There’s no news like good news, especially to kiss you all goodbye before Passover.
Home in Toronto today, where I went for lunch at Moe Pancer’s with my good friend Michael Wex. I haven’t been to Pancer’s more than once since I moved to New York, and truthfully I’ve been a bit hesitant to. That’s because a few months back Lorne Pancer told me that he was selling the family business, and putting the deli up for sale. I wrote about it back in October here. As I said then:
It’s time I finally discuss the worst kept secret in Toronto’s delicatessen business. For months now Moe Pancer’s delicatessen, the beloved institution of North York, has quietly been for sale. Normally I’d keep you abreast of all these developments, but Lorne Pancer is a dear friend and this site, the book, hell…this whole deli community, wouldn’t exist without his support over the years. So I kept my mouth shut as Lorne looked around for a buyer.
Truth be told, it broke my heart to hear this. Lorne was the first deli man I ever became close with, and he taught me a lot about the business. He runs a place that’s full of joy and tam and love, and makes some of the finest corned beef anywhere. So to hear that it was being sold really cut deep. After all Lorne had told me about maintaining the legacy of his Zaidy, was he really going to sell out the family name and retire?
You’re damn right he wasn’t!
It’s my great pleasure to announce that Moe Pancer’s deli is going to remain in the hands of the Pancer family now, tomorrow, and hopefully into the long distant future. Lorne was there today, behind the counter, slicing the meat, and dishing out the love. I can’t tell you for sure what made him change his mind. Did the recession play a part of it? Perhaps. He certainly didn’t get high enough offers for the sale, but he also readily admitted that business is better than ever. His community needs him. It hasn’t been an easy couple of months for the Toronto deli industry. Coleman’s Deli closed a few months back, shocking its patrons and breaking hearts. Strubb’s Pickles was sold recently, and quality has reportedly gone downhill. Losing Pancer’s, or having it change and be a lesser version under another owner, would surely be terrible.
So Lorne did the honorable thing. He stepped up, pulled the family’s name off the table, and went back to work. He’s improving the product, figuring out a better work/life balance, and most importantly, he’s keeping the ship sailing straight into that mustard colored sunset.
A blessing on his head this pesach. Zay gezunt!