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Food Establishment License

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Whether you're opening a new restaurant or taking over an existing business that has any food sales, service or storage, contact the Health Department as early as possible in the process. We're here to help you!

Required by any operation that provides food to the public. Examples include restaurants, grocery stores, churches, gas stations, day care centers, clubs, care facilities, bakeries, distributors, processors, schools and more.

VERY IMPORTANT: No food for public consumption may be prepared or stored in the home. Private caterers (caterers who provide food for private events) are not licensed by either Evanston or the Illinois Department of Public Health.

TERM: Calendar Year.

FEE: Based on risk category, use & square footage. See Fee Schedule

RENEWABLE: Yes. Invoice mailed by City of Evanston in November.

TRANSFERABLE: No. New owner must submit application to Health Department and receive license before any food storage, sales or service may take place.

CONTACT: Ellyn Golden, Environmental Health License Coordinator, (847) 866-2947 or

For detailed information regarding the licensing process go to FAQs.

Apply Online:  Food Establishment License Application (preferred method)

WE RECOMMEND you contact us to discuss your plans as soon as you have a specific address in mind or a type of operation you would like to open. Health inspectors are available - at no cost to you - for a consultation to review your scope of operations.


NEW SIGN?  For information and an application go to: Sign Permit Application

ALARM?  Registration is required. For information go to: Alarm Permit

IMPORTANT: All applications must be reviewed by Zoning to confirm that the proposed use, whether a principal or accessory use, is compliant with City regulations. Call (847) 866-2930 or email  If you are applying for a license for a restaurant, you will need to submit a Statement of Restaurant Use (printable version) or apply online here.

**Please Note: Retail space in excess of 10,000 square feet -- follow this link explaining the Shopping Bag Ordinance.

  • No amplified music is allowed outside the food establishment.  This applies to both sidewalk cafes and patios.
  • No smoking is allowed in the food establishment. Smoking is also prohibited within 25 feet of an entrance to the food establishment.
  • Regulations Regarding Animals in Food Establishments
    Animals, with the exception of service animals, are prohibited in food- service establishments, this includes outdoor cafes

Certified Food Protection Manager and Food Handler Certification

NEW FOR 2018 for IDPH Risk Category 1 Restaurants
Beginning January 1, 2018, the Illinois Department of Public Health is requiring all certified food protection managers employed at a risk 1 restaurant to obtain training in allergen awareness from an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited provider within 30 days of employment and every 3 years thereafter.  For detailed information Go To: Allergen Awareness Training.


Evanston City Code

  • Title 3 Chapter 3 Weights and Measures
  • Title 4 Chapter 12 Sign Regulations
  • Title 6 Zoning
  • Title 8 Chapter 5 Municipal Solid Waste
  • Title 8 Chapter 8 Food Service and Retail Food Store Sanitation
  • Title 8 Chapter 21 Clean Air Act - Smoking

State of Illinois