Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Dining Out NYC's permanent outdoor dining program has launched March 5th and this will have consequences for all restaurants and cafes with outdoor seating, or establishments that plan to open up to outdoor dining. A distinction is made between two type of structures, Roadside Cafes and Sidewalk Cafes.

Roadside Cafes:

Roadside cafes need to be built with DOT approved materials, can no longer be enclosed and can only stand from April till the end of November. Additionally, strict guidelines on setup placement, clearances and maintenance will be implemented. Advertising is not allowed and is limited to only showing the logo of the establishment on the surface areas.

Sidewalk Cafes:

Sidewalk cafes will be able to remain operations all year round, but along with the roadside cafes have strict guidelines for setup placement and clearances. Additionally, the perimeter of the cafe must clearly be demarcated through the placement of multiple fence barriers. The same regulations regarding advertising apply as to the roadside cafe.

Tonda outdoor seating
Tonda outdoor seating

Restaurants who have got outdoor seating through the old program have to submit their applications by August 3rd if they wish to transition to the new program. Existing outdoor cafes that do not comply with the new regulations can stay operational until November 1st (Or after 30 days of gaining approval) if the owner applied for a temporary permit by August 3rd.

In order to be granted the permit, both the roadside cafes and sidewalk cafes must comply with all the regulations of the new permanent outdoor dining program.


  • All materials required by the DOT must be included in the application
  • The license is valid for four years and a yearly and the licensee is subject to an annual fixed license fee of $1.050

For the revocable consent the applicant would need:

  • Petition form
  • Site plan and drawings (Needs to be in line with the DOT setup guidelines)
  • Photographs
  • Property Owner Consent
  • Pest Control Plan
  • Additional information

To gain revocable consent, the applicant is required to pay the city an annual compensation during the continuance of the consent based on the size of the sidewalk or roadside cafe. The price per square foot varies depending on the sector it is located in.

One can apply on the DOT website and all of the documents both for the license and for the revocable consent must be provided. The entire approval review process can take up to 6 months.

We know this process may feel overwhelming at first. We are here to support you through this transition and ensure your outdoor seating permit for the upcoming season.