Chez Schwartz’s à côté

Chez Schwartz à côté

Saw this sign two or three weeks ago, but it was only tonight that I had my camera with me to snap a picture. I literally fell down my virtual chair when I saw this sign posted next to Schwartz’s. In terms of Montreal food landmarks, there is none other next to Schwartz’s and its delicious melt in the mouth smoked meat (always get the large fat), besides maybe La Banquise’s poutine or the St-Viateur/Fairmount bagels.

I think that part of Schwartz Charcuterie Hébraïque de Montréal’s charm was its obstinacy to stay more or less the same throughout the years. Sure, they re-did the ceiling a few years ago, but they didn’t put all kinds of mirrors and lamps above tables to make the place look more “expensive” and surely didn’t make the chairs any more comfortable.

Opening up to franchises? I remember when Dunn’s opened a branch in Kirkland, in the West Island, only to close after a few months or years (after which it became a 50 cents / hot dog Belle Province ever since). Has anyone seen Schwartz smoked meat sold in packs of twelve at Costco lately? (No, I did not.)

It’s Schwartz’s alright, taking over the space where a fries and burgers place where impatient eaters not knowing what they were missing presumably went to. Says the sign, “Pour emporter / take out”. Will this extension forever change my good ol’ permanently-crowded Schwartz’s?


  1. It remains to be seen – for the moment it looks as if they are being clear that it is just a takeaway. That was a problem, for people who want to get something to take out, whether a sandwich or one of their smoked chickens (I’m in the latter camp).

    I’m not among those who enjoy the Schwartz ambience, though I do understand the nostalgic interest. Do enjoy good smoked poultry though… At home, or as part of a picnic. (I’ve also bought wonderful smoked turkey at nearby Charcuterie Fairmount).

    I’m far more concerned about independent local businesses (such as the burgers and frites place) being squeezed out because they were unable to bear up under the never-ending renovations, and the threat of the same interchangeable corporate tenants one sees in all cities in the Western world coming in – and with the loss of merchants selling “everyday” goods – hardwares, food shops etc.

  2. yeah, this one’s been in the offing for some time. the work’s been going on since early june, and there was an article about it in the gazette back in early july (if memory serves). it’s set to be take-out only, though knowing the size of the space, i imagine they’ll have some stools in there too.

    personally, i think this is a great idea. a schwartz franchise is impossible, as the smoker can’t be duplicated (the accumulation of 70 years of dross makes for a pretty tasty hunk of meat), but this one should really cut down on the lines, which is nice for locals like us (i just want the food, to hell with the ‘experience’).

    think of the banquise expansion back in 2005. i remember being totally annoyed by the whole thing, it seemed somehow too big, too diluting. but now it seems like a brilliant move, especially in the wee hours when we no longer have those 45 minute waits for a sumptuous galvaude.

  3. Does anyone else feel like the “old ambiance” is already diminished?

    Obviously, time marches on. But there’s been a sweeping generational shift at the place and to me the waiters all seem like kids, now. No continuity.

    Plus it seems to me that the quality of food has declined in recent years.

  4. As long as that is true what you say about the smoker not being duplicable, I’m happy with this. Won’t be good for my waistline, though…

  5. The “old ambiance” has taken a big hit with the disappearance of the old charcoal range, which has been replaced by a stainless-steel gas range…

    But Schwartz’s cannot really expand, as it’s legacy brick smoker cannot be legally expanded nor duplicated, and the brick smoker is the real secret behind Schwartz’s taste.

    (Source: Jack Liber, a personal friend of a former Schwartz’s owner – and of myself).

  6. Puke. Worst smoked meat in town. Tourist trap with shit service, and shit ambiance. This is where the idiot herd troughs.

  7. As for “old ambiance” … people… the past is *that-a-way*. Let it go… The nostalgic St-Laurent Blvd of the old 70’s NFB films you second-hand reminisce is LONG gone. Let it go.

  8. The previous tenant was Mondo Fritz, vaguely Scandinavian inspired. I relished their dozen odd flavours of mayo (is mayo cacher, can I ask for it chez Schwartz? .. on second thought.. ) and with friends you could inevitably try them all over the course of a meal. It was the one casualty of the unending St Laurent roadworks that I mourned. Also they served beer.

  9. As a former grill man at the now defunct Stagecoach restaurant (Decarie and Jean Talon)
    I’ve eaten my share of barbecue ribs, chicken and charcoal grilled steaks. I think I know a little about smoked meats.
    To do it proper, the technique must be worked and perfected to a scheduled consistant process. Therefore an artisan’s technique must be developed and adhered to by it’s apprentices. I have learned from some of the best.
    I can safely say this, Schwartz’s recipe is down pat, done to perfection, completely mastered!
    If I stole the ingredient list I still couldn’t replicate the formula.
    Just be greatful the option to ’emporter’ is available. Some of us mistakenly moved to Toronto.

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