By Jillian Clark


Situated on The Main, Schwartz’s is one of Montreal’s biggest personalities. This business has provided quality meals and service since 1928 and home is to some of the best smoked meat in North America. Reuben Schwartz, who immigrated from Romania and is the original owner, began the worldwide legend of Schwartz’s during the Depression. After Montreal hosted the 1976 Olympics, business exploded in popularity.

Word of mouth and the Internet allowed Schwartz-mania to spread to all corners of the globe. Known to host locals, tourists and celebrities all at the same table, Schwartz’s helps strangers to become friends by passing the ketchup. The dining area bursts with cultural diversity and the excitement of customers getting into a frenzy for the classic smoked meat sandwich. This deli’s role as Montreal’s own celebrity puts the city on the map in yet another area of expertise.

You can walk in any day and find people from 10 different countries. - Frank Silva, general manager
Schwartz’s Smoked Meat is home to some of the best smoked meat in North America

The story behind the meat

Schwartz's key to success lies in their secret spices and unwavering service. Despite the recent buyout by Celine Dion and Paul Nakis, Schwartz’s Smoked Meat has remained unchanged for years. The meat follows a very specific process to maintain the highest level of customer satisfaction. First, the fresh brisket is marinated in the secret blend of spices for 10 days, then smoked in house for eight hours. Finally, the meat is steamed for three hours before being sliced and served before your eyes.

The most popular meal here is easily the smoked meat sandwich on fresh rye bread. Accompanied by a perfectly juicy pickle, coleslaw and fresh cut fries, this sandwich is sure to satisfy. Quality food is the key to Schwartz’s success – no one can resist it!

And the team here loves making visitors happy. “It’s all about the food,” says Frank Silva, general manager. A single bite of the sandwich says it all, and Frank agrees: “It works, so we don’t change.” Others have tried to mimic the taste, creating similar sandwiches, but the reality is that Schwartz’s simply cannot be beat.

Schwartz’s Smoked Meat is home to some of the best smoked meat in North America
Photo courtesy of Schwartz’s Smoked Meat

Celebrity status

Schwartz’s smoked meat carries this deli to the number one spot year after year. The Montreal Gazette, the Mirror and Gourmet Magazine continue to place Schwartz’s in the top spot based on reader polls.

In addition to their own fame, Schwartz’s continues to draw the attention of celebrities visiting the city – think Seth Rogen, Venus Williams, Halle Berry, Angelina Jolie, Ryan Gosling, The Rolling Stones and especially Celine Dion, who is now a part owner.

Everyone visiting the city needs to experience a smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz’s. However, Schwartz’s current celebrity status would never distract from the hometown, family feel of the venue. The single dining room, run by a long-time employee, hosts a special family of workers and visitors. Neither English nor French is necessary to belong at Schwartz’s: “If you don’t speak those languages, it’s okay!” adds Frank. With an unavoidable feeling of connection across tables, it's easy for Montreal's own mosaic of hungry patrons to repeatedly bond over delicious smoked meat.

[Header photo courtesy of Schwartz's Smoked Meat]

Situated on The Main, Schwartz’s Smoked Meat is home to some of the best smoked meat in North America.
Photo courtesy of Schwartz’s Smoked Meat
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