Restaurant projects come with the added challenge of having to design and craft highly specific spaces that cater not only to a client’s patrons but also their brands and their team’s specific needs. Often, these can range from various complex master kitchens to lounges and entertainment facilities. This list showcases Memphis’ five best and leading contractors behind some of its most recognizable restaurants and commercial spaces. These firms are also recipients of countless industry accolades and have since been featured in a variety of publications.
LRK (Looney Ricks Kiss)
50 South B.B. King Blvd. Suite 600, Memphis, TN 38103
Headquartered in Memphis, LRK extends its services throughout the area and is regarded for its stellar architecture and interior design work. It is composed of a talented and experienced team of professionals who employ highly sustainable techniques. This ensures that all of its projects are environmentally friendly and site responsive. Established in 1983, LRK has also taken on projects in Little Rock, Arizona; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Celebration, Florida; Dallas, Texas; and Princeton, New Jersey. Its work is best showcased in the depicted project below.
Featured in Vogue and StyleBlueprint, this project was designed for Gray Canary. It serves as the sixth restaurant for two James Beard Award-nominated chefs. The project houses a century-old warehouse, now Old Dominick Distillery. It features a great lounge overlooking the distillery’s fermentation room, several cocktail bars, and an eighty-seat dining room.
1500 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104
ANF Architects is a local practice that offers a comprehensive range of architecture, interior design, and planning services. It caters to a diverse group of clients and has been in business since 1975. The company’s portfolio showcases several excellent projects completed for the education, hospitality, healthcare, and corporate market sectors. It has also designed several senior living, multifamily, retail, religious, and industrial spaces.
Named by Architectural Record Magazine as among the country’s best-led firms, ANF offers LEED registration and sustainable design by its LEED Accredited Professionals. It also provides excellent master planning, adaptive reuse, and historical restorations.
The depicted project was completed for the Round One Bar and Restaurant. The firm’s team worked with a more sporty aesthetic and athletic paraphernalia for this space. It employed contemporary accents, wood tones, and natural leather. Its custom round bar was particularly impressive.
Ross Witt PLLC
6500 Stage Road, Suite 3, Bartlett, TN 38134
Ross Witt is a small architectural firm based out of its office in Bartlett. It assists its clients from start to finish and utilizes a hands-on approach. The firm credits its success to its talented team of professionals. They employ only the best and latest techniques such as 3D modelling, which allows for accurate renderings of projects. Its excellent programming, interior design, and master planning work are also noteworthy. Ross Witt’s portfolio showcases a diverse array of contemporary and modern themes.
At the firm’s helm are its principals and namesakes, Deb Ross and Ben Witt. Ross offers clients over three decades of experience as an interior designer. She holds a Bachelor of Science in interior design from the University of North Carolina. Witt, on the other hand, first gained insight into the industry from his grandfather, a civil engineer turned general contractor. He received his Bachelor of Architecture from Louisiana Tech University and is registered in eleven states.
UrbanARCH Associates, PC
498 South Main St., Memphis, TN 38103
UrbanARCH extends its services throughout Memphis and has worked in some of its best commercial districts. It offers its clients innovative and creative solutions to otherwise complex design issues. The firm adheres to the highest standards, which have resulted in stellar work. It is also the recipient of a multitude of accolades. It was recently awarded the AIA Tennessee Design Award for its work on the Crow Residence/Crazy Gander Coffee. Its portfolio depicts several stellar spaces completed for the civic, aviation, recreational, educational, industrial, medical, restaurant, residential, mixed-use, and retail markets.
The depicted project is one of our favorites from the firm’s portfolio. Designed and completed for Corky’s BBQ, one of the country’s most recognizable barbecue joints, this project entailed working on its site planning and interior design. The firm utilized elements that were reminiscent of Mississippi juke-joints and custom finishes.
Guy Payne & Associates Architects
879 Willow Tree Cir # 114, Cordova, TN 38018, USA
With over four decades of industry experience, Guy Payne & Associates operates out of its headquarters in Cordova. It specializes in commercial projects, particularly restaurants, casual dining restaurants, automobile dealerships, hospitality, senior living environments, retail and office projects, churches, and educational spaces. The company provides interested clients with an extensive list of architectural services, encompassing everything from planning to program development. The firm’s team also assists with site inspections and working on construction documents. The featured project was completed for a new Burger King branch in Holly Springs, Mississippi.
Prior to the establishment of the firm, its founder and namesake guy Payne was corporate architect for the Perkins Family Restaurants. Through this experience, he founded his practice that specializes in projects for the restaurant and hospitality markets projects. Under his leadership, the company has been listed as among the leading commercial construction architects by Commercial Construction Magazine.