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The Cull: 10 Affordable Storage Products from a Restaurant Supply Store

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Years ago, when I was new to New York City, I would hop on a subway from my Brooklyn apartment, bound for the Bowery, where there were a slew of hole-in-the-wall restaurant supply stores. I loved side-stepping my way through their aisles (which tended to be narrow and jam-packed with merchandise) in search of bargains: kitchen towels, ladles, colanders, and the like. I loved even more walking away with a big bag of goodies for less than what it cost to see a movie.

Today you don’t have to be near a restaurant supply store to shop its no-nonsense, hard-wearing products. There are numerous websites devoted to supplying restaurants with everything they need. These websites are more comprehensive in their merchandising, selling not just kitchen tools and appliances but also a host of storage products that anyone can use in their own home.

Here are 10 types of storage items (both small and large) from restaurant supply stores that would work brilliantly in your kitchen and beyond. We picked our favorite example in each category and focused on just WebstaurantStore, but there are many e-commerce sites that serve the restaurant industry and they stock many of the same sturdy products. Also, note that our prices are for single purchases; many of the items here cost less when purchased in bulk.

Featured photograph courtesy of Stadshem, from Steal This Look: Smart Storage in a Swedish Kitchen.

Food Containers

You won’t find much, if any, glass storage containers for your leftovers at restaurant supply stores—most of the items in this category are plastic—but you will find glass pantry jars (think Anchor-Hocking products) as well as a range of stainless steel containers.

Webstaurant Stainless Steel Storage Canister
Above: The 2-Qt Stainless Steel Ingredient Storage Canister is $6.28 each.

Baskets

I spotted a number of inexpensive bread baskets, but none were very attractive. The basic wire baskets, however, are simply designed and would work well in a linen closet or a pantry to corral like items.

Webstaurant Choice Level Top Wire Basket
Above: This Choice Level Top Wire Basket measures 14 by 20 by 5 3/4 inches and costs $17.99.

Knife Racks

Not surprisingly, there were lots of options for knife storage on WebstaurantStore—from wall-mounted magnetic strips and stainless steel holders to wooden blocks for the counter.

Webstaurant Mercer Culinary Bamboo Magnetic Knife Rack
Above: This 18-inch-long Mercer Culinary Bamboo Magnetic Knife Rack is $24.49.

Coat Racks

Smart restaurateurs think about their patrons’ full dining experience—and that includes not just the eating part but their entry and exit. This is why restaurant supply stores stock products for coat storage. I found sturdy rolling coat racks (for use with hangers), wall-mounted coat hooks, and coat stands.

Webstaurant Safco Satin Metal Coat Hook
Above: The Safco Satin Metal Coat Hook measures three feet wide and costs $45.99.

Laundry Hampers

This was a storage category that I didn’t expect to encounter at a restaurant supplies store, but I was happy to spy a range of industrial-looking hampers. They are all on the larger side and would work well for bigger households.

Webstaurant Chrome Mobile Rounded Laundry Hamper
Above: The Chrome Mobile Rounded Laundry Hamper is 32 inches tall and 21 inches wide; $66.99.

Crates

Most of the storage crates available were of the durable plastic variety—they came in a range of colors and would look good in a kitchen with an industrial vibe—but I was able to find a few wooden versions as well.

Webstaurant American Metalcraft Wood Crate
Above: This American Metalcraft Wood Crate measures 20 1/2 by 12 1/2 by 8 inches and comes in four finishes (pictured is natural); $61.99.

Pot Racks

WebstaurantStore sells pot racks that hang from the ceiling, wall-mounted rods with hooks, and wall-mounted shelves with hanging storage for pots below.

Webstaurant Regency Stainless Steel Wall Mounted Pot Rack
Above: The Regency Stainless Steel Wall Mounted Pot Rack with Shelf measures three feet long and comes with hooks. It can support a load of up to 230 pounds; $74.99.

Lockers

Another unexpected find at a restaurant supply store—industrial metal lockers that would suit a mudroom or kid’s room.

Webstaurant Winholt Horizontal Wall Mount Locker
Above: The Winholt Horizontal Wall Mount Locker measures 45 inches across; $133.99.

Carts

I found a huge selection of utility carts on the site. The three-shelf versions seem to be the most useful in a kitchen. I particularly like the ones with handles that could double as towel rods. Top a cart with a butcher block and it can be another work station in your kitchen.

Webstaurant Luxor Stainless Steel 3-Shelf Utility Cart
Above: The Luxor Stainless Steel 3-Shelf Utility Cart is $147.99.

Industrial Shelving

One of the most popular restaurant storage products among the non-restaurant set, industrial shelving abounds on these sites. At WebstaurantStore, I found options from several brands, including Regency and Metro, a Remodelista favorite.

Webstaurant Metro Super Adjustable Super Erecta Shelving Unit
Above: This Metro Super Adjustable Super Erecta Shelving Unit has shelves that measure 18 by 30 inches and can hold up to 800 pounds each; the unit stands 63 inches tall and can hold a total weight of up to 2,000 pounds; $162.99.

N.B.: This post is an update; it was first published on March 8, 2018.

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