Joel Berman, LEED-AP, NCARB

Kitchen Design Specialist


Joel is known for his practical restaurant design and layouts. He is the founder and president of Joel Berman Architecture & Design, Ltd., a Chicago architecture firm specializing in commercial kitchens, food service, restaurants, bars, hospitality, and adaptive reuse and heritage restoration.

Joel has led a wide variety of culinary projects throughout his career, from restaurants in underserved communities to an award-winning preservation and renovation of a 1920s White Castle Hamburger building. He has designed more than 100 commercial kitchens, including five co-working facilities, and takes a custom approach to each project to ensure that sanitation, equipment, storage, refrigeration and workflow space is optimized for each use case. Joel lends this practiced knowledge to NVA’s development process to design facilities that meet the community’s needs today and are scalable for the future.


 Whatcom County Food System Plan

The Whatcom County Food System Committee recently conducted a community food assessment that pointed to key opportunities to build a more robust and resilient regional food system. New Venture Advisors will partner with Whatcom County staff and the Food System Committee to draft a Whatcom County Food System Plan that builds upon these findings. This Plan will focus on six sectors of the food system including fishing, farming, labor, food access, environment, and waste, and will be informed by an inclusive and equitable community engagement process.  The Food System Plan will provide the county with a policy roadmap that will strengthen the local food system for years to come. (2022)

 Whatcom Local Food Campus

The Whatcom Community Foundation invests in activities and organizations that improve the ability of people to help themselves, increase connections among people, and take cooperative approaches to community issues. WCF is exploring the development of a local food campus on a waterfront property that would become a multi-tenant site, anchored by a school district commissary. The goal is to strengthen Whatcom County’s local food system by promoting health equity, forging tangible strategic connections between food production organizations, and helping farmers connect with institutional markets. NVA developed the business case for this ambitious project and continues to support its development. (2022)