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Mile-End eatery Wilensky’s turns 85

Click to play video: 'Wilensky’s celebrates 85 years' Wilensky’s celebrates 85 years
Wilensky’s, a staple of Montreal’s restaurant scene, is turning 85 years old. As Global's Gloria Henriquez reports, the deli is celebrating by giving back by asking people to donate non-perishable food to Sun Youth – May 15, 2017

In a city where restaurants open and close in the blink of an eye, Wilensky’s, a quaint Mile-End eatery, has withstood the test of time.

The Wilenskys are known for their bologna and salami special: always with mustard, never cut.

“People have offered us money [to have their sandwiches cut] — we’ve refused. Profusely,” Paul Scheffer said.
“I recall [they offered] 100 American dollars, and Mrs. Wilensky said, ‘No way.”
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They also serve egg sandwiches and steamies, pickles and homemade soda.

It’s a limited but coveted menu.

“We used to come up here with my uncle. He used to deliver milk with horse and buggy, on a Saturday, and have a Wilensky’s special. So this place is magic, Montreal magic,” longtime client Brian Rozon said.

And for this one day, they’re adding cake to it.

From students to celebrities, people have been flocking to the eatery for 85 years.

Since Day 1, it’s been owned and run by the same family.

“People keep coming here — they’re proud to come in here, proud to say they were here — we can’t keep up with them,” Wilensky’s matriarch, Ruth Wilensky said.

Immortalized by loyal customer Mordecai Richler in his book, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, the famous eatery prides itself in one thing: it doesn’t change.

And that keeps generations of clients pouring in.

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“The roof is the same thing and ‘Ah!’ Madame Wilensky, look at her, she’s my inspiration,” exclaimed Eddie Restler, who’s been eating “Specials” since he was a kid.

Another Wilensky’s original? You don’t tip.

Any money you want to leave behind goes to charity.

On their birthday, they’re also collecting goods for Sun Youth, a non-profit organization.

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