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The public's vote cinched the Flying Squirrel the top spot in an architectural contest sponsored by the Los Angeles chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

The Chattanooga eatery had been among six finalists looking to be named the best-designed café and bar in the Restaurant Design Awards, in the contest's "People's Choice Award" category. Last year's winner was Café Saul. E Mendez in Guatemala City, Guatemala.

Voting occurred online last month and ended on May 28. Winners were announced May 30 at the Dwell on Design awards ceremony in California.

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The Flying Squirrel restaurant on Chattanooga's Southside. The owners of the $1.5 million eatery, which opened in 2013, say it is a work of art with its exposed trusses and giant cedar beams that make up the backbone of the building, to the locally crafted fixtures and furnishing.

The Flying Squirrel had been up against eating establishments from the western half of the nation: Prova Pizzeria in West Hollywood, Calif.; Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle; Magnolia House in Pasadena, Calif.; Idle Hour in Los Angeles; and Verve Coffee + Juice Served Here in Los Angeles.

A total of 27 eateries had entered the division category.

Palmer Built Environments and Haskel Sears Design created the Flying Squirrel building's layout and its interior.

Contact staff writer Mitra Malek at mmalek@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6406. Follow her on Twitter @MitraMalek.

This story was updated at 12 p.m. with information about the Flying Squirrel's designers.

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