Having It All

Deliver Us From Podunk

Far from being the delivery wasteland of the past, Houston is now overrun with concierge services that bring anything you want to your doorstep.

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen September 29, 2015 Published in the October 2015 issue of Houstonia Magazine

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Upon moving to the Bayou City, the species Newstonian goes through a necessary period of adjustment, needless to say. Such creatures need to build up an immunity to humidity and habanero, for example, and learn to say excuse me when bumping into someone rather than, say, hey asshole

Until recently, Newstonians had to adjust to something else, too, usually around midnight after a night out: the impossibility of having a proper sandwich delivered to your door, like, right now. 

But there’s no stopping the engines of progress. Thanks to several new apps, each promising to be the Uber of whatever you need right now, H-town—or at least the portion of the city along the west side of the Loop—is starting to feel downright urban. 

Favor is the delivery service with the broadest reach.  The Austin-based outfit likes to think of itself as a personal assistant, one who can fetch anything from prescription meds to a food truck dinner, and get them to you in about half an hour—even at 2:30 in the morning. The company has done everything from picking up a pregnancy test to taking a bird with a broken wing to the vet. 

DoorDash and Zifty, like Favor, make ordering from a slew of local Houston restaurants a snap, importing their menus so that you can tick off what you want directly from your phone or computer. Postmates goes a step further, offering to pick up food from any restaurant that’s open, while maintaining a roaming general store generously stocked with essentials like Axe shower gel, Cool Ranch Doritos and ping-pong balls. And apps like Instacart and Burpy (another Texas start-up) allow users to input their grocery list online and let someone else do the shopping.

The only thing most of these services won’t bring you is alcohol, which is where TopShelf, founded by Houston native Ryan Browne, and Minibar come in, connecting users with local liquor stores that deliver. Of note: while this does indeed allow you to order a bottle to go with your midnight sandwich, getting up for work the next day is still up to you.

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