While delicious cuisine and excellent customer service are essential for returning customers, the mood and setting within a restaurant are just as important. Customers should feel at ease as they enjoy their meals. The design of the dining space sets the tone for a customer’s dining experience. To create an environment that makes guests feel at ease you need a skilled professional who can see through the eyes of the visitors and shape the structure, inside and out, to reflect the brand’s menu.
To help you choose the right designer equipped to handle your building requirements, our team has listed the best restaurant architects working in Virginia Beach, Virginia. These firms were selected for their range of services, specializations, certifications, experience, and professional affiliations. Each of these firms has been recognized through industry awards, client reviews, and press features.
Ionic DeZign Studios
293 Independence Boulevard, Building 5, Suite 308, Virginia Beach, VA 23462
Since its establishment in 1999, Ionic DeZign Studios has worked on a wide range of projects, both large and small, always prioritizing close collaboration with clients. At this firm, architecture is all about the vision, and its designers are well-versed in the technologies that can assist clients in visualizing their projects. At the helm of the firm is D. Eugene Thompson, a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Eugene has distinguished himself in the community as an artist, a teacher, and an architect while being the founder of Ionic DeZign Studios. He approaches architecture and design with a fresh perspective, allowing clients to be comfortable and confident in their design vision from the beginning. The firm uses everything from 3D rendering to video walk-throughs and even old-fashioned material boards to fully conceptualize what the client needs and wants.
With more than 800 projects completed in 20 states, the firm’s portfolio reflects an extensive, remarkable range of designs. This scrape and rebuild style Wendy’s is the only new construction urban design model in the Virginia Beach area. An off-centered red metal barrel acts as the entryway and provides access to an outdoor dining patio. Corrugated metal and wood veneer cover the façade and are accented by large street-front windows. Modern style tables, chairs, and booths accent the interior while distinctive light fixtures and a sleek fireplace complete the urban design.
500 E Main Street, 16th Floor, Norfolk, VA 23510
Comprehensive design solutions that include architecture, interior design, and landscape design can make any client’s life easier. That convenience is what GARC has been dedicated to since its establishment in Norfolk in 2015. GARC has a worldwide reputation thanks to work in the United States, Southeast Asia, and China. Inside Business featured the firm’s excellent designs in 2022. These designs have garnered the firm several awards, including the 2020 Best Recreation/Entertainment/Hospitality Project Merit Award from HRACRE and the 2020 Design Awards by AIA Virginia.
Principal Architect Yang Tian, an AIA member and LEED Accredited professional, brings over 15 years of work experience in China and the U.S. in the fields of planning and architecture. He has extensive expertise in research-oriented design techniques, and his award-winning designs have appeared in prestigious architectural publications. Yang’s professional experience assists in broadening the range of the firm’s services. This featured restaurant project is one of the many projects that the firm has successfully designed to meet client expectations. GARC updated the look of Hanaki, a sushi restaurant in Chesapeake, into a more contemporary design. The team kept the existing overall layout to minimize the construction time and cost while creating a systematic design language to replace the current elements and integrate the space.
Andre Marquez Architects
6371 Center Drive, Norfolk, VA 23502
With accreditation from the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, Andre Marquez Architects delivers quality architecture, interior design, and space planning services tailored to its clients’ needs. The firm’s work has earned Awards of Excellence from the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Virginia Chapter and the Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate (HRACRE). The firm also conducts on-site design workshops for commercial, corporate, ecclesiastical, and government clients.
Principals Joel André and Georgie Márquez are both members of the AIA. Joel is licensed to practice architecture in New York, the Commonwealth of Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina. He served as a Commissioner with the Historic Preservation Commission for the City of Portsmouth, Virginia. Georgie, on the other hand, holds membership with the HRACRE and LEAD Hampton Roads. They have guided their team in producing designs for many well-known restaurants.
The Zushi Japanese Bistro is a great example. Located in the heart of Town Center, Virginia Beach, the restaurant features a large lounge area, a sake bar, a sushi bar, a dessert bar, and a sit down dining area. With a nod to nature, the space is decorated with the use of wood material on the walls and furniture. The gray carpet highlights the pale wood tables and counter, making it feel as if they were floating above the floor.
Covington Hendrix Anderson Architects
360 Southport Circle, Suite 104, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Established in 1998, Covington Hendrix Anderson Architects is an architectural firm with extensive reach and experience with projects in the commercial and residential areas. This firm is licensed in several states around the country and involved with a diverse variety of projects in the municipal, commercial, and public sectors. Leading the firms are principal architects, Jonathan Covington and Christopher Hendrix. Both architects are members of the AIA, with Hendrix being a National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB) certified architect. For more than 45 years, these two architects have brought excellent architecture and design to the whole country.
The firm’s principal architects have over 75 years of combined expertise in architectural design and construction. The team’s objective is to have a positive impact on the built environment and to create ideas that are both creative and inspirational, while also keeping the clients’ budgets in mind. The firm’s commitment to technology and training drives the firm to generate high-quality designs and documentation in a highly efficient, cost-effective manner.
The Butcher’s Son, located in Virginia Beach, reflects the firm’s capabilities—it has a 1920s theme with prohibition-style dark hallways and gorgeous velvet drapes. 1950s-style swinging doors, the butcher block bar, and the swoon-able leather Sinatra booths set the scene with classic ambiance. Three rooms for private events provide customers with an intimate dining experience. Every room features a large flat-screen television, perfect for presentations or slide shows.
1228 Perimeter Parkway, Suite 101, Virginia Beach, VA 23454
TS3 Architects is one of Virginia Beach’s most prominent architectural firms, having won awards from the HRACRE, the Virginia Beach Planning Commission, and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). The company specializes in corporate interiors, multi-family residential communities, medical, and retail design. Thomas F. Smith spearheads the TS3 team as it develops sustainable design solutions that respond to the client’s budget and needs. He is an active member of the AIA and is a Certified EarthCraft Virginia Builder. Through a collaborative approach that allows the team to tackle each project synergistically, Thomas empowers both his team and his clients, thus cultivating an immersive experience for everyone involved.
TS3 completed the interior build-out for Saffron Indian Bistro in Norfolk. The undulating ceiling elements are bathed in burnt orange and crimson colors, reminiscent of India. The table seating echoes the orange in the ceiling, backdropped by pale yellow walls. The dark wooden display shelving blends with the vibrant hues of the space. The back cushion detailing of the booths gives customers a visual sense of Indian craftsmanship. Accent lighting and suspended pendant fixtures bath the restaurant in a soft glow.
3330 Pacific Avenue, Suite 300, Virginia Beach, VA 23451
Altruistic Design is dedicated to building lasting relationships with clients throughout the country. Listening to and understanding clients’ needs is the cornerstone of its collaborative process. Led by Jeremy Maloney, the Altruistic team forms designs based on the input and ideas of everyone involved in the project. As a board member of the AIA Hampton Roads, Jeremy ensures that each commission carried out by the company adheres to the ideals of the AIA. He draws on his know-how of design theory and construction in leading the firm towards shaping spaces that benefit people’s lives.
ThreeShips Coffee is a testament to Altruistic Design’s thoughtful, socially responsive approach. The shop’s large, wood-topped coffee bar surrounds a large wooden masthead column. Customers can see all the angles of the pour-over and espresso bars, but the typical clutter of the backbar is hidden behind the column. The majority of the seating is a large and comfortable wooden banquette. A cupping/training lab was built in between the roaster and the end of the western portion of the bar to put focus on the roaster. Locally salvaged materials and patron-provided nautical relics help create a unique experience with each visit.
1432 N Great Neck Road, Suite 204, Virginia Beach, VA 23454
Dills Architects, founded in 1983, is a company of architects, planners, and designers with a collective focus on civic and cultural projects. Its work and client service are motivated by a shared attitude of responsible stewardship; the team wants to design, then construct a sustainable, livable environment.
Clay Dills—a member of the AIA and the firm’s design owner—takes a sustainable approache to the firm’s projects, especially in the commercial area. The firm’s commercial work includes corporate settings, hotels, medical office buildings, and mixed-use complexes. Dill Architects fully comprehends each client’s identity and its goals for its commercial buildings. The firm also infuses its mission and values into every design it produces. As a result, the firm creates fully efficient and inspirational spaces that reflect working environments and commercial solutions. One example of the firm’s completed work is the Esoteric Craft Beer & Curated Provisions shown here.
The design was executed through a tightly controlled contrast of textures, shapes, and materials. Smooth round white penny tiles, creamy white rectangular subway tiles, unpolished concrete floors, simple lighting, and a limited color palette were deployed. The space is covered in black and deep gray, and touches of white and wood create warmth. It is minimalist industrial chic at its finest. At 2,200 square feet, Esoteric seats 86 among communal tables, a bar, ledge seating, and four tops.
GMF + Associates
4356 Bonney Road, Bldg 3, Suite 102, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
Since 1984, GMF + Associates has provided architecture services to residential and commercial clients that meet the standards of the AIA and the Norfolk Redevelopment Housing Authority. It has been honored with the Award for Regional Service by the Hampton Roads Housing Consortium and the Model Partnership Award by the Virginia Beach Schools. Principal Gregory Martin Frech has helped the firm grow into a complex architectural firm, guided by his diverse experience as a city planner, university professor, and various positions as a staff architect before establishing GMF + Associates. He is affiliated with the AIA and continues to build on the firm’s sustainability practice as a LEED Accredited Professional.
The firm built this new restaurant on the property of an existing restaurant, originally an IHOP. Very little of the original building was preserved, other than the foundation and site parking. The family-style cuisine inspired a theme of an old-time passenger train for the interior décor and memorabilia from early “talkie” movies. A soda-jerk ice cream parlor and walk-up outdoor patio seating are among its key design features.
OneSpace Design Studio
4048 Timber Ridge Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23455
In 2018, OneSpace was founded to assemble a team of dedicated experts in office, retail, and restaurant design. President Jinal Kothari is extremely committed to serving their clients. Under her leadership, the firm has earned a small, women-owned, and minority-owned business (SWaM) certification. Jinal draws on 17 years of experience and expertise in mixed-use, commercial, restaurants, and residential architecture. Her efforts continue to create value for long-term clients and facilities that stand out in the marketplace, like Bubba’s Seafood, one of the first seafood restaurants on the Chesapeake Bay.
Bubba’s Seafood had a history of flooding, but with the help of the OneSpace design team, they were able to solve the issue without losing any of its original charm. The updated interior showcases a nautical-rustic design meant to emphasize the beautiful views of the bay.
Outside of Bubba’s Seafood, OneSpace has also designed other restaurants like Tamarind, Shoreline Grill, Ocean 14 and multiple Chichos Pizza locations. OneSpace also recieved the “Top to Watch” award in 2020 from Hampton Roads Chamber.