Best Full-Service Restaurant Design (Check Average Over $50)

Winner: Blue LLama Jazz Club, Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Blue LLama connects food, jazz and world music in a venue that offers a modern spin on art deco aesthetics. The building dates to the 1920s and the renovation that resulted in the space leveraged existing fixed partitions. Acoustics were a top concern as the space had to accommodate live music, dining and private events seamlessly. An open layout and custom finishes provide both a fun scene and an elegant setting. The judges said the space, “has so many great features, like the curved bar. The wine storage is great, and everything was thought out — you can go to the restroom and still hear the music.” The judges also thought it was “a great marriage of menu, concept and space. There’s a lot going on with music, lighting and a food program, and it works well.”

Images courtesy of John D’Angelo

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Runner-Up: Le Colonial, Chicago

A Chicago institution for more than 20 years, Le Colonial had to move from its long-term home due to a new real estate development. The judges felt the project was “perfectly executed to maintain the restaurant’s identity in a brand-new space.”

Images courtesy of Neil John Burger

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Honorable Mention: Magnet, Detroit

With live fuel and only two pieces of kitchen equipment, the judges wanted to be sure to acknowledge Magnet. Judges noted that the restaurant had a “tight, thoughtful design that would be so hard to execute.”

Images courtesy of Magnet and Great Lakes Culinary Designs

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