Foodies who can afford a $US9.99 fee can finally order from chic restaurants that typically don’t offer other delivery options. The service is called Caviar, and you can think of it as the GrubHub for rich people.
The online ordering startup launched last year in San Francisco and is now active in New York City, Boston, Seattle, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., with plans to expand to other cities soon.
And now, after weeks of speculation, Caviar has confirmed it has been acquired by Square, the mobile payments company run by Jack Dorsey. Though the exact purchase price hasn’t been reported, the New York Times previously speculated that the deal could be worth as much as $US90 million.
“Together we’ll double down our mission of delivering premium food through a premium delivery service with no compromises — giving buyers easy access to the food and restaurants they love so much,” Caviar said in a blog post announcing the deal.
Caviar’s appeal is that it allows customers to order from popular restaurants that don’t usually deliver, like Ike’s Place in San Francisco and Momofuku in New York.
“We look for the best restaurants in the city that have great food,” partner John Keh told Business Insider. “Our restaurant partners do not have to be the fanciest in town, but if they make some of the best dishes in their category, we partner with them.”
Once Caviar partners with a restaurant, it send a professional photographer to capture mouthwatering images for the online menu.
“A picture of the food lets you quickly determine if the dish is appealing to you,” Keh said. “As the saying goes, we eat with our eyes.”
Prices on Caviar, which are set by restaurants, can be slightly higher than prices in the restaurant, as noted by Eater. Users also pay a 18% gratuity charge and the $US9.99 delivery fee.
Keh learned about logistics and operations firsthand while serving as a geospatial analyst for the U.S. Air Force.
“That directly tied into my work now at Caviar, of looking at maps and routes, trying to make everything as efficient as possible,” he said.
Caviar gave Business Insider an exclusive list of the ten most popular New York restaurants on its site, along with the most popular dish from each.
10. L’Apicio: Pork Chop
L’Apicio is a trendy East Village Italian restaurant that’s been popular with critics since it opened in 2012. Although known for its polenta and award-winning meatballs, L’Apicio also makes a popular $US30 pork chop, served with apples and roasted turnips, which Caviar users love.
9. DBGB Kitchen and Bar: The Frenchie Burger
This gastropub by famed French chef Daniel Boulud offers diners a wide selection of house-made sausages and burgers, among other bistro fare. The $US17 Frenchie — a burger topped with confit pork belly, arugula, tomato-onion compote, morbier cheese, peppered brioche bun, cornichon, and mustard — is a favourite with Caviar users.
8. Taim: Green Falafel Sandwich
Taim, which has locations in the West Village and Nolita, serves some of the best falafel in the city. Taim’s most popular item on Caviar is the green falafel sandwich, a cheap option at just $US6. It’s served with pita on the side.
7. Motorino: Cherry Stone Clam Pizze
In 2010, New York Times restaurant critic Sam Sifton declared Motorino the best pizza in New York City. Caviar users love Motorino, too, especially the $US17 cherry stone clam pizza.
6. Blue Ribbon Sushi: Omakase Sushi
Blue Ribbon’s sushi outpost is a favourite on Caviar, as is its omakase sushi. The fish selection depends on the daily catch, and at $US85, it’s a pretty steep choice for lunch.
5. Katz’s Deli: Katz’s Pastrami
Katz’s Deli has been a Lower East Side classic for decades, and Caviar users can’t get enough of its famous pastrami. You can order the sandwich for $US18.45 with Caviar.
4. Momofuku Má Pêche: Pork Buns
Má Pêche, part of the Momofuku dining empire, is a trendy, upscale restaurant with a dim sum-style menu. Its most popular item is the $US10 pork buns, served with pork belly, hoisin, cucumber, and scallions. You can also order from Momofuku Milk Bar, which has five locations serving delicious desserts across NYC.
3. Otto’s Tacos: Carnitas Taco
This new East Village spot serves tiny tacos with a choice of five different fillings. The most popular taco on Caviar is the carnitas option, with slow-cooked pork served on a fresh corn tortilla. Each mini taco costs $US3.
2. Mission Cantina: Lamb Burrito
Mission Cantina is a new Mexican venture from Danny Bowien, the chef behind the critically-acclaimed Mission Chinese. Lines to get in can be long, and it’s a hit on Caviar as well. The most popular item is the lamb burrito, served with beans, avocado, crema, queso blanco, salsa fresca, chips, and two types of salsa.
1. Han Dynasty: Dan Dan Noodles
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