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Anyone buy supplies at Restaurant Supply Stores?


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I just got engaged and we are in the process of buying kitchen supplies. We bought a 10 piece All Clad SS set that was $630. I have no problem buying a good set of pots & pans and spending the money. It's the price of the add-ons that are driving me nuts. A 3 qt. sauce pan is $200! How do you find the quality of Restaurant Supply pots & pans and how would they compare to the All Clad? I'm getting the All Clad set, I was thinking of filling in with with items from a supply shop. I'm gonna need another pan, stock pot, and some other things. How is the quality and is there anything I should look out for when buying from a restaurant supply house? Do you buy from restaurant supply store?

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Congrats on your engagement!

I sometimes go to restaurant supply stores for certain items. I'm not a professional so I'm lucky there's one near my hometown that's open to the public. The cookware offered through my local store doesn't really offer the top shelf home sets that I see at Williams-Sonoma or Macy's. I often find that the top shelf cookware designed for home use has more polish to it and is designed to be pleasing to the eye as well as functional and durable. The pots and pans at supply stores are purely for function. They're less expensive but also lack some of the eye-pleasing qualities of your set.

The kind of stuff I like at restaurant supply stores are:

weird shaped plates

condiment dispensers

plastic ketchup bottles (for plating syrups and sauces)

some linens

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I'm not really concerned with how appealing they look. I actually like the look of the restaurant quality pots. Maybe its because I'm a guy, but I think it looks tougher and screams "hey, this guy can cook!" It is probably just me that thinks that way. I guess I am strange.

As long as they are suitable for cooking and perform as good as the expensive sets than that is fine with me. I just want something that will cook well.

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All the time ... restaurant supply stores are great. If you're lucky enough to be close to a big city, you'll probably find different levels of store, ranging from ones that serve mostly cheap takeout joints to ones that serve high end restaurants.

Few of the stores I've seen have truly high end saucepans and things like that, but they're a gold mine for other things. I've gotten good deals on big stockpots, woks, tongs, cafe wine glasses (some places only sell this kind of thing by the case, but others will sell fewer), used appliances (like bar blenders), etc..

They're also a good resource for cheap nonstick pans and professional baking sheets. A lot of this workhorse stuff can cost close to twice as much at kitchen boutiques.

I also like to window shop. There's something cool about stock pots that are too heavy to lift even when they're empty, and hobart mixers with bowls the size of a hot tub.

Notes from the underbelly

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I've bought quite a few things at my local restaurant supply store, most recently some inexpensive non stick pans to replace my beloved but trashed All Clad non stick (I'm just not willing to spend the $$ anymore to buy expensive non stick that will be no good in a few years, and though these pans aren't the same heaviness and quality, they will be okay for my purposes ie eggs). I've also bought inexpensive serving platters and linens that look quite nice. The staff really know there stuff and have always been helpful. I think a stock pot would be a great bet. Not sure about a sauce pan, which I would be more picky about-see what they have, talk to the staff and then decide.

If you haven't opened your all clad set yet, you might consider taking a hard look at what it included, figuring out if you will really use each and every piece, or if you need each piece to be top quality, then possibly returning it and putting together a collection of pieces that YOU want. For many people, sets aren't a very good deal, since they inevitably contain pieces you don't need (or need so infrequently you could get away with a much less expensive version). Then you end up spending $$ to get the other pieces you really need.

Edited by kiliki (log)
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Few of the stores I've seen have truly high end saucepans and things like that, but they're a gold mine for other things. I've gotten good deals on big stockpots, woks, tongs, cafe wine glasses (some places only sell this kind of thing by the case, but others will sell fewer), used appliances (like bar blenders), etc..

I buy nearly all of my tools at local Acemart Restaurant Supply. For non-mainstream stuff it usually comes in extremely competitive, and lasts forever.

Recent example, needed a new chinois (china cap). $20 bought me a 10" steel tool at the restaurant supply store, whereas at the more traditional outlets they start north of $50USD (you can do this experiment yourself online).

Also a goldmine for things like baking hardware and squeeze bottles... wander the aisles and you'll find things you never knew you needed.

My pans & knives are high end and pretty, but stockpots, etc, all from restaurant supply, including a cache of inexpensive but quality saucepans to handle the busy nights in the kitchen.

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Heh, I was thinking of posting this very kind of topic. I decided to just go anyway.

Fortunately for me, I've moved into the East Village in NY, so restaurant supply stores are only a few subway stops away on Bowery. They start at Houston St. and occupy probably 50% of the storefronts until you hit Chinatown... many of the other stores are restaurant table/chair stores and lighting stores.

I actually don't care that things don't look "pretty," because quality and value are more important to me when it comes to kitchen supplies. I also didn't buy a set because I know that there's only so many things I need. (I also stopped using nonstick because Teflon freaks me out, and my boyfriend already owns a cast iron pan which, seasoned well, is nonstick enough to scramble eggs in.)

I'm very happy with the things I found at the store I went to; I chose to stop at one which was listed in an NYT article about those Sanituff cutting boards. I bought a 12x18x1 board for 30-35 dollars or so, which is quite a bit less than it usually seems to sell for. I also got a decent pan and a big pot (couldn't find a small one at that store, unfortunately. I'm not in the market for a 16 gallon cauldron!) that had a steamer and one of those pasta strainey-things (NYC apartment = things need to fit together and take as little space as possible! No room for a separate colander!) and a very good serrated knife and some other various things.

The staff there was also really helpful, and would take things from me and put them down near the register while I was shopping so I didn't lug everything around the whole time. I kind of think they were probably nicer than if I did go to one of those fancy boutiques, even if the presentation wasn't as nice.

"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

- Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), Chef!

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Although I live in what I consider the hinterland (Eastern North Carolina), at least, insofar as less common foodstuff is concerned, there is a restaurant supply house here..surprise, surprise!

They not only have all of the knives, pots, pans and accessories one could ever wish for, they will order just about anything else, even for simple home cooks like me. For example, they ordered me a large baking stone at a ridiculous price of $12 approx. and I got it in a few days.

Put me down as a believer in restaurant supply houses.

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I still have 20-year-old Toroware stockpots and huge sautee pans that I got from a restaurant supply store in Stockton, CA. If your oven can hold half-sheets, they are usually cheaper and much sturdier than cookie sheets you can get at a department store. I also buy all metal spoons, wooden spoons, and other small utensils there.

Besides being less expensive and wearing well, restaurant supply equipment also makes you look like a total pro. :cool:

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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I shop at the restaurant supply stores nearby here in Seattle, and at Cash 'n Carry, and the deals are usually pretty good and/or I find unique items; but to tell you the truth, many of my favorite stuff has come from good old Value Village! :biggrin: This makes it very hard for me to go into Macy's or boutique kitchen stores and spend real money. I guess I'm just a hunter/gatherer by nature. And Mambwe, I think restaurant pots and pans look cool, too, and I am not a guy.

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yeah...I buy stuff from one.

Several Cambro containers, some sheet pans, a knife, spreaders, ladles , squeeze bottles, some non-stick skillets, etc.

The place I got to is very friendly and helpful to consumers looking for stuff for home kitchens.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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Vollrath Tribute pots and pans - what we use in a professional kitchen. The Tribute line is totally functional and half the cost of All-Clad, but does not have the beautiful stainless steel finish. Available at any restaurant supply store.

The All-Clads that you have will last a lifetime, though... just fill-out with necessary pieces as you go along.

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Thanks for all of the replies!! I'm definitely going to stop by my supply store. I didn't even think about plates and linens. For now, I am going fill in the holes from the supply store. I don't care how pretty they look. I just want functionability. Luckily, I live on Long Island so we have a bunch of supply placed nearby.

The set I bought seems to have all the necessary items.

2 fry pan (12" & 14")

1 casserole pot

1 sauce pan

1 covered pan

1 small stock pot

Of course, the covers count as a piece.

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Fortunately for me, I've moved into the East Village in NY, so restaurant supply stores are only a few subway stops away on Bowery.

one of my favorites is chef restaurant supply on the corner of houston. they're one of the more consumer-friendly shops. they're the only one that would split up a case of $2 cafe wine glasses (the ones you don't mind replacing, but never have to, because when you're friends knock them off the table they don't break.)

Notes from the underbelly

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I get the odd thing from restaurant suppliers, things I can't find elsewhere. I like to browse the clearance shelves with no sense of urgency, there's not much worse than being in a time crunch and getting hosed at the register with a full retail price tag.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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I've been seeking out a good restaurant supply store in the Chicago area for some time now with very little success. Can anyone recommend one?

"In a perfect world, cooks who abuse fine cutlery would be locked in a pillory and pelted with McNuggets."

- Anthony Bourdain

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I've been seeking out a good restaurant supply store in the Chicago area for some time now with very little success. Can anyone recommend one?

Look online for Marlin Resturant Supply. Olynpic just south of 55 on Cicero is good. There are several places on the north sid but I can't recall names.

Living hard will take its toll...
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I've been seeking out a good restaurant supply store in the Chicago area for some time now with very little success. Can anyone recommend one?

Look online for Marlin Resturant Supply. Olynpic just south of 55 on Cicero is good. There are several places on the north sid but I can't recall names.

WHT, thanks for your help. I was able to find the places you suggests. Here's what I found (in case anyone else is looking):

Trimark Marlinn

6100 West 73rd Street

Bedford Park, IL 60638

trimarkusa.com

Olympic Store Fixtures, Inc.

4758 S. Cicero

Chicago, IL 60638

773-585-3755

http://www.olympicstorefixtures.com/

"In a perfect world, cooks who abuse fine cutlery would be locked in a pillory and pelted with McNuggets."

- Anthony Bourdain

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I have been shopping at Star Restaurant Equipment & Supply on Sepulveda Blvd., in Van Nuys since they opened in 1963.

Star Kitchen.com

I actually stumbled on it after leaving Builder's Emporium just up the street (long since closed). As we were in the midst of a kitchen remodel and I was unsatisfied with some of the things offered by the contractors, I decided to take a quick scan of Star and walked out a couple of hours later and $$$$$ poorer, but very, very satisfied.

Over the years I have purchased all kinds of things, from the tiniest condiment cups to a large butcherblock bench.

I have met people in the store from as far away as Las Vegas, Catalina and Hawaii, also a gentleman from Singapore who was buying what seemed like an entire kitchen for his daughter.

I especially like the store because they leave you alone to brouse all you wish but if you need help, it is unfailingly courteous and given without any hint of hurrying one along because a more important customer has appeared.

I have referred people to the store who are not professionals and aren't really sure about the name of the item they want, but have a simple sketch or description and have been delighted when the desired item (in one case a rack that could be mounted on a wall to hold small trays or plates, i.e., a pizza-pan rack).

My main problem is getting OUT of the store with just the items I went there to buy. :biggrin: I have to leave my credit cards at home and take a finite amount of cash. :blink:

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Oh, I miss the restaurant supply store I used to frequent in St. Louis! If anyone in Boston knows of a good one, please let me know.

What I liked most about my old haunt was the clearance room--discontinued items, incomplete cases of plates, glasses, etc. were all sold cheap. I have stacks of mid-sized plates that I picked up for $1 a piece, perfect for desserts or buffets. Extra forks, 25 for $10, nice to have on hand. Wine glasses, serving pieces, etc.--you get the point.


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one of my favorites is chef restaurant supply on the corner of houston.

Thanks for the recommendation, paulraphael. Do they have other kinds of glasses, like tumblers and such, out of curiousity? (I can stop there when I check out the beer store that the Bowery Whole Foods now has but I haven't been to yet!)

Mambwe... I never looked for restaurant supply stores on LI, so I don't know where they are, but you might want to specify region, since LI is pretty big...

"I know it's the bugs, that's what cheese is. Gone off milk with bugs and mould - that's why it tastes so good. Cows and bugs together have a good deal going down."

- Gareth Blackstock (Lenny Henry), Chef!

eG Ethics Signatory

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Mambwe... I never looked for restaurant supply stores on LI, so I don't know where they are, but you might want to specify region, since LI is pretty big...

I live in Plainview, which is pretty much the center of the island. I drive around all day for work so location is not much of an issue. I see them all the time in Brooklyn I have just never stopped in.

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Thanks for the recommendation, paulraphael. Do they have other kinds of glasses, like tumblers and such, out of curiousity? (I can stop there when I check out the beer store that the Bowery Whole Foods now has but I haven't been to yet!)

been a while since i've stopped by, but they most likely have a bunch of glassware. i believe it's also where i bought my wok several years ago ... they had beautiful hand-pounded ones for under $20. i thought i was getting a small one, but it only looked small next to the wading pool-sized ones next to it ...

there's a beer store in the new whole foods? that's going to be worth a special trip.

Notes from the underbelly

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