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Rumors abound about the sale of Schwartz's

As the kids say it's trending on Twitter as we speak

The Journal de Montreal article

and the Huff Post article

For those too lazy to click, Rene Angelil and some other guys for apparently $10 million.

I would guess that they first open one in Las Vegas, then in select other cities worldwide.

(and I think I got rid of that pesky typo... apologies


Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen
3895 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC , CA

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  1. Oh good god. Is this the end? Will they turn it into a second Nickel's chain, spotless, fakely cheerful and kids eat for cheap?

    1. Hey Rene, you'll save money by outsourcing the smoked meat. Also increase profits by gangneedling the briskets, cure by pump injection. Get rid of those stupid Cott cans and make a deal with Pepsi - get them to pay you to install fountain drinks. A mechanical slicer would cut 4 jobs. Get Celine to broker a deal with Caesar's - no cover with a 2 drink/1 smoked meat minimum.

      1 Reply
      1. re: porker

        i'm not as pessimistic.old people with money often do benevolent things like build hockey arenas. who would pass up the opportunity to buy an institution.schwartz's does not have name recognition in vegas or anywhere else in the US for that matter.

      2. NOOOOOO!!!!! Say it isn't so!!!!!
        Please, please no....
        The charm is the environment, the attitude, the food...
        At least its a part of a consortium...on the down side, you know these guys will want a big return on their money (what, 10 million?) so expansion and chain development has to be in the works aka Dunns...

        5 Replies
        1. re: freia

          Hope it gets saved in some form and atleast doesnt go the way of Bens and others...

          1. re: mangoannie

            Hasn't Schwartz already been sold a few years? What'S the official name of the restaurant. I think you can find the owners name in the Quebec business registry.

            1. re: maj54us

              No, as far as I know, the rumor is it sold as of Jan 2012...

              1. re: freia

                The official name is, 'Charcuterie Hebraique de Montreal' and the owner listed in the registry is still Hy Diamond. But who knows how quickly that registry gets updated.

                The articles state that it's Angeli's cousin and another guy who is involved in Baton Rouge and Sir Winstons Pub that are part of the deal. It's obvious these people will plan on expansion, so say bye bye to the deli we all know. Hopefully they don't mess around with the original location.

                1. re: ios94

                  Weren't he and Celine behind that nasty Nickel's chain awhile ago (any still business??)? Wasn't their "thing" smoked meat in the first place (I vaguely remember something about getting the second one for... get this... a nickel!) I certainly hope it doesn't go down that route... dry, frozen, overpriced generic entrees galore. *sigh*

        2. I really can't wait to pay $12 for a smoked meat sandwich.

          2 Replies
          1. re: SnackHappy

            Yeah, but the second will be a Nickel.

            1. re: porker

              LOLOLOLOL cant. stop. laughing.

          2. Would be sad if this happened. For 10 million they are almost certainly looking at expansion ideas. I can think of many restaurants where the product took a dive after expansion. It would not suprise me to see outposts appearing at the airport, perhaps the Bell Centre, and malls. Luckily there are other quality smoked meat places to carry on the tradition. Some founded by former employees of Schwartz's.

            2 Replies
              1. re: gerrythegreat

                Nowheres. No point any more as IMHO this was kind of the last bastion of smoked meat purveyed and made as it was "back in the day".
                Sad, sad day.

            1. Sad day for Montreal, but at least the buyer had more history with the city than say, Gordon Ramsay?

              9 Replies
              1. re: melani1

                Did GR set up a new restaurant that failed or buy out an existing landmark restaurant and drive it into the ground and fail? I don't recall...

                1. re: freia

                  cbc as it happens reported today that there is no plan for expansion or to change anything at all

                  no matter what happens, it is stupid to get sentimental about someone else's hard work.

                  1. re: BarackHObama

                    I'm sorry, I don't understand your last statement at all. Do you mean that one shouldn't recall those things from the past that gave us joy in a positive way, or even at all? We all are sentimental about things and events and stuff we had "back in the day". Confused! Especially since I don't understand what it has to do with asking a reminder about the Gordon Ramsay restaurant situation. I don't live in Montreal, but I heard about his restaurant. I was asking for a refresher of the details.

                    1. re: freia

                      Laurier was going down and GR brought it up and gave it a new life while keeping some of the classics.

                      As for Schwartz, i have no fear that Angelil & co will keep the original location true to the original, although a fresh coat of paint would be welcome!

                      1. re: westaust

                        Don't forget all those "1%" guys have massive egos - just being able to say they own Schwartz is probably worth the $10M entry price for them, even if they don't do anything with it.

                        1. re: westaust

                          Ah, thanks for the info! I heard GR was in Montreal, didn't know the details....:)

                          1. re: westaust

                            GR actually did not buy it up, lent his name but there is another owner from what I recall although he may have some portion of it. He was recently asked to name his 5 favourite North American restos and for Canada he singled out Black Hoof in Toronto. I dont think he is present here really although his corporation had some say in menus and so forth.

                            1. re: mangoannie

                              Ah, gotcha. The corporate "Gordon Ramsay" so to speak rather than the individual setting up... :)

                  2. I expect to see a revamped interior with modern seating and plastic smoked meat models hanging in the windows. All the food will be prepared in a warehouse and shipped ready for reheating to locations accross the world. Maybe it's time I eat there at least once in my life.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: marblebag

                      they already ship their food to locations across the world

                      1. re: BarackHObama

                        If you are talking about schwartz, no they don't ship all over the world. Only in Canada and maybe in parts of the states.

                        1. re: maj54us

                          how do you know? their website makes no reference to any limitations. why wouldn't they ship anywhere that ups/fedex can next day deliver to?

                          1. re: BarackHObama

                            Import/export laws regarding shipment of meat products whether cooked or not? Which explains why I can't get meat products aka sausage shipped to Canada from Minneapolis for example. Which explains why I can't get meat or cheese products shipped to me directly from Italy. Depends on the country. And even it if is "possible" often it isnt worth the aggravation to ship so a company elects to not do it.
                            Hey, why don't you order some in? Let us know how it goes! Then we'll know for sure!

                            1. re: freia

                              Most countries are a lot more loose than the US and Canada about importing meat products. You can ship stuff almost anywhere in the world except North-Amercia.

                            2. re: BarackHObama

                              Because I'm the god of the smoked meat and I say so! lol lol lol
                              I asked them, if you don't believe me maybe you should ask them next time you go there or call them and let us know what's the latest 411 on their shipping of smoked meat. have a good day.

                        2. re: marblebag

                          Yes, I think it would be a plan to get there before any significant changes are made I think? Its really worth the experience before it loses its character.

                        3. I hope all of the doomsayers are wrong. If the new owners bought it to neuter it into oblivion, they wouldn't be very smart business people at all.

                          Who knows? Maybe they saw the Dragons Den episode with Caplansky's and realized the Dragons were right and Zane Caplansky was wrong. Just because no chain has ever gone with artisanal production city-by-city doesn't mean it can't be done and profitably so.

                          IMO destroying this brand with cheap injection methods would be he first step in the slow death of Schwartz's. They already have great name recognition. If they back it up with quality, Montreal wouldn't be the only location with line-ups.

                          9 Replies
                          1. re: Googs

                            For 10$ million they are buying the brand not the process of making the food.

                            1. re: chickenbruiser

                              it's presumptuous to assume anything about their intentions.

                              1. re: BarackHObama

                                Agreed. It's staying in Montreal hands, so I'd like to assume good intentions.

                                Hatahs gonna hate.

                              2. re: chickenbruiser

                                The only way to turn a profit on a 10mil investment is to franchise, which is surely what they intend to do. No restaurant in Montreal is worth that kind of money. It's been bought and sold numerous times before.

                                1. re: OliverB

                                  I agree with Oliver, the sale price could never pay the interest let alone the principal.This will demand a franchise plan.Paul Nakis who is leading the group has franchised his restaurants before and is an area he knows well.Nobody in that group has a fuzzy feeling for Schwartz's and wants to protect it.This is all about $$$$.

                                  1. re: finefoodie55

                                    Chaining it is the only way to ensure uniformity.

                                    1. re: Googs

                                      True, but sad. Chaining is going to completely suck. It'll go from having that something special to a Dunn's which one can take or leave. Dunn's opened in my hometown, on the main street, in a town full of university and college students. Folded inside of 6 months. I'd hate to see Schwartz's chain and become just another sandwich shop.

                                      1. re: freia

                                        Hy Diamond must be in a state of shock selling for 10 million after he picked it up for pocket change.
                                        10 million buys a great toupee

                                        A good friend has been in the place when Rene Angelli arrived and made a scene that people were at ‘his’ table.
                                        Now as the owner he can have a proper section built, roped off so now one has to be removed while eating.

                                        1. re: InterFoodie

                                          Just curious what old Hy paid back when?

                                          "10 million buys a great toupee"
                                          Not necessarily true, looky here

                                          BTW, I heard Rene is removing the dividing wall between the two Schwartz's and making a side by side smoked meat/ Korean BBQ joint.

                            2. When is the official sale supposed to take place, or at least an announcement of plans?

                              To be honest, when I first heard the news, I knew right away this had franchise written all over it. Undoubtedly Schwartz's is a highly profitable restaurant, but it would take DECADES to even break even on a $10 million dollar investment, let alone start making a cent of profit. Franchising on the other hand means return on the investment very short term. These guys will unfortunately do what's best for their own personal business and pocket books, not Montreal. Mark my words.

                              Funny to see three of Montreal's long-time landmark restaurants in peril all at once: Schwartz's, Laurier and Yangtze (or at the very least, losing what made them unique).

                              1. Can't wait to get Schwartz's sandwiches comped in Vegas

                                1. It's official : http://www.newswire.ca/fr/story/93264...

                                  Unfortunately for some people here : "Of course, we'll make a few improvements as necessary, but we're not interested in diluting the brand by franchising, or making the deli something that it isn't. It's truly one-of-a-kind, and we intend to keep it this way."

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Glaff

                                    Yeah...right...that's what is always said, while the roll-out plan for franchising/dilution is taking place. Then it'll be ..."after review of the books, the only feasible way to keep things going is by offering franchise opportunities..."

                                    1. Not "franchising" is not necessarily the same thing as not opening up a slew of Schwartz's eateries under the same corporate banner/ownership. Surely Rene & Celine have enough money to open dozens more without seeking franchisees.

                                      14 Replies
                                      1. re: eat2much

                                        still say it would have gone the way of dodo bird like Bens if they and Nakis family did not adopt it...

                                        so sad all the restos that are closing last few months so dont count me in the naysayers!.

                                        1. re: mangoannie

                                          I thought Bens went under because of a prolongued strike and then the family sold the business as land-value-mostly. Which is a terrible tragedy IMHO.
                                          Why do you think it would have gone the way of the Dodo? Not being from Montreal but a regular visitor and Schwartz's regular when I'm there, it always seemed busy enough. Plus a reported 10 million dollar pricetag? Seems to indicate the business was/is in fine stead? What am I missing, from a Montrealer's POV?

                                          1. re: freia

                                            maybe wrong comparison, I was just suggesting that someone else could take it over and not appreciate its uniqueness so think the new owners should be given a chance before all the negativism sets in

                                            Is the line only because it is so good or because place is so small? How many are repeaters? I am asking because I dont know....

                                            1. re: mangoannie

                                              True, that...I think the lines are a combo of good food, limitied seating, and the desire to visit an "institution" if that makes sense. The ambiance is certainly...unique?...and its mentioned in most guidebooks as a place to go, hence the perhaps longer than deserved lineups....JMHO, cause I do love the place. I'd love to know too what the percentage is of "tourists", visitors who are regular when in town, and local repeaters...

                                              1. re: freia

                                                One of our pastimes is to sit at La Cabane du Portugal, scoff beer/wine/sangria, and watch the world go by. Its pretty much directly across the street from Schwartz, so we get to see the line-ups from time to time. In my unscientific, wine-fueled observations, I'd venture 50% are tourists. The balance is regular repeaters and local repeaters. Of those, its harder to say. I'd guess that locals are perhaps less likely to wait in a long line, so their numbers might be lower - maybe 20% local, 30% out-of-neighbourhood?
                                                Just my guesses.

                                                1. re: porker

                                                  I believe it depends on the time of day. I think a lot of regulars try to avoid primetime and tourist season. I certainly never even think about going there in July/August – It's not hot weather food anyway – or during peak times.

                                                  1. re: porker

                                                    LOLOLOL wine fuelled observations! Love it! I think I might try La Cabane du Portugal when I hit Montreal next, sounds likea great place! Great info, thanks!

                                                    1. re: freia

                                                      They have decent food as well and usually interesting choices on their daily special board.

                                                      @SnackHappy, yeah, time of day and season has a big impact, just wasn't sure how to enter it into the observation matrix.

                                              2. re: freia

                                                I think Bens business went down hill before the strike. I loved the institution, but from what I understand, their quality went down at about the same time the restaurant became un-fashionable - likely a double nail in their coffin.
                                                The strike was a last straw, but the owners were never eager to settle (perhaps because of a pronounced downturn of the business?). I'm guessing the sell-out was somewhat of a welcome solution for the family.

                                                I'm not sure Schwartz would have suffered the same fate, but then again, one never knows in the restaurant business.

                                                1. re: porker

                                                  I was surprised with the whole Ben's issue -- I agree with you that the owners didn't really want to settle as I suspect the land value of Ben's in downtown Montreal exceeded the value of the actual business. Owners were probably at the point of wanting to sell in any event, so a strike kind of made things "easy" for them as in "now we can shutter the business, live off its avails, then sell the property and make a killing" all while keeping a sense of respectability about them (It's not our fault, its our striking employees that have killed the business). But then again, I'm a cynic? :)

                                                  1. re: freia

                                                    I don't have inside info, but only what I read in the papers. I don't think you're being overly cynical, perhaps quite close to the reality.

                                                    1. re: porker

                                                      porker, you're quite right, Ben's quality of food had declined a lot, many years before the strike, I used to live closeby and can vouch for this. They were in a perfect spot yet patrons stopped going, there's a reason for this.

                                                      1. re: superbossmom

                                                        Ben's had been terrible for a good long decade before it bit the dust.

                                                        Schwartz's has always been consistent and regularly frequented by locals and visiting expats and tourists alike. It's not comparable to the other restaurants named above (Laurier and Yangtze) which both served dreadful food for the longest time. It's kind of crazy to lump Schwartz's in with that group.

                                                        1. re: OliverB

                                                          I added a piece on Ben's Deli, including its decline, over at Wikipedia:

                                                          I agree, Ben's really went downhill by the early to mid 90's. They were coasting off their fame and serving any old slop figuring tourists will come anyway (much like Laurier and the new Yangtze are doing now! The old Yangtze to its credit wasn't THAT bad before the fire and move, now it's just inedible).

                                                          Schwartz's isn't as good as it used to be. I remember eating a smoked meat sandwich there in '95 and it was *amazing*. Went back about a year ago (several times in fact) and found it's really dry and mediocre by comparison, but nonetheless, I wouldn't turn my nose up at a sandwich from there. It's just OK, not great. Different situation from Laurier and Yangtze--those I would not eat at if they were free (I kid you not).

                                          2. The Griffintown stables was recently sold to a developper
                                            I heard this will be the location of Schwartz II.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: porker

                                              I heard a similar story through, "the grapevine", didn't pay much attention until I read your post, porker. The rumour I heard was that not necessarily franchises, but at least one more location has already been selected in Montreal. Will have to wait and see.