If footage of people hoarding toilet paper and pasta in supermarkets is enough to make you despair, you’re not alone. Luckily there’s a new trend: local restaurants and cafes are thinking outside the box and selling groceries and pantry staples, which helps keep small suppliers in business (and provides a shopping alternative to the major supermarkets). Here are some of our faves.

Continental Deli Bar and Bistro, Newtown
As a deli, bar and bistro in one, Continental was perfectly placed to add pantry staples to its offering. So in addition to pre-made sandwiches, charcuterie and cheese plates to takeaway, this inner-west stalwart is now selling arborio rice, olive oil, eggs, organic flour, quinoa and fresh pasta. It’s also upped its production of canned soups and veg dishes ($10), and we recommend tossing in a few tinned cocktails while you’re there, including the Can-hattan and the Quarantinny (“it’s like a normal Martini, but you drink it alone and in your house”). If you can’t get to the Australia Street shop, delivery is available

Bel & Brio, Barangaroo
Like many venues, Bel & Brio has switched from a dine-in model to takeaway and delivery. It’s also launched an online store where you can pre-order grocery items for pick-up or have them delivered the following day (within a five-kilometre radius of the shop). It’s got everything from the swanky (Olsson’s salt and blue cheese) to the practical (sausages, condoms and Panadol). While you’re online, choose a couple of bottles from the wine cellar and order a luxe bowl of pasta or slow-cooked lamb shoulder for dinner. Order here.

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The Royal Hotel, Leichhardt
In normal times you’d never pop into a pub for your groceries, but these are times in which you can get cocktails delivered to your door, so we’re not talking about normal times. The Royal Hotel has also jumped on the grocery bandwagon, selling booze and essential goods to take home. There’s fresh fruit and veg; meat and fish (such as bacon, mince and salmon); butter; a sizeable selection of beer and wine; and toilet paper. The store is open from 10am to 10pm daily.

Rising Sun Workshop, Newtown
This ramen cafe and motorcycle workshop has cleverly combined its two areas of expertise: it’s enlisted the casual staff (who might otherwise have been laid off) as motorbike delivery drivers, and they’re now bringing Japanese-inflected dishes, wine and beer straight to your door. The Newtown diner is also selling a heap of grocery products, including free-range eggs, Minor Figures oat milk, sugar, flour, avocados and even Who Gives a Crap toilet paper. Everything is available for both pick-up and delivery.

Sample Coffee, St Peters
Sample was one of the first Sydney cafes to ban reusable cups to help curb the spread of Covid-19, and it’s been quick to add pantry staples to its repertoire in light of further government-enforced restrictions. It’s working with local businesses such as Penny Fours, Thoroughbread Bakery and Olsson’s to source goods for both pick-up and delivery. There’s everything from flour, oats, salt and rice to yoghurt, eggs, cheese, hot sauce, granola, croissants, and, of course, its own excellent coffee. Deliveries are available every Wednesday and Saturday, or you can pick up from Sample’s St Peters warehouse. And if you’re happy to let Sample do the shopping for you, there’s a range of produce and pantry boxes available too.

Bar M, Rushcutters Bay
Not only can you get a bunch of tasty Italian dishes such as lasagne and parmigiana to take home, you can also pop in and buy groceries. There’s charcuterie (prosciutto, salumi); cheese (burrata, ricotta, cave-aged cheddar); bread; fresh pasta and pasta sauce; tuna; croissants; sugar; eggs; and black garlic. The diner is offering free delivery for orders over $30 in the local area (or orders over $100 to other suburbs), plus 20 per cent off for healthcare workers and hospital volunteers.  

The Oaks Hotel
A new butcher – with competitive prices – has opened in its takeaway chicken shop. It’s selling New York sirloin strips, chicken schnitties, pork and fennel sausages, and more.

Something For Jess
This Chippendale cafe is now delivering coffee, breakfast, lunch and groceries (such as bread, eggs, oats, noodles, rice and canned goods). It’s also got weekly boxes of seasonal produce starting at $35 (with delivery between 8am and 2pm daily). Dinners are now available too, served hot or cold to store for later, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.

This article was first posted on Broadsheet on April 6, 2020. Some details may have changed.