Food & Drink

Grocery Delivery Services in NYC That’ll Help You Through the COVID-19 Quarantine

Social distancing made easier.

No matter the circumstances, trips to the supermarket are stressful, but with many now practicing social distancing to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, IRL grocery runs seem more daunting than ever. Of course, you can order drinks and dishes from local restaurants that need your support, but at some point, you’ll have to face your fear of cooking and prepare some meals on your own. Luckily, New Yorkers have access to numerous grocery delivery services that allow city folks to stock their fridge without breaking quarantine.

Due to a dramatic surge in demand for grocery delivery amid NYC’s partial shutdown, you should expect longer-than-usual wait times -- in many cases, several days -- and a smaller-than-usual inventory of items to choose from. When you’re placing your order, remember to tip couriers extra for working on the frontlines, and request a doorstep drop-off in an effort to limit person-to-person contact. These are the most promising grocery delivery services serving New York City right now:

Max Delivery

Max Delivery works with wholesalers to offer a selection of items at comparable rates to your local grocery store. Unlike most other delivery services, Max aims to get food to your doorstep within an hour of ordering, rather than scheduling a delivery time way out in advance. The only catch? They only service certain areas of Manhattan, so before adding items to your cart, you’ll want to double-check that your zip code falls into their delivery range. There’s a $5.95 delivery fee for most orders, but if you’re shopping in bulk and your cart surpasses $125, shipping is free.

H Fresh

Longtime Korean grocer H Mart offers doorstep delivery to 148 Manhattan zip codes (and a handful of North Jersey neighborhoods) with their grocery delivery service, H Fresh. There’s a $35 minimum on orders plus a $5.99 delivery fee, but if you get your cart above $49, shipping comes free. Toss on a few moisturizing face masks to go with your market supplies and look out for the shipment as soon as one day later. Deliveries go out from 1-9pm on weekdays, and orders placed by 10am are eligible for next day arrival.

Mercato

Bring locally sourced food right to your kitchen with Mercato’s efficient same-day delivery service. They partner with NYC’s best independent grocers, like Essex Market, Sarge’s Deli, Kalustyan’s, Ceriello Fine Foods, Eli Zabar, and all four of Sunrise Mart’s locations. The fees for delivery run a little higher than some other grocery services, but if you schedule the drop-off at an off-peak time, they’ll charge you a little less.

Instacart

Instacart partners with grocery stores in your neighborhood to bring nearby goods right to you, including NYC’s best Italian fare from Eataly and kitchen staples from Wegmans in Brooklyn. There are generally delivery fees, service fees, and busy pricing fees during peak hours -- so when there’s a high demand like now, the costs can add up. But if you’re planning to become a regular shopper, you can join Instacart Express for an individualized annual cost or low monthly payment and dramatically lower those additional charges -- that means free delivery on orders over $35, reduced service fees, and no added costs during peak delivery hours.

Farm to People

The name summarizes the mission: Farm to People guarantees fresh and ethically sourced foods in a manner that more corporate delivery services simply can’t compete with. Their seasonal produce boxes come in small ($25), medium ($35), and large ($45) sizes, each containing a rotating assortment of fresh fruits and veggies that are picked to order so that no food goes to waste. Customers can also order a la carte groceries that extend beyond produce and choose a delivery day that works best for their schedule. Orders over $50 come with free shipping, so don’t hold back.

Whole Foods Grocery Delivery

Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods made the health-conscious grocery chain more accessible than ever for Prime members. Add produce and pantry items to your cart like you would any other Amazon item and choose a two-hour delivery window for them to be dropped off. Orders of $35 or more qualify for free delivery -- giving you a bigger budget for the tip -- and you can opt to let your shopper substitute items that are sold out. Whole Foods recently announced that for a limited time, they’ll be requiring new Whole Foods Prime shoppers to request an invite before they can place an order. As more slots become available, people on the Invite List will be contacted with an invitation to start shopping.

JP Grocery

You already know that Juice Press values health, but you may not have known that you can order their juices and more online through JP Grocery. This digital market of theirs has all the organic groceries and juices you’d want, plus essentials like recycled toilet paper, vitamins, and CBD oil. They ship to several parts of the Tristate Area, including every borough except for Staten Island. In Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn, delivery costs $5.99 and you’ll be assigned a four-hour delivery window sometime within two days of ordering. In the Bronx, delivery costs $14.99 and drop-offs only happen on Tuesdays and Thursdays. And if you’re really serious about your plant-based diet, apply to join JP’s weekly farm share delivery program.

Natoora

Until recently, Natoora only shared its inventory with restaurants in need of quality ingredients. Now they’ve expanded their services, delivering top-notch produce from small-scale growers and cooking essentials from independent producers to residents of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens six days of the week. Each order must reach a minimum of $60, and shipping costs $6, but that’s nothing when you consider the excellence you’re guaranteed.

Just Grocery

Nutrition-oriented restaurant chain Just Salad launched its own grocery delivery program following the spread of COVID-19. Just Grocery boasts same-day deliveries of DIY meal kits, fresh fruits and greens, plant-based proteins, and other healthy options to areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and North Jersey. There’s a $50 minimum for orders plus a delivery fee; if you’re looking for less of a commitment, you can order off Just Salad’s regular menu for quick individual meal deliveries.

FreshDirect

Slots are booking up fast, but if you’re not in a hurry, it’s worth the wait. Groceries from FreshDirect aren’t pulled off supermarket shelves -- they go straight from the source, to the FreshDirect team, to your door, minimizing the journey from farm to fork. Aside from traditional ingredients, you can also order beers, wines, and pre-made meals to spice up the dinner table. There’s a $30 minimum on orders, and shipping to any of the five boroughs costs $5.99.

Peapod

Delivery times for Peapod sell out quickly, proving its popularity here in the Big Apple. In response to the coronavirus outbreak, Peapod adjusted its practices to boost safety for both couriers and customers. Signatures are no longer needed upon delivery, and customers can ask for Contactless Delivery in the “special instructions” box during checkout. Peapod’s minimum order size is $60 with a $9.95 delivery fee; orders over $100 have a reduced fee of $6.95.

FoodKick

FreshDirect’s sister brand FoodKick offers quick-turnaround delivery to residents of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Their carefully curated homepage changes daily to guide customers toward in-season produce, fresh-made baked goods, important household items, and the trendiest treats and liquors. Not only does FoodKick have access to FreshDirect’s trustworthy food partners, but its one-hour delivery windows will minimize the amount of time you spend waiting by the door.

Jet

If you’ve seen the subway ads -- which, of course you have -- you know that Jet delivers a lot more than groceries. It’s a virtual all-purpose store with pharmacy essentials, pet supplies, home goods, electronics, clothing, makeup, and a pantry. Order before 2pm and your package will be delivered within two business days of the purchase date. Standard shipping costs $5.99, unless you spend more than $49, in which case shipping is waived.

Sign up here for our daily NYC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun New York has to offer.

Kyler Alvord writes New York things for Thrillist. Find him on Instagram and Twitter. Or don't. It's really up to you.