Best friends Jeremy Bryant and Andrew Hall are the dream team behind Mealshare, the “buy one, give one” meal program that has seen amazing support from Calgary’s favourite restaurants and is popping up on menus across Canada. We caught up with them on the avenue to learn more about how they got started, and why 17th Ave is one of their favourite places in town.
Describe your perfect day on 17th:
Andrew: Any good Saturday starts with a hearty brunch. NATIONAL on 17th is our go-to brunch stop on the ave (often because we forgot something there the night before), and it’s fantastic! There’s nothing like their Pork Belly Skillet before noon – to die for!
Jeremy: After that we’d have to burn off a full stomach – a walk up the ave works great for that! Along the way we’d do a bit of shopping, and a healthy dose of people watching. 17th is one of the funnest places to watch and meet people, because it brings folks from all walks of life. People who just love the vibrant nature and come from all over town to spend time in it.
Andrew: For dinner, we would probably make an early stop and visit our good friends Una Pizza, cause they definitely fill up later on in the night! We always order the same dish – the weekly feature pizza and a pint of the good stuff – Village Beer. We also like to arrive early so we can snag a seat on the patio.
Jeremy: We’d finish the perfect day like we started – great food, and great people. A favorite of ours is a couple rounds of soju at Anju. Be careful though, ‘white lightning’ (soju) can get the best of you, and quick. So make sure to balance it out with some of Chef Roy’s famous gochugang wings!
Where’s your favourite spot to grab a bite?
Jeremy: Between which streets? …Seriously?! There’s too many to count! Ummm, we’d have to call it a… 4 way tie between Una Pizza, Cilantro, Anju and The Coup.
Favourite place to shop?
Andrew: That’s an easy one for us actually (finally!); Kit and Ace. It’s got the same roots as Lululemon, but it’s about a broader lifestyle, not just yoga. We work from home all the time, so we value comfort (think sweat-pants and slippers), but also take meetings throughout the day, so need to look sharp when the time comes! Kit and Ace’s ‘Technical Cashmere’ nails both of these.
When the day is done… the best place for a night out?
Jeremy: That’s a bit easier than the food question, but not much. An awesome place is The Coup – for its fresh food, and some of the best cocktails around. They’ve also got live DJ sets a few nights a week – so it’s a chill spot, but definitely more than just a restaurant. Plus, Dalia (owner) is one of the best people you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting!
How did Mealshare get started? Why do you think has contributed to it’s success on 17th?
Andrew: The initial idea was a restaurant of our own that provided a meal for every meal sold. But we realized that there were a ton of amazing independent restaurants already, so we’d thought we’d save some money and mistakes, and build a model that all these awesome existing restaurants could use instead.
Jeremy: We started right here where we grew up, in YYC. We made our way to 17th within the first few months by partnering with Brava (thanks Dewey!), and it’s just snowballed here – 17th Ave is the busiest street for Mealshare, and this Ave shares the most meals per month out of any street in Canada!
Andrew: The success is probably due to the heavy concentration of awesome restaurants here, with owners who give a damn. 17th is a community – and communities work on things together. People talk, they collaborate, they help each other… we’ve had some amazing support from a handful of great owners on the ave who’ve supported us and spread the word.
Jeremy: Calgary’s also grown quickly thanks to our local charity partners, the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre. They’re so well-run, and make a huge impact in our city so it’s easy for everyone to get excited to support them!
What’s up next for Mealshare?
Jeremy:The sky’s the limit! We’ve got some big plans this year including an awareness campaign with some amazing celebrities, expansions in a bunch of Canadian cities, new team members, and most importantly a ton more meals to people in need! We’re really enjoying the ride.
Stay up-to-date on all things Mealshare by following them online below: