Want the city’s best fried chicken delivered from Brooklyn straight to your Manhattan doorstep as you lie in bed working off a vicious Saturday-morning hangover? Craving a greasy slice of pizza at 3 a.m. after a long night out? There are apps for that. An increasing number of apps and websites are making it easier than ever to order in, and we’re not talking about those health-conscious ready-to-cook meal- and ingredient-delivery companies — we're talking about some of the best restaurants in New York City. In short, the Big Apple has become the food-delivery capital of the U.S.
Many delivery services are headquartered in New York as they look to eventually expand to cities around the country and possibly even overseas. Here is a look at five of these services — both big and small — their various features and where they currently operate.
Already New York City's most recognized food-delivery service, Seamless expanded its reach by merging with fellow giant GrubHub in 2013. With over 7,000 restaurants listed in all five boroughs, Seamless has the most extensive selection of all the apps, and it partners with large corporations (notably in finance) to cater functions and deliver daily to employees via expense accounts. It currently operates in 11 major U.S. cities, as well as in London. seamless.com
Good for: Selection of restaurants, no additional fees, corporate accounts
The main Seamless competitor in New York City is Delivery.com, which features a similar selection of restaurants as its rival (most NYC restaurants that deliver do so through both services). Delivery.com recently added a number of alcohol, grocery and — get this — laundry merchants to its repertoire in order to diversify its on-demand offerings. The website and app also rewards customers with points for each dollar spent that are redeemable for gift certificates, accessories and electronics. The website has a presence in over 40 states and operates significantly in 10 major cities. delivery.com
Good for: Selection of restaurants, no additional fees, ordering alcohol/groceries, accumulating reward points
With a name like Caviar, you might expect an impressive selection of upscale options, and that’s mostly what you find here. The third-party service specializes in picking up and delivering food from restaurants that don’t normally offer this feature, and it will go outside of restaurants’ normal delivery ranges. Live for just over a year, Caviar has rapidly expanded its participating establishments (think Katz’s Delicatessen, Blue Ribbon, Mighty Quinn’s, Han Dynasty, Mission Cantina and Momofuku Má Pêche in NYC). There’s a $4.99 flat fee and an 18 percent gratuity tacked on to each order, which can take slightly more time than ordering directly from restaurants but comes with the perk of being able to track it via real-time GPS. It is currently up and running in nine major U.S. cities. trycaviar.com
Good for: Premium restaurants, real-time order tracking, group orders
4. Served by Stadium
Indecisive about from where to order for lunch? That’s not a problem with Served by Stadium, which allows its members to mix and match selected menu items from a relatively small number of restaurants all over New York City in a single order. That’s right — you can sit at your desk and enjoy a gyro from Souvlaki GR with a side of dan dan noodles from Han Dynasty and wash it all down with a green juice from Brooklyn’s House of Juice. Lunch orders must be placed before 11 a.m. and dinner orders before 5 p.m. — the third-party service then provides a half-hour window for the food to be delivered. There’s currently no delivery fee and a limited-time offer of free lifetime membership. Served by Stadium currently operates only in Manhattan. servedbystadium.com
Good for: Multiple-venue ordering, no additional fees (pending membership offer)
“How did I live before Postmates?” is the sentiment expressed among staunch devotees of the super-delivery app (you can get pretty much anything delivered), which originally launched in San Francisco and has since expanded to the East Coast. Though not a food service per se, Postmates is most commonly utilized as a way to order from almost any restaurant in the city. The app locates a nearby courier — trackable via GPS — willing to complete the request and tasks him or her with phoning in and picking up the order. With delivery and service fees included, as well as the option to tip (which goes directly to your Postmate), it’s the most excessive option on this list. Positive interaction and generous tipping pays off here, as both Postmate and user rate each other on a five-star scale. Postmates is rapidly expanding and is now accessible in 14 major U.S. cities. postmates.com
Good for: Premium delivery merchants, real-time order tracking, user experience
Read about what else is going on in New York City on Food Republic: