The Design Behind Some of Steamboat’s Favorite Restaurants

Vertical Arts has long been known for our beautiful residential architecture and home design, but we’ve also been instrumental in several commercial projects around Steamboat Springs, including the design of several local favorites such as Brick Restaurant, Besame and Cloverdale Restaurant. Commercial real estate projects give our team the opportunity to think in a different way, to take design in another direction in comparison to our more traditional mountain design within the residential sphere. Learn more about our approach to design and the type of experience our team created in each of these local favorites below.

Of course, creating a memorable dining experience depends on much more than preparing delicious food. Restaurateurs  spend significant time and energy curating their spaces to create a unique vibe that enhances their dining concept. We’ve worked with many Steamboat restaurant owners on interior designs to enhance their businesses, ultimately crafting a comprehensive story around each restaurant that stays true to their original visio.. In addition to designing the interior, we frequently work on the overall branding concept such as: logos, menu design, place settings, and signage.

One main consideration we take into account from the start of design is how to best use a restaurant’s space according to the owner’s priorities. We look at different functionality for party sizes and how the spaces could be used in a variety of ways. For instance, fixed seating like booths create intimate, cozy nooks while larger open areas with square tables allow room for parties and conversation, both ultimately, allowing the space to change as needed. Once we agree on the objective, we then  fine tune the design and select pieces that can hold up to the wear and tear as people rotate in and out of the restaurant. See how we apply our strategies to the unique projects below.

Brick Restaurant

Brick Restaurant owners Lee and Suzy DeMusis sought the help of a creative team to open their second restaurant in Steamboat Springs (their first was The Paramount). Their vision –  a modern Italian pizzeria. Knowing the owners had a desire for events and also needed versatile options within the restaurant, Vertical Arts designed a functional, open and flexible space. The entryway blends into the bar and the patio beyond, with views of Mt. Werner and direct access to Steamboat Ski Resort. 


Honoring the owners’ Italian heritage, our team used a bright azure blue throughout the restaurant in vintage booths, patchwork tile and a gorgeous Murano glass chandelier. The owner even hand-tiled the wood-burning pizza oven that’s front and center in order to create the sought after authenticity of a true Italian eatery.


To incorporate Brick as part of the corporate office building in which the cafe is located, our team brought in stone veneer walls to match the rest of the building. But, to make it stand out we selected custom pieces that speak for themselves. An overall feel of  “eclectic old world”, was accomplished by picking custom designed light fixtures and a one of a kind concrete countertop that not only brought style but lent itself to the open kitchen concept, perfectly accomplishing the goal of fostering conversation with the chef.  Stop on by to experience old world flavor in a new world flair.



Besame is a unique restaurant located in downtown Steamboat Springs. The owners of this space wanted to transform the existing restaurant from former Mexican cuisine to new Latin fusion, hopefully attracting the already loyal clientele. We worked in tandem with the owner to identify an entirely new, fresh palette inspired by Latin American artists. Our team through design inspiration sanded off decades of gunk from the floors to reveal beautiful, wide-plank pine flooring dating back to the original days of the restaurant. This helped us form our vision. In addition, we removed all of the kitchy details like multicolored chairs and tiled tables more likened to Mexican restaurants in order to create a hip, upscale vibe. The decor incorporated Latin American artwork, bright velvet blue chairs and fun lighting. Where is that terrace feel you ask?


To emulate the indoor/outdoor access that’s typical in Latin America, the owner also coordinated all of the greenery and worked with us to create a garden-like feel while indoors.  In the end, the interior and exterior experiences were totally transformed by selecting new furnishings, lighting and materials to modernize and elevate the space.


We also crafted the new logo inspired by paintings from Diego Rivera. From overall space design down to the burnt wood signage, handcrafted dishware and a new branding palette, we were able to work down to the detail to bring vision together.

Cloverdale Restaurant

Not too far from mainstreet Steamboat, an old original white painted house with black trim sits on the corner. Look closely and you can see an “Open” sign in the window. Walk inside and enjoy some delicious eats. The Cloverdale Restaurant’s owners wanted a modern design that paid homage to the area’s roots and honored the original historic house. Renovating a house into a new locals favorite restaurant is no easy task, but our design team was able to bring it into the modern area.  Contemporary design elements such as the  chandeliers and bar area, were carefully detailed to fit perfectly within the original structure of the house.


The bar area, easily the “WOW” moment of the restaurant,  features a custom solid oak bar designed and fabricated by Stel House & Home.  Steel liquor shelves sit in front of the home’s original windows aligning with their mutins, allowing sunlight to filter in behind the liquor bottles creating a special glow. The rustin wood ceiling and oversize glass pendants are reminiscent of a farmhouse, as is the round table made from an old church pew, reminding its visitors its origins. In contrary, the modern chairs and brass lighting give the space an eclectic, yet refined feeling building off its original roots.


Cloverdale Restaurant has since closed and the building is now being used for Yampa Valley Kitchen still with some of our favorite finishes in place.

Steamboat’s dining scene is world class, and our team thrives on creating restaurant environments that match the quality of the food. Whether we’re working from the ground up, or, in many cases, transforming an old space into a new vision; we approach each project with an open mind and a trove of ideas. Ultimately we create a space for restaurant owners and their patrons to enjoy for years to come.

For more information on commercial projects the Vertical Arts team has been a part of, visit Our Work and click on our commercial page.