote learning through play. Metcalfe also created the Treehouse’s graphic identity program, including logo, website, printed material, and advertising.


David Fierabend

1639 N Hancock Street #302, Philadelphia, PA 19122

About Groundswell

Located in Olde Kensington, Groundswell Design Group is a full-service design firm specializing in public space, hospitality, public parks, land art installations, restaurants and distilleries, intimate cafés, and pop-up activations. A graduate of Florida International University’s Department of Architecture, the firm’s principal, David Fierabend, is responsible for the aesthetics and creation of Spruce Street Harbor Park and PHS beer garden, as well as hip mainstays including Morgan’s Pier and FringeArts’ new building on the Pier. Groundswell’s work has been featured in philly.com, ABC6, Restaurant Development + Design Magazine, Philadelphia Magazine, Akron Beacon Journal, cleveland.com, the San Jose Mercury News, and The St. Louis Business Journal. The firm has also been awarded The “Best of Philly” title for Best Landscape Designer.” Some famous projects outside of Philadelphia include work for Proximo Spirits to redesign Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey Distillery in Denver, CO, Empire Diner in New York City, and St. Louis Union Station in St. Louis, MO.

Featured Projects

Groundswell transformed what was a nondescript garden alongside the Dow Building’s 6th Street frontage into a lively gathering place for the city for Philadelphia restaurateur Michael Schulson. Now Independence Beer Garden at 100 S Independence Mall West, the restaurant features heavy steel girders amidst shady trees, delicate flowers, and lush shrubbery, setting the atmosphere for this American-style beer garden. Parties can relax in custom adirondack chairs amid fire pits and table tennis in the distinct atmosphere of American summer. The firm was also the architect of record for La Peg at 40 N Christopher Columbus Boulevard. Featured at the FringeArts building on the Delaware River waterfront, Groundswell worked closely with the client to create a space that complements the building’s unique heritage and on-site performance venue. Rich, dark materials accenting the character of the old firehouse pumping station’s interior give way to bright, leafy counterparts in the outdoor beer garden, as the space opens up to excellent views of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.

OTTO Architects

Joshua Otto


Storefront Challenge for Best Design,
Restaurant Design Awards Finalist,
AIA National Emerging Professionals Exhibition,
James Beard Foundation Finalist for Outstanding Restaurant Design Award,
AIA Pennsylvania Emerging Professional Award,
Remodeling Design Grand Award.

453 Johnson Street #100, Jenkintown, PA 19046

About OTTO Architects

Located in suburban Philadelphia in Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, Otto Architects LLC provides architecture, interior design, sustainable design, product and furniture design, and graphic design services for both public and private clientele. The firm is lead by Principal Joshua Otto. Otto is registered architect and LEED Accredited Professional and is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Maryland. He also holds an NCARB certificate. Prior to founding Otto Architects, he worked at Brett Webber Architects, GBQC Architects, and Roger Ferris + Partners. Otto holds a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Kentucky. Otto has has served on AIA Philadelphia’s Board of Directors and co-chairs the AIA Philadelphia Design Committee. He is also the co-founder and coordinator of the Philadelphia Emerging Architecture Prize. He and his firm have won numerous awards, including the 2016 Storefront Challenge for Best Design, a 2015 AIA National Emerging Professionals Exhibition, a 2014 James Beard Foundation Finalist for Outstanding Restaurant Design Award, a 2014 AIA Pennsylvania Emerging Professional Award, and a 2014 Remodeling Design Grand Award. The firm was also a finalist for the 2016 Restaurant Design Awards.

Featured Projects

OTTO Architects worked to help bring the restaurant Girard Brasserie into reality. A finalist for the 2016 Restaurant Design Awards, the 40-seat restaurant features an open kitchen, a five-seat chef’s counter, and a small grab-and-go market. It offers progressive French cuisine to Philadelphia’s rapidly developing Fishtown neighborhood, located at 300 East Girard Avenue. OTTO designed the interior to implement a bold color palette, with a brass and distressed mirror adding specular highlights of a classic Parisian bistro. Elements of unique camouflage cover folded overhead planes and create a graphically bold yet spatially ambiguous ceiling. It evokes a mind-warping motif of zigzagging zebra stripes, created from an actual technique to disguise battleships in World War II. The use of bright yellow walls helps create the illusion that the French restaurant looks larger than it actually is.

Studio Agoos Lovera

Jorge Lovera
Ted Agoos
David Franke
Jim Row

Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia’s Grand Jury Award,
Brownfields Conference Extreme Makeover Award,
General Building Contractors Association’s award for Best Adaptive Reuse Project

1 S Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107

About Studio Agoos Lovera

Jorge Lovera and Ted Agoos worked together in leading Philadelphia design firms before founding Studio Agoos Lovera 1983. Lovera retired in 2011, and Agoos retired in 2013. Since 1999, the firm has since been lead by Principals David Franke and Jim Row. The firm has been awarded with numerous achievements, including the 2014 and 2013 Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia’s Grand Jury Award, the 2013 PA Brownfields Conference, Extreme Makeover Award, and the General Building Contractors Association’s award for Best Adaptive Reuse Project. David Franke, RA, holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Temple University. Franke is also an active member of the Doylestown Pennsylvania Mercer Museum and the Fonthill Castle Board of Trustees. He is also a member of the Building and Facilities Committee of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. James Rowe, AIA, holds a Master of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia. Beyond Studio Agoos Lovera, Rowe is was director and president of AIA Philadelphia in 2015, a director of the Center for Architecture, and is an adjunct professor of Architecture at Drexel University.

Featured Projects

Studio Agoos Lovera designed Di Bruno Brothers, found at 1730 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. Di Bruno Brothers has been a purveyor and importer of gourmet foods since 1939. Studio Agoos Lovera worked to design their 18k-square-foot, world class gourmet food store, located in the Rittenhouse Square area of Philadelphia. The firm worked to combine two existing buildings and convert them into one Di Bruno Brothers. The store and restaurant now includes an exciting and welcoming 8,000-square-foot gourmet selection with a central open riser stair, rotisserie, cafe bar, and cheese cave, among other delights on the ground floor. The second floor is accessed through the central stair leading to a demonstration kitchen, the cafe, and “paninoteca,” served by a state-of-the-art kitchen. The firm also worked on the restaurant Tequila’s, located at 1602 Locust Street in the Rittenhouse Square area of the Center City neighborhood in Philadelphia. The 150-seat Mexican restaurant offers a festive Día de los Muertos aesthetic. Designed for proprietor David Suro, who also owns the Siembra Azul distillery, Tequila features large portraits: one inspired by the work of José Guadalupe Posada that includes a family of “Calavera” skeletons, and another that pays homage to the work of Diego Rivera. Agoos Lovera also included custom New Orlean’s-style wrought iron-gates that encompass the restaurant.


John Weckerly
Sal Guerrero

1315 Walnut Street, Suite 1614, Philadelphia, PA 19107

[email protected]

About Boxwood

Located in the Center City neighborhood of Philadelphia, Boxwood Architects is a full-service architecture studio offering interior design, graphics, and project management. The firm has been featured in AIA Philadelphia Emerging Architectures Exhibition, and their work has been published in the Miami New Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Business Journal, philly.com, Eater Philly, and Eater DC. The firm is led by John Weckerly, RA, and Sal Guerrero, RA. Mr. Weckerly is a graduate of Temple University’s Tyler School of Art and Architecture and has over 20 years years of experience working in the profession. He is registered in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington DC, Delaware, Florida and Missouri. His partner, Sal Guerrero, RA, has 13 years’ experience in the profession and is also a graduate of Temple University Tyler School of Art and Architecture.

Featured Projects

Boxwood was the architect of record for Dizengoff, located at 1625 Sansom Street, for the client CookNSolo in 2014. Found in the center City neighborhood of Philadelphia, Dizengoff — named for the major Tel Aviv boulevard — is a casual Israeli Hummusiya (or hummus restaurant) with room for 25 customers. It is modeled after hummus spots found in Israel, but the unique visual style of a vintage 1970s-era rollerskate rink. The artwork at the restaurant includes customer posters and artwork designed by local artist Tennyson Tippy. Another major restaurant project that Boxwood worked on is the Italian wine bar and oyster bar Tredici Enoteca, located at 114 S 13th Street. Designed for client Greg Dodge at Zavino Hospitality in 2016, Tredici Enoteca was built as sister restaurant to the famous and extremely popular restaurant Zavino. Boxwood worked to help give the Italian restaurant a modern vibe and a visual aesthetic for the space that hosts 55 guests indoors and sixteen guests outdoors. Tredici Enoteca’s decor includes unique gray velvet curtains, a gleaming marble bar, herringbone wood floors, and unique shelving that holds an esoteric mixture of pottery, canned food, artwork, and various other exotica.

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