Permits and licenses 

Be sure to secure the necessary permits, licenses, and insurance for your business. Some might have additional costs. Some license, permits and insurance to consider include:

Food licenses

The Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) oversees several important food business applications including the a Food Facility License Application and a Food Service Manager Application

BCHD must also review your restaurant layout and plan. Access a copy of the Food Service Plan Application here. If submitting a building permit, your plans will be automatically routed to the Health Department for review. If you are not building a new facility or making major structural changes, it is recommended that you bring an informal layout of your facility to the Health Department, including locations of all equipment, walls, doors, toilets, sinks, etc. The plan review supervisor will review this layout and make suggestions to help ensure a successful final inspection. Final design details must be included in your Food Service Plan, which is required to obtain a Food License. 

For more information about food licenses, visit the Food Facilities website of Baltimore City's Health Department here. 

Use and occupancy permits

The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) enforces the Baltimore City Building Code, as well as state laws pertaining to use and occupancy. DHCD also issues building permits and provides inspections for: construction, alteration, electrical, mechanical and plumbing work in both commercial and residential structures. For more information about permits please visit DHCD's website here.

Cottage food licensing

A cottage food business (or a home-based business) is defined in the Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 10.15.0​3​ as a business that a) produces or packages cottage food products in a residential kitchen; and b) has annual revenues from the sale of cottage food products in an amount not exceeding $50,000.

A cottage food product is a non-potentially hazardous food that is sold in Maryland directly to a consumer from a residence, at a farmers market, at a public event, by personal delivery, or by mail delivery; or directly to a retail food store.​ Cottage foods cannot be offered for sale through interstate commerce.​ Check out the MD Cottage Food Business Labeling Guide and visit Maryland Gov’s cottage food page for additional information

Liquor licenses

The Board of Liquor License Commissioners is an agency of the State responsible for regulating the sale, storage, and distribution of retail alcoholic beverages in Baltimore City. Visit the Board's website here for more information about the application process.

Insurance Coverage

  • Restaurant insurance
  • Property insurance 
  • General liability insurance 
  • Liquor insurance 
  • Auto insurance 
  • Workers compensation insurance 
  • Unemployment insurance 
  • Life insurance 
  • Loss of Business insurance 
  • Food contamination insurance