Say Mercy, just a few months into opening when COVID-19 hit, could be forgiven if they had packed up their Fraser Street tent, lamenting the vagaries of timing. Instead, they were among the first to pivot, not just transforming into a takeout spot, but also setting the tone for giving back that would be echoed by so many of our restaurants during the crisis. They founded the Staff Meal program, which not only provided a low-priced meal for a reeling economy (and even free meals to those in serious need), but also earmarked $2 from each order to help local food banks. In no time they were joined in the program by Masayoshi, Dachi, and others. One of the lasting legacies of this trauma will be the impact of those who saw the tsunami of trouble approaching and immediately asked, “What can we do to help?"

xFrom left: Andrew Jameson, Sean Reeve and Antonio Cayonne of Say Mercy. Photo by Katie Cross Photography.