With hospitality industry staff sidelined indefinitely in spring 2020, many Vancouver restaurant operators found innovative ways to lend a hand and keep folks fed. Under the philosophy of "cooking for the collective good," a pandemic off-shoot restaurant project that raised funds for the Greater Vancouver Food Bank and saw to it nutritious meals were available at no charge to out of work industry folk has morphed into an exciting bistro and grocery concept that aims to be open this summer.
Collective Goods comes from Collective Hospitality, the team behind Railtown's Mackenzie Room and Fraser Street's Say Mercy! - the latter of which had only just gotten its doors open when coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions in the province forced restaurants to cease offering dine-in for the first time last March.
But that didn't slow down Collective's crew.
Into the kitchen they went, producing ready-to-eat dishes they called "Staff Meal," named as a nod to the meal restaurant employees the world over sit down to eat before dinner service nightly. They made "Staff Meal" available for take-out ordering, with the option to purchase what they called a "suspended stew" - a $5 meal for someone in need. Each order had an automatic add-on fee of $2, earmarked for the food bank.
Building on that experience, Collective's third venture (fourth, if you count Say Mercy!'s vibrant B-Side, the temporary on-street patio space launched last summer with a separate daytime menu) is now a hybrid bistro and grocery operation setting up shop at 3532 Commercial Street.
Taking over what had previously been Casa Verde, a family-run Portuguese restaurant, Collective Goods will offer "delicious and comfortable dining, a bottle shop and a chef-curated fridge and pantry for easy at-home meals," according to its website.
"It feels like things are looking different in our industry since we got the keys to our first spot six years ago, but when we stand back and take a really good look, the more things change, the more things stay the same. We love meeting new people, we love joining communities, we love helping our neighbours, we love offering you delicious food and amazing drinks," adds Collective Hospitality.
In addition to the core Collective Hospitality team of Andrew Jameson, chef Sean Reeve, and Antonio Cayonne, Collective Goods' GM will be Shiva Reddy, a seasoned Vancouver hospitality and wine veteran who herself has been supporting colleagues in the industry through her initiative "Reddy to Help," that has her and her mom cooking curries for donation to peers in need.
Renovations appear to be underway at the Collective Goods space, and the team is eyeing a June or July open. Follow @collectivegoodsyvr for more info and updates.