Maybe you’ve never been to a restaurant supply store. They're often located in out-of-the-way strip-malls or concentrated in particular parts of town. They're large and intimidating, devoid of the free samples or festive music. They're overwhelming.
Or maybe, you’re already a restaurant supply store fanatic.
Because there are two reasons to visit a restaurant supply store that outweigh all reasons not to: They are cheap, and they have everything.
The low prices and utilitarian look of restaurant supply store wares might make you suspicious: Does the quality suffer? I would argue no. As their name might suggest, restaurants typically stock their kitchens from these sorts of mega-shops, and, on the whole, their basics are just as durable as what you would find anywhere else. Plus, they offer a huge variety of options, so you can pay bottom-dollar for a totally passable tool or shell out a little more for a higher-quality iteration.
This is not to say that these gadget meccas are the right place to buy everything you need to stock your kitchen. Yes, their wares are inexpensive, but they’re typically not the most attractive options around. And while most goods in the restaurant supply store are cheaper than what you would find anywhere else, that’s not always the case. But if you’re on a budget, if you tend to work your kitchen tools to death, or if you don’t care too much about aesthetics (let’s say you’re looking to stock a kitchen temporarily), read on.
To help navigate the twisting aisles of your local restaurant supply store, we’ve compiled a list of what is worth buying—and what is not.
Restaurant supply stores have an incredibly wide selection of all the basics, so treat it as a one-stop shop to stock your kitchen with the essentials. They often aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but they are relatively durable and extremely versatile.
Since restaurant supply stores gear their wares towards professional chefs (hence the name), they often have gadgets outside the tool kit of the typical home cook. While it can be hard to justify purchasing single-use items, when they’re this affordable, they may very well be worth it (if you have the space to store them, that is).
These items you may be tempted to buy while you’re at the restaurant supply store, but they’re not markedly less expensive (and, in some cases, they’re actually more expensive) than what you would find at a local store. The price difference, however, is typically marginal, so if you’re feeling like you want to do a one-stop shop, go right ahead and throw these things in your cart:
Restaurant supply stores are dens of temptation for cooking nerds, kitchen geeks, and the gadget-obsessed. These are the items you may feel the urge to buy because they are very cool and you could probably impress people, but in reality they are highly impractical. Just say no.
Which kitchen tools do you buy at the restaurant supply store? Which do you splurge on? Tell us in the comments below!