Delivery Review: Northeast Restaurant Direct

I don't know if you've had this experience where you live, but grocery stores do not have the capacity to match demand for delivery here at all. Fortunately for me, I have found some alternatives, as I mentioned in my post about Target's shipping services.

Restaurant suppliers have had to get creative because demand for their products was dropping, so at least locally to me, they've started delivering to people's homes. This is remarkable, in part because their products are not sold at grocery store prices, but often quite a bit lower. And a small company local to me, Northeast Restaurant Direct, offers free delivery on orders of just $25 or more. Most of what they offer is in reasonable quantities, too, rather than restaurant quantities. The quality is also really high--restaurants need great stuff.

For me, it's only a source for fresh produce, nothing else, because I'm not going to order dairy, eggs, or chicken, but it was still amazing. I wasn't able to get all I ordered to really fit in one photo, though you can see most of it pictured above. I received the following:

3 heads of romaine lettuce
1 5 oz. package of baby spinach
The biggest seedless cucumber I have ever seen
1 pound of zucchini (2 zucchini)
2 8 oz. packages of white mushrooms
1 pound of plum tomatoes (4 plum tomatoes)
1 pint of grape tomatoes
1 bunch of bananas
4 red bell peppers
1 avocado
1 5 oz. package of blueberries
1 pound of strawberries
1 pound of Brussels sprouts
2 pounds of yellow onions

This was less than $30! And delivery was free! The order was easy to place and payment was simple with PayPal. And the produce was beautiful, of course, because it is restaurant quality. I checked this against their listed prices, and if I had purchased this from my local supermarket, even setting aside the charges for delivery from my local supermarket, it would have cost about $45.

The packaging did involve some plastic produce bags, but the order itself came in a cardboard box with what I would say was not more plastic than a typical person's grocery shopping run would have. Because they're just loading it up on a truck and driving it around the area, it doesn't have to be packed with as much plastic as would be the case for things shipped across the continent. I am not typical, and I use reusable produce bags when going to the store myself, but comparing it to what Target did it was really like night and day.

That's the good part.

The bad part is the communication--you don't really get much. You know the order has been placed, and then you wait. I placed the order on Sunday and the items came on Thursday but without any warning or indication. I appreciate no contact delivery but most places ring the door bell or send an email or something. Some people locally say it can take up to 8 days for an order to arrive if they have high demand (like around holidays). I don't know; this was my first experience. But the website claims they will tell you when your order is out on the truck for delivery. They do not do that. It also said they would ring the doorbell; they didn't. I just had to open my door every afternoon to look out and see if I had a package, until one day, I did.

Also, selection is kind of limited. If you want, say, a peach or raspberries (at least this was so when I placed my order), you're not going to get any. You have to make do with what they can bring. (But that also seems true at the grocery store these days.)

Finally, in some cases you may have to order more than you'd really want, though not at restaurant-level quantities. I would probably just get a pepper or two, not four, under ordinary circumstances, but that's fine; I'll just find a way to use more peppers.

But overall the minor negatives don't matter, because I have an inexpensive source of produce and don't have to leave my apartment to get it.

Total score: 4.5 out of 5 for pandemic, 3 out of 5 for the imaginary normal times


  1. I wonder if it is driver dependent or delivery zone. We have recieved two orders from them and with each we were told the day before delivery. The first order took 5 days but 1.5 they were close for holidays. The second was only four days and another person who ordered the same day got it in three.

    1. It may be. The feedback I've seen is from people who live very close to me.

  2. I've seen some restaurant supply places offering delivery here, though the quantities you need to order do seem to be quite a bit bigger than I would go through before it went off, even if they are not quite bulk amounts, so I haven't explored it too much.

    Sounds like they need to smooth out their communication! But otherwise a great way to get some lovely produce.

    1. It's quite odd, but the EASIEST thing to get delivered to me now is fresh produce. I wouldn't have thought that would happen. But maybe it's because it's harder for people to stock up on that stuff, and everybody has to buy it in reasonable quantities.

  3. Sounds like a wonderful way to get your produce; hopefully next time the communication will be better!


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