Save the Deli

Schwartz’s Sold!

Some days you wake up, turn on the computer, and the world has changed. 9/11, the Arab Spring, and now…this.

According to news reports out of Montreal, Schwartz’s has been sold. Reports the Huffington Post:

the transaction took place around Jan. 7, after which the now-former owner, businessman Hy Diamond, filed a request for dissolution of his business with the Registre des entreprises du Québec – the province’s business registry. The sale of the uber-popular deli was motivated by a desire simply to move on, sources told HuffPost Quebec.

It is reported, but unconfirmed that the new owner paid $10 million for the iconic temple of smoked meat, and that said owner could be none other than René Angélil, husband of Celine Dion, now the literal queen of schmaltz.

I think the term “holy shit” is appropriate in this situation.

This wouldn’t be Rene and Celine’s first venture into the deli business. When her career first took off in the 1990′s, she owned and expanded a chain of smoked meat focused diners called Nickels, known best for selling a second smoked meat sandwich for just a nickel, and putting smoked meat on every dish, like it were olive oil in an Italian restaurant. It was cheap, it was tacky, and the smoked meat was some over processed crap…basically Celine’s music, compressed into a sandwich.

I can only hope, and will pray for, a more preservationist streak with Schwartz’s in these hands. Time and time again I’ve seen investors scoop up beloved, traditional, golden Jewish delicatessens. Time and again they look at them, unleash their MBA trained children, with visions of multi-chain empires and expanded profit margins. Time and again those delis are diluted, sucked dry, and eventually destroyed.

Hy Diamond, the owner who just sold, was a great steward for Schwartz’s. He didn’t change a thing, except expanding the takeout section, recognizing that the value of Schwartz’s is it’s rarity. People line up there because it’s so small. They rave about it because it remains unchanged, undiluted, and true to its history. So to Rene, Celine, and the rest of the investors, I can only ask that they take a step back, and examine what they’ve bought. It’s not a gold mine, or a parking lot that can be built into condos. It’s not a burger chain, ready to be cut and pasted into every highway off ramp. It’s an institution, possibly the greatest Jewish delicatessen in the world, and if they fuck it up, the world will not forgive them.

10 Responses to “Schwartz’s Sold!”

  1. Pam Fontaine Says:

    Worst news ever. Just praying they see the wisdom of leaving well enough alone.

  2. theribdoctor Says:

    please please don’t expand it…it needs to stay the same…don’t screw it up and whatever you do, leave the grill alone!

  3. Connecticut Res. Says:

    Sorry to hear about this but we stopped standing in line years ago and started going to the Main. No line, delicious smoked meat and the cole slaw (health salad is the name we use here in CT) is better.

    The item lacking at both Schwartz’s and the Main is a really good rye bread.

  4. Barry Gilbert Says:

    I really hope they leave it alone. It’s one of kind and the best smoked meat in the world. As a former Montrealer I miss it a lot.

    But if they do decide to open another, I hope they consider Orange County, California. Jerry’s Deli announced they are closing their location in Costa Mesa (they lost their lease) and we don’t have many good Jewish delis here.

  5. ari-free Says:

    I can’t believe Celine Dion was a deli queen. A new day has come but that’s the way it is. My heart will go on and on for real deli.

  6. Cindy Morrison Says:

    I hope Celine Dion doesn’t change anything about the Schwartz’s Deli, because once you do there is no going back. The owner that sold it should have stipulated that it could be changed in any way. There was a famous Ukrainian restaurant that was a Winnipeg icon, named Aylicias, that had the best Ukrainian food, and when they opened up in the 80′s, they had lineups around the block. The late John Candy, would have their famous perogies flown out to Toronto. If you didn’t have your perogy orders, made at least 2 or 3 weeks in advance, you were out of luck. The originals owners decided to retire, and they sold it to someone else, it was okay for a few years, and I guess they started cutting corners, and from there they went down hill. It now sits up for sale. So be fore warned, that this could happen to Schwartz’s. Heed the call.

  7. That Food Says:

    I really hope he’s not going to change it, but I could forgive him if he’d create other Schwartz’s branches, same quality tho.

  8. office small business 97 Says:

    Hello! This is wonderful news! I am beyond thrilled about this exhibit, and thank Frazier for locking in this event.This will be a once in a lifetime experience, and as close as we will ever come to meeting Diana.I plan on coming in September, and hopefully again before the exhibit is gone.

  9. Augustine Shawley Says:

    Being that it will take corrupt terrorist lover Holder to prosecute, you can be sure that nothing will be done.

  10. Veraz Says:

    We hope that the business is in good hands right now. Nice place!

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