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Apr 1, 2013 08:27 PM

Moe Pancer's Reno

Okay so I have a bbbaaggg log of recent food related activities to catch up on (including one last carte blance at Yours Truly with Jeff still at the helm!) so I don't know why I am starting with this but...

What happened to Moe Pancers?? I dropped my mom off at the airport at 8 am Friday morning, only to discover that it was closed for what looked like some renovations!

Anyone know what's going on?

And to my dismay, Dr. Laffa is still closed :(

I know, I have been going on a real Bagel Alley Bender (BAB). Cannot explain why.

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  1. Dr. Laffa is still closed because Passover doesn't end until sundown tonight (Apr/2). Truth be told, I am done with the Bathurst & Wilson Pancers. I've been eating there for about 15 years, and ever since Lorne sold, the quality has been declining. The last time I was there, about 6 months ago, the meat was way too salty. Don't get me wrong, I know that I'm not going into a deli for a low-sodium meal, but the saltiness dominated everything. I'm hoping that Ben & Izzy's are up to the challenge of good Kosher deli.

    1. Agree with Ubervache that since Lorne Pancer sold, the quality went down (they stopped smoking their own meat) and the prices went through the roof. I live about 2 min. from here and was a regular for many years when Mr. Pancer ran it, but things have definitely changed for this neighbourhood staple. There is never anyone in there now - it used to be packed. I'd love to see this strip mall taken down. Its been an eyesore for years with garbage everywhere and owners that don't care. - but that's a whole other topic. If Ben and Izzy EVER opens, and its good, this place could be history.

      2 Replies
      1. re: barneyvernon

        When I heard that the new owners planned to put in TVs upon taking ownership, I knew that was a red alert. Haven't been back since the ownership change, with no plans to go.


        1. re: barneyvernon

          I'm not sure if you're aware -- they do actually make the pastrami and corned beef in house, but not the smoked meat. I had actually ordered the smoked meat on my recent visit, not realizing, and the surly waitress shook her head disapprovingly. I asked her if I had ordered poorly, and she told me about what they make there vs. what they buy prepared. It's very, very odd that they don't indicate this on the menu.

          And the pastrami was quite good -- a little tough, but otherwise above average.

        2. I hope Pancers doesn't close. It fills a big void in the area, especially since Coleman's closed (which I liked for some reason....). Ben and Izzy's looks good but there is something to be said for the traditional dingy deli.

          8 Replies
          1. re: MeMeMe

            Another dingy deli in the area is Wolfie's on Sheppard west of Bathurst. Can't say I've been there in the last 10 years but from what I remember it wasn't awful.

            And for the record I haven't been to Pancer's since the ownership change. I go to the new spot up at Dufferin and Major Mack.

            1. re: jeremyh1

              How is the new spot. We almost went there a couple weeks ago but continued on into the Bridge to an Italian Bakery.


              1. re: Davwud

                New spot is good. Same food as pre-sale Moe Pancers. Same waitress even. The location is in a new strip plaza and the restaurant has somewhat of a warehouse feel to it. But you don't go there for fine dining you go for awesome deli and they have it up there on Dufferin.

              2. re: jeremyh1

                What about Yitz's? I know I've eaten there once, a long time ago, but I can't remember anything about my meal. I do know that Katz's on Dufferin is to be avoided at all costs though. Has anyone eaten at Jody's ( They have two locations in the East end and I just haven't had a chance to check them out.

                1. re: Ubervache

                  I still love Yitz's.

                  Corned beef. A little fatty. Heaven. Yummy baked treats and prepared goods too!

                  1. re: Ubervache

                    I tried Jody's down by Greenwood and thought it was fine. It didn't WOW me but I enjoyed my sandwich none the less.


                2. re: MeMeMe

                  Wait so, what's this Ben & Izzy's everyone keeps talking about??

                3. As barneyvernon has attested, the crummy little strip plaza where Moe Pancer's is housed is indeed an eyesore. Trash-strewn. Tight parking in front. Expect to be dinged. The rear parking lot is also trashy, chaotic, often blocked, problematic. Which may be part of the reason I haven't been there in more than a year, though I was a regular for 30-35 years before the change in ownership. It's kinda depressing to drive by it nowadays, in a plaza that takes the word "dingy" to a whole new level. I suppose I miss the ebullient atmosphere of the place when there was always a Pancer on the premises: Moe, then Stan, then Lorne, with Wilf cutting the meat. Atmosphere is important to a deli. In my view, it even makes the food taste better. Certainly, the guy in charge of the place immediately after the change in ownership was - how to put it? - not particularly charming. A few visits under the deadening sway of the new regime turned me off. And I won't be back till someone I know who knows deli food tells me the nosh is as good as ever. Good deli nosh forgives everything. I'm doubtful about Moe Pancer's renaissance, though I hope the place manages to reinvent itself. It's just a 10-minute drive from my humble abode, and central Toronto needs a good deli (note: the bleak Katz's, on Dufferin south of the 401, isn't it). Perhaps the still-unborn Ben and Izzy's, just south of Moe Pancer's on Bathurst St., will actually open, as promised these many moons, but....well, we shall see. In the meantime, I must make do with occasional forays south to Caplansky's or north to Centre Street Deli. The newish northern outpost of Pancer's Deli, up in the back country of Dufferin and Major Mac, is too damn far to go for a pastrami sandwich. (I've heard that Lorne is no longer involved in that joint either, though I don't know that for sure.)

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: juno

                    That Pancer's out in the "Back country" is probably only an extra 5 minutes from CSD.


                    1. re: Davwud

                      As Davwud points out, it is only a short drive further north from Centre Street Deli to Pancer's (newish) Deli at Dufferin and Major Mac, but a guy has to to draw a line in the sand somewhere. By the time I've shlepped from York Mills and Yonge St. north to Centre Street, a tortuous 30-45-minute drive, and found a parking spot in that jammed Centre Street Deli lot (not always a given), I have no wish to travel a minute more. So Dufferin and Major Mac remains back country to me, though probably not to someone in Aurora. I'm always astounded at Davwud's assiduous ability to get from his north-of-Toronto lodgings to here, there and everywhere around Toronto and environs, in search of decent nosh. A true over-the-top Chowhound. I usually tend to poop out after about 20 minutes on the road.

                      1. re: juno

                        But, but that extra 5 minutes!!!

                        I hear ya but I'd bet it's worth a try once. You may save time in the parking lot. I used to work across the street and that lot was always only ever half full.

                        Perhaps we can hook up there sometime. I'll bring Mrs. Sippi along. She loves her some good deli.


                        1. re: juno

                          I've never seen the CSD lot jammed.

                          I usually go on a Sunday, after the lunch rush - around 2 pm or so. Sometimes earlier.

                          Parking is never an issue then. Lot is dead.

                          1. re: magic

                            "I've never seen the CSD lot jammed.

                            I usually go on a Sunday, after the lunch rush - around 2 pm or so."

                            no kidding

                            1. re: disgusti

                              My point is that juno might want to try this time to avoid a busy lot.

                    2. They were probably just closed for Passover which ended April 2