Restaurateurs understand the importance of a well-designed restaurant space in creating a cohesive, inviting, thrilling gastronomic experience. The seating arrangement, lighting, kitchen layout, thematic finishings, and detailings dictate the atmosphere of the restaurant. To ensure that these elements go together successfully, a skilled restaurant architect is necessary. We’ve decided to feature the best restaurant architects in Indianapolis.
To come up with the list, our editorial team shortlisted local architects and assessed each based on a rigorous set of criteria. We looked carefully at each firm’s work history, operational capacity, and the overall quality of their work.
Axis Architecture + Interiors
618 E Market St., Indianapolis, IN 46202
Since 1995, Axis Architecture + Interiors has provided detailed architectural work in the hospitality, corporate, residential, commercial, and retail sectors. The firm was founded by Drew White and Kevin Cooper, prominent figures in the local architectural scene. White is a former regional representative to the National AIA Strategic Council and a past President of AIA Indiana and AIA Indianapolis. Cooper currently sits on the Rose-Hulman Board of Associates. The dynamic leadership of the two propelled the firm to new heights, gaining local recognition.
The Axis portfolio consists of top-tier restaurant projects adored by locals such as the Taxman Brewing Company, an 8,675-square-foot, two-story building that combines a brewery and a restaurant. The interior has a rustic appeal, as a result of being a renovated warehouse. This polished concrete and salvaged wood interior create an atmosphere that brings friends together over a good meal and a beer.
5719 Lawton Loop E Dr., Ste. #212 Indianapolis, IN 46216
Shawn Curran, an architect registered in over 43 states, founded his namesake firm Curran Architecture in 2003 as an extension of his professional services. The firm is a full-service design firm offering a creative outlook in the craft of commercial architectural design. Shawn Curran has over two decades of industry experience, working in various market segments. The firm has thorough experience in industrial, medical, office, and retail projects.
The Curran portfolio reflects the experience of the firm and Shawn Curran. The popular burger restaurant group Five Guys Burgers hired Curran Architecture to design one of their stores. The location is one of the restaurant’s key places in Central and Northern Indiana.
6500 Westfield Blvd, Indianapolis, IN 46220
Established in 1999, Demerly Architects is a full-service architectural studio that won the coveted AIA Indiana Annual Design Awards in 2014 along with an ABC Award of Excellence for a restaurant project back in 2004. The firm has a strong track record in collaborating with major brands and names. Company Principal Mark Demerly serves as Co-Chair of the Regional Urban Design Committee. He is an alumnus of Ball State University Architecture program.
Looking at the Demerly portfolio shows the firm’s keen attention to detail and strong professional conduct. Tini, a bar completed in 2011, is one of the firm’s finest works in the restaurant category. The restaurant has a straightforward approach to dining, which translates well into the restaurant’s architectural design.
1425 E 86th St., Ste. #211 Indianapolis, IN 46240
INFLUENCE is a woman-owned architectural and interior design firm offering the full scope of design services. Mindy Homan-Wise serves as the President and Owner of the company while Linda Tharp serves as the Interior Designer of the firm. Wise has over two decades of experience and formal training in Architecture and Environmental Design. The two provide sharp design techniques and the most up-to-date design practices. The firm believes that the process begins with the client’s preferences in mind.
The firm holds an impressive portfolio of commercial establishments. Projects such as the Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chao speak for INFLUENCE’s design sensibility. The restaurant has a rugged look, with wooden chairs and tables accentuating the Brazil-inspired wallpaper artworks. There is also a bar that accommodates those who wish to dine more than the steak and wine menu.
M.D. Architects PC
6470 N Shadeland Ave., Ste. A, Indianapolis, IN 46220
For over 20 years, M.D. Architects have dealt with complex design and planning projects with well-regarded customer service and efficient business practices. The firm deliberately fosters strong relationship ties with trade partners and clients to push the envelope quality. M.D.A. is a full-service architecture and interior design firm and is capable of handling preliminary designs, schematic design, planning, construction documentation and administration. The wide scope of service offered by the company shows how structured and knowledgeable the team is as it operates nationwide. Owner and President Rick Renschen is a registered architect in 35 states across the nation.
The M.D.A. arsenal of cafes, restaurants, animal and human care facilities makes a case for the firm’s belief in collaborative architecture. The 2,000-square-foot café The Well Coffeehouse is a good example of this collaborative approach. The firm designed this Fishers, Indiana restaurant with timeless design and functionality in mind.
Rottmann Collier Architects
155 E Market St., Ste. #200, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Rottmann Collier Architects is an award-winning architecture firm established in 1997. The firm has firm roots in Indiana and the Greater Midwest, with founders Todd Rottman and Rod Collier having spent a great deal of time in the region. The two graduated with honors from the Ball State University and went on to work for decades with local commercial buildings, mixed-use complexes, multi-family homes, and even private residences. The versatility and flexibility of Rottman and Collier’s skillset became the cornerstone of the firm’s continuing success. This same versatility is seen in the firm’s work portfolio. Rottman Collier has designed multiple White Bison cafe locations in Nashville, Tennessee. All White Bison locations share a welcoming, easygoing atmosphere. The interiors are a nice blend of neutral and Earth tones and a clean layout accommodates individuals, pairs, and groups.
702 North Capitol Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46204
With over five decades of industry experience under its belt, Rowland Design has provided award-winning design services across the country through a highly collaborative process. During its years in the industry, Rowland’s success includes winning the 2019 AIA Indiana Firm of the Year. The firm is led by a group of seasoned design executives. Eric Rowland, the Company Principal, has maintained a consistent standard of quality over the years. This quality is reflected in the many market sectors the firm dived in. From restaurants to airport lounges, Rowland has proven itself worthy of the accolades it carries. Cafe Patachou, founded by esteemed restaurateur Martha Hoover, sought the design services of Rowland as the restaurant underwent a rebrand. The 2,400-square-foot space features a light and easy-going atmosphere perfect for casual dates, business meetings, and simply having good food for dinner.