Retail Food Establishments


 Public walk-in Plan Review hours are now available Mondays and Thursdays from 9:00am to 12:00pm located at the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department.

                COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. -- April 26, 2021 -- Opening a restaurant or cafe in Colorado Springs just got easier., a step-by-step guide to opening a business in the Pikes Peak region, now features a roadmap focused on opening a restaurant or cafe. The guide provides restaurant operators a roadmap specific to their industry needs from planning and identifying a location to construction and operations, helping them move their great idea to their grand opening.

Organizations came together in 2019 to provide entrepreneurs with a streamlined approach to opening a small business, including the City of Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC, Better Business Bureau, Colorado Springs Fire Department, Colorado Springs Utilities, Downtown Colorado Springs, El Paso County, El Paso County Public Health, My Biz Colorado, Pikes Peak Regional Building Association, and the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center. 

The group continues to meet monthly to identify and develop industry roadmaps and further reduce barriers to starting a small business. Each step-by-step industry map is developed with input from local business owners familiar with the opening process and group members familiar with the regulatory process and requirements. In addition to the restaurant and cafe roadmap, the site also includes guides for distilleries, food trucks, and general business. The group plans to add additional industry sectors to become the number one city to open a business in the nation.

For more information and to view the industry roadmaps, check out

COVID-19 Resources 

Click Here to View Inspection Reports

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Retail food establishments are required to be licensed in Colorado in accordance with Colorado Revised Statutes 25-4-1610 (1) (b). Licenses are associated with the current ownership, location, and Colorado Sales Tax License.

El Paso County Public Health has adopted a new inspection rating system and enforcement policy. Further information can be found in Resources below.

Listed below are links to information and forms for obtaining a retail food establishment license in El Paso County.

El Paso County Public Health licenses and inspects facilities such as, but not limited to, restaurants, mobile food trucks, coffee kiosks, cafeterias, convenience stores/gas stations, drug stores, grocery stores, bars, hotels, assisted and independent living facilities and special events.

Areas El Paso County Public Health Serves


We partner with organizations and departments from the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC. COS Open for Biz provides a guide to help you move from your great idea to your grand opening. Please visit to view a Restaurant and Mobile Unit roadmap. 

Food Safety:


Completed applications can be emailed to [email protected], mailed, or delivered to the Environmental Health Office.

El Paso County Public Health - Environmental Health Division
1675 W Garden of the Gods Rd, Ste 2044
Colorado Springs, CO 80907


To Open a New Retail Food Establishment/Extensive Remodel

Any new construction or extensive remodel on a fixed location or mobile unit, will require completion of the Plan Review process prior to construction.

Extensive remodel includes, but is not limited to:

  • Changes or alterations to non-public areas that result in reduction or increase of total space by 25% or more.
  • Increasing seating capacity by 15 seats, or 20% (whichever is greater).
  • Capabilities to handle food, equipment, or utensils in a sanitary manner have been diminished due to a food process, or menu change, that introduces new foodborne illness risks.
  • Download Plan Review Packet
  • Download Mobile Plan Review Packet

Minor remodel includes, but is not limited to:

  • Existing plumbing fixtures (i.e. 3-compartment sink, hand sink, prep sink, dish machine) are relocated.
  • Replacing or adding equipment.
  • Construction is being conducted without a building permit (i.e. lighting changes, finish changes).
  • Replacing a water heater (standard tank-type or instantaneous).
  • Download Minor Remodel- Short Form

Review of Potential Retail Food Establishment Site can also be scheduled with a specialist and completed for $75.00.

Plan Review Office Hours:
Monday & Thursday 9:00am to 12:00pm
Pikes Peak Regional Building Department
2880 International Cir
Colorado Springs, CO 80910

Change of Ownership

To open a previously licensed Retail Food Establishment

An application for a license may be considered without a plan review for an existing retail food establishment if you are planning to purchase, or have already purchased, an existing/previously existing food service operation and are not making any changes to the establishment or equipment.  When purchasing an existing/previously existing retail food establishment, the proposed licensee is required to bring the facility up to current building codes and retail food establishment regulations.

Special Events

All special event food vendors who wish to operate in El Paso County must have a valid El Paso County Public Health Special Event License. "Special event" means an organized event or celebration at which retail food establishments prepare, serve, or otherwise provide food for human consumption.

For those vendors who wish to obtain licensing through El Paso County Public Health, applications will be reviewed by the Environmental Health Division, and to promote public health and prevent foodborne illness, the division will provide training and educational services. Under this program, the division will also respond to complaints received from the public.

Operate a Special Event Retail Food Establishment