Overview

The restaurant scene in San Antonio is on rise, with creative local chefs investing in the city’s revitalizing urban neighborhoods and turning old, historic buildings into exciting new spaces for culinary adventures. As with any large city, San Antonio is also full of upscale and midscale chain restaurants that serve foods from all over the world to the city’s diverse population. With such a dynamic market, the best restaurant architects and designers in San Antonio often take their cues from the chef’s they work with, mixing together bits of the past, bits of the present, and bits of imagination to create something new and exciting. The following top 10 architects and designers are creating unique spaces for residents and visitors alike to find their next favorite talk-of-the-town restaurant.

Top Architects and Designers

10
Stephen J. Kramer Architecture + Design

Featured Principals:
Stephen J. Kramer

Address:
4733 Shavano Oak Drive, Suite 103, San Antonio, TX 78249

Contact:
210-479-8900
sjkarc.sat@sjkramer.com

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About Stephen J. Kramer Architecture + Design

Stephen J. Kramer Architecture + Design works on commercial projects all over Texas. President and owner Stephen Kramer founded the firm in 1988 and has, over the years, worked on a variety of large-scale projects, including offices, corporate headquarters, retail stores, medical, dental, and veterinary facilities, and restaurants for national, regional, and local chains. Kramer worked for several architectural firms in San Antonio and Austin before going out on his own. He received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX. Though the firm is relatively small, including Kramer as architect along with two project managers and interns, it has worked on projects throughout Texas, including in Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas and Houston, as well as in Arizona, Oklahoma, and Illinois.

Featured Projects

The firm is currently busy designing spaces in San Antonio and Austin for Little Caesar’s Pizza, and is working with Bill Miller Bar-B-Q restaurants on several new locations. Kramer has also designed restaurants in San Antonio for Panera, including a rare stand-alone location with a drive-through. The location features a covered patio with a metal roof, and contemporary style with lots of natural light. The firm also recently worked on two locations the Laguna Madre Seafood Restaurant in San Antonio, another concept owned by Bill Miller Bar-B-Q Restaurants. Both locations of the casual restaurant with a drive-through window are about 3,000 square-feet, with the outside painted an eye-catching red with a blue metal roof. The firm created both the locations out of existing restaurants spaces, adding an open dining room and a walk-up service counter.

9
MSA Architecture + Interiors

Featured Principals:
Brent Anderson
George Klein Jr.

Awards:
GSABA Best Product Design Awards,
GSABA Best Rural Product Awards,
Texas Star Best Custom Product Awards

Address:
16719 Huebner Road, Building 3, Suite 301, San Antonio, TX, 78248

Contact:
210-408-7552
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About MSA Architecture + Interiors

MSA Architecture + Interiors is an active designer of restaurants, from local neighborhood eateries to national chains. The firm also has experience working on a variety office, healthcare, industrial, and residential projects. Founded in 2004, MSA Architecture has won several awards from the Greater San Antonio Builders Association and the Texas Association of Builders, and its work has been featured on HGTV, as well as in Urban Home Magazine and Architectural Photographers, among many other publications. Before opening the firm, Principal Architect and CEO Brent Anderson worked for Marmon Mok and other San Antonio studios. He received his master’s degree in architecture from Texas A&M University. The firm’s president, George Klein Jr., received his bachelor’s degree in architecture from Texas A&M University.

Featured Projects

With the help of local artists, MSA designed a colorful, eye-catching, and playful Southwestern look for Habanero’s, a burrito restaurant with two locations in San Antonio. The interiors feature bold Southwestern colors and regionally inspired murals and designs that turn this casual eatery into something of a cultural statement. The firm also created the cool, sleek interiors for the upscale Godai Bistro and designed the city’s first Mellow Mushroom Pizza, an Atlanta-based chain. Each of the nationally expanding chain’s restaurants are individually owned and feature a design specific to the location. For the first San Antonio location, MSA used locally reclaimed materials to introduce a “Texas hill country edge” into the psychedelic-themed pizza joint.

8
Beaty Palmer Architects

Featured Principals:
Michael Beaty
Terry Palmer

Awards:
AIA Honor Award,
SAMCA Golden Trowel Awards,
San Antonio Conservation Society Historic Preservation Award

Address:
110 Broadway, Suite 600, San Antonio, TX, 78205

Contact:
210-212-8022

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About Beaty Palmer Architects

Since it was founded in 1993, Beaty Palmer Architects has developed a stellar reputation and earned a lot of praise for its civic, corporate, commercial, and residential projects. Founding Principal Michael Beaty has a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Texas Tech University and has been a San Antonio-based architect since 1976. Beaty has designed some $600M in construction projects and has won more than 20 awards for his work. Principal Terry Palmer graduated from Texas A&M University and joined the firm in 1994. Third Principal Cory Hawkins received a master’s degree in architecture from Texas Tech University and joined the firm in 2012. Among its many honors, the firm has won Historic Preservation Awards from the San Antonio Conservation Society and Downtown’s Best Awards from The Downtown Alliance. Beaty Palmer’s work has been featured in Texas Architect and other publications.

Featured Projects

If you’re visiting San Antonio, or you live there and have friends coming to town, it’s a safe bet you’ll soon find yourself strolling along the River Walk. And that is where Beaty Palmer has left its mark, completely redesigning three popular restaurants along the famed urban riverscape. In a massive undertaking, the firm reworked the Lone Star Cafe, Michelino’s, and Cafe Ole & Agave Bar while they remained open, completely transforming the three spaces, doubling the whole complex in size, refurbishing the facades, and constructing a new roof, dining rooms, and, of, course kitchens.

7
Hospitality Design Group

Featured Principals:
Robert L. Herbage

Address:
4035 Naco Perrin Boulevard, Suite 2000, San Antonio, TX 78217

Contact:
210-831-3580
info@hospitalitydesigngroup.com

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About Hospitality Design Group

The Hospitality Design Group specializes in restaurant design and operates on the philosophy that “all areas within a restaurant should be designed.” The firm has worked on projects in Texas and California and has several national restaurant chains as clients. Principal architect Robert L. Herbage started the firm in 1984. He has more than 30 years of experience as a designer and has worked on a host of major restaurant and hospitality projects. He received his bachelor’s degree in architecture from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona. The firm’s Director of Development Consulting is Chris Tripoli, who has experience opening many restaurants during his 25 years in the industry and is the president of A’La Carte Foodservice Consulting Group.

Featured Projects

Hospitality Design Group is the firm behind many of the popular chain eateries in San Antonio, often working on multiple locations.The firm designed 14 locations of the local family-style chain Jim’s Restaurants. But they work on many custom restaurants as well. They have put their stamp on all different kinds of styles, from fine dining to food courts and mall kiosks. In the upscale Alamo Heights neighborhood, Hospitality Design Group worked on Osaka Japanese Steak & Sushi, a large restaurant with a warm interior, featuring hanging box lamps and fun communal tables for big parties to watch the chef’s work, along with a wide open main dining room with many seating options. Also in Alamo Heights, the firm worked on Paloma Blanca Mexican Cuisine, a favorite destination for high-end Mexican food in San Antonio, featuring sumptuous, leather-and-brick interiors, with an upscale vibe and an amazing patio.

6
Candid Rogers Architect

Featured Principals:
Candid Rogers

Awards:
AIA National Small Projects Award,
AIA San Antonio Design Award,
San Antonio Conservation Award

Address:
215-1 Groveton Street, San Antonio, TX 78205

Contact:
210-444-1051
candid@candidstudio.net

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About Candid Rogers Architect

Candid Rogers worked for Lake|Flato, one San Antonio’s leading and busiest architecture firms, for four years before going out on his own in 2005. While growing up on a ranch outside of San Antonio, Rogers developed an intimate and complex relationship with the land and the natural world, which has served as a kind of guiding light throughout his impressive architecture career. He has also traveled widely throughout the world, learning about the different cultures’ design traditions, innovations, and techniques — lessons he has also brought to his work in San Antonio. Rogers graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in architecture, and he also works as a lecturer the University of Texas at San Antonio. His work has won many local, state, and national awards and has been featured in numerous books and journals.

Featured Projects

Rogers won a San Antonio Conservation Award for his design of Bliss Restaurant, the first solo project by longtime San Antonio chef Mark Bliss. In the vibrant neighborhood of Southtown, a few blocks south of the city center, Rogers created an elegant and welcoming restaurant out of an old service station building that was originally built in 1929. The complex historic renovation featured a new up-to-the-minute kitchen with a chef’s table that seats 10, as well as a sleek and cool main dining room featuring exposed brick walls and rafters, and concrete floors. This New American restaurant with internationally inspired flavors was named one of the 100 best restaurants for Foodies by OpenTable.

5
Lake|Flato

Featured Principals:
Ted Flato
David Lake

Awards:
Global Award for Sustainable Architecture,
AIA Firm of the Year,
AIA San Antonio Design Award

Address:
311 Third Street #200, San Antonio, TX 78205

Contact:
210-227-3335
marketing@lakeflato.com

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About Lake|Flato

One of San Antonio’s top architecture firms, Lake|Flato has been influencing the city since 1984 with its concentration on sustainable design and urban revitalization. Founders Ted Flato and David Lake, both American Institute of Architects (AIA) Fellows, lead the 89-person firm, which has won numerous awards, including the Global Award for Sustainable Architecture and AIA’s Firm of Year award. Architect Magazine has placed the firm in the Top 10 of its annual Top 50 list, and Fast Company has called it one the Top 10 most innovative architecture firms in the world. Focused on designing energy- and resource-saving buildings and finding new uses for old buildings with strong bones and historical significance, Lake|Flato also has an office in nearby Austin.

Featured Projects

Though known for many different kinds of projects, Lake|Flato helped design the major downtown redevelopment of the Pearl Brewery complex, which has been a gift to San Antonio’s restaurant scene. Within the Pearl complex itself, Lake|Flato designed Il Sogno Osteria, a “culinary destination” for internationally known San Antonio chef Andrew Weissman. The brick trattoria has two floors; a spacious, inviting patio; vaulted ceilings; and rustic details that mix European-country atmosphere with a contemporary steel-and-stone aesthetic. Lake|Flato als won the AIA San Antonio Design Award for its design of a new 18k-square-foot brewery and tasting room complex for Alamo Beer near San Antonio’s Historic Hays Street Bridge. The rust-colored, pre-fab, corrugated metal buildings nod to the old bridge and the industrial past of the neighborhood, and the buildings feature large front windows and glass doors and face a spacious outdoor patio for beer-tasting and live music.

4
Overland Partners

Featured Principals:
Timothy B. Blonkvist
Robert L. Shemwell
Richard M. Archer
Madison Smith

Awards:
Texas Society of Architects Firm of the Year,
AIA Design Citation of Honor,
Texas Downtown Associations Best New Construction Award

Address:
104 E. Jones Avenue #104, San Antonio, TX 78215

Contact:
210-829-7003
peopleandprojects@overlandpartners.com

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About Overland Partners

Opened in 1987, Overland Partners has built unique and important structures all over Texas and the world, including museums, university buildings, visitors centers, corporate headquarters, and private homes. The firm has also had a hand in designing several distinctive restaurants in the greater San Antonio area. Overland is led by Founding Principal and Chairman of the Board Timothy B. Blonkvist, an AIA Fellow. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s degree in architecture, Blonkvist also held a fellowship in urban planning at the Royal Danish Academy. Principal Robert L. Shemwell, also an AIA Fellow, has a sustainable design focus and earned his Master of Architecture from University of Texas at Austin. Other principals include AIA Fellow Richard M. Archer, and Madison Smith, both graduates of UT Austin. The firm has won more than 200 local, national, and international design awards. Overland has been named one of Architect magazine’s Top 50 firms and a Top 50 sustainable design firms, and it received Firm of the Year honors from the Texas Society of Architects.

Featured Projects

With the design for the 7,500-square-foot restaurant El Monumento in Georgetown, Texas, about two hours northeast of San Antonio, Overland created an alluring riverside establishment in a small town on the San Gabriel River. The restaurant was designed to be a centerpoint of the town’s historic downtown, and to draw the riverscape and the commercial area together, similar to San Antonio’s famed River Walk. The design “recreates the hacienda atmosphere” of central Texas history with rustic but elegant and warm interiors, and a deck that extends over the river. The project won a Best New Construction Award from the Texas Downtown Associations. Overland also designed an innovative and welcoming new 4,600-square-foot building for the popular farm-to-table restaurant Leaning Pear, located in Wimberley, Texas, about an hour north of San Antonio in the beautiful hill country. With the open design the firm focused on increasing space while holding on to the intimate “shared table” philosophy of the chefs. Overland created a series of terraces along the Blanco River, with a relaxing bar closest to the river, and made the new structure big enough so the popular destination-restaurant has room to expand again in the future.

3
Clayton & Little Architects

Featured Principals:
Paul Clayton
Emily Little

Awards:
ULI Global Award for Excellence

Address:
429 N. St. Mary’s Street, San Antonio, TX 78205

Contact:
210-446-7556
hello@claytonandlittle.com

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About Clayton & Little Architects

A leading Texas architecture firm, Clayton & Little Architects has worked on several distinctive restaurant projects in San Antonio and Austin. The firm is led by Paul Clayton and Emily Little. Clayton has a master’s degree in architecture from Texas Tech University. He designs residential and commercial projects and manages the firm’s construction company. An AIA fellow and native of Austin, Little has been named that city’s best architect by the Austin Chronicle and is a well-known expert in historical restoration. Clayton & Little has been named a top 25 architecture firm and has won many awards for design excellence and historic renovation and restoration projects. The firm’s work has been featured in Texas Architect, the Statesman, and other publications. Starting in Austin, the firm opened an office in San Antonio last year.

Featured Projects

In another major historic renovation at the much-lauded Pearl Brewery mixed-used complex downtown, Clayton & Little recently created the Bottling Department Food Hall, a big, city-style food court with five local restaurants housed in the old brewery complex’s former bottling building, originally built in 1894 and destroyed by a fire in 2003. The firm redesigned the historic structure with 13k-square-feet of new construction while keeping many of the Classical Revival elements thanks to old photographs and drawings. The firm also added windows to the roof to bring in natural light and built a shaded patio on the northside for outdoor dining. And in the basement of Bottling House, Clayton & Little designed a dance space and restaurant called Jazz, TX, for local bandleader Doc Watkins. The firm describes the unique space as an upscale urban Jazz club with the “grit of a Texas dance hall.” The restaurant serves food inspired by the culinary traditions of South Texas. It has a fantastic dance floor made from reclaimed wood and features lots of elegant, metal details and other reclaimed materials gathered from the Pearl’s renovation.

2
Urbano Design & Build

Featured Principals:
Lori Urbano

Awards:
Texas Monthly Best New Local Restaurant

Address:
744 Broadway #103, San Antonio, TX 78209

Contact:
210-258-4444
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About Urbano Design & Build

With nearly 20 years of experience designing and building commercial and residential projects in San Antonio, Urban Design & Build has worked on many high-profile and lasting projects, including many of the city’s favorite restaurants. The firm is led by Lori Urbano, who started the company in 2009 and has since worked on more than 50 projects. Urbano grew up in her father’s construction business in Laredo, Texas, where she learned about building and design before going out on her own. Her first commercial job was remodeling a former Bennigan’s Restaurant, and since then she has been involved in many restaurant projects in San Antonio, including designing a bar on the River Walk and several stylish eateries for local restaurateur Andrew Goodman.

Featured Projects

Urbano Design & Build has worked on numerous restaurant projects in San Antonio with restaurateur Andrew Goodman, including Rebelle Restaurant in the historic St. Anthony Hotel, which in recent years underwent a $24M renovation. Ravelle was awarded Best New Local Restaurant by Texas Monthly. Urbano brought a contemporary style to her redesign of the hotel’s historic, 200-person dining room, which was originally built in the 1920s. The pair’s most recent project is the unique and wonderful Battalion, a high-style Italian eatery created in an old fire station, another distinctive old space to which Urbano and her team added a contemporary style while saving many of the elegant historic details.

1
Dado Group

Featured Principals:
Clay Hefty
Kristin Wiese Hefty

Awards:
Remodeling Magazine Grand Award,
Remodeling Magazine Merit Award

Address:
311 Sixth Street, San Antonio, TX 7821

Contact:
210-828-4599
info@dado-group.com

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About Dado Group

A top design-build firm in San Antonio, the Dado Group has been active in the restaurant-design sector, along with designing and constructing superior residential projects. Kristin Wiese Hefty leads the firm as partner and project architect. She received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Texas at Austin and held internships at Leeser Architecture and Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates in New York. She later worked for Lake|Flato for five years before starting her own firm with her husband, Clay Hefty, a partner and construction manager who graduated from Baylor University with a bachelor’s degree in information systems and quantitative business analysis. The firm has received awards from the Remodeling Magazine, the San Antonio Business Journal and Centro San Antonio. It has been featured in Texas Architect, Texas Monthly, Urban Home Magazine, Esquire, and the New York Times.

Featured Projects

Signature, Inspired By Chef Andrew Weissman, has quickly become one of San Antonio’s favorite foodie destinations. The internationally known San Antonio chef has opened several restaurants in the city, but Signature is meant to sum up his long career. With its upscale, sumptuous, and tasteful design, the restaurant, like the food served within it, combines European elegance with Texas-inspired flavors. Dado Group also worked on The Granary ‘Cue and Brew, an upscale barbecue joint and brewpub that the firm created out of a historic home at the remodeled and revitalized Pearl Brewery development. The end result is a beautiful, wood-paneled interior with rustic-chic elements and an interesting mix of old and new.

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