Architectural, Commercial


Minneapolis, MN

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Completed 2012

Hospitality that hit the ground running.

Team: Shelter, Blue Construction, Owners

Photos: Matt Blum

Accolades: 2012 ASID Award

When Icehouse burst onto the Twin Cities music & dining scene in 2012, it was no surprise that reviewers described the space as “rustic and chic,” “laid back industrial,” and “modern, yet rustic in all the right ways.” Months earlier the clients used these same adjectives to describe how they wanted their restaurant to turn out: a hospitality destination with a casual happy hour deli by day / a high- end, hip music restaurant by night.

Elements of the Design

We took inspiration from the philosophy that our client, acclaimed chef Matt Bickford, uses to craft his award winning menus. You start with basic recognizable materials and then spice, smoke, pickle and garnish them in simple and surprising ways. For the color palette we looked to the stained, crumbling bricks of the historic urban building that now embrace a chef’s dream kitchen, new mezzanines, stage, shape shifting lighting, offices, storage, a rockstar bar and killer acoustics. Multiple and varied seating options offer patrons different ways to enjoy daytime deli delicacies and nightly music offerings. As one reviewer wrote, “there isn’t a bad seat in the house”.

The chef’s table provides guests views of both the kitchen and stage. A simple pull of the curtain provides an even more private setting. A half-size wall has a sloped top to discourage guests from placing drinks atop it and instead use counters sized specifically for drinks and small-plate menu items. Lounge on VIP sofas at the side of the stage if your goal is to see and be seen. The mezzanine is a great place for people-watching and creates a cozy place for booths below and a dramatic stairway over the bar.

Lighting is the stealthy magician behind the nightly transformation. Large windows and an expansive deck make the deli a sunny lunchtime destination. As smokin’ jazz ushers in the evening, splashes of color and dark shadows set the mood for dinner.

“If you’ve heard that this venue is the coolest local spot to crop up, we’ll confirm the rumors. It is the coolest.”