Thrillist, Zuul Open 'Ghost Kitchen,' Deliver Meals In NYC

Group Nine’s food and travel brand Thrillist is opening a rotational, delivery-only “ghost kitchen” in partnership with Zuul to offer delivery options from some New York City chefs and restaurants.

“As an experience-based brand that is fervent about the culinary industry, we wanted to create a program that would help the industry as it works to evolve and reinvent itself during this difficult time, stated Meghan Kirsch, Thrillist’s Chief Content Officer.

The program will run from December 9 to April 16 on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings. 

Ten restaurants will each have a two-week residency, with limited-edition meal offerings for delivery to the Manhattan neighborhoods of Union Square, East Village, West Village, Tribeca, SoHo, Lower East Side and the Financial District.

All costs (including food, labor, packaging and delivery) will be covered by Thrillist. Each restaurant will be charged a flat fee up front.

If this new model proves successful, Thrillist may scale the business to provide further support for restaurants, which could become a viable revenue source for the brand.

Deliveries will feature a custom T-shirt designed by a local artist, inspired by the restaurant, as well as an insulated branded reusable bag, reusable cutlery set and wine tumbler. 

Participating restaurants include Rao's, Chinese Tuxedo, Sylvia's, Caracas Arepa Bar and Milu. 

The first offering, for example, has two options: Rao’s dinner for one or two people, with penne marinara, beef meatballs, lemon chicken and house salad.

“Ghost kitchens” — shared kitchen facilities to prepare delivery-only meals — have become an important business model amid the pandemic. Many in the restaurant business have struggled to maintain dine-in, full-service locations.

“As New York’s first ghost kitchen, we hope to bring our expertise to a greater set of restaurateurs and operators that are part of the fabric of New York City’s culinary community,” stated Sean Fitzgibbons, cofounder of Zuul, a ghost kitchen operations and tech company.

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