‘Best. Smoked. Meat. In. Montreal’: Trudeau, others react to closing of beloved deli

Click to play video: 'Iconic Montreal restaurant closes its doors for good'
Iconic Montreal restaurant closes its doors for good
Just months away from celebrating its 50th anniversary, the iconic Main Deli on St-Laurent Boulevard has closed its doors for good. Global’s Brayden Jagger Haines is live on location with the story – May 9, 2023

A beloved Montreal institution is no more. The Main Deli steak house on Saint-Laurent Boulevard has suddenly closed its kitchen.

Known for its famous smoked meat sandwiches and nostalgic charm, the restaurant was a fixture on the boulevard for nearly 50 years.

On Monday patrons looking for a bite to eat found the deli’s windows covered in white paper and the doors shuttered.

A message at the entrance announced the closure, thanking customers for their years of loyalty.

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“It is with regret that we inform you that the Main deli has decided to close. Thank you to our loyal customers for all these years,” the message read.

High food and labour costs are the reasons for the closure, according to Fréderic Serre, a longtime customer who spoke with the owners after hearing the news.

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“I’ve been coming here for 30 years. I always made a point to come here and not the big competitor on the other side of the street,” Serre said.

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Like many, Serre was stunned. “I would never expect this pace to close,” he said.

Even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mourned the loss of the long-standing food joint in a tweet.

“Ouch. Surprised at how much this hurts. An end to decades of The. Best. Smoked. Meat. In. Montreal,” he said.

The Main deli became well known by Montrealers as the place to enjoy a quick smoked meat sandwich without waiting in lineups across the street at Schwartz’s.

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The smoked meat rivalry gave prominence to both restaurants over the decades.

“Any time I came in, my glass of wine was ready and waiting for me. I got to sit where I wanted and my steak and liver were prepared,” Serre said.

He says “it’s the little touches” he will miss the most.

Global News did not hear back from the owners of the business on Tuesday.

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