Doc B’s

Multiple Locations


Architecture is experience, and how people experience your business is core to its success. Craig Bernstein, CEO of Doc B’s Fresh Kitchen knew that when he approached DMAC with his concept for the restaurant. Together, Bernstein and DMAC traveled the country learning from customer experiences and formulating ideas that would inform the architecture as well as the brand. Since 2013, DMAC has designed all eight Doc B’s Fresh Kitchen restaurants with the ninth to open in 2019.

Doc B’s is casual dining with fresh, house-made and mindfully sourced dishes.  The architecture had to respond by being transparent and honest where the customers not only enjoy the food on their plates but also visibly connect to the kitchen where their food is being prepared. These were the essentials.

Despite formal differences, each location at its core is the result of extensive and ongoing research. Each is a laboratory, allowing the design team to experiment with the way people eat and experience the brand, resulting in a brand that is constantly evolving and adapting in pursuit of the best customer experience, yet remains recognizable and consistent in feel.

The first Doc B’s in Chicago had two challenges. First, it was five steps above the sidewalk and, second, it was in a space where there had been high turnover and it was important for the restaurant to be successful. The design maximizes engagement with the urban street by glazing everywhere above the board-formed concrete knee wall and incorporating a hydraulic garage door for open air dining overlooking the seasonal sidewalk cafe. Inside, customers see the whole operation from the front-end services to the back-end kitchen, configured for easy flow.  Featured behind the hostess station is a hanging vegetation screen that hides the backside of the four menu boards yet still allows street views. Articulating the space is a sophisticated mix of materials: Carrara marble, warm wood, solid table tops, padded upholstered booths and finished concrete floors.

Design of the next two Doc B’s evolved the brand to what it is today. Located in Tampa and Fort Lauderdale, the warmer climate called for shade rather than sunlight. In collaboration, both designs introduced exterior bright yellow canopies, an island bar for communal seating, selected red accents, abrasive floor tiles for better traction, venetian plaster walls, custom light fixtures and walnut finishes. Fort Lauderdale refined the brand further with a stone wall marking the entrance and a hedge-screened patio, warm wood slat ceiling and custom banquette lighting.

With its growing success and refined brand, more Doc B’s were on the books. In Austin, the yellow feature becomes retractable canopies fanning out to draw people in, and at night the yellow glows upward to the neighboring office towers. In Dallas, the yellow feature becomes the patio chairs under the two-story portico. The indoor space is carved from the highrise lobby with a black acoustic ceiling and light absorbing wall panel highlighting the colorful artwork.

The first and second Doc B’s were planned as fast-casual dining where customers would order from the hostess before sitting at a table. Soon after the second restaurant opened, we learned people wanted to sit down as soon as they walked in. The company quickly adopted a full-service model requiring no changes in basic sequencing or design. The result was a nearly instantaneous financial benefit.  Each location being similar in size recorded a sales increase of 400%. Doc B’s achieves high efficiency through creative design and space planning.

Sustainability is part of Doc B’s strategy. DMAC goes beyond minimum requirements and specifies: recycled or locally sourced materials, formaldehyde-free insulation, LED lighting, Energy Star rated kitchen appliances, water-saving plumbing, low VOC paints and adhesives, Green Label certified flooring, and recycling construction waste.