When the City of Vancouver made it possible for restaurants to fast-track their patio applications in order for businesses to be able to offer more seats in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, the door also opened for some unique and exciting projects. Factor in an emphasis on creating more public plazas and outdoor spaces in which to gather safely, and some folks have gotten creative.
Case in point: You'll want to check out the new patio located beside Say Mercy! restaurant on Fraser Street. Aptly named B-Side, this vibrant, laid back sidewalk-adjacent space will function as a lunch-time courtyard-style casual eatery, while shifting to function as a wine bar at night (yes, it's licensed).
B-Side will be serving up things like pulled pork sandwiches, cheesesteaks, and ice cream sammies for dessert from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily this summer. From 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. B-Side will flip and offer small plates and pastas alongside a wine list curated by Say Mercy!'s talented wine director Meghan McDowell.
The project was conceived as a way to not only let Say Mercy! bump up their overall seat count to address COVID-19 provincial health restrictions, but also to give customers who aren't ready to dine indoors a terrific option for coming out and enjoying a meal and some drinks.
As a bonus, this cheery, custom painted curbside patio zone is adjacent to a community gathering space blocking off 27th ave at Fraser that was set up by the City of Vancouver through their pavement-to-plaza initiative. That way, you can move into the open space if you'd prefer to enjoy your to-go sandwiches (and maybe let the kids run around).
Of course, Say Mercy! is open for dine-in, and offering a refreshed seasonally-focused menu from Chef Sean Reeve. The food at Say Mercy! reflects a harmonious co-mingling of Italian fare and American BBQ, with crowd-pleasing pastas, mains, salads, and some gloriously buttery Parker House rolls served up in their bright, cozy dining room.
Worth noting is that Say Mercy!'s phenom older sibling, The Mackenzie Room, has also recently opened their doors for dine-in customers. They have limited seating, and the menu is available a la carte or in their two multi-course sharing options, "I Want It All" (as in you're served the whole menu) or "Just the Two of Us" (which finds the dishes scaled back for a duo of diners). For some more fun, they are doing two weeks of throwback menus leading up to The Mackenzie Room's 5th birthday on July 9.
Both The Mackenzie Room and Say Mercy! - and now B-Side - should rightly be regarded as trailblazers in the city's restaurant scene for their innovative and forward-thinking approach to building community, providing hospitality, and feeding folks. When COVID-19 forced restaurants to curb operations in mid-March (just a few weeks after Say Mercy! opened, to boot), the teams at The Mackenzie Room and Say Mercy! launched the Staff Meal program, which not only kept people at work in their kitchens making batch-style heat-and-serve meals for purchase, but also by mandating a donation to the food bank with each purchase, and the option to buy a "suspended stew" - a meal that could be provided directly to someone in need. Ultimately, several Vancouver restaurants joined the Staff Meal program, as well as on their own turned to heat-and-serve take-home meal programs adapted to the times.
B-Side is located beside Say Mercy! at 4298 Fraser Street in Vancouver. Follow them at @bsidepatio on Instagram