restaurant development + design magazine has unveiled its inaugural rd+d awards, selecting five restaurants across six categories. The winners represent the best of the best in both restaurant development and design. Projects were scored from submission criteria and informed by the judges’ knowledge and experience.

“Our readers are some of the most innovative and creative professionals working today,” says Rebecca Kilbreath, Editor in Chief of restaurant development + design, “Since our magazine exists as a peer-driven resource to share information and to spark conversation, the rd+d awards gave us a new opportunity to recognize great projects and teams and to share that work with their peers.”

The judges for the inaugural rd+d awards were Jen Conley, project designer, The Gettys Group; Marc Jacobs, executive vice president and partner, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises; Jay Miranda, Principal Design Studio, Chipman Design Architecture; Jonathan Nikiel, project manager, Equipment Dynamics Inc.; Sonny Sultani, CEO, Sonny+Ash.

Only projects completed between January 1, 2015 and August 1, 2016 were eligible for each of the six award categories. Entrants were required to submit a floor plan, photos and address a list of questions to illustrate the project’s goals, challenges, strategies, etc.

To view floor plans and more photos of our winners, visit A rundown of the categories and award winners include:

Outside the Box Award

Winner: &pizza, Washington D.C.
The judges felt the team did a “brilliant job” of meeting the logistical challenges of the site and, in doing so, created a “great, localized, funky urban design.”

Form + Function Innovation Award

Winner: Angel Oak at Bacara Resort & Spa, Santa Barbara, CA
The creation of more intimate spaces within a large restaurant space garnered praise from the judges, who noted, “It’s a striking, modern approach to a steak and seafood restaurant.”

Honorable Mentions: &pizza, Washington D.C.; Raven Tower at White Oak Music Hall, Houston

Best New Concept Launch and Best Limited-Service Restaurant Design

Winner: Buena Onda, Philadelphia, PA
The only restaurant to take the top honor in two categories, the judges thought Buena Onda was “young and fresh” and the “best overall design concept and execution.”

Honorable Mentions: &pizza, Washington D.C.; Shake Shack, Phoenix, AZ

Best Full-Service Restaurant Design — Casual Dining

Winner: Mabel’s BBQ, Cleveland, OH
The judges noted the design was a perfect execution of the brand’s intent.

Best Full-Service Restaurant Design — Fine Dining

Winner: Eastside, Minneapolis, MN
This “innovative and current” restaurant’s modern ambience drew praise from the judges.

Honorable Mention: Porter House Bar and Grill, New York, NY