In this day and age would it be safe to say that 97% of all restaurant leftovers get reheated in  a microwave?

So why in the world do restaurants use aluminum to-go containers that will cause sparks to fly if you try to reheat them? 

Makes absolutely no sense to me.  You know who uses the best to-go containers?  Chipolte.  It’s a heavy duty paper dish that has some type of lamination that doesn’t make it soggy.  Totally holds up and is totally microwavable and I assume very recyclable.

2012-12-18 07.56.09

I wonder what the thought process is for restaurateurs.  Is it 100% based on low cost?  Is it based on ease of storage in their space?  

Not as terrible a to-go option as the styrofoam soggy fry containers but still not optimal.


Posted on October 25, 2011 by Joey C


  • For me: Paper leftover containers are OK; Aluminum must go into the oven, which is a pain, but OK; Plastic containers are suspect, because some can smell like burning rubber after microwaving; Styrofoam is nasty in the microwave, and makes your soggy French fries taste like toxic waste. Best: Put your leftovers into a glass container and microwave or heat in the oven. I love restaurant leftovers and usually eat them cold. But that’s just me.


  • seems like no matter how hard I try anyway … re-heated fries, pizza or Chinese food is NOT the same as same within hours fresh of take home


  • This company has been around since the 1800’s. I am sure you will recognize the white container with the red lettering.



    • I like paper/cardboard containers the best if they are made right. I hate the Chinese food ones that have a metal handle on top (waxed and not microwavable). Sorry, but I’m not familiar with the foldpak ones in white and red. If one wants to make the effort, leftovers transferred to a glass dish are the best alternative. I think Joey (and the rest of us) should take note of how restaurants give us our takeout. Here’s another angle: Some restaurants take your leftovers into the kitchen and bring them out in a takeout container. Some shovel your leftovers into a container in front of you, and some give you the container and you shovel yourself. Maybe Mark McDonough (Lat 43 and Alchemy) and Eric Lorden could impart some of their wisdom on takeout.


  • Chipolte is great for myriad reasons. I have to travel around the area almost daily with my design work and am happy whenever I see a Chipolte. They serve a super healthy and delicious lunch, super fast. Everything on the menu is modestly priced. And if it is late in the day and I am really pressed for time I stop and pick up food to take home for dinner. Their containers keep the food in the container, fresh and delicious tasting, half an hour later after having arrived home.

    The good news is that a Chipolte is opening in the same shopping plaza as the Staples in North Beverly, right off 128!


  • I always reheat in a glass bowl or in the oven. Tupperware never and sytrofoam is nasty for reheating and the environment.


  • Polystyene is the worst and should not be used for any hot items and is also a harzard to our marine life and our life. Check out the Beacon last Friday for my article on this. Happy Eating.


  • and what about the metal thingies that keep the boxes of Chinese food together. For the love of God, could they make them plastic so we can mic ’em!!!


  • Glass bowl in the microwave to heat leftovers up works great and I put the fries in the toaster oven on the pan so they reheat crispy.


  • I never have leftovers..never.


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