Restaurant depot - favorite finds

So I finally have access to restaurant depot. I’ve only been once and was a little overwhelmed.

Any items that you feel are must items to seek out? I need to do some price comparisons on some items with Costco too but I’m excited to explore.

What are your go to items?

(don’t ask me prices I really don’t know or pay attention, I’m just telling you the go-to things I know my wife finds a bargain) Remember a lot of these items are bulk, so they are a good price vs. quantity, I do a ton of cooking so many of them we buy knowing we will use the eventually.

Spices and seasonings - Oatmeal - Cookie trays (we give them away for business) - Dry stock like chicken beef etc. - Cooking wines (Marsala) - Seafood (check their specials, but their lobster and shrimp prices are generally very good) Whole primals of beef (check the grade and price per lbs. you of course have to trim at home) - Bulk Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts (I think 10lbs is minimum) Cheeses - Butter - Fresh Produce (check for specials) - Garlic - Frozen Deserts like cheese cake - Frozen Fried Eggplant (so good and so much easier than making from scratch)

That’s the majority of items. They also have excellent prices on other things like aprons and cooking accessories. I wish they were around when I still actively was involved in the business.

Well like anything else, they have some very good products and some not so good products. Pricing can also be very good to not so good.

WHOLE BEEF SUB PRIMALS - Gives the ability to add additional wet age or add some dry age to the avg 2 weeks of wet age already on the sub primal. Also allows for custom cutting nice thick restaurant style steaks. Stick with Choice or higher grades. Price adjusts rapidly to about 20% above daily market commodity “Boxed Beef Prices”.

SEAFOOD - If your store has a “fresh” seafood dept the quality / freshness is usually very good and the prices are usually very good. Wild caught shrimp sized U-15 , 16-20 & 21-25. Very good and significantly cheaper than supermarkets. Usually also have wet & dry scallops in various sizes at a good price. Also pretty good caned crab meat with “Captains Catch” brand being their premium offering.

All the items Bob mentioned, just need to spend several hours there walking the store to compare aggravation of bulk (v) potential $$ savings just like at Sam’s, BJ’s or Costco.

I spend my time at RD in the cold room but I have to prepare. Heavy coat with hood and maybe gloves. Ok I’m a Floridian. They do offer padded jackets but with that alone my time frame is maybe 5- 10 min and when exiting my glasses fog up with frost

Be aware, if you are used to liberal return policies like at Costco, you won’t find those are RD. At least at the one close to me. Also, their knife selection isn’t what it used to be.

Some things I can only find there, like a very large whisk, or certain types of trays.

The #10 cans of d.o.p. Supremo Italiano tomatoes are a good buy at about $7. The tomatoes are really wonderful.

Thanks everyone. Looking forward to exploring.

I will say the day I signed up I walked through the cold room. It was a nice spring day in Boston so I had shorts tshirt and sandals - I got so cold that I thought - next time I’ll have to remember to dress to shop. So I feel you on that one.

I have on more than one occasion gone numb from spending too much time in there checking things out. For a fat man, RD is like a Toy’s R Us for a 10 year old.

I think that is more common with wholesalers than with “normal” retailers.

Oh, one last thing to keep an eye on is expiration dates. With both bagged sub primals and many processed meats there will be an in store printed label that will have the weight of the item, cost per pound & a Julian date.

Most meat products come from a case/box that has a processing date stamped on it. Unless you buy the whole case, you will not likely see the case with that date. What you will see is the Julian date on the in store label and that date corresponds to the date the RD employees broke open the case and filled the display. Before entering the cooler (Phone dead zone) check the current Julian date. A little age is good for many products, other products are best as fresh as possible.

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I don’t buy much there, but I do like that they (usually) have fresh lemon and lime juice in half gallons or quarts, so I make a trip when I need to make lemon bars. I don’t want to squeeze it myself, and I don’t want reconstituted and preservative added. Otherwise, most of their food stuff doesn’t interest me, I get basics at cash & carry and the rest at other wholesalers.

For home I buy cream, lunchmeat & cheese (I have a slicer) Potatoes sometimes, Keilbasa, bacon, Gyro meat. For business I buy red wine vinegar, spices, some produce, fresh herbs & some kitchen supplies like gloves.

The real deal @ RD is when you find something they want to get rid of. For example: They got stuck with a case of a dozen Ring Baloneys (a local delicacy) & I bought a case of 12 for $18. It freezes well. Last month I got a whole (16#) brisket for $1.89/#. On Monday I picked up a 4# tub of tuna salad for half price. Exp date is the 27th but I have to take lunch every day this week so it’ll be gone.

Ripped bags of produce like potatoes go for half price & I’ve bought those on occasion also.

I also buy chicken for the dog there. I pay anywhere from $.89/# to $1.09/#. I buy it buy the 40# case but we have a big freezer. If fresh boneless breast is on sale I separate one 10# bag into individuals & freeze them for the humans. Last month whole pork loins were on sale for $1.57/# which is a good price but I was already stocked up. When I buy one I slice pork chops out of the middle & save the ends for roasts.

I stopped into the Port Chester location today to get a few things for Thanksgiving and was THRILLED to find a 5lb tub of pre-peeled and trimmed shallots for around $12, total steal. My stuffing calls for about 15-20 shallots, and peeling them is always a hassle, so this made my day! I also picked up a quart of the 40% fat heavy cream, which is extra deliciously luxurious. Their turkeys were $1.39 a pound, though, and Costco has Butterballs for $.99 a pound, so I passed on those and picked one up at Costco instead. I find that RD doesn’t always beat Costco on prices, so I have been focusing on things there that are noticeably better quality than Costco or simply not available elsewhere.

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Ha!! Thank you for the idea, I love shallots and although I’ve never used them in my stuffing I think I’m going to this year!

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They each have their strengths and weaknesses

I have one nearby home, the seafood are fresh and they have interesting variety than the market. They also have bigger whole birds: big chickens (poulet de Bresse), ducks. I also like their bulk fruits, more economic to make cakes or jam. They have a corner with fancy vegetables, very young tender ones. I also like the dry chicken, meat stocks. Pasta, rice and cereals is nice too. The freezing fresh area, I’m always amazed by the butter, a large package of egg white, or big bottle of lemon juice ready to use, it’s a paradise for baking. Drink wise, they have a large selection of alcohols for cocktail. Mine also includes cooking equipment and wares like paper bags, boxes, plates to plastic alimentary firm. Price wise, you have to check carefully, sometimes normal supermarket can be cheaper.

I buy Heavy Cream & Buttermilk there. This week FF Onions for the green bean casserole & Craisins. I get really good deals on meat & lunch meat & cheese. This time of year I buy potatoes & onions in bulk because I can store them on the porch.

Do all of you have restaurants? Or go with restaurant owner friends? Is it difficult to gain membership with a biz license of a different type of industry?

One opened in my area and I’d love to check it out.

You just need to have an EIN. The type of business seems to be irrelevant. If you aren’t in the business, I highly recommend NOT going to Restaurant Depot early in the AM or just during the lunch hour. The restaurant folks have very sharp elbows.

I applied online, and then filled out the paperwork at the “info” desk. I had my card within about 15 minutes.

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Smtucker is correct. You just need a business tax ID - it doesn’t have to be arestaurant business or any kind of food related business at all. (I’m a business consultant but have a membership).

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

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