Food and Supply Galore For Restaurants

by: Suzanna Delgado

If you ever wondered where restaurants and delis get their food, take a trip to Long Island City, Queens and roam the gargantuan aisles of Restaurant Depot, a food service wholesale store.

There you can find large boxes of parmesan cheese, cans of caviar, cans of whole pealed pear tomatoes, 50 pound bags of rice and beans, etc.

“Restaurant Depot is the best place to shop, my customers are happy with the quality of food I get there, ” said Ino Delgado, owner of Delgado’s Deli in midtown Manhattan.
Restaurant Depot is a Cash and Carry Wholesale Foodservice company for restaurants, delis, coffee shops, and non-profit organizations.

It also stocks furniture that restaurants might need such as wooden bar stools. Along with furniture and apparel for restaurant workers and chefs uniforms, Restaurant Depot also provides refrigeration equipment such as under counter coolers and freezers, bar equipment such as bottle coolers and ice bins and cocktail stations, pizza equipment such as pizza ovens and pizza prep tables, and Asian cooking equipment, such as pork roasters, Teppan Yaki griddles, and Asian hot tea urns.

In an interview, manager Alvaro Echeverri, said that business was good in spite of the recession.

“Restaurant owners come at least once or twice a week. It all depends how busy they are,”  said Echeverri, who has been working at Restaurant Depot for 38 years and he said that Restaurant Depot’s profits depend on how many times these owners come into the place to shop.

Ino Delgado said that in a week he spends about $1,300 in paper products, meat, fruit, and vegetables at Restaurant Depot, where he and his sous -chef, Mario Garcia, get fresh produce and spices.

Garcia explained that Restaurant Depot sells a variety of fresh spices at an affordable price, which helps them satisfy the customers whose palates demand spicy food. Garcia specializes in making house-made chili sauces such as guacamole, pico de gallo, and Mario’s sauce, made up of chipotle, jalapeno, onion, garlic, lemon, and tomatoes, which a decent amount of the sauce is put in the sandwiches. For them it is very important to have their sauces fresh and spicy enough in order to please the customer. “It’s hard to get good spices,” Garcia said, ” Especially because the customers somehow know the difference once you change something in the menu.”

Delgado and Garcia, find it necessary to go and shop at Restaurant Depot at least two times a week to buy the Mexican spices such as chipotle, jalapeno, cut up chile poblano, chile piquin into their menus. At times Delgado calls the deliveryman at Restaurant Depot if he finds that he or Garcia might not be able to go and stock the deli in time. Delgado will usually call the deliveryman two times a week and pay him $50 for each trip that he makes.

Delgado said that he prefers Restaurant Depot from other wholesale stores like Jetro Cash & Carry, with four locations in New York City, because he finds Restaurant Depot a better place to get the equipment such as coffee brewers and work tables.

Jetro Cash & Carry, which is located in Brooklyn, also serves grocery retailers and foodservice operators. Unlike Restaurant Depot, however, Jetro does not specialize in restaurants and its products in equipment, cookware, culinary apparel, glassware, silverware, and storage containers are limited.

Unlike Delgado, many other owners of small delis and restaurants do not know about Restaurant Depot and its whereabouts. Echeverri stated that Restaurant Depot’s reason to be located in an almost secluded area in Queens is because, “We couldn’t find anything closer with the size the business has now.”

Simon Perez, who owns the Panaderia Puebla in Kinsington, Brooklyn, usually stocks his restaurant at Jetro. Perez usually goes to Jetro once a week and spends around $700 to $1,000 buying cups, plates, spoons, forks, and vegetables.

Instead of buying meat at Jetro, Perez prefers to get his meat delivered from other local Halal meat stores around Kensington because the meat is at a more affordable price than at Jetro. It is easier for Perez to stock his restaurant with the meat he buys from these Halal meat stores because they are not too far away from his restaurant location and he can easily make his typical Mexican dishes such as pechuga asada (roasted chicken breasts), nopales con carne asada (nopals with roasted beef meat), and costillas en salsa verde (ribs in green tomato sauce) without thinking that he will not have enough meat supply for the week.