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Kolyma2: Food delivery with a soul

INSIDER TIP! In the times of Corona, delivery services are increasingly in demand. Looking for a grassroots alternative? Kolyma2 meets the hyperlocal ethical standard. A food courier collective offering riders fairer conditions.

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Photo by Michael O’Ryan. Kolyma2 was started by former Deliveroo rider Stefano Lombardo.

Food delivery is all about convenience: just a few taps and a swipe on your phone and your dinner’s at your door. But this desire for simplicity means you’re limited to a certain orange-hued delivery app that since last year has monopolised the city’s takeout industry. Enter local alternative Kolyma2, the delivery service from former Deliveroo rider Stefano Lombardo. Named after a Russian thriller movie, this ethical alternative works as a collective, promising its autonomous riders fairer conditions. Unlike the multi-national giants whose food offerings range from the gourmet to the barely edible, here curation is the name of the game. The team work in collaboration with 16 hand-picked restaurants in Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain and Schöneberg (includ­ing Indian joint Moksa and veggie-friendly Holy Flat). “We only work with restaurants whose food we would eat ourselves,” says Stefano, who recently turned down a partner­ship with Burger King. Having halted operations in November, Kolyma2 restarted with weekday deliveries to businesses from 12 to 3pm and to private customers from 6 to 9pm on weekends. They’ll deliver within a “reasonable distance” for a minimum order charge of €20 plus a €3 delivery fee, payable with cash or PayPal. The team is currently setting up an open-source app from bike-delivery federation CoopCycle, but to start with, hungry customers will be able to order via text or live chat on their delightfully lo-fi website. This is food delivery with a soul.