New Tools to Help More Restaurants Open in Tacoma

We've heard more than one restaurant owner complain about the challenges of opening in Tacoma. The City is taking some steps toward trying to change that, according to a note in last week's City Manager's report to council acknowledges the issue.

Restaurants are a key element in creating neighborhood vitality, celebrating our City's diversity, and supporting community and economic development. The City issues permits for many restaurants in a variety of sizes and locations and with owners whose knowledge of the industry varies widely. Restaurants tend to be more complicated than most permitting situations, and applicants must interface with many local and state agencies. In order to facilitate a streamlined approval process for Tacoma, the Planning and Development Services Department (PDS) collaborated with the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department and the Washington State Department of Commerce to make it easier to establish restaurants in Tacoma.

The note goes on to say that PDS has launched a set of tools to assist potential proprietors with decision making on where to locate various kinds of dining and drinking establishments, and the various applicable permitting requirements.

There's a Tip Sheet for restaurants, and a Restaurant Location Selection Checklist. The resources cover topics including land use; requirements around occupancy, parking, safety and accessibility, grease traps and exhaust hoods, and other issues related to outdoor seating, serving alcohol, signage, noise limitations, and more. And if you're looking to start your own craft distillery, there's a whole tip sheet just for you too. You can find all these resources at - under "Tip Sheets" or "Getting Started."

We love to see new restaurants open in Tacoma, so it's good to see the City working collaboratively with the Health Department on this. Who's ready to open our next favorite eatery?

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Chrissy Cooley

I’m so glad to see Tacoma taking this kind of step for community development!  I would especially love to see some more farm to table dishes from the great ag all around Pierce County.  The Puget Sound Fresh app seems to be a great resource for would-be restaurant owners.

February 6, 2015 at 12:13 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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