Aria Group Blog

New Look, Same Great Design That Delivers

08/15/2017 at 10:35 pm

Aria Group is excited to announce the new evolution of our brand. Our business has seen tremendous growth since our founding. Our success in assembling an amazing staff inspired us to clarify what we do and how we do it. We teamed up with Design Scout and Total Dish to explore our identity and how […]

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Rick Bayless’s James Beard Award-Winning Restaurant Topolobampo Gets a Refresh

06/28/2017 at 10:34 pm

Rick Bayless and his team approached Aria Group in the summer of 2016 with a small ceiling remodel of Topolobampo, a fine dining restaurant operating in Chicago’s River North neighborhood since 1989. The original scope of the project morphed into an extensive refresh of the space. In May 2017, Topolobampo won the James Beard Award for […]

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Designing a Resilient Restaurant Concept

08/29/2016 at 10:34 pm

In the world of restaurant growth and profitability, well managed concepts are always looking for ways to be innovative with menu options, price points, design and technology.  No matter how innovative the architectural design of the concept is, the recipe for success contains a lot of ingredients that must balance out.  Multi-Unit concepts are no […]

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Aria Group Goes to the Design Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa

04/17/2015 at 10:33 pm

In March, Walt, Megan, Christy, Amy & Joe attended the Design Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa. The speakers at the Indaba practice across a wide range of creative endeavors, such as fine arts, film, architecture, marketing, sculpture, music, craft arts, fashion and more.  Robby Brozin of Nando’s spoke about Nando’s business model and about […]

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VEX Robotics Competition Builds the Technology Professionals of the Future

02/23/2015 at 10:32 pm

According to the OPEF website, “The VEX Robotics Competition, managed by the Robotics Education and Competition Foundation (REC), is the largest and fastest growing middle school and high school robotics program in the world, with more than 9,900 teams from 32 countries playing in over 600 tournaments worldwide.” The Oak Park Educational Foundation sponsors an […]

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YMEN Gets a New Look

02/11/2015 at 10:32 pm

YMEN (Young Men’s Educational Network) was started in 1996 by Michael Trout as an educational and mentoring resource for boys and young men of the Lawndale neighborhood in Chicago. Some of the original kids who went through the program are now grown up and helping to run it. In recent years, YMEN also started a […]

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P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Opens in Seoul, South Korea

11/26/2014 at 10:31 pm

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro is committed to creating exceptional dining experiences in a relaxed, vibrant atmosphere. Each location boasts a unique combination of Asian and American influences, contemporary design elements and lighting, natural materials, and muted color palette. The P.F. Chang’s that recently opened in Seoul, South Korea is a good example of the adaptability […]

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Dave & Buster’s Opens in Hollywood, CA

11/12/2014 at 10:30 pm

An exciting, high-energy concept like Dave & Buster’s fits in well with the glitz & glamour of Hollywood. So it is no surprise that the new location in the Hollywood-Highland Mall, opened in August, rapidly became a popular entertainment venue where one might spot some of the “rich and famous” of Hollywood’s denizens. It has […]

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A Much-Anticipated Restaurant Opening…Shake Shack Chicago

11/04/2014 at 10:29 pm

Aria Group Architects would like to congratulate Union Square Hospitality Group on bringing new Shake Shack locations to the Midwest starting with two Chicago Shacks. The first of these, at 66 E Ohio Street in the former location of the Harley Davidson dealership, opens today. Another one will follow up shortly afterwards in early 2015 […]

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Giordano’s Oakbrook Terrace – Before & After

09/19/2014 at 10:28 pm

The Giordano’s location in Oakbrook Terrace, IL was in need of exterior refurbishing and updated branding as well as improved pedestrian flow to draw patrons into the restaurant. Some of the changes to the exterior had the added benefit of bringing more natural daylight into the restaurant.  In order to achieve those goals, auxiliary exit doors were replaced with […]

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Promotion Announcement: Ryan Peterson

08/07/2014 at 10:28 pm

Ryan Peterson joins Christopher DeBoer, Dan Bernatek, Dave Nash, Pam Vajda and Chris Hamer as Associates at Aria Group Architects. Ryan has been with Aria Group for over ten years and has held the positions of Project Coordinator and Project Manager. He has made valuable contributions to projects such as the California Pizza Kitchen, P.F. […]

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Nando’s Bay Street, Toronto, ON – New Flagship Store Opens

05/09/2014 at 10:27 pm

Nando’s Flame-Grilled Chicken at 832 Bay Street, Toronto, is the new flagship location for Canada. It is located at the site of the McLaughlin Motor Showroom, built in 1925. In 2008, a glass & steel modern point tower was added to the site but the original building forms a retail podium and the original façade […]

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Aria Group Architects, Inc.: Designing Great Spaces for a Quarter Century

02/15/2014 at 10:26 pm

Twenty-five years ago in February, Walter, Joe, Kathy and I started Aria Group Architects, Inc. in the front room of our home in Oak Park, IL. We were only in that office for four months before we moved into a retired architect’s office on North Avenue in Chicago. That year (1989) the economy was in […]

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Aria Group Designers Participate in DIFFA’s Dining by Design Charity Event

01/16/2014 at 10:25 pm

DIFFA stands for Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS. It consists of leaders of the design industry who raise funds supporting the work of HIV/AIDS organizations. According to their website, Dining by Design is one of their annual fundraisers where “talented Chicago hot list interior designers and chefs craft signature designs and delish dishes amongst some […]

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Promotion Announcement, Chris Hamer

07/30/2013 at 10:24 pm

Aria Group Architects, Inc. is pleased to announce the promotion of Chris Hamer to Associate, from Project Manager. Chris Hamer joins Christopher DeBoer, Dan Bernatek, Dave Nash and Pam Vajda as Associates at Aria Group Architects. Chris has been with Aria Group for over ten years and has held the positions of Project Coordinator and […]

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Block 37’s Unused Train Hub: the Perfect Place for “Viper Alley Underground”

07/17/2013 at 10:23 pm

Chicago’s block 37 is sitting on top of a huge, untapped resource: an unfinished CTA super station that would have served as a connecting hub for the Blue and Red lines. Unfortunately, the CTA abandoned those plans, leaving a huge subterranean cavern. A few weeks ago Crain’s Chicago Business issued a challenge to architects, designers […]

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California Pizza Kitchen History of a Concept

04/19/2013 at 10:21 pm

Aria Group Architects, Inc. has been instrumental in the design evolution of the California Pizza Kitchen concept for over two decades. In the 1990’s, CPK’s concept revolved around a strong “kitchen” atmosphere throughout their restaurants, as portrayed by a white, yellow and black tile, display kitchen and wood-burning Italian style pizza oven. In the mid […]

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A Celebration of Wine & Spirits

04/09/2013 at 10:20 pm

From sporty and casual to sleek and sophisticated, displays of wine and liquor entice patrons to add some libations to their tab. A bar at a restaurant, entertainment venue or gaming facility serves as a central meeting place for people before and after the main event. An appealing, energetic bar scene becomes a destination in […]

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The Ethnic Quick-Casual Explosion

03/16/2013 at 10:20 pm

Click for larger image Nando’s in Gaithersburg, MD Photographer: Anthony Gomez Peri-Peri Chicken, Crabmeat & Prawn Dumpling, Chicken Vindaloo, Tilapia Picatta, Grandma’s Tofu and Thai Curry Chicken Baos are all high-quality ethnic menu items from the new wave of quick-casual restaurants Aria Group Architects, Inc. has been designing recently. The items mentioned above are featured […]

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Aria Group Wins “Best In Show” in the IIDA 2013 STITCH Fashion Show

02/15/2013 at 10:19 pm

The group picture, left and center, shows the Aria Group design team and the Stone Source sponsors. Pictured from left to right: Shannon Angelovich (Stone Source), Shannon Sterne, Alex Fuente-Navarro, Leslie Baluga, Jamie Ayers (Stone Source), Loreta Bulvanaite (the model, from SOM), Eva Toma, Jennifer Lombardo and Egle Bankauskaite. Also involved but not pictured are […]

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Keefer’s Celebrates its 10 Year Anniversary

11/16/2011 at 10:18 pm

Congratulations are in order for Glenn Keefer, Rich Keefer, and James de Castro, owners of Keefer’s; this November Keefer’s celebrates its 10th Anniversary. Keefer’s, designed by Aria Group Architects, has been serving up some of Chicago’s best steaks and seafood since 2001. Last week Glenn and Rich Keefer hosted a celebration of their restaurant’s 10 year anniversary which included […]

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Maya Del Sol Restaurant Gets Rave Reviews on Check, Please!

10/31/2011 at 10:18 pm

Photographer: Mark Ballogg   Maya Del Sol, a popular Latin Fusion restaurant in Oak Park, IL., is owned by Margie and Anan Abu-Taleb. It recently received rave reviews from Christina Tallarico, a Chicago Spanish teacher, on Check, Please!   Aria Group is pleased to announce that one of its clients (especially one within walking distance of our office) has been recognized […]

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Let the Games Begin! TopGolf comes to Allen, TX

09/30/2011 at 10:17 pm

Click here for larger image      Photographer: Anthony Gomez   TopGolf is a unique destination entertainment facility that uses computer microchips embedded in regulation golf balls to create interactive games for both golfers and non-golfers alike. The new state-of-the-art location in Allen, TX was built by Arco/Murray National Construction Company. It opened in the summer of 2011 to […]

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P.F. Chang’s China Bistro in Corpus Christi, TX Earns LEED CI Gold

08/31/2011 at 10:16 pm

“P.F. Chang’s is committed to our communities and we recognize the profound impact we can make by utilizing sustainable materials in our restaurants. We are proud to be recognized with LEED certification and will continue to explore environmentally-friendly design and building elements as we renovate existing spaces and expand into new communities in the future.” […]

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Rich Melman wins Prestigious James Beard Award: Outstanding Restaurateur

05/10/2011 at 10:16 pm

Rich Melman is, by any measure, a powerhouse in the Hospitality industry. So it is with great pleasure that we wholeheartedly congratulate Mr. Melman, Aria Group’s client of 22 years, on winning the James Beard Outstanding Restaurateur Award for 2011. This Award coincides with Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc., celebrating the 40th anniversary of opening its […]

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LED Technology Revolutionizes the Art and Science of Architectural Lighting

01/07/2011 at 10:15 pm

Donald E. Stephens Convention Center Architect: Aria Group Architects, Inc. Photographer: Doug Snower Click for larger image Since the invention of LED lights by Nick Holonyak, Jr. in 1962, the technology has evolved significantly. Originally producing low lumens and only appropriate for uses such as watches, clocks, or other digital displays, modern LEDs can produce […]

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Environmentally-Friendly Building Tips

11/30/2010 at 10:11 pm

The environment has become a key issue in recent years giving rise to a focus on sustainable building practices.  LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and similar building rating systems were created in part to showcase what is possible in environmentally-friendly design.  The ultimate goal is to make sustainable building commonplace industry-wide for the […]

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Aria Group Helps Bring U.K. Concepts to Washington, D.C.

11/12/2010 at 10:10 pm

For many U.K. restaurant concepts interested in overseas expansion, the United States is a logical choice. Washington, D.C., our nation’s capitol,  seems to be a welcome point of entry for such concepts. Nando’s Peri-Peri and Ping Pong Dim Sum in conjunction with Fran McDonald of KMH Partners, LLC., selected Aria Group to work with them in […]

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Aria Group and Stone Source Design “A Stitch In Time…”

09/14/2010 at 10:10 pm

Our design team: Jennifer Lombardo, Elisabeth Lacey, Leslie Baluga, Tristin Klaas (modeling the garment), Claire Cruz, Ira Harth and Jamie Ayers.     Aria Group participated in the International Interior Design Association’s 2010 STITCH Fashion Show, a fashion and charity event that pairs designers up with manufacturers to create a one-of-a kind wearable garment using the […]

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The Art of Architectural Renderings: Creativity expressed through a variety of mediums

08/31/2010 at 10:09 pm

Aria Group Architects utilizes several “mediums” to present our ideas to clients. From rough sketches to finished color renderings, our staff utilizes these skills to assist our clients in visualizing their investment. We do it all in-house giving us the best opportunity to select the appropriate presentation technique for the problem at hand.  With our […]

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Cooper’s Hawk and Shake Shack win NRN’s Hot Concepts! Award

08/12/2010 at 10:08 pm

Aria Group Architects, Inc. would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our current client, Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant, and our new client, Shake Shack, on winning the Nation’s Restaurant News 2010 Hot Concepts! Award. We couldn’t agree more that these concepts are worthy of recognition.   To find out more about the award […]

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Contributing to a Vibrant Community in Oak Park, IL

07/30/2010 at 10:07 pm

Oak Park, IL is an upscale suburb of Chicago providing the best of both urban and suburban surroundings. While its close proximity to Chicago allows easy access to the cultural attractions of downtown, Oak Park is an historic and cultural destination in its own right. As one of the leading employers in Oak Park with a […]

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On the Boards: Hospitality and Entertainment

06/23/2010 at 10:06 pm

TopGolf in Allen, TX. Renderings by Aria Group Architects, Inc. For more images click here.   TopGolf is a unique destination entertainment facility that uses computer microchips embedded in regulation golf balls to create interactive games for both experienced and first time golfers. Randy Starr and Joseph Vrankin of TopGolf were looking for a design […]

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The Lucky Monk’s Dramatic Transformation on a Budget

03/30/2010 at 10:05 pm

Click here to see before and after photos With a prime location just off the Northwest Tollway next to the AMC South Barrington 30 multiplex theater, this location is a favorite of moviegoers and residents in the Northwest Suburbs.   The right mix of food, drink and atmosphere is sure to bring a lot of […]

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Commitment to Green Design Inspires Green Committee

03/09/2010 at 10:05 pm

In recent years there has been unprecedented growth in sustainable design across all of the A/E/C professions. Firms have the opportunity, like never before, to make a positive impact on the built environment by incorporating environmentally friendly technologies into the design, construction and operation of buildings. Certifications such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental […]

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Hubbell & Hudson in The Woodlands, TX receives a Best of 2009 Award

01/25/2010 at 3:30 am

Check out the winners of Texas Construction Magazine’s Best of 2009  (published in December 2009). One of Aria Group’s projects, Hubbell & Hudson Market and Bistro in The Woodlands, TX, received an “Award of Excellence: Small Project”. Aria Group was the Restaurant Designer on this exciting project owned by Cary Attar. Special thanks to the General Contractor, […]

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Blue Chip Casino: Betting on a Top-Notch Entertainment Experience

10/12/2009 at 3:30 am

It’s Vegas, Baby! is a new venue at Blue Chip Casino, Michigan City, IN. One of the best investments a restaurateur can make in today’s market is to reconcept or remodel an existing restaurant. A design overhaul of an existing concept can give it new life, while updating an already successful concept unlocks its full potential. This fourth […]

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CPK’s Move to Strengthen Dinner Business

08/24/2009 at 3:29 am

One of the best investments a restaurateur can make in today’s market is to reconcept or remodel an existing restaurant. A design overhaul of an existing concept can give it new life, while updating an already successful concept unlocks its full potential. Given the fact that reconcepting is such a timely topic these days, Infinite […]

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Giving New Life to an Older Restaurant in a Great Location: Papagus to Reel Club

07/14/2009 at 3:28 am

Reconcepting restaurant spaces is an important business survival decision at any time but particularly in this economy. If the owner of an older restaurant is no longer enjoying the same success as in previous years, reconcepting can revitalize the establishment into a strong new venue at a controlled cost. This second story in the Infinite […]

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The Right Move at the Right Time for Cooper’s Hawk

06/26/2009 at 3:27 am

One of the best investments a restaurateur can make in today’s market is to reconcept an existing restaurant. A total design overhaul of an existing concept can give it new life, while updating an already successful concept unlocks its full potential. Given the fact that reconcepting is such a timely topic these days, Infinite Ideas […]

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Creating Fun at the Zoo: Cutting edge guest services facilities make an impact

03/30/2009 at 3:26 am

Brookfield Zoo, South American Marketplace • Photography by Doug Snower The mission of zoos and aquariums includes scientific study, wildlife conservation and education. In order to deliver on the latter two goals zoos across the country realize the value that innovative exhibits and high quality guest services bring to the zoo experience.  The practice of entertaining while educating […]

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LA Food Show makes its debut in Beverly Hills

12/19/2008 at 3:21 am

California Pizza Kitchen’s LA Food Show concept is a celebration of the ever-evolving international culinary world. Los Angeles’ “spirit of innovation and cross-cultural experimentation” is at the heart of the LA Food Show‘s menu, which includes diverse offerings such as their Show Burger, Szchuan Dan Dan Noodles, Pub Style Fish & Chips and Adobe Chicken […]

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