Bring your unique retail, dining, or entertainment concept here, and get your piece of $14 billion in regional economic impact.

The demand for a wide variety of dining options is high in Lakewood. With a rapidly growing population, land availability, tax incentives, and municipal support for new businesses, Lakewood is the perfect place to make your dream a reality.

  • 2.85 million square feet of commercial space
  • 132,000 serviced by JBLM (the state's 2nd largest employer)
  • Pent up demand for unique retail and dining experiences

Restaurants in Lakewood present one of the most significant categories of business in the city, and likely one of the greatest opportunities for expansion. Information from taxable retail sales data suggests that restaurants are one of the greatest contributors to the local economy and to city sales tax revenue, providing a distinct offering to the community and wider region. Lakewood’s proximity to the 4th largest military base in the world and I-5 contribute to a high-volume of traffic and activity throughout the city on a daily basis. 

Lakewood, WA is home to one of the largest International Districts in the state. The International District runs from Lakewood’s northern boundary on South Tacoma Way to 100th Street, just north of the SR-512 interchange. The district has a robust commercial presence with significant grocery, office, retail, and restaurants. Many cuisines are represented, including Mexican, Korean, Japanese, and more — providing for a richly diverse cultural experience, and a foodies paradise. 

The city is committed to supporting new and existing restaurant-related businesses, and employing ongoing strategies to expand local ownership and entrepreneurship. Lakewood’s city council and business development team work with owners to improve potential customer draws and business viability. 

The Lake City Pub

Meet Lauren Lively, owner of The Lake City Pub.

The Lake City Pub is Lauren Lively’s gift to the community. For almost a decade, Lively has poured her heart and soul into creating a space where everyone is welcome to gather, share great food and drink, and enjoy live music. Located on Veterans Drive SW, The Pub has become a destination spot, in a previously low-traffic area. 

Lakewood, WA has one of the most underrated food scenes in the region. As of 2020, there were 722 “Food Services and Drinking Places” in the city – the largest sub sector in Lakewood, which has grown at an average of 3.9% per year since 2015. Food service and restaurants are some of the most important components of the local retail economy in Lakewood. With a flourishing International District, Downtown, and up and coming neighborhoods, restaurants and food service opportunities are booming. 

The Lake City Pub hosts weekly open-mic nights and evenings with live music, which attracts budding musicians, seasoned talent, and music lovers alike. Lively has faced no shortage of challenges in the creation of her business, but has received ongoing encouragement from her patrons, and personal support from Lakewood’s economic development team. 

Looking to start your dream restaurant in Lakewood? Reach out to our business concierge.

Key tips for developing in Lakewood

  • Hire qualified contractors licensed to do business in Lakewood.
  • Submit quality detailed plans, and stick to the plans.
  • Project management is key, particularly with large complex developments.
  • Take advantage of our low-cost pre-application process to get all of your questions answered.
  • Pay attention to the details in our municipal code.  Lakewood has three development code sections, 18A Land Use and Development Code (general codes); 18B Downtown Development Code, and 18C Stations District Development Code.
  • Communicate often with key staff members, particularly if there are any changes.

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