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How to Apply

Eligible food service establishments may apply for outdoor dining in the roadway, sidewalk, or both!

The application is available in English and Spanish, with additional languages available soon.

Key dates

March 5, 2024: Food service establishments may begin applying online to join the Dining Out NYC program!

August 3, 2024: Deadline for food service establishments with existing temporary outdoor dining setups to apply to continue operating until NYC DOT approves the application.

November 1, 2024: A temporary program outdoor dining setup that applied before August 3, 2024 must comply with the new Dining Out NYC design requirements by the earlier of: (i) 30 days after NYC DOT approves the Dining Out NYC application or (ii) November 1, 2024.


Let's get ready to apply

Both sidewalk and roadway cafes require a license and revocable consent from NYC DOT. The revocable consent and license will each have a four-year term.

To be eligible for a sidewalk and roadway cafe, your food service establishment must be: 

  • Located on a ground floor that is visible from the street and directly accessible to the public from the street;
  • Operated pursuant to a food service establishment permit issued by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH); and 
  • In a permitted location pursuant to the Dining Out NYC Rules.

Find out more about where you can set up a sidewalk or roadway cafe in the Setup Guides.

Download the Dining Out NYC Financial Planning Tool (xls) from NYC Small Business Services.

Non-Refundable License Fee

The license fee is payable once every four years.

This is a flat fee paid upon application:

  • $1,050 for sidewalk cafe
  • $1,050 for roadway cafe
  • $2,100 if applying for both

*Please note that the license fee is non-refundable.

Public Hearing Fee

NYC DOT will coordinate publication of the public notice and conduct the public hearing. However, the applicant is responsible for the cost of the publication, which will generally not exceed $1,000. Learn more in the "Public Hearing Process" section at the bottom of this page.

Security Deposit 

As part of the revocable consent agreement, you will need to provide a refundable security deposit. The security deposit rate depends on the cafe type and is paid once the application is approved:

  • Unenclosed sidewalk cafe: $1,500
  • Roadway cafe: $2,500

Revocable Consent Fee

This annual fee for revocable consent is calculated by multiplying the square foot area of your cafe setup by the sector rate. This fee is paid once the application is approved. Please note that the revocable consent fee is non-refundable.

SectorSidewalk Fee Rate                                                          
(per square foot)
Roadway Fee Rate                                                          
(per square foot)
1$6$5
2$10$8
3$18$14
4$31$25

Find your sector rate in the fee zone map below.

Prior to applying for a roadway or sidewalk cafe, an applicant must create an account in the application portal. 

This will require you to: 

  1. Enter an email address and create a password
  2. Select a security question
  3. Accept the portal’s Terms and Conditions

After you create a profile in the application portal, you may apply for a roadway or sidewalk cafe. 

Prepare your documents 

The required documents to apply for a roadway or sidewalk cafe include:

  1. IRS Verification Letter (Ex: IRS 147-c, SS-4)
  2. NYC Substitute W-9 Form
  3. Dining Out NYC Applicant Affirmation Form
  4. Tax Affirmation Form
  5. Property Owner Consent Form
  6. Site Plan Form: Follow instructions in the form for clearance and design requirements 
  7. Pest Control Certification
  8. Insurance Acknowledgement Form

Additional documents, required only if applicable to your application, include:

You may upload these documents after you have completed your restaurant profile. To do so, edit your restaurant profile and upload these documents as document type "other."

Please contact NYC DOT if you need accessibility assistance with these documents.

Evaluate the area in front of your food service establishment 

  1. Take five photos of the area in front of your establishment 

    Diagram showing the five photos of a restaurants frontage

  2. Take measurements of the area in front of your establishment: 
    • Sidewalk: 
      • Total width of the sidewalk, measured from the outer edge of the curb to your restaurant’s property line. 
      • Total length of your food establishment’s frontage. 
    • Roadway: 
      • Estimated width of the curb lane. 
      • Total length of your food establishment’s frontage.

Add your food service establishment to your profile 

Once you have gathered the required documents, you may add your food service establishment to your profile in the application portal. 

In the portal, you will need to:

  1. Enter your Food Service Establishment Permit (FSEP) number from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  2. Enter information about your food service establishment. You will need:
    1. Employer Identification Number (EIN)
    2. A phone number and email at which the primary restaurant contact can be reached for any critical communications
    3. An emergency contact
    4. New York State Department of State (DOS) ID Number, if applicable (If you do not know your DOS ID, visit the Department of State's Corporation & Business Entity Database)
  3. Upload required documents as prompted.

Begin your application for a Sidewalk and/or Roadway Cafe 

Once your food service establishment is added to your profile, it’s time to apply! 

  1. Click “apply” in your restaurant profile 
  2. Enter the measurements of the area in front of your establishment
  3. Upload the required documents as prompted 
  4. Upload the five photos of the area in front of your establishment 
  5. Click “submit” 
  6. Pay the non-refundable License Fee to complete your submission and begin the application review process 
  7. Check your email inbox - the application ID # and associated invoices will be sent to the email address you provided


     
 


You submitted your application - what happens now?

All applications will be reviewed by NYC DOT: 

  • Sidewalk Cafe review process may take up to six months
  • Roadway Cafe review process may take up to five months

Applicants will be able to track the status of their application on the application portal. 

Additionally, each applicant will be assigned a dedicated plan reviewer on the Dining Out NYC team, who will be available to answer questions and walk the applicant through the process. 

Before your application is approved, NYC DOT may need to a hold a public hearing.

Once your application has been approved, you will enter into a revocable consent agreement with NYC DOT. 

Click "Public Hearing Process" or "Revocable Consent Agreement" below to learn more about these topics.

Pursuant to section 19-160.2(c)(2) of the New York City Administrative Code and section 371 of the New York City Charter, NYC DOT is required to hold a public hearing on all roadway cafe applications and, in some cases, on sidewalk cafe applications. Public hearings provide the public with an opportunity to comment on the roadway or sidewalk cafe application. All public hearings will be advertised via a public notice that is published in a local newspaper and in the City Record.

If a public hearing is required, a member of the Dining Out NYC program team will contact the applicant with information on the public hearing, including the estimated cost of publication of the notice, the timing of the publication, and the date of the public hearing.

Prior to signing the revocable consent agreement, food service establishments will be required to obtain and maintain the following insurance: 

  • Commercial General Liability insurance naming the City of New York as an additional insured in the amount of $1M per occurrence/$2M aggregate
  • Liquor Law Liability Insurance (if alcohol is served) naming the City of New York as an additional insured in the amount of $1M per occurrence 
  • Workers’ Compensation, Employers Liability, and Disability Benefits Insurance per statutory limits
  • Commercial Automobile Liability Insurance (if automobiles are utilized) in the amount of $1M each accident

Food service establishments must submit proof of insurance acceptable to NYC DOT:

  • For all insurance other than Workers’ Compensation, Employers Liability, and Disability Benefits insurance, food service establishments must submit both
    • A certificate of insurance; and 
    • A duly executed Certification by Insurance Broker or Agent 
  • For Workers’ Compensation, Employers Liability Insurance, and Disability Benefits insurance policies, food service establishments must submit one of the following: 
    • Form C-105.2, Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance; 
    • Form U-26.3, State Insurance Fund Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Insurance; 
    • Form SI-12, Certificate of Workers’ Compensation Self-Insurance; 
    • Form GSI-105.2, Certificate of Participation in Worker’s Compensation Group Self-Insurance; 
    • Form DB-120.1, Certificate of Disability Benefits Insurance; 
    • Form DB-155, Certificate of Disability Benefits Self-Insurance; 
    • Form CE-200, Affidavit of Exemption; 
    • Other forms approved by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board.


 

Once the review process is complete, if approved, you will enter into a revocable consent agreement with NYC DOT and NYC DOT will issue the sidewalk or roadway cafe license. You may then assemble your cafe(s) and begin operating. 

NYC DOT inspectors will visit for an installation inspection 30 days after issuance and may request corrections for compliance. Check for emailed and mailed requests to ensure timely corrections. For more information on enforcement, visit the How to Operate a Roadway Cafe and How to Operate a Sidewalk Cafe pages in the Setup Guides.

Happy outdoor dining, NYC!