Garrett Rowland SingleThread

This week the James Beard Foundation recognized two restaurants not for the food, but for the design of the space. Divided into two categories (75 seats and under and 76 seats and over), the Restaurant Design Awards this year evaluated eateries built or renovated in North America since January 2014. SingleThread, a 9,200-square-foot, 55-seat farm-to-table restaurant in California's Sonoma County, won in the smaller category for its space by AvroKO, a design firm with offices in San Francisco, New York City, and Bangkok. In the larger category, a "coastal European" restaurant in Atlanta's Buckhead neighborhood called St. Cecilia won for the design by New York City–based firm Meyer Davis.

Courtesy St. Cecilia St. Cecilia

Last year, the foundation also began recognizing U.S. restaurants "that serve as national standard bearers of outstanding design and design innovation" with the Design Icon award, and bestowed the inaugural award to New York's Four Seasons Restaurant. Another New York institution, the Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant, won the award this year, the foundation announced in March.

Courtesy the Grand Central Oyster Bar Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant

Four other restaurants were nominated for this year's Restaurant Design Awards. Los Angeles's Kismet, designed by local studio Guga, and San Francisco's Leo’s Oyster Bar, designed by local firm Ken Fulk, were the other nominees in the smaller category. In the large category, St. Cecilia was selected over another AvroKO project, Chicago's Momotaro, and Gwen Butcher Shop & Restaurant in Los Angeles, designed by New York firm HOME Studios.