Fine dining - and design

Design firms have upped the ante on what makes a restaurant successful.
Top-flight interior design has become a key element to restaurant success, a movement underlined by a number of dazzling, sure-to-endure 2021 projects.
At Owamni, HGA ingeniously crafted a crisply contemporary dining pavilion — capitalizing on exceptional Mississippi River views — over the ruins of 19th-century lumber and flour mills.
In the hands of Wilkus Architects, another crumbling property — this time, a warehouse — was transformed into the industrial-chic Market at Malcolm Yards, a functional, highly appealing food hall.
Chef Ann Kim tapped Studio MAI — the same Los Angeles firm behind her memorably stunning Young Joni — to reinvent the hallowed Uptown culinary ground that was formerly Lucia's Restaurant into Sooki & Mimi, an urbane refuge of warm woods and tiles.
For her third restaurant, chef Ann Ahmed wanted to "give people a little vacation without the hassle of having to go through TSA." Thanks to Shea Design, Khâluna does just that, with a setting that radiates a calm, stylish, resort-inspired vibe.
Also transporting guests to another place is Mr. Paul's Supper Club. "We want it to feel like, as you walk in, you're in New Orleans," said chef and co-owner Tommy Begnaud. Designed by Aaron Wittkamper of Wittkamper Studio, the Edina restaurant is brimming with artwork and artifacts that nod to the Crescent City, much of it collected by Begnaud's grandfather, the eponymous Mr. Paul.
To see more of our look back at Minnesota's food scene in 2021, including our Restaurant of the Year, best dining moments, beloved neighborhood spots and more, use the drop-down navigation bar at the top of this page.