San Diego, dubbed “America’s Finest City,” stands out as a prime location for launching a restaurant business, with factors such as job growth, income levels, community engagement, and abundant resources. Home to eight restaurants holding three Michelin stars and a total of 80 stars across 58 establishments listed in the Michelin Guide 2019, San Diego offers a thriving culinary landscape.

Creating or renovating a restaurant demands meticulous planning and specific expertise. Architects play a crucial role in bringing your ideas to life, adhering to your instructions and layouts while ensuring plans comply with regulations and stand structurally sound. This compilation features the top restaurant architects in San Diego, California, all of which offer comprehensive services from initial conception to project completion.


845 15th St. Suite 103, San Diego, CA 92101

BNIM has solidified its position as an industry expert, particularly as a pioneer in the sustainable movement. With early engagement in the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and active participation in national committees and pilot programs, the firm’s commitment to sustainability has garnered national recognition over the past two decades. BNIM’s dedication to excellence is evident in its receipt of design awards from esteemed organizations, including the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Its notable accolades include recognition from the General Services Administration (GSA), the American Planning Association (APA), the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), and the National AIA Committee on the Environment (COTE) Top Ten Green Projects Awards, among others.

Part of the Embarcadero Master Plan, the Carnitas’ Snack Shack project plays a significant role in the downtown waterfront revitalization led by the Port of San Diego. BNIM took on the responsibility of completing the building as part of the tenant enhancement initiative. Acting as the architect, the firm navigated a complex coordination process involving various stakeholders, including the artist Pae White, the landowner, the Port of San Diego, client Sweet 100, the end-user Carnitas’ Snack Shack, the permitting agencies City of San Diego, and the health permitting agency County of San Diego.

M.W. Steele Group

1805 Newton Ave. Ste. A, San Diego, CA 92113

Founded in 1983, the award-winning M.W. Steele Group is an integrated architecture, planning, and urban design company under the direction of managing principals Steve Miles and Michael Paluso, as well as owner Mark Steele. Over the years, the company has successfully completed hundreds of projects in both the public and private sectors, covering a wide range of markets including retail, hospitality, residential, planning, and civic. Meanwhile, the workforce at the firm encompasses M.W. licensed project architects, qualified interior designers, American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) accredited planners, and skilled individuals who are actively involved in their communities. Awards received by the firm include a 2020 San Diego Housing Federation (SDHF) Ruby Award and a 2018 San Diego APA Urban Design Merit Award.

Mark Steele, the founder, holds certifications as an American Institute of Architects Fellow, an AICP planner, and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). As the most recent Chair of the Barrio Logan Planning Committee and the former Chair of the San Diego Planning Commission, Steele has continuously given back to the community. Under his leadership, M.W. Steele Group has developed a reputation for providing innovative design skills while navigating complex political and public processes.

ACRM Architects + Interiors

1045 14th St. Ste. 100, San Diego, CA 92101

For 21 years, ACRM Architects + Interiors has been well-regarded for its ability to translate the demands and desires of its clients into distinctive, attractive properties with long-term value. Based in San Diego, California, it was established in 2002 with the goal of pursuing creative perfection and offering top-notch client service. The firm takes pleasure in its close-knit connections with clients, as demonstrated by the number of repeat clients it receives. By offering excellent service at every stage, ACRM Architects + Interiors maintains enduring ties from the beginning of the design process to the project’s completion.

ACRM Architects + Interiors’ design philosophy revolves around the concept that each element of a structure should exemplify exceptional design. This is exemplified by one of the firm’s notable projects: Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens. Located in the Point Loma neighborhood of San Diego, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens encompasses over 23,500 square feet of indoor and outdoor dining spaces and bars. The venue features an outdoor movie theater, a spacious outdoor dining garden, and a bocce ball court. ACRM Architects + Interiors also played a pivotal role in the renovation of Historic Building 1 at Liberty Station, formerly the Naval Training Center, transforming its interiors to create a vibrant yet relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant design incorporates a variety of locally and on-site salvaged building materials.

Hauck Architecture

4888 Ronson Court, Ste. F, San Diego, CA 92111

Full-service architectural and interior design business Hauck Architecture is located in San Diego and specializes in custom homes, craft breweries, bars, and restaurants. Since 1996, the firm has been assisting clients with project design, planning, engineering, and navigating government certifications. The firm is currently led by owner T. Dustin Hauck, who is a member of the AIA, NCARB-certified, a LEED Accredited Professional (AP) in Building Design and Construction (BD+C), and a Build It Green Certified Green Building Professional (CGBP). Hauck pursued studies at the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland and obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from the Hammons School of Architecture at Drury University.

In collaboration with designer Davis Ink, Hauck Architecture contributed to Gravity Heights, a unique amenity integrated into a section of the existing office building within a larger office campus. Collaborating closely with the developer, Hauck designed an eye-catching exterior shell creatively utilized by the brewery, featuring expansive kitchen facilities and inviting dining spaces. To ensure compliance with building code standards, the brewery required efficient use of interior space to maximize customer occupancy while maintaining ample room for brewing activities.

Architects LOCAL

740 13th St, Ste 504, San Diego, CA, 92101

Established in 2014, with offices in Sacramento and San Diego, Architects LOCAL is a full-service architectural and development company. It focuses on initiatives including developments, bars, restaurants, urban infill projects, single-family homes, multifamily apartments, and commercial tenant upgrades.

Architects LOCAL is particularly well-known for designing unique interiors and exteriors for restaurants. In doing so, it closely collaborates with customers to understand their unique preferences and needs, giving it the ability to turn their visions into realities. Creating blueprints in accordance with the demands and standards of those designs is another one of the services it provides. As architects, Architects LOCAL may also design the structural and electrical systems, create construction schedules, work closely with the construction teams, and provide a budget. The firm’s team includes contractors, engineers, urban planners, and interior designers, all of whom have extensive expertise in restaurant design.