A restaurant supply store is different than a warehouse-type store like Costco. The one I shop at is called Cash and Carry. These allow anyone to purchase without a card. The difference with restaurant supply is that they cater to restaurant owners, which means they will have bulk of vegetables, dairy, baking supplies, cleaning/serving supplies, and some other things. Most of their prices usually beat any other store (like 50 lbs of potatos for $8).
We dry most of our own food, so buying bulk vegetables (like 2.5 lbs of spinach) is wonderful. I highly recommend searching for one in your area. Buying bulk on what you can store will save you a lot.
By Davidicdancer from Spokane, WA
Another one is called Smart & Final. Prices are great.
I had a Cash and Carry in Salem, OR, too. They are amazing not only for bulk foods, but for products that you might think you could use...
Ever need little plastic tubs with lids like you get your dips in for the drive throughs? Well, you can get sleeves of the bottoms and the tops and you don't have to buy a whole box (at least not in mine).
They have serving trays in blacks and reds for bartending, with clear lids that are the same thing your veggie and party trays come in when you order in the stores.
Need clear bags for crafts? My daughter bought a roll of 500 for 12.00.
You can get 16 slice New York Cheesecake in four different flavors ready for a party, round and oblong paper placemats, empty condiment containers for your fridge door (btw it's great to have them all one size and shape), chinese restaurant boxes, paper cups and lids, and so much more.
And don't even get me started on the over 50 flavors of sugar free and regular coffee syrups!
Check your local one, because ours was not open to anyone but business owners for a long time, so before you go down there and get disappointed, make sure.
We shop at Cash and Carry about once every two weeks (it's about 20 miles from our home). I love it! We save on so many things that I don't even know which items I should talk about. I think the item that saves us the most money is sirloin. It's about $3/pound. The drawback is that it comes in a large chunk that we have to cut up. We don't mind doing that, though. When we get it home, we cut several large steaks and then gather up the non-steak pieces to cut into chunks for certain dishes like beef stroganoff or beef soup and into strips for stir-fry dishes. And then we freeze everything in meal-sized portions. There is some waste, but it is very little.
Another item that we have recently started using from there is the halibut and the tilapia which are individually frozen pieces of fish that are packed into a box which fits very nicely in the freezer.
The veggies are good, but most of the prices are similar to Costco. We have not had much luck with their onions. Twice we have purchased a large bag of onions which were VERY strong (made me cry and they were overly flavorful in the dishes), so we stopped buying them there.
My family uses a lot of skinless/boneless chicken breasts, and I do prefer the ones we get from Costco over the ones we have gotten at Cash and Carry. I can't remember the price per pound comparison, but they are most convenient for us the way Costco packages them, and Costco seems to have cleaned them up better.
I agree that the cheesecakes mentioned by Poor But Proud were great, and we also buy the coffee and soda syrups there and have been very happy with those.
Our Cash and Carry is open to the public, but they will not take a personal check. They take business checks, cash from anyone, and credit cards from anyone. Most folks there are buying for their restaurants, but you definitely do not feel out of place if you're just buying for your family. I recommend Cash and Carry to friends in our area, but few folks go because they think they will feel weird going there because they are not buying for a restaurant. It's their loss ;)
In our small city in OH, we have Gordon's Food Service. Hubby loves buying industrial-size cans of fruit there. They also have a few prepared foods. We occasionally splurge on their baby-back ribs. Yum!
West of Kenosha, WI is one called Best Bargains. If you go on Wednesday, ask for the senior discount. Only get it if you mention it. No credit cards.
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