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Anybody know of a restaurant supply store that sells to the general public?

I keep reading that you get the best deals on quality items by skipping Crate & Barrel and shopping at a restaurant supply store instead. Anybody know of one near Cambridge? Also, please share any experiences you've had trying this approach. Thanks, Rob.

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  1. Perhaps if you can let us know what you are looking for more specifically, we can point you in the right direction.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Food4Thought

      Right now I need some stainless mixing bowls, half sheet pans, and a v-slicer/mandolin. In general I want to know if going to a restaurant supply shop for these types of things is a good idea.

      1. re: robertjparks

        On most of those items you will most likely get a better deal at a restaurant supply shop, in particular the sheet pans and bowls, but these will be more utilitarian in design and not so much for entertaining.

        From time to time Crate& Barrel runs a good deal on a Pro-sumer grade mandolin for about $60.00, commercial grade can run upwards of $125.00 easily.
        I'm not sure about food service/ restaurant supply specific vendors to Cambridge, but by and large a restaurant supply place might be your best bet.

        1. re: robertjparks

          There's a place in JP called BMS. It's on Washington St near Green. I've bought half sheet pans there. They are very inexpensive but not the same quality as the ones I've bought at Sur La Table. Stop by Canto6 bakery - it's on the next block.

          1. re: robertjparks

            I've read the responses, and you will get the best prices for the half and quarter sheet pans at Eastern Baking Supply. I have bought numerous Benriner mandolins at the place at the corner of Harrison and Beach St in Chinatown that Yumyum mentions,
            above...These are the ones you will see online for $34 and up...
            I'm guessing Eastern Bakers would also be the best for bowls. Call them before you go, and they will clue you in to where to park during your visit.

        2. Hey robertjparks,

          While I can't help with location in your area, (I'm in Portland, OR) it has been my experience here on the west coast that every restaurant supply store will sell to the general public. The prices for the mixing bowls and half pans will be cheaper, but the selection, especially for the half pans, will be limited to restaurant grade aluminium or steel, both of which you will want to use partchment paper on whenever possible.

          For the V-slicer/mandoline, I would recommend checking out an Asian market/supermarket. I haven't found a restaurant supply place that has them, and the Asian markets usually have them at market/below-market prices.

          Yoroshiku,
          Andy

          4 Replies
          1. re: AndyP

            I agree with the mandoline. Mosy Asian markets sell Bebriner slicers at @ $25. and they are sharper. I've bought at many rest supply stores. Near Cambridge are Harbor and Eastern Bakers in Boston.Seidmans in Chinatown and some Banh Mi after.

            1. re: trufflehound

              I got my benriner at the restaurant supply store in Chinatown next to the See Sun market. Sorry I don't know the name, but it's on the north west corner of Harrison and Beach. It was $20.

              They also have stainless steel bowls, woks, cleavers, chinese tea cups, spoons, etc. It's a fun place to pop into.

              1. re: yumyum

                Here is a link to a Places entry which I believe is correct (at least the MAP will be correct, nobody has confirmed telephone yet). Related threads get repeated fairly regularly (restaurant supply, knife sharpening, and asian/chinese cookware), might be something we could consider adding some suggested search terms to the sticky at the top of the forum? Some recent related threads....

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/155915
                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/359884
                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/449956

                On the slicers, Reliable in Union usually has them. Someone mentioned a nicer Costco house brand slicer (all stainless) for not much money, but I never saw it at the Everett store?? And Marshalls/TJ Max has the chinese slicers from time to time.

                -----
                Chin Enterprises
                33 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA 02111

                1. re: yumyum

                  Also at Ming's (South End) for $20

            2. china fair (http://www.chinafairinc.com

              )

              not technically a "restaurant supply store" but i'm pretty sure it has what you're looking for and at pretty decent prices. the website only lists the newton location, but they have one right by porter sq

              2100 Massachusetts Ave
              Cambridge, MA 02140
              (617) 864-3050

              1. Superior Outlet Center
                165 Dexter Ave
                Watertown, MA 02472
                (617) 926-0999

                1. Eastern Bakers Supply CO.
                  145 North Washington Street
                  Boston, MA 02114
                  Phone: 617-742-0228
                  They also offer warranties on items above a certain amount. The only other one I go to is Restaurant Depot but they don't sell to the "general public"

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: FoodArt

                    This place is terrific and has been there for years and years. I bought heavy-duty spatulas that have lasted forever.

                  2. Much "professional grade" equipment at retail stores - al la C&B - is nothing like the real deal. This place, on the edge of the North End, has the real McCoy. If they don't have it, they'll order it for you.

                    Eastern Bakers Supply
                    145 North Washington Street
                    Boston, MA 02114
                    Phone: 617-742-0228

                    1. While we're on the topic. I have a hare-brained scheme to buy a table with a shabu shabu induction burner built in to the table like the ones that Kaze and Toki have and use it as my kitchen dining table. If anyone can point me to where I can buy one AND I can convince the wife to let me pull the trigger, the tipster will be invited for shabu shabu.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: esqdork

                        Wow, that would be awesome, best of luck with that (both with finding the table and convincing the missus!)

                        You might want to try posting your question in the Cookware forum or maybe "General Chowhound Topics"... that would make a heck of a DIY project if they're not available for retail sale!

                        1. re: esqdork

                          I think you can buy induction ranges at Home Depot, then you just need a marble counter top to build it into...

                          1. re: esqdork

                            I would also suggest Eastern Bakers for this. And while marble is ideal Stainless Steel is a cheaper alternative and as long as the burners are installed correctly, you won't have any problems.

                          2. Restaurant Depot
                            114 1st Ave
                            Needham Heights, MA 02494
                            (781) 449-1010

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Blumie

                              FYI, Restaurant Depot (the one in Chelsea as well) will ask for an account but in my experience I have just been able to use any restaurant name I know has an account there (my friends work in some of the kitchens) and it worked without any more questions.

                              1. re: TomH

                                They are certainly cheaper than the average restaurant supply store, but they make it a point not to sell to the public. You have to swipe your membership card like a Costco. Chances are, though, that you know someone who will lend you theirs.

                                Besides Restaurant Depot, all restaurant supply stores sell to the general public, but the prices aren't necessarily better than normal retail and you could beat them by dividing you shopping between Home Goods, Kanman and the 88.

                            2. Can I hijack and ask if any of these places have a Boston-style cocktail shaker? I can only find the cobbler type everywhere I look.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: sailormouth

                                I recently looked around (not all that hard, though) and could only find the Boston style on Amazon:

                                http://www.amazon.com/WMF-613596030-B...

                                I ended up buying the cobbler style, but use it with a regular strainer, not the built in one.

                                1. re: Blumie

                                  There is a Chinese-style restaurant supply store on Lincoln Street in downtown Boston (on the edge of Chinatown). I can't remember the name. It's not big but it's crammed with lots of things.

                                2. re: sailormouth

                                  I have bought the metal part of a boston-style shaker at Eastern Baker's and thought they did carry the graduated cups too (assuming you don't just want to use a pint glass), but haven't been by in a while. BMS Paper Supply in JP I think has a decent supply of bartending stuff and might be worth a call. BMS 617-522-1122 and Eastern 617-742-0228

                                  WRT to pricing -- a decent number of restaurant supply houses in the area do discount for cash and carry. Eastern Baking labels everything with list price, but at checkout you get 25-30 off. I suspect they charge full list for delivered items.

                                  1. re: itaunas

                                    I stop in Eastern Baking from time to time and at this point am annoyed at the pricing. Lots of things aren't priced and the guy writes it down on his slip at checkout. I'm always a little dubious that he has them all in his head and have had to correct him on his math on a few occasions. While I appreciate being able to get items I can't get at the local hardware store, I also don't find the prices to be remarkable.

                                    1. re: esmom

                                      Obviously price comparison is a lot easier to do on the Internet. With Eastern Baking they have always been consistent with the pricing for me -- things which aren't labeled are looked up for list in a book and then discounted. I have always assumed I would pay a bit more given their location. However, in a few cases where it was easy to price compare: some vita-mix accessories, forschner knives, an ice cream dipwell, and a stainless knife holder their prices were competitive with online (and they even offered less expensive options in two cases: the vita-mix and knife holder). I _have_ seen some things less in other local restaurant stores (not always the same brands), but they are well stocked and convenient plus I have never been overcharged. BTW, if you are near Eastern Baking, the local hardware store _is_ worth a trip too. :-)

                                3. I adore my Boerner V-Slicer, which cuts 6 different ways. My favorite toy. Got it last year via the catalog, A Cook's Wares, for around $30 but just got a new one on eBay for $10, as a gift for a friend. Sometimes Building 19 has commercial-grade equipment.
                                  I really miss the Kitchen,Etc. chain!

                                  1. The best by far, used by chefs throughout the county is JB Prince in N.Y. City. Their website www.jbprince.com has a huge selection and the prices are wholesale.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: ouzomeze42

                                      I would argue that the prices are certainly retail, save for when they have sales.

                                    2. I agree that probably a good bet will be ChinaFair on mass ave a few blocks from Porter square in the direction of Arlington. Someone below already gave the address.