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Mar 8, 2010 02:27 PM

Restaurant Depot Worth it?

I found out I am eligible to get a Restaurant Depot membership card through a nonprofit. Is it worthwhile to go there for a home cook, or are the packages just too big? What would you recommend I check out there?

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  1. have been there many times, can get good buys but like everything that comes in bulk, you need room to store it. meat and frozen foods are a good deal

    4 Replies
    1. re: bark

      Agreed. There are good deals but for things like meat and frozen foods and vegetables, you need room to store it. But, if I recall correctly, things like dairy (butter, cheese, etc) you can break cases, as you can also do with canned items.

      They do have good prices on smallwares like sheet pans ($5-7 each for half sheets) and other things like ice cream/cookies scoopers, muffin tins, storage containers, things like that.

      1. re: dukegirl

        That's right - I go there for small quantities of heavy cream, cabot 83, cheeses, cocoa powder, and some other items. Larger stuff I like to get are pork butts, whole briskets (one of the few places nearby where they have them) Pearl hot dogs, limes, and big sacks of Royal Oak charcoal. Their cookware is quite cheap, too. I'd say it's definitely worth it, especially since there's no fee.

        1. re: nsenada

          Second the recommendation for RD for doing a BBQ. Whole briskets (point + flat) and the very inexpensive butts make the trip worthwhile for me.

          If you were throwing a big party, RD is the place to go for restaurant-style frozen appetizers. I now realize the secret for many restaurants - they just purchase and reheat the apps, not make from scratch.

          It's such a different shopping environment - just go check it out!

          1. re: spicyivan

            Good point on the frozen apps - tried them recently for a large party, and they were pretty good (and cheap). Little mini-quiches and puff pastries. Their prepackaged and portioned desserts are also quite good, cheap and huge. In particular they have a peanut butter cup pie with a graham cracker crust that feeds about 25, for I think $15. Nothing fancy, but well-engineered to hit all the buttons of a peanut butter cup junky.

            They are also great for ribs, and they sometimes have grass fed beef. One of the few places where you can get a massive slab of fatback. Huge packages of short ribs, too, which I really want to try now that I've had "long bone" short ribs at a few restaurants. Meat prices per pound are well below what you'd pay in a grocery store, though as noted, the cuts are large. I think brisket is around $2/pound, and pork butts maybe $1?

    2. Go to the one in Chelsea, not in Natick. The Natick one has significantly better (existent) customer service, but they really seem to be a lot heavier on the #10 cans of various ingredient than they do on fresh stuff and equipment. The cookware alone is worth visiting the chelsea loc. The dairy is broken up into smaller cases. Things like bacon are always a good buy. You're obviously not looking to buy cases of vegetables as I often do (for a restaurant) but for stuff like that you'll rarely find a better deal... though many of the distributors (Russo's, Baldor, etc) will have better quality. Just keep in mind when buying food there that it's a wholesale environment and generally that means no returns on food items. You get the chance to inspect it so if you pay for it you own it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: muscles_marinara

        Natick? I thought it was in Needham. Did they open a new one in Natick?

        1. re: dukegirl

          Don't know about Natick, but the Needham one is right off 128

      2. I think it's worth it for the stainless steel Winco cookware alone - the ones that are Sitram knock-offs. Where a Sitram saute pan might run you about $150, the Winco copy sells for about $24. A forty quart stock pot is $70. I'm outfitting my niece's kitchen with the stuff for her wedding present, and I can honestly say I prefer it to All Clad, having used both extensively. Also, they have killer prices for soda, bottled water and energy drinks.

        4 Replies
        1. re: almansa

          I really wish that I could check this place out. But their website said business license or tax-exempt certificate was required to be a member. I guess it's not for regular people like me.

          1. re: sheila

            You just have to know someone with a card. Do you have any friends with small restaurants, or large ones?

            1. re: sheila

              Or if you belong to a non-proft (club, religious institution, etc.) with a 501(c)(3) (tax exempt) certificate, have them give you a copy of the certificate, and a signed letter from an official verifying that you are authorized to purchase food for the organization.

              1. re: nsenada

                Thanks, everyone. I went and got a card today. Definitely worth it if you have a way to get in.

          2. As a professional caterer, I can assure you that RD/Jetro has an amazing array of products available at excellent prices. I have been a member of Sam's Club since they came to California in 1992, and have been a member of Restaurant Depot for almost four years. The amount of product I buy at Sam's Club has dwindled to about 10%-20% of what I use. Almost all the rest now comes from RD. Even when an item is a little higher priced at RD than Sam's Club, I will buy it at RD when I save enough on the other items I get to avoid the extra trip to Sam's.

            While most items are sold in case quantity, almost all items are available in individual units. Things like sauces, dressings, pickles, etc, tend to come in gallon containers, so you may have trouble storing them. Find others with whom you can share items like these, and buy a case of deli containers to divide a gallon of salad dressing, for example, into pints or quarts. A $10 gallon of salad dressing is only $2.50 per quart (32 oz), and the same salad dressing in a retail store might sell for $3 for one pint (16 oz). Huge savings!!