(Photo courtesy of BlogTo.com)
I’ve heard rumours of this for a while, but now it seems to be confirmed. This is not how I wanted to end my year.
Toronto’s Moe Pancer’s Delicatessen has been sold. Lorne Pancer (grandson of Moe) and his sister have sold the deli, the recipes, and the name to longtime customer Jerry Gould, and his son, Lenny, reports the National Post:
“I feel great,” says Lorne Pancer, co-owner since 1999. “I’m going to take a long vacation.”
Jerry Gould, who missed our appointed meeting time Tuesday, tells me later over the telephone that he has big plans for the place.
“My dad hooked me up and bought me this business,” he says. “I’m absolutely not changing anything with the pastrami or corned beef. I spent a good amount of money for the recipes.” (A story on the wall notes that, for the pastrami, the beef briskets are pickled 5-7 days in a brine that contains pickling spices, garlic and salt, then washed off and cooked two hours in a huge kettle in water, onions and garlic, then baked on a tray with “specific spices.”)
Then Mr. Gould starts listing plans for change.
“I want to feed the next generation,” he says. (The crowd around me includes seniors and young families). “I am going to change a little bit of the décor. I am going to do a weekend breakfast. Do a sports night there. Maybe chicken wings. Put a couple of flat screen TVs and get a bit of a sports thing there.
“Unfortunately there are a lot of old school ways there. The cash area is going to be ripped out and a whole new counter put in for efficiency. The smoked meat could be better. Maybe I can go to Montreal and find a proper smoked meat distributor.”
Lorne Pancer was the first deli man to let me see into the business, and I love him dearly. To him I have nothing but congratulations. Lorne, you’ll be missed bud. Not just by me and my family, but by all Toronto deli lovers.
And to Mr Gould, I say this: You’ve inherited more than a property, you’ve bought a legacy. With that comes responsibility to uphold the traditions. Traditions that go beyond the recipes for corned beef and pastrami. It’s the staff (Wilf, Mario, Lori, etc…), the feel, the sound, the smell, and the atmosphere. It’s the way you treat customers and the way you cultivate those traditions. Toronto’s filled with places to get chicken wings and watch shitty hockey on LCD TVs. What it lacks are tested and loved Jewish delis like Moe Pancer’s. Lost sight of that and we’ll all lose. Keep it in mind, and keep it preserved, and the future will be bright indeed.