New Mercer Village restaurant donates pizzas to first responders and hospital workers

Dahlia+Sanchez%2C+Lisa+Williams%2C+and+Andrew+Gates+hold+a+pizza+box+that+reads+%E2%80%9CWe+appreciate+what+you+are+doing+for+our+community%21%E2%80%9D

Image: Connor Hendricks

Dahlia Sanchez, Lisa Williams, and Andrew Gates hold a pizza box that reads “We appreciate what you are doing for our community!”

On March 14, JAG’s Pizzeria and Pub was celebrating its grand opening. Live music echoed through the venue while servers paced back and forth delivering sizzling pizzas to tables. 

Just three days later, the restaurant closed its doors due to the COVID-19 outbreak and transitioned to takeout orders only. Many Macon restaurants have either shut down completely or are only able to offer takeout orders. 

To general manager Lisa Williams, it felt like a punch in the gut.

“You’re so excited about opening and all the hard work you put into it. You have a great opening weekend and then have to close your doors. It’s unfortunate. When you have to let go of your staff who worked so hard to prepare and learn, and build up so much excitement, with a drop of a penny it’s just gone,” Williams said.

While a sizable portion of the JAG’s staff is comprised of Mercer students, a large number of the staff work in the service industry full time. Williams said that the staff is remaining optimistic, but is not immune to the effects the outbreak has brought. 

“They’re definitely struggling. It’s impacted pretty much every single one of our employees … they understand what’s going on and are trying to remain positive, but all in all it’s affecting them. That’s their paychecks and bills,” Williams said. 

Williams said the outbreak has given the kitchen staff an opportunity to perfect the way the kitchen operates.

“We’ve taken this time to use to our advantage and practice in the kitchen,” Williams said.

Williams also has taken the opportunity to give back to the community. She has delivered meals to Coliseum Medical Center, fire stations and Mercer Police. 

“I walked in (to Coliseum Medical Center) and handed them to the CEO for him to pass them out accordingly. I mean, we needed the practice so why not show appreciation and say ‘thanks for what you’re doing for our community,’” Williams said.

According to a Facebook post by JAG’s Pizzeria and Pub, JAG’s is offering curbside pickup and to-go orders to limit person-to-person contact. The dining room remains closed until further notice.