Opening a New Restaurant in NYC - New York City? Hire an Engineer
Updated: Feb 28
Plan Your Space
Find a location zoned for your business. Learn more at: on.nyc.gov/zoning.
Consult a licensed professional to review your location, plan any construction, and ensure compliance with accessibility requirements. Only a registered architect or
professional engineer may submit plans to the NYC Department of Buildings. Changes to your space must comply with NYC Department of Buildings, NYC Department of Health, NYC Fire Department, and NYC Department of Transportation (sidewalk) regulations. There may be additional regulations with which you need to comply—consult your licensed professional. Sign your lease. Before you sign, review your location with a licensed professional and lawyer to make sure restaurant use is allowed and that the space right for your business.
Taking over a space that previously was a restaurant can save time and construction costs, but only if the restaurant had passed inspections and was in compliance with regulations. Allow time to receive approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission before performing work on a location that is landmarked or located in an historic district. Learn more at: on.nyc.gov/landmarks. Cosmetic changes can add time and paperwork, so consider the impact of each change on your timeline.
Check that your kitchen has a grease interception, or plan to install one. All commercial kitchens must capture grease from sinks, woks, deep fryers, floor drains, and other fixtures to prevent clogging pipes and sewer backups. Learn more at: on.nyc.gov/grease.
Apply For Construction Permits
Have your licensed professional submit plans and required documents to the NYC Department of Buildings.
Change and resubmit plans as needed. If there are objections to the proposed work due to safety or compliance issues, your licensed professional will receive notice by email and resubmit the drawings with the necessary changes.
Monitor your job on NYC Department of Buildings BISWeb at: on.nyc.gov/bis. Your status will be listed as “Assigned to P/E (Plan Examiner),” “P/E in Process,” “P/E Disapproved,”or “Approved.” The status does not reflect whether or not your licensed professional has resubmitted plans.
All commercial cooking – on gas or electric stoves, fryers, or ovens – requires a range hood and fire suppression system. Make sure your licensed professional files plans with the Fire Department. Learn more at: on.nyc.gov/rangehood.
FDNY inspects and regulates the installation of required range hoods for restaurants, cafeterias and other commercial cooking establishments. Installation of range hoods and other required fire suppression/ventilation equipment must be done by a licensed professional. Food service establishments without appropriately installed range hood systems can be fined, closed, or subject to refusal of Department of Buildings permits that are needed to open for business or apply for other City operating licenses. The attached fact sheet contains useful information and contact information for licensed professionals who supply and install range hood systems. A preliminary inspection and test is required upon plan approval and installation, and annual inspections are required thereafter.