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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
WebstaurantStore sells pot racks that hang from the ceiling, wall-mounted rods with hooks, and wall-mounted shelves with hanging storage for pots below.
Another unexpected find at a restaurant supply store—industrial metal lockers that would suit a mudroom or kid’s room.
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.
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.
N.B.: This post is an update; it was first published on March 8, 2018.
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