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Feb 14, 2011 08:45 AM

REstaurant Depot?

There is a new one that has opened in Blauvelt NY. Has anyone been? Recommendations? How about any shoppers at any other restaurant depots?

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  1. I use the one in Mt. Vernon regularly and like it a lot, though the checkout lines are often a pain in the neck. Initially I figured this place would be basically targeting low end diners & hotdog carts and selling mostly midlevel commodities, but I've been very impressed by the quality and selection of higher end stuff. The main thing is that most of their inventory turns very rapidly, so perishables are usually way fresher than for a typical supermarket. The seafood I get there is still in its original shipping container with a date stamp.

    You do know that its open to the trade only and most things are sold in commercial quantities (e.g., 55 gallon fiber drums of MSG), right?

    16 Replies
    1. re: rjbh20

      i did a quick walk-around - but just in the cooking materials - I have my eye on a 20 qt stock pot and some half sheet pans. Didn't walk thru the fresh products but thought I would perhaps buy what looked good and divide it for a few households. Do you feel their prices are better than Costco? Also, what quality have you found with regards to the meats? I am thrilled to find the fish there - I might even freeze packages.

      1. re: smilingal

        The meat is extremely good and well priced, providing you can handle the volume. For beef, you need to make sure you know what grade you want, since they sell (at least for some cuts) prime, choice and select. Some items, like pork loins and porterhouse steak are a little problematic since they are bone-in primal cuts and you need a bandsaw or large hacksaw and plenty of elbow grease to break them down.

        The rapid turnover means the stuff is fresh and the cases are tagged with packing dates. They also have some good frozen meat, like ducks and duck parts (breasts & legs) and they're now doing special orders of some game meats, or at least they did around Christmas.

        Costco can be a little cheaper on some things, like soft drinks and, surprisingly, peanut oil, but overall I'd say RD is very good value and lots more fun. If you're going there as an individual, not running a foodservice operation, I strongly suggest you invest in a vacuum sealer (aka seal a a meal) so you can deal with the large quantities.

        1. re: rjbh20

          What credentials do you need to get in? I know it is to the trade only, but what do they accept as proof? Thanks!

          1. re: wincountrygirl

            Pretty much any type of corporate charter will get you in if you tell them it's restaurant related. The meats are quite good and often the seafood is as well. rjbh20 is correct about t-bones and the like.

            1. re: wchesterfoodie

              I used to have a catering business. Do you think a business card would work?

              1. re: wincountrygirl

                You know it very well might. If you happen to have a credit card with the company name it'd help. Give them a call and ask what you have to bring with you. Even if you don't have everything they ask for give it a shot anyway. You never know.

                1. re: wchesterfoodie

                  If I recall, you need to show them your business certificate and have a tax ID number, after which you get a card that you need to swipe to check out. Business card definitely doesn't do it, at least it didn't for me. BTW any business ID will do -- doesn't have to be food related.

                      1. re: wincountrygirl

                        was this recently? Did you present your SS card or just #? I doubt this is the norm but wouldn't mind getting a membership (however I feel reluctant giving my SS# out like that)

                        1. re: discounteggroll

                          i know - I did too! and yes, it was the other day - and the # did it - not presenting the card.

                        2. re: wincountrygirl

                          Since you don't pay tax on what you buy, only on what you sell, I beleive if you get caught going there and you have no true qualification to go there, you can be liable for tax fraud. Can anyone comment on that?

                          1. re: michele cindy

                            If you're buying uncooked/unprepared food there is no sales tax anyway, even in a retail grocery store. Once a restaurant prepares the food and sells it to their clientele is when the tax comes into play. However, on equipment and paper goods, there should be tax unless you're a non profit or have a resale license like another wholesaler would, not just any restaurant: regular wholesalers have to charge their customers tax for those categories.

                            I know health inspectors lurk in the parking lots looking for unrefrigerated food, but do tax inspectors do the same? Only if you have enemies that report you, is my guess.

                            1. re: coll

                              Sales tax regs vary by state -- generally no tax on unprepared food in NY, but there are innumerable picayune exceptions and interpretations of what "unprepared" means. In general, businesses don't pay sales tax on goods purchased for resale, which would cover most of what RD sells -- its either food (no tax) or consumables (paper goods, cleaning supplies) which aren't for resale. Equipment (frying pans, pizza ovens) is taxable.

                              None of this is why they require a business certificate to get in -- they just wan to keep individual retail customers out so they don't have to deal with retail quantities and retail customer service issues.

                    1. re: wincountrygirl

                      I've always been told that you need a state tax form, the kind you hang in your establishment, with the name of your restaurant on it. Or if you're non profit, some kind of official government form that I don't remember the name. I got my card from work so I don't know, this is just what I hear.

                      1. re: coll

                        If you are a certified bar-b-que judge and are a member of the Kansas City Bar-b-que society, you can get a card. My husband loves it, but truthfully I feel it is just as good to buy smaller portions in other places. We did buy a fantastic bone in loin of veal that we cut into chops, and a prime boneless rib. it depends on what you compare it to as far as price goes. We got 15 large steaks out of the rib, but it was about $180 for it. If you go to a butcher to buy prime meat, you will pay a lot more for prime. If you find prime at Costco, it is about the same. A vacuum sealer, however, is a must. I seal and date everything before it goes in the freezer. We also bought a prime filet mignon that we will cut into a few steaks and a roast or chateaubriand. I think we have enough meat for a year now, seeing as we don't eat it that often.
                        As far as some other things they have, they have balsamic glaze in a small jar with narrow tip if you want to try to decorate your plate like a restaurant. Also, their frying pans are fantastic.

          2. you need a tax id number to become a member - but that can be ANY tax id number - business doesnt HAVE to be related to food.

            i love the plaec & buy most of my frozen veggies here in bulk. plus they have a great selction of frozen fruit that i stock up on to make smoothies & pies. fresh produce is pretty goo. but be aware the sizes are hugggee

            3 Replies
            1. re: Maggie Larkin

              I just got a membership and have to say...WOW

              I thought costco was bulk. I don't think I will need a whole lamb anytime soon, but the gallon of BBQ sauce and 9 lbs of roast turkey breast deli meat (on sale at $1/lb) will last me quite some time (will freeze most of the turkey in individual quantities). Ended up getting a $60 slicer that had pretty decent reviews online. The markup on deli meat at supermarkets is quite astonishing.

              1. re: discounteggroll

                Be sure to try the fish. They are not sold in such huge quantities, and are so fresh with the harvest date right on the tag. Even though the veggies look like they are huge quantities, they are extremely cost effective relative to supermarket vegetable, plus they are much, much cheaper. We buy broccoli, scallions and Italian parsley and they last weeks. Maybe you can find a couple of friends or neighbors who will share with you.

                1. re: roxlet

                  their fish is great! I've gotten both salmon & tilapia & enjoyed them very much, ven though they take up a lot of room in the freezer. i was gonna suggest finding some ppl to chip in with.

            2. We don't go to Restaurant Depot very often, since now that our son's in college, there's just 2 of us. In Feb 2011, we went and that day they had a 5-lb tub of Tuna Salad made by a company that I like. The normal price is $14.78 for the 5 lbs, so a little under $3 per lb., but this was marked down to half price because there were only 3 more days left before expiration. I had to bring food to the office, so I decided that for $7.39 I'd buy the 5-lbs, and whatever they didn't eat we'd just throw away. Got it home, and decided to taste it, and it was sour! Like vinegar! So I brought it right back. Normally they don't take returns on sale items, but when I pointed out that there were still 3 more days left so it was marked wrong, they gave me $7.39 credit on my membership card. I was told the credit never expires. We didn't go back until last week, September. We bought a few things and when we checked out, our $7.39 credit was gone! No longer on our account? They investigated, and said that it was there until August 21, when the same cashier number was reassigned to a new hire, and they may have zeroed out all of the old cashier's transactions? But store credits too? Either that, or they said that perhaps on Monday when the safe was opened, perhaps they had cashed out our credit and the money was sitting in the safe??? But no one called to tell us to come get our money? None of this makes sense but hey, what do I know, I'm only an Accountant. So, how can the store wipe away customer's credits, without notifying the customers that they have credits on their accounts? They had told me in Feb that the credit doesn't expire, and I can use it any time. It makes no sense to me.

              Restaurant Depot
              650 S Columbus Ave, Mount Vernon, NY 10550

              10 Replies
              1. re: barbgail61

                Considering the place is oriented toward restaurants that spend $hundreds or $thousands at a clip -- most often in cash -- it seems a little extreme to expect them to phone you up over a $7.39 oversight, particularly since you're not exactly ringing their registers with any great frequency or volume.

                1. re: rjbh20

                  I'm surprised they let just anyone in, it's supposed to be strictly for restaurant business, or so I've been told. And yeah, $7.39 is the sort of thing that goes by the wayside all the time, happens every day at my place. Usually equals out somewhere else along the line. They don't have a grocery store courtesy counter, it's a wholesaler. Seven months seems like a long time to wait between visits, most customers visit daily or at least weekly, so I don't think they were expecting you back and cleaned up their books at some point. As an accountant, you should understand that.

                  1. re: coll

                    If you're fortunate enough to have a card, it's the best source for Callebeaut chocolate - that is, if you can store (and use) 5.5 pounds of callets or an 11 pound bar!

                    1. re: janeh

                      janeh --have you seen callets at the Restaurant Depot? They had the large Callebeaut bars at the Mount Vernon location, but no callets. Where did you see them?

                      Restaurant Depot
                      650 S Columbus Ave, Mount Vernon, NY 10550

                      1. re: roxlet

                        Roxlet, I got the callets in Phoenix. I was tempted by the giant Callebeaut bars, but reminded myself that I have a couple of kilos of Scharffen Berger to use first (such will power!). By the way, I especially enjoy your baking posts and appreciate the pleasure you take in baking for your family - my delight as well.
                        - Jane

                        1. re: janeh

                          Oh, that explains it -- Phoenix is a little further than I care to go, lol. And thanks janeh for your kind comments!

                    2. re: coll

                      Its supposed to be to the restaurant/foodservice trade only, but as long as you have a business certificate and tax id number you can get a card.

                      1. re: rjbh20

                        Is a business certificate also a business license? I am not in the foodservice industry but own a business and would like to check it out.

                        1. re: Sydneyeats

                          As far as I know, a business license (tax id #) is fine, no foodservice connection required. They just want to keep out retail customers who they're not set up to service.

                          NB: Price Club, the predecessor to Costco, originally worked the same way -- you had to have a business license or be a member of the armed forces to get a card (the latter due to the founder's locale in San Diego, a major navy port)

                          1. re: rjbh20

                            Thanks! I may go check it out one day.

                2. I just read your replies about my $7.39 credit being wiped off of their books after 7 months. I guess you're right, in that they are used to dealing with large buyers and we're small potatoes to them. But hey, they did give me a card. No, we don't own a restaurant. I sell collectibles as a side, nothing food related, and not my major business. But it was enough to get us a card. I guess I can understand their wiping it off, however, when they pulled my account up, they should've seen this as a certain code, and then just given it back to me. They did however give it back, it just took "forever and a day", with several different people looking the the computer.

                  They do actually sell things in smaller quantities too, and since there's no membership fee, it is nice to belong. I'll just make sure that if I have another credit, I'll use it quickly.

                  1. piece of advice to those who enter the store: watch out for the fork life vehicles in this place. They are nimble, fast and scary as hell (especially with over 200 lbs of cargo dangling right above you). That and the checkout lines. No express, most orders are 40-50 items totaling around $500-800 range