How big is your fridge? Restaurants-only grocery opens to the public

A flyer for the Restaurant Depot store in Alexandria, Virginia, shows prices for bulk items. (Courtesy Restaurant Depot)

For those who have room for a 10-pound box of king crab legs, 16 frozen pizzas and 40 ready-to-bake croissants, there is a new grocery option open in the D.C. area selling food in bulk.

Restaurant Depot’s corporate office confirms all its stores are waiving membership requirements during the coronavirus pandemic to offer its inventory to everyday shoppers. However, since the market typically supplies restaurants, nothing on the shelves comes in small portions.

A flyer for the Alexandria, Virginia, store advertises 15 pounds of chicken wings, 5 pounds of Greek yogurt and a case of corn on the cob, for example.

“It’s hard to tell who is a member and who’s just coming in,” said a manager at the Alexandria store, who said the location is always busy and it’s hard to tell a shopper’s motivation.

There are some rules to shopping without a membership: Only two adult shoppers are allowed per family, they must have a valid ID and be wearing protective gear such as a mask and gloves. No children are allowed in the stores, and there are no returns on purchases, a spokeswoman from the corporate office said.

There are Restaurant Depot stores in Chantilly and Alexandria, Virginia, and in Capitol Heights and Baltimore, Maryland. D.C. does not have a store.


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Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.

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