The permitting process for a restaurant involves the review and approval by several different City and County of Denver departments and agencies. In general, you will need a zoning permit from Zoning, a sewer use and drainage permit (SUDP) from Wastewater Management, a retail food establishment license from the Department of Excise and Licenses and inspections from Development Services, Denver Fire Department, Wastewater Management and Denver Environmental Health.
See below for more specific requirements.
As a prospective restaurant owner, you must decide what type of restaurant you want to open for permitting and licensing purposes. Your choices might include the following:
If your restaurant is located in a local historic district or individually listed as an historic landmark, and you plan to make exterior changes to the building, you will need a landmark design review. View Landmark Preservation for more information.
Note: The process may take up to five weeks.
Check the Certificate of Occupancy to determine if an existing building or tenant space is currently configured for a restaurant.
Note: If a building or space is not currently configured for a restaurant, it will require upgrades in order to meet current building code requirements.
You will need to obtain a business license for your restaurant. Licenses are issued by the Department of Excise and Licenses for the following types of restaurants:
Liquor licenses are also required if you plan to serve alcohol at your restaurant. Visit Department of Excise and Licenses Liquor Licensing Division to learn more about the liquor licenses required.
Note: You will need to obtain a zoning permit before you apply for a business license. For more information view the Zoning Permits for Commercial Projects page.
A food truck is a readily movable, motorized wheeled vehicle, or a towed wheeled vehicle, designed and equipped to serve food such as a mobile food truck or a push cart.
Important facts about food trucks:
See the Denver Food Truck Guide for more complete information.