Studio Be

Looking for expert advice on hospitality design?
You’re in the right place.

Hi, I'm Dori Betancur

I am an architectural consultant to the hospitality industry. As the founder of Studio Be and a Registered, Licensed, and Insured Illinois Architect with Chicago Self Cert. accreditation, I bring over 20 years of expertise to the table. My experience includes crafting restaurant spaces as a team member of the "Lettuce Entertain You" in-house design team, and expediting Chicago Building Permits for...

  • Franchisors & Franchisees

  • Restaurant Entrepreneurs

  • Food Service Consultants

  • Architects & Engineers

  • Interior Designers

  • Contractors

Trusted By

Site is still under construction. Pardon our dust :)

I Can Help With

Completing your project thoughtfully and swiftly

Illinois Building Permits - including Chicago Self Cert

Self-Certification Permit Program, designed to simplify the Chicago building permit process for qualifying residential, business, mercantile, and small assembly projects.

Restaurant Floor plan & concept development

We optimize every square inch for efficiency and flow, in tune with your brand and in harmony with the front and back of house service experience.


We field verify existing building conditions so that all plans are accurate

Construction documents for Interiors

Putting all your creative ideas into construction document format for accurate bidding and coordination. From millwork details to lighting plans.

Renderings - 3d and 2d

You can see the space rendered before building. We use a number of programs from Sketchup to photoshop to outsourcing renderings to navigate decisions making.

Brand Development

Let's tell a story what your restaurant will feel like

Portfolio Highlights

I've had the absolute pleasure helping these projects get built


The Process

I join projects anywhere within the process to help overcome challenges and get things done correctly, the first time.

Frequently Asked Questions

You've got deadlines and goals; I've got the experience to get your projects done faster.

General Questions

  • Q: What is an architect of record? Do I need one?

  • A: Architect of Record orchestrates compliance with regulations and local building codes and stays with the project through construction. If you need a building permit, you need an architect who will sign and seal the project.

Building Permit Questions

  • Q: What is the process to get a Chicago building permit? How do I get a building permit?

  • The specific requirements and procedures outlined by the City of Chicago, can vary depending on the type and scope of your project.

  • 1. Determine if You Need a Permit: Not all projects require a permit, but many do. The City of Chicago has a list of projects that require permits. You can find this information on the city's website or by contacting the Department of Buildings.

  • 2. Prepare Your Plans: Depending on the scope of your project, you may need to prepare architectural drawings, engineering plans, and other documentation. These plans should meet the requirements set by the Department of Buildings.

  • 3. Submit Your Application: Once your plans are ready, you'll need to submit an application for a building permit. You can do this online through the city's permit portal or in person at the Department of Buildings office.

  • 4. Plan Review: After you submit your application, the Department of Buildings will review your plans to ensure they comply with building codes and zoning regulations. This process can take several weeks or even months, depending on the complexity of your project.

  • 5. Approval and Issuance: If your plans are approved, you'll receive a building permit. This permit will outline the specific requirements and conditions for your project, including any inspections that need to be completed during construction.

  • 6. Construction: Once you have your permit, you can begin construction on your project. It's essential to follow the terms of your permit and schedule any required inspections as you progress.

  • 7. Inspections: Throughout the construction process, inspectors from the Department of Buildings will visit your site to ensure that the work is being done according to the approved plans and building codes. You'll need to schedule these inspections at various stages of construction.

  • 8. Final Inspection and Certificate of Occupancy: Once your project is complete, you'll need to schedule a final inspection to obtain a Certificate of Occupancy. This certificate verifies that your building complies with all relevant codes and regulations and is safe for occupancy.

  • Q: What does Chicago self-cert mean?

  • A: Self-certification simplifies and streamlines the permit review process for eligible projects by allowing qualified architects and

  • structural engineers to self-certify that plans filed with the department do not contain any false information and are in compliance with the requirements of the Chicago Building Code.

  • The time savings come from the project omitting the 'Plan Review' stage.

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  • Q: How can I expedite building permits in Chicago? How much does a permit expeditor cost?

  • A: An expeditor usually charges about $1500, but this is only for filling out forms and submitting into the City portal. You still need to hire an architect and engineers to prepare permit documents that are code compliant and in the Chicago format.

ADA Requirement Questions

  • Q: What are ADA requirements for restaurants in Chicago?

  • A: Chicago Buildings and facilities shall be designed and constructed to be accessible in accordance with ICC A117.1-2009 (and City of Chicago amendments to ICC A117.1)

  • Q: What are minimum ADA requirements for public bathrooms in Chicago?

  • A: We cross check the Illinois and Chicago building code for plumbing fixture requirments and accessibility.

  • Q: What is the ADA sink height?

  • A: 34" (2'-10"). This has to be provided in at least one stall. As long as the requirements are satisfied in one area, the remaining areas can be higher. Same applied to any countertop

  • Q: What is the ADA handrail height in Chicago?

  • A: Top of gripping surfaces of handrails shall be 34 inches (865 mm) minimum and 38 inches (965 mm) maximum vertically above walking surfaces

Schedule a Consult

We'll get back to you within 48 hours to discuss your project

Dori Betancur is an architectural consultant who collaborates with the project team from conception to completion.

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