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Rumors abound about the sale of Schwartz's

EaterBob Feb 5, 2012 10:34 AM

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. TheSnowpea RE: EaterBob Feb 5, 2012 10:45 AM

    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. porker RE: EaterBob Feb 5, 2012 11:00 AM

      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
        BarackHObama RE: porker Feb 5, 2012 01:16 PM

        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. f
        freia RE: EaterBob Feb 5, 2012 01:38 PM

        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
          mangoannie RE: freia Feb 5, 2012 02:21 PM

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

          1. re: mangoannie
            maj54us RE: mangoannie Feb 5, 2012 07:59 PM

            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
              freia RE: maj54us Feb 6, 2012 02:59 AM

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

              1. re: freia
                ios94 RE: freia Feb 6, 2012 05:50 AM

                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
                  lilmsmuffin RE: ios94 Feb 6, 2012 05:57 PM

                  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. SnackHappy RE: EaterBob Feb 6, 2012 06:28 AM

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

          2 Replies
          1. re: SnackHappy
            porker RE: SnackHappy Feb 6, 2012 06:46 AM

            Yeah, but the second will be a Nickel.

            1. re: porker
              freia RE: porker Feb 6, 2012 02:44 PM

              LOLOLOLOL cant. stop. laughing.

          2. n
            nextguy RE: EaterBob Feb 6, 2012 07:48 AM

            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: nextguy
              gerrythegreat RE: nextguy Feb 6, 2012 02:00 PM

              Where will you all go instead?

              1. re: gerrythegreat
                freia RE: gerrythegreat Feb 6, 2012 02:45 PM

                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.

            2. m
              melani1 RE: EaterBob Feb 6, 2012 06:01 PM

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

              9 Replies
              1. re: melani1
                freia RE: melani1 Feb 6, 2012 06:29 PM

                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
                  BarackHObama RE: freia Feb 6, 2012 06:49 PM

                  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
                    freia RE: BarackHObama Feb 6, 2012 06:54 PM

                    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
                      westaust RE: freia Feb 6, 2012 07:09 PM

                      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
                        pyropaul99 RE: westaust Feb 7, 2012 05:20 AM

                        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: pyropaul99
                          freia RE: pyropaul99 Feb 7, 2012 05:45 AM

                          True, that!

                        2. re: westaust
                          freia RE: westaust Feb 7, 2012 05:46 AM

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

                          1. re: westaust
                            mangoannie RE: westaust Feb 7, 2012 06:18 PM

                            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
                              freia RE: mangoannie Feb 7, 2012 06:23 PM

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

                  2. m
                    marblebag RE: EaterBob Feb 7, 2012 11:59 AM

                    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
                      BarackHObama RE: marblebag Feb 7, 2012 12:22 PM

                      they already ship their food to locations across the world

                      1. re: BarackHObama
                        maj54us RE: BarackHObama Feb 9, 2012 09:11 AM

                        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
                          BarackHObama RE: maj54us Feb 9, 2012 09:51 AM

                          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
                            freia RE: BarackHObama Feb 9, 2012 09:53 AM

                            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
                              SnackHappy RE: freia Feb 9, 2012 10:06 AM

                              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
                              maj54us RE: BarackHObama Feb 9, 2012 10:08 AM

                              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
                          freia RE: marblebag Feb 7, 2012 12:30 PM

                          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. Googs RE: EaterBob Feb 7, 2012 12:30 PM

                          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
                            chickenbruiser RE: Googs Feb 7, 2012 05:28 PM

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

                            1. re: chickenbruiser
                              BarackHObama RE: chickenbruiser Feb 7, 2012 05:59 PM

                              it's presumptuous to assume anything about their intentions.

                              1. re: BarackHObama
                                Shattered RE: BarackHObama Feb 8, 2012 10:17 PM

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

                                Hatahs gonna hate.

                              2. re: chickenbruiser
                                OliverB RE: chickenbruiser Feb 9, 2012 07:14 PM

                                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
                                  finefoodie55 RE: OliverB Feb 10, 2012 07:08 AM

                                  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
                                    Googs RE: finefoodie55 Feb 10, 2012 10:31 AM

                                    Chaining it is the only way to ensure uniformity.

                                    1. re: Googs
                                      freia RE: Googs Feb 10, 2012 10:47 AM

                                      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
                                        InterFoodie RE: freia Feb 16, 2012 10:06 AM

                                        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
                                          porker RE: InterFoodie Feb 16, 2012 12:29 PM

                                          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. a
                              Apple IIGS RE: EaterBob Feb 16, 2012 12:26 PM

                              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. j
                                J1836 RE: EaterBob Feb 18, 2012 07:54 AM

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

                                1. g
                                  Glaff RE: EaterBob Mar 5, 2012 04:36 PM

                                  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
                                    freia RE: Glaff Mar 5, 2012 04:49 PM

                                    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. re: Glaff
                                      SKYMTL RE: Glaff Mar 5, 2012 04:51 PM


                                      1. re: SKYMTL
                                        ios94 RE: SKYMTL Mar 5, 2012 06:09 PM

                                        lol @ not franchising.

                                    2. e
                                      eat2much RE: EaterBob Mar 6, 2012 06:47 AM

                                      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
                                        mangoannie RE: eat2much Mar 6, 2012 05:43 PM

                                        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
                                          freia RE: mangoannie Mar 6, 2012 05:56 PM

                                          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
                                            mangoannie RE: freia Mar 6, 2012 06:59 PM

                                            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
                                              freia RE: mangoannie Mar 7, 2012 02:55 AM

                                              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
                                                porker RE: freia Mar 7, 2012 10:36 AM

                                                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
                                                  SnackHappy RE: porker Mar 7, 2012 11:18 AM

                                                  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
                                                    freia RE: porker Mar 7, 2012 11:45 AM

                                                    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
                                                      porker RE: freia Mar 8, 2012 09:02 AM

                                                      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
                                                porker RE: freia Mar 6, 2012 07:11 PM

                                                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
                                                  freia RE: porker Mar 7, 2012 02:57 AM

                                                  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
                                                    porker RE: freia Mar 7, 2012 10:39 AM

                                                    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
                                                      superbossmom RE: porker Mar 7, 2012 05:40 PM

                                                      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
                                                        OliverB RE: superbossmom Mar 8, 2012 05:33 AM

                                                        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
                                                          Apple IIGS RE: OliverB Mar 8, 2012 07:19 PM

                                                          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. porker RE: EaterBob Mar 8, 2012 09:11 AM

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

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: porker
                                              eatwell RE: porker Mar 8, 2012 10:50 AM

                                              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.

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