Developers GrubHub and CityMint have introduced apps of the same names that make it possible for you to order meals from nearby restaurants and have your food ready for you to pick up or for delivery, when that service is available.
Each app features online restaurant menus in proximity to you. You select your items just as you do with any order system and then check out. You can also locate restaurants on a map and find contact and other information.
Here's how they differ: First, GrubHub is free and CityMint
costs $2.99 is no longer available.
GrubHub focuses mainly on restaurants that deliver meals in Chicago, San Francisco, Boston and New York. You can order just about everything from pizza to health-conscious salads. The interface is lean, straightforward, intuitive and easy to use.
Enter your current location (GrubHub is not location-aware) or search by address. Choose a restaurant from the list, based on your food preference or the customer ratings, and drill down and you'll have the option to order by phone or order online, from restaurants that offer the service.
You can also search and order from the GrubHub's Web site and there's no need to register, although you have that option.
I was able to find plenty of places that would put a feed bag on me using GrubHub.
CityMint attempts to be more ambitious. It offers users the option of choosing between restaurants that provide pickup service and delivery in the same cities as GrubHub, plus Seattle and Los Angeles. CityMint is location-aware and it's interface is more polished than GrubHub's. It also seems to list a better-grade of eateries, at least in the Boston area, where I live.
To use CityMint, you first enter account information (name, email, primary address, Zip, delivery instructions etc.) into your iPhone. I find typing on the iPhone tedious and thought it would be easier to enter that information into CityMint's Web site. Unfortunately, that option isn't available, even though you are required to login using the ID and password you entered into the app if you choose to use the site.
From an address in downtown Boston at 1:45PM, I searched for nearby restaurants and pulled up a list. I found there weren't any restaurants in the area that delivered, and none of the restaurants that provide online ordering and pickup service came online until 5:00PM. So much for eating a late lunch. Later in the day, I was able to step through CityMint with ease, stopping just short of placing an actual order.
If you think you might like to try either of these apps, go to the company's Web site to see its list of participating restaurants in your city. GrubHub's list was far more comprehensive than CityMint's in Boston. It may be true in your city too.