Best New Chain Prototype

Winner: Buena Vida, Arlington, Va.

Operator: Street Guys Hospitality, Arlington, Va.
Architect: CORE architecture + design, Washington, D.C.
Planting Consultant: Tropical Expressions, Sterling, Va.
Furniture Manufacturer: Leta Furniture, Bursa, Turkey
Contractor: Abramson Construction Corporation, Bethesda, Md. 

This renovation celebrates the Mexican gastrolounge’s new experiential dining menu, where guests can enjoy unlimited plates for a flat price. It also had to serve as a prototype for new units going forward. The design draws inspiration from the adventurous dining format and was conceptualized as dining at the edge of the jungles of Tulum, Mexico. 

The project was made challenging due to the tight timeline and the operator’s desire to keep the restaurant partially open during construction. The three-story space allowed the project team to phase in construction story by story.

The judges were impressed because “a multilevel restaurant is always hard to do” but this project carried “the design throughout the whole space.” The design was “consistent and thoughtful.” 

Images courtesy of Ron Ngiam

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