With the onslaught of the coronavirus, many new businesses have faced unfathomable challenges in their initial days of operation. For new restaurants like The Banh Mi Shop, paying it forward seems like the best practice. The Delmar Loop sandwich shop recently celebrated its one-month anniversary by donating meals to local hospital workers.

“Today on our one-month anniversary, The Banh Mi Shop donated 30 meals to [Missouri Baptist] Hospital,” read a Facebook post on the business’ page last week. “We know we can’t feed the whole hospital but we all have to do what we can, even if it’s just helping feed one department.” 

“We are so grateful to everyone that has shown us love and support in our first month of business. You continually show us how lucky we are to be a part of this community,” the post continues. “Being a small business, we know the importance of sticking together, even being a new shop, we know we have to make sacrifices wherever we can to support the community and especially the healthcare workers that are risking their lives every day to help all of St. Louis.”

Owner Jimmy Trinh says he was inspired by an old friend who reached out and offered to pay for several meals to support his fledgling business. Trinh decided to pass the goodwill on to Missouri Baptist Medical Center staff and was so touched by the positive response that he decided to match the generous donation himself by donating additional meals to Cardinal Glennon healthcare workers.

“We hope to keep doing hospital meals as often as we can and continue sharing love and support to our community, just as the community has shared with us,” Trinh wrote in a Facebook post.

On Sunday, the shop provided lunch to SSM Health ER staff. Other independent local businesses have stepped up to the challenge as well. Rise and Shine Apparel recently announced that it will donate a portion of its sales to The Banh Mi Shop’s ongoing hospital campaign.

“Right now, the community just needs to get together and get through this until we can kind of get back to the norm,” Trinh says. “Everybody’s stir crazy and wants to get out there and support local, which is very appreciated. We all have to do our part to get through this. It takes a whole community.”

The Banh Mi Shop opened in late February, serving Vietnamese fast-casual fare including bánh mì, spring rolls and noodle bowls. The shop's namesake sandwiches come on a toasted baguette served with pickled daikon, carrots, cilantro, jalapeños, cucumber and housemade aïoli. Choose from options including char siu pork belly, curry chicken, lemongrass tofu and the Saigon Classic with pork roll, head cheese, ham and pâté.

The Banh Mi Shop is currently open for carryout and curbside pickup Tuesday through Saturday from 11am to 5pm and Sunday from 11am to 3pm. Ordering is available at thebanhmishopstl.com as well as via the number below.

The Banh Mi Shop, 567 Melville Ave., Delmar Loop, University City, Missouri, 314.390.2836, thebanhmishopstl.com