While San Diego has no shortage of restaurants, going to dinner can turn into a downer. An evening can get spoiled by misbehaving kids, securing a sitter or looking for parking.
"It's a whole endeavor to go out to dinner," said Joe Welch. "It's a food culture down here, but it also isn't the easiest to get at times."
But now, thanks to a new-to-the-area service called DoorDash, locals can get a taste of the dining-out experience by letting the restaurant come to them.
DoorDash operates in 15 major metropolitan markets, and San Diego was added to that list July 16.
By downloading the DoorDash app to their phones or by logging onto its website, doordash.com, locals can order food from their choice of over 100 local restaurants and have it delivered to their homes.
Welch, who launched the city's DoorDash, said restaurants on the list include everything from Prep Kitchen to Carnitas Snack Shack.
For now, delivery is available in downtown San Diego, La Jolla, Hillcrest, Pacific Beach and UTC. On average, food arrives at the door in less than 45 minutes.
In the coming months, plans call for expanding delivery service to Del Mar, Encinitas and Coronado.
The service currently operates from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The hope is that hours will soon extend to late night - as well as breakfast. When that happens, the number of restaurant options will expand as well.
Already, DoorDash has been successful in cities such as Palo Alto, Chicago and San Francisco.
It operates by partnering with restaurants in each city, which Welch said allows drivers to get more accurate times for food preparation and delivery, allowing for more orders to be processed.
Those who use DoorDash have access to the restaurant's entire menu, with the exception of items that are notorious for not traveling well (think ice cream cones).
For those trying the site for the first time, there's a $1 delivery fee, and each order that follows comes with a $5.99 charge - no matter how far the restaurant may be from a person's house.
For customer's convenience, Welch said, users can upload their credit card information to the site and save it to make future orders easier.
While users of all types are fans of DoorDash, Welch said families with young children are particularly loyal. After all, it costs time and money to hire a sitter, and this is a way to give parents the experience of escaping with a good meal without some of the hassle.
"It's the next frontier for restaurants," he said. "They know delivery is what customers want."