Evening delivery review
Imagine the scene: you’re hungry, there’s nothing in the fridge, the cupboards are completely bare and there’s not even a of sign of microwaveable frozen leftovers in the freezer. Its a weekend evening meaning everywhere out in the real world will be packed full, and you don’t have a reservation. You briefly flirt with the notion of doing a quick grocery run and cooking, but take only seconds to mock yourself for the clearly ridiculous notion as you’re obviously way too famished to exert such effort. Lastly, you toy with the dreaded fast food drive through option, but shortly realize that no food is better than awful, heart attack-causing grub. What to do!? Well, personally, lazy good for nothing that I am, I usually opt to turn to delivery when faced with this gloomy situation.
Things start to get a little brighter by this point, food is a distinct possibility. Sure the options essentially boil down to pizza or Chinese food, but at least starvation can be staved off for the evening. But wait! Not so fast! Put that Pizza Hut menu down, because for some time now, Salt Lake City has another option – Salt Lake City waiter.
The concept is fairly simple. Salt Lake City Waiter acts as a go between for a restaurant that does not provide delivery service and you, the hungry customer. Salt Lake City Waiter operate seven days a week, during lunch and dinner, and deliver from a wide array of restaurants. Pizza and sweet and sour chicken give way to a myriad of options: Greek, Indian, Thai, Japanese and more.
As we browsed the SLCW website, and decided on our order, we experienced all the normal fears of anyone calling in a delivery order:
Will my food get here reasonably fast?
Is it going to be hot and edible?
Will I get what I ordered?
Will condiments and sides be included?
Will the order be packaged neatly, or will I receive a leaking bag full of what was meant to be dinner?
So far we have used the SLCW service twice and we are happy to report that on both occasions, all five points were knocked out of the park. First the basics though. Ordering is a cinch, you can call up, but for perfect accuracy, order online. The SLCW website allows you to complete most of the ordering process online. If a certain dish has a nuance (say a spice level), you can clarify that online too. Once your order is in the system, an SLC representative calls you back within 15 minutes to double check the order and confirm payment.
Cash is fine, but you can pay by card too, which is perfect for when you don’t even have spare change on you. If you pay by card, the phone rep will take the details over the phone, and your delivery person will want to confirm by seeing the card in person too.
Our two orders to date have been once on a mid-Saturday evening (Star of India) and another time early Sunday evening (J. Wong’s Asian Bistro). On each occasion we were advised a wait of around 60-75 minutes by the phone rep, and each time our food was safely in our home around the 45-50 minute mark. Under promise and over deliver, leaves me happy and impressed every time.
Each visit saw a very professional, organized and friendly delivery person. With no offense to the pizza delivery guys out there (one of whom once took our money and proceeded to walk away with our pizza…) Salt Lake City Waiter’s delivery personnel are a cut above. Their whole approach to treating home delivery like service in a restaurant is quite apparent. With pleasantries out of the way, payment done and food in hand, it is time to dig in.
As for the food, we can happily dispel the remainder of the earlier mentioned fears. Everything was packed exceptionally well, so as not to spill or make a mess. And where needed, it was handily marked up too. Here’s a picture of a meal ready to be devoured from Star of India:
On that same order we tried Vegetable Samosas ($3.85):
A Green Salad came with:
the Star Tandoori Mixed Grill ($18.65):
an order of Naan ($2.15):
accompanied a Bengan Bhartha ($9.85) which isn’t pictured. The food order was exactly what we ordered, packaged perfectly as mentioned, and impressively, still quite warm. We picked Indian for our first order, as many aspects of the cuisine suit microwave reheating, just in case the delivery time fell through.
We were quite impressed, which in time, led us to our second order, this time from J Wong’s Asian Bistro. A restaurant we had reviewed in the past, and one of only a few we could order from later on a Sunday night, we ordered Imitation Crab and Cream Cheese Wonton ($6.55):
Goo-Ga-Borg (shrimp & bacon wrapped in a spring roll skin, $6.33):
Drunken Noodle (with tofu, $12.05):
Chicken Fried Rice ($7.98):
This order was a little more hit and miss. While still perfectly on time, and again packaged well, some of the items didn’t suit the extended delivery time. Fried items like the Goo-Ga-Borg had gone a little limp in transit, and the fried rice didn’t have that just out of the wok ‘spark’. To be fair though, these are our own ordering faults, but one of the two potential caveats about the SLCW service, order with the fact that they have to go pick the food up and bring it to you in mind and you shouldn’t be disappointed. In both cases each item came with the relevant condiments, sides, napkins and utensils (just in case).
If you order wisely then, the only other downside is the price. For this level of convenience, you have to pay. Salt Lake City Waiter levies a delivery charge of $10.95. We had a paper menu delivered in the mail that came with a half off delivery coupon, and each subsequent order brought a new half off coupon with it. We’ve yet to pay that full price, and from talking to the delivery people, it doesn’t seem like many do. On top of the delivery charge, it’s obvious some percent markup is added to each menu item as well. Not only do prices like $6.33 just seem a little off, but from knowledge and comparing prices, its easy to see. Adding more to the price, is the fact that the SLCW FAQ advises tipping your delivery person as follows:
“At Salt Lake City Waiter, we feel that your Waiter/Drivers go to as much effort as a food server in a restaurant, probably more! They go to extensive measures to ensure your meal is complete and correct; they check, pack, carry, drive, locate you and park with your meal as fast and as carefully as possible. They sometimes use their own vehicles, equipment and gasoline. Most customers tip at the same rate they would to a server in a restaurant, from 10% to 15%.”
So perhaps don’t throw away your pizza and Chinese food menus just yet. Those options still represent good, quick, and affordable solutions to the problem. But do keep Salt Lake City Waiter’s service in mind for those days where you want something a little different or special, or just feel downright lazy and want a splurge, they represent a fantastic change when it comes to delivery.
Salt Lake City Waiter
Hours Of Delivery
SAT: 12:00 pm—11:45PM
SUN: 12:00 pm—9:45PM
Hi, I’m Stuart, nice to meet you! I’m the founder, writer and wrangler at Gastronomic SLC and The Utah Review; I’m also a former restaurant critic of more than five years, working for the Salt Lake Tribune. I’ve worked extensively with other local publications from Utah Stories through to Salt Lake Magazine and Visit Salt Lake.
I’m a multiple-award winning journalist and have covered the Utah dining scene for more than a decade. I’m largely fueled by Uinta Cutthroat, alliteration and the use of too many big words I don’t understand. I ate all the pies.