Stomping Grounds Cafe

This coffee house and restaurant is part of Ames’ up and coming Campustown district. With an aggressive timeline and vision to create a European-style cafe, the renovation included the phased redevelopment of two-thirds of an existing building containing multiple tenant spaces into a singular business entity.

The challenge of consolidating multiple tenant spaces provided an opportunity to create different zones within the restaurant to allow varying levels of privacy for visitors. Raised platforms with formal and informal seating provide optimal sight lines to see and be seen, while alcoves provide quiet retreats for relaxation and rejuvenation. Raised platforms form an inherently dramatic ‘stage’ providing a live venue for performing artists.

As part of the phased renovation, the kitchen was expanded and made more efficient. Consequently, the owner has been able to greatly expand the restaurant menu to include a diverse array of food and beverage offerings, making it a destination eatery within the district.

Direct lighting was incorporated at the various wall expanses to allow the restaurant to double as a gallery for local artists. The effect of the gallery space coupled with the dramatic interior design and excellent food and beverage offerings have effectively created a lively ‘third place’ for customers. Ultimately, the aggressive vision of the owner and the successful realization of that vision for the designed space have allowed Stomping Grounds to become a model business for the Campustown district.


Ames, Iowa

Design Team:

Sam Stagg


Elementary School, Public Building, School