Seattle is a vibrant hub for aspiring restaurant ventures. With its dynamic culinary scene, diverse population, and penchant for embracing innovative dining concepts, Seattle offers an inviting landscape for restaurant businesses to thrive. The city’s blend of local ingredients, strong food culture, and an enthusiastic community of food enthusiasts make it an ideal destination for culinary entrepreneurs to set up shop. If you want to invest in a restaurant business in Seattle, Washington, here are the city’s eight best restaurant architects.


Atelier Drome

119 South Main Street, Suite 310, Seattle, WA 98104

Atelier Drome is a comprehensive design firm uniting exceptional design with approachability in architecture, interior design, and branding across Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and Texas. It is a community of designers dedicated to making great design accessible to everyone, shaping spaces from daily environments to public establishments. Recognized for its excellence, Atelier Drome received the 2017 Northwest Design Award for Hospitality Design. Affiliated with AIA, it sets high architectural standards, and features in publications like Eater Seattle underscore its influence. 

Principals Michelle Linden and Henry Walters guide the firm. Michelle, an architect with international experience, co-founded Atelier Drome. Together, they lead Atelier Drome’s commitment to innovative and accessible design solutions.


E. Cobb Architects

99 South Jackson Street, Seattle, WA 98104

Established in 1994, E. Cobb Architects Inc. is committed to crafting extraordinary spaces and structures. With a focus on innovative and intricate projects, it has gained international recognition for its thoughtful and ingenious solutions tailored to each project’s unique conditions. Affiliated with the American Institute of Architects, the firm has been featured in publications like New York YIMBY in 2020, Restaurant Development + Design in 2019, and The Seattle Times in 2016 and 2017. 

E. Cobb Architects Inc.’s founder, Eric Cobb, holds a Master of Architecture from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from the University of Washington, Seattle. With architectural licenses in Washington, New York, and Montana, Eric brings a wealth of expertise to the firm’s outstanding work.


MG2 Corporation

1101 Second Avenue, Suite 100, Seattle, WA 98101

MG2 is a distinguished global architecture, design, and branding firm with a focus on Retail, Food & Beverage, Hospitality, Mixed-use, Multifamily Residential, and Industrial markets. Their Consumer Experiences team specializes in creating memorable spaces that anticipate customer needs. MG2 consistently ranks among the nation’s largest architecture firms and is celebrated worldwide as a premier retail design studio. The firm is frequently featured in local and national publications including Gray Magazine, Restaurant Development + Design, Fast Company, VMSD, Women’s Wear Daily, Development Magazine, and Building Design + Construction.

Photography by © FotoBriceno

Mitch Smith, AIA, LEED AP, leads as the company’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman. Smith’s vision and accomplishments contribute significantly to MG2’s trajectory. For more than five decades, MG2 has continued to build innovative environments and deliver award-winning projects.


Freiheit Architecture

505 106th Avenue NE, Suite 302, Bellevue, WA 98004

Established in 1985 as Freiheit & Ho Architects, the firm’s swift growth has been driven by founders Richard Freiheit and Lawrence Ho’s unwavering commitment to exceptional client service. Initially centered on office, retail, and industrial projects, the firm has broadened its scope to include multi-family, mixed-use, and hospitality sectors. Now known as FREIHEIT Architecture, the name captures the essence of limitless possibilities. Led by Dustin Thorlakson, Jen Caudle, Michael Langston, and Chris Amonson, the mid-sized firm strikes a balance between tailored attention and ample resources. 

Dustin Thorlakson, Principal and President, holds a Bachelor of Architecture with a Business Administration Minor from the University of Southern California. Affiliated with AIA and NAIOP, FREIHEIT Architecture’s work has been featured in Connect CRE and Bisnow publications.


SJARCHITECT

5405 Leary Avenue NW, Suite 2, Seattle, WA 98107

SJARCHITECT—a comprehensive architectural and interior design firm— is committed to community upliftment and inspiration, regardless of project size. It specializes in mixed-use commercial, residential, and hospitality projects and is dedicated to turning ambitious dreams into reality. Affiliated with AIA and staffed by LEED AP team members, it is committed to a sustainable ethos. Publications like The Registry, CapitolHillSeattle.com, and Daily Journal of Commerce have highlighted the firm’s work, attesting to its impactful designs. 

Principals Jay Janette, AIA, LEED AP, and Mike Skidmore continue to drive the firm to excellence. Jay, a Washington State University alumnus, brings his leadership expertise and maintains LEED AP certification. Another university graduate, Mike, champions environmental design’s significance across project types. SJARCHITECT thrives under their guidance, crafting spaces that resonate with purpose and innovation.


Fivedot

1906 E Alder Street, Seattle, WA 98122

Based in Seattle, Fivedot is a collaborative architecture and design firm that draws from its design/build roots to craft elegant and uncomplicated spaces. With a collective and strong belief in collaboration, the firm works closely with clients to deliver effective solutions for today’s complex design challenges. Sustainability is integral to its approach, with green considerations from project initiation to completion. Fivedot’s affiliations, including SEED accreditation and BuiltGreen certification, underscore its commitment to sustainable practices. Its work has been recognized in notable publications like The Construction Specifier, Dexigner, and Financial Times

The leadership of principals Stephanie Ingram, Geoff Piper, and partner Sharon Khosla, each with diverse architectural backgrounds, ensures a broad spectrum of expertise. Their collective vision drives Fivedot’s contributions across residential and institutional projects.


UPWARD | Architecture and Interiors

815 Seattle Boulevard S, Suite 321, Seattle, WA 98134

UPWARD | Architecture and Interiors is a Seattle-based collaboration founded by architect Mark Ward in 2016. It takes pride in providing innovative solutions crafted by a team of adept problem solvers. The firm’s diverse expertise blends design, technical proficiency, and business acumen, evident in its remarkable portfolio that includes hospitality, distillery, manufacturing, adaptive reuse, and custom homes projects. UPWARD | Architecture and Interiors’ dedication to excellence has been affirmed through its affiliation with the American Institute of Architects, underscoring its commitment to architectural standards. Notably, the firm has been featured in numerous publications, including the Daily Journal of Commerce in 2023. 

Mark Ward, the founder, has a rich academic background, and he guides projects from inception to realization, ensuring each project’s distinctive success.


McNelis Architects

4218 SW Alaska, Suite F, Seattle, WA 98116

Founded by Lisa McNelis in 1999, McNelis Architects is a boutique architectural firm celebrated for its versatile designs that transcend conventional boundaries. Specializing in various projects—including custom residential, multi-family low-rise, and compact commercial spaces—it maintains a focused approach by intentionally limiting its project load. This strategy ensures unparalleled responsiveness and unwavering dedication throughout each design phase. With a career spanning over two decades and licenses in Washington and Montana, Lisa McNelis, the visionary founder and principal, leads the firm’s unwavering commitment to innovative design and sustainable practices. 

Aligned with the American Institute of Architects, McNelis Architects underscores its expertise, having been featured in publications like the West Seattle Herald Article, further cementing its reputation for architectural excellence and its mission to craft inspiring spaces.

Author

  • Blaine Comeione

    Blaine has served as Editor at General Contractors for six years, drawing from over ten years of experience in construction and real estate. His comprehensive understanding spans commercial construction, architecture, and home builds, cultivated through diverse roles in the industry. With four years at BuildZoom and a background as a licensed real estate agent, Blaine possesses a unique perspective that enriches his editorial work. His dedication to delivering informative content is underscored by his extensive tenure in the field, ensuring that readers receive valuable insights into the dynamic world of construction and home design. Expertise: Architecture, Commercial Construction, Home Design and Build Key Highlights: Over 6 years of experience writing and editing in the construction space, Editor at General Contractors, Previous experience at BuildZoom and Keller Williams Realty Education: Ohio University, Bachelor of Science in Human and Consumer Science - Minor in Business, 120+ Hours of New Jersey Real Estate Education, 120+ Hours of Arizona Real Estate Education