Best Full-Service Restaurant Design (Check Average Over $50)
Winner: Blue LLama Jazz Club, Ann Arbor, Mich.
- Owner: Multiverse Investments LLC
- Architect: Hobbs+Black Architects, Ann Arbor, Mich.
- Contractor: Contracting Resources, Brighton, Mich.
- Food Service Design Consultant: Millis & Associates, Livonia, 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
Runner-Up: Le Colonial, Chicago
- Architect & Interior Designer: Knauer Incorporated, Deerfield, Ill.
- Kitchen Designer: ML Restaurant Solutions, Sayreville, N.J.
- MEP Engineer: Cartland Kraus Engineering, Lake Zurich, Ill.
- General Contractor: Graystar Corporation, Des Plaines, Ill.
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
Honorable Mention: Magnet, Detroit
- Owner: Chef Brad Greenhill and Philip Kafka
- Foodservice Designer: Great Lakes Culinary Designs, Southfield, Mich.
- General Contractor: CCM, Detroit
- Architect: Bigg Designs, 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