When I started reviewing our local variety of restaurant delivery apps last year, I didn’t think the series would last long. But new companies keep hopping into the market, and now I’m starting to wonder if it will ever end.
The latest I tried is called EatStreet, and like the rest it begins by requesting your address to determine which restaurants are available in your area. It offers an impressive list, even after I realized the need to filter out restaurants offering takeout only. Ordering takeout online is a nice feature by itself but not specifying home delivery right away got my hopes up about a couple of places that for some reason take orders through this app but don’t deliver — places such as Island Spice Jamaican and Mint Thai (which actually does deliver, just through a different app).
Once I got past that confusion, EatStreet offered a slick interface and a wide range of restaurants serving cheap to moderately expensive menus across a spate of cuisines. The cheaper restaurants required a $15 to $30 minimum, while the pricier ones know you’ll meet that amount with one or two dishes. Delivery fees ranged from free to about six bucks, often depending on distance.
I selected Adams Avenue Grill in University Heights, which is just far enough from my place in South Park to warrant the six dollar fee. I didn’t mind — I was kind of taken by the novelty of having this sort of traditional American food delivered. I’m used to every iteration of Italian and Asian food being delivered to my door, but comfort food has always been the realm of dine-in only. Available for takeout, maybe, but not encouraged.
I opted for a half order of mac and cheese with grilled sausage for $14 and a side salad for $7. I was able to breeze through the ordering menu and pay via credit card without trouble, including an add-on tip.
If I’ve learned anything about these delivery services, it’s that pre-adding a tip makes the moment of arrival a thing of beauty. It goes like this: doorbell rings, dogs bark, I open the door, a stranger hands me a bag full of hot food, and I shut the door and hunker down for dinner in front of Netflix.
The dishes arrived in huge microwaveable (and recyclable) plastic containers. I would have preferred something smaller, but we are talking about enough food for two people to share. That was important, considering this simple meal totaled $27.50 with tax, tip, and fees.
But seeing as that’s on par with most of these apps, I can’t kvetch too much. Restaurants that offer free delivery with their own drivers will always be cheaper than those going with a middleman, even a technologically assisted one.