In late July, Peterson Harter, feeling burned out, shut down his San Francisco sandwich pop-up Sandy’s for a weekend.

That one weekend turned into three as he slipped into a deep depression. His couch felt like a pool of quicksand, pulling him into a dark place where something as simple as brushing his teeth or picking up a phone call from his best friend felt insurmountable. The weight of the last year-plus — the pandemic capsizing all sense of normalcy, losing his restaurant job, throwing himself into baking bread 18 hours a day to survive — collapsed on him.

“I

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Toast’s restaurant technology

Toast

Toast is gearing up for an initial public offering next week that could value the restaurant-tech company at more than $16 billion. That’s about double its valuation from a secondary share sale last November.

The company has taken a very uneven path to the New York Stock Exchange.

Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Toast was thriving by selling technology to restaurants that helped them combine their payment systems with things like inventory management and multilocation controls for eateries with more than one site. Investors valued the company at $5 billion in February 2020.

Two months later,

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ALBANY – Joe Abbruzzese and Jim Rua said they’re tired of the gunshots, watching hand-to-hand drug deals and having customers tell them they don’t feel safe outside at their restaurants at night.

They’ve built restaurants and reputations that have become cornerstones in the Mansion neighborhood. When Gov. Kathy Hochul was sworn in last month, she celebrated with dinner at Rua’s Café Capriccio on Grand Street.

The area that includes the two restaurants, Abbruzzese’s Hill Street Café and Rua’s Café Capriccio, sits just a few hundred feet from the governor’s mansion and the Empire State Plaza, with easy access to highways

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This story is part of Heads of the Table, our celebration of 12 restaurants, people, and organizations that led the industry through the pandemic and beyond. Meet all the winners here.

The human experience is a varied one. But this past year has been one of a shared struggle that has tied all of us together in grief, anxiety, and clarity. The pandemic brought to light many things for me, most revolving around the idea of service—what it has meant for me and what it means to my city, my state, and my country.

As the co-chef and co-owner

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This story is part of Heads of the Table, our celebration of 12 restaurants, people, and organizations that led the industry through the pandemic and beyond. Meet all the winners here.

When I first came to the U.S. in 1994, I always worked in restaurants. English was a barrier, so this was one way of making a living. The village I lived in, Ting Jiang [in China’s Fuzhou province], didn’t have many opportunities. I saw a brighter future in the States. First I worked at a take-out restaurant in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, then I ran my own take-out place in

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Used to be, whenever he and his wife would go out of town to dinner, Opp businessman Merrill Culverhouse would always run into someone he knew from their south Alabama hometown.

“When you would go out of town — if it was Andalusia, Enterprise, Destin (Fla.), anywhere — you would see Opp people leaving Opp to go to eat somewhere else,” Culverhouse says.

Ever since Culverhouse and his lifelong friend, chef Jon Gibson, opened their Wheelhouse restaurant in an old peanut butter plant downtown, though, folks around Opp are staying in town when they eat out.

And even better, out-of-towners

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