Restaurant & Food Truck Location Selection Guide


The City of Lacey is working in cooperation with the Washington State Department of Commerce, other Thurston County cities, and the Thurston County Health Department to simplify the licensing and permitting process necessary to open a restaurant.

Toward this effort, the City of Lacey has developed the worksheet to help walk you through the process and to assist you in finding the Lacey location that will be your recipe for success!

Download or view the City of Lacey Restaurant Selection Worksheet. 2016-11-04 Restaurant Start-up Guide

The City of Lacey wants you to be successful. In addition to this resource, we would like to help you through the process of getting your new business launched. View available sites in Lacey

Among our economic development community partners is the Economic Development Council, a non-profit organization which provides a variety of services for entrepreneurs interested in starting new businesses. Visit the Thurston Economic Development Council website.

Finally, if you find that you will need to borrow funds to open your restaurant, we can refer you to a lender who will be able to help you. Learn more about Business Financing Options. 

We wish you the very best for success with your new restaurant!

Food Trucks & Carts

The City of Lacey welcomes entrepreneurs and the unique independent businesses they create!  Here is information for the successful launch of food trucks, trailers, and carts

Location, Zoning, & Land Use Permits—With a simple administrative review and approval, food trucks, trailers, and carts can operate on most commercially-zoned private property in the City of Lacey. Food trucks, trailers, and carts are also permitted to operate in the public right-of-way under certain conditions.  Before committing to any site, it is highly recommended that you check with one of the City of Lacey’s friendly and knowledgeable Planners to verify that the zoning for the site you’re considering will work for your business.  The Planner can walk you through the steps for approval.  Planners can be reached by calling 360-491-5642.

Site Requirements—Besides the proper zoning, arrangements for parking, seating, and trash will need to be addressed. The administrative process generally takes a few days, and costs less than $200.  A Planner will walk you through the steps.

Signs—In addition to the signage on your truck, trailer, or cart, you will likely want an additional sign to help attract patrons to your business. Food truck, trailer, or cart operators typically use a sandwich board sign on the property to accomplish this.  One sandwich board sign per food truck is allowed provided it meets the following criteria:

  • Does not exceed nine (8) square feet – no wider than 2’ and 4’ in height;

Building Permits—The City of Lacey does NOT require a building permit for food trucks, trailers, or carts. However, the State of Washington does require an inspection of any factory assembled structure.  This would also apply to a homemade or modified unit.  Information on this State requirement is available at:

Business License & Taxes –The City of Lacey makes it easy to get your business license and get set up to collect and remit sales tax through the State of Washington’s one stop on-line system.   Once you’ve registered, the City will send you the necessary forms to pay Business & Occupancy (B & O Tax.)  The on-line system can be accessed at:

Health Department Requirements–The Health Department is NOT a department within the City of Lacey: it is a Thurston County department that regulates environmental health and food safety as it relates to food preparation and food service.

In order to work in a food service establishment, all food service workers are required to have classroom instruction, be tested on safe food handling procedures, and obtain a food worker’s card. For more information:

Class Schedules:


Other Food Safety Information:

Mobile Food Unit:

Restaurant Start-up Guide—Restaurants are the number one most frequently started and operated business category in nearly every city in the United States. This is true in Lacey as well.  To support this effort, the City developed a Restaurant Start-up Guide.  Many of topics covered in the Guide are applicable to food trucks, trailers, and carts.  In addition, some entrepreneurs who begin with a “mobile restaurant” ultimately decide to open a traditions fixed-location restaurant.  You may find the information in the Restaurant Start-up Guide useful now, or in the future.  The Guide is available at:

Resources—The City of Lacey wants your business to be successful. We work with a variety of economic development community partners who provide services to entrepreneurs and business operators at every stage of business from the initial idea for the business through launch, growth, finding financing, facing challenges, to succession planning.  We welcome the opportunity to work with you and your business!


If you don’t see what you’re looking for here, please contact us.  We will be very happy to locate the data—the information—that you’re seeking!