These metal wire shelving units are affordable, flexible, strong, and perfect for adding extra storage for kitchen equipment, ingredients, and plateware.
After six months of working from home in a studio apartment, my wife and I recently decided that for the sake of our marriage and mental health, we had to move to a bigger place with at least one room with a door that isn't the restroom. Not only did we manage to find a flat that accommodated that big ask, but it also came with a major kitchen upgrade. I now have a lot more room to cook, and, thanks to not one but two windows, plenty of natural light and cross-ventilation to keep the smoke detector from having a fit every time I sear a steak.
Gaining windows did mean sacrificing cabinet space, which is already at a premium in New York City. So when I began working on turning a nook in the new kitchen into a hybrid at-home test kitchen and office space, I knew that it had to feature extra storage for equipment and ingredients. The alcove also needed to fit a workbench, pegboard, and leave enough room for me to comfortably stand and sit, which meant that this storage system had to have a very specific slim footprint. Fortunately, the perfect solution does exist, and unlike living room furniture, it's pretty affordable: Metro shelves.
Metro shelves, or "racks" if you're familiar with American kitchen lingo, is the common name for the metal wire shelving units found in restaurant kitchens, suburban garages, warehouses, and homes all over the place. Just as Kleenex and Scotch became genericized trademarks for facial tissue and clear adhesive tape, the Metro brand name is synonymous with these sturdy, no-frills shelving units, even though not all are made by that company.
We use them in our Serious Eats test kitchens for storing all kinds of equipment—from stand mixers and pasta rollers to stacks of cheesecake pans. Our visual director Vicky Wasik also has a few sets for storing all the props and plates for photo shoots. Low on cabinet space for storing dry goods? These shelves do the trick. I've even seen them used to hang salumi for dry-curing (the wire racks are easy to tie string around and open build allows for plenty of air circulation), and as cooling racks for freshly baked loaves of bread. There aren't many storage tasks that Metro shelves can't handle.