Restaurant Architects NYC

by | Aug 26, 2016 | Commercial, Renovations

You will need to hire an architect if you are looking to renovate a restaurant or convert a space into a restaurant in NYC. Either way you will need the help of an architect. Restaurant Architects in NYC can help you with permits, inspections, code compliance, and of course design.

Lets be honest, renovating or opening a new restaurant in New York City is a real pain. Even for a small restaurant renovation, there is a lot of red tape and bureaucracy involved. As an architect, I have had to deal with this for years.


  • Architectural Services
  • Construction Administration and Inspections
  • ADA Accessibility
  • Gender Neutral
  • Restaurant Renovation Permits
  • Place of Assembly
  • Converting A Space Into A Restaurant
  • Letter Of No Objection
  • Restaurant Acoustics


Restaurant Renovation Architectural Services

There are many services an architect can provide for a restaurant renovation. The architect can assess the existing conditions. Help you realize a vision for the space or come up with one on their own. The architect can guide you through every detail from the restaurant layout, to material, selection, lighting, and all aspects of design. A restaurant architect would produce a set of drawings for construction and for the Department Of Buildings.

The architect will handle the filling with the DOB including all the paperwork and logistics. Upon approval the contractor can get a permit and the construction can begin.


Construction Administration and Inspections

During construction of a restaurant the restaurant architect will periodically come to the job site. The architect will meet with the contractor, answer questions and visually review the work. The restaurant architect in NYC will submit documentation to the NYC DOB at the completion of the work documenting their Progress Inspections. Additionally you may need Special Inspections that are performed by the a Private Inspection Agency. Finally there will also be inspections from the DOB for plumbing, gas, electrical, and if you need a Certificate of Occupancy. The FDNY may also inspect your restaurant.

You will be surprised how many inspections will be needed just for one restaurant. This is a big process make sure you have a good team helping you.


ADA Accessibility

Your restaurant will have to be ADA accessible. ADA is the Americans with disabilities act. Restaurant Architects are familiar with these requirements and must design accordingly.


Gender Neutral Bathrooms

If you have “single occupant toilet room” in your restaurant it must be gender neutral as per New York City Local Law 79 of 2016. You can learn more by checking out another post we wrote on Gender Neutral Bathrooms NYC.


Restaurant Renovation Permits

If your project involves any construction, then you will probably need to hire an architect and get approvals from the Department of Buildings (DOB). There is another department called the HUB where your architect can file online for new projects. Check out this article we wrote on NYC Architects Filing online with the HUB. I personally file almost all of my jobs on the NYC development HUB. After the job is approved by the NYC DOB your contractor can get a permit for construction.


Restaurant Place of Assembly – PA

Any restaurant with 75 or more people indoors must have a Place of Assembly Certificate of Operation. We have another post if you want to read more about filing a Place of Assembly in NYC. A restaurant architect in NYC would handle the PA filing as well as all other architectural work.


Converting a Space Into a Restaurant

NYC has very specific rules about what type of use can go into a given space. If you are looking to convert a space into a restaurant you may need to obtain a certificate of occupancy depending on the original legal use. Obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy means filing an Alteration Type 1. An Alt 1 is more complicated than an Alt 2 and will take longer. Some building management companies will not want you to file an Alt 1, but many will not care.


Restaurant Letter Of No Objection

If you can get a Letter of No Objection you will not need to file an Alt 1 therefore filing the easier and faster Alt 2. Restaurant Architects can file any of these. You will need either a Certificate Of Occupancy or a Letter of No Objection in order to obtain a liquor license for your restaurant.

If you would like to learn more about restaurant conversions we have another post you can see: Converting Retail Space Into Restaurant.


Restaurant Acoustics

Restaurants have terrible acoustics. There are so many restaurants where you can barely have a conversation because all the sound around you is resonating. In some restaurants you have to raise your voice to speak with someone sitting directly across from you. You can hear the clanging of forks on plates and it is a truly unpleasant experience. I urge you to take acoustics seriously in your restaurant design.

We have another article with more information on Restaurant Acoustic Design.


Restaurant Architects NYC Restaurant Renovations

In this article we reviewed some of the basics with regards to Restaurant Architectural Services and NYC Restaurant Renovations. This post does not assume to cover every possible issue or condition, but provide a general overview of the topic.


Thank You for reading our blog post on Restaurant Architects NYC.

I hope this was helpful. If you want to discuss a specific project with an architect please feel free to contact us directly.


Contact Fontan Architecture


Jorge Fontan
Jorge Fontan

This post was written by Jorge Fontan AIA a Registered Architect and owner of New York City architecture firm Fontan Architecture. Jorge Fontan has earned 3 degrees in the study of architecture including two degrees from the City University of New York and a Masters Degree in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University. Jorge has a background in construction and has been practicing architecture for 15 years where he has designed renovations and new developments of various building types.