Smoked meat fans are mourning the loss of beloved Montreal fixture, The Main Deli after it abruptly closed its doors for good on Monday after having been in business for more than 50 years. Located on Boulevard St. Laurent, the surprise closure shocked many long-time customers — including the Prime Minister of Canada.
Not long after the news broke, Justin Trudeau took to his Twitter to express his disappointment.
Ouch. Surprised at how much this hurts. An end to decades of The. Best. Smoked. Meat. In. Montreal. https://t.co/BQsZWjSNEt
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) May 9, 2023
But don’t worry Mr. Trudeau, Toronto has got you covered. Here are some amazing Toronto delis to help you fill the void.
Centre Street Deli
Centre Street Deli is a Thornhill staple that draws a full house pretty much every Sunday. It’s a traditional diner that the whole family will enjoy. Take your ticket and wait until your number is called or sit down and enjoy a meal. The matzah ball soup will warm your stomach as well as your heart, but the corned beef sandwich might break your jaw — it’s stacked and huge! For over 30 years, this deli has catered parties and milestones, won over picky eaters and has grown along with the community. 1136 Centre St., Thornhill
Moe Pancer opened Pancer’s in 1957and this long-running, bare-bones spot is well-known around town for its pastrami sandwiches & Jewish deli staples. The deli became a meeting place for celebs and rock bands — the bands Rush and Anvil grew up with Pancer’s and John Candy once called it a “family home away from home. A Along with sandwiches, salads, soups and even breakfast, they even offer takeout of corn beef pastrami and smoked meat by the pound. 3856 Bathurst St.
When your Montreal smoked meat cravings hit and you need instant gratification – look no further than Sumilicious. Owner Sumith Fernando once worked at the famed Schwartz’s Deli in Montreal for all the skeptics out there. The decor is stereotypical deli to a tee, with red and white checkered motifs on the wall. The goods (smoked meat) range from lean to extra fatty. Sandwiches come on rye bread with a healthy dose of yellow mustard. The smoked meat plates make for a great dinner-for-two; essentially a kind of DIY sandwich deal. Those looking for the ultimate diet-buster can dare to take on the smoked meat poutine with Sumi’s special seasoning and cheese curds ladled with gravy. 5631 Steeles Ave. E.
When the Pig Came Home
Kimberly Hannam and Ryan Getner started selling their peameal bacon sandwiches at farmer’s markets across Toronto – Sorauren, Downsview, Annex and Leslieville, to name a few — before opening their first permanent location in the Junction, aptly named, When The Pig Came Home. Ryan is Polish and Danish, Kimberley Caribbean, so the mix of flavour profiles and a cross section of experimentation summarizes the style of sandwich fillers they sell. On the menu you’ll find breakfast and hot deli sandwiches including classic porchetta and smoked meat on rye and meat meals including jerk chicken. 384 Keele St.
This classic Jewish delicatessen was opened by David Gelberman and his wife in 1975, importing all its brisket from Montreal, which Gelberman swears is more moist than the meat you can get here in Toronto, he slices it up clean and puts a mountain atop a piece (or two) of rye bread. Wolfie’s makes a beautifully brined corned beef as well, which is a hit among its daily regulars, but the beef brisket is definitely the star. 670 Shepherd Ave. W., North York