Schwartz's Deli gets way too much love, both from Montreal residents and tourists alike. Yes, Schwartz's makes some solid smoked meat, but it's not like you can't get the signature Montreal sandwich anywhere else. There are too many negatives outweighing the positives when it comes to Schwartz's, and people just let it slide because of the deli's reputation.
I thought I was alone in my distaste for Schwartz's, until I saw that Liberal party leader Justin Trudeau was a smoked meat kindred spirit. As reported in the Huffington Post, Trudeau snubs Schwartz's for the Main Deli across the street, and rightly so. I think I know why.
Before the rant begins, I'll note that Schwartz's does make delicious smoked meat sandwiches. No one can deny that. Unless you're some sort of connoisseur though, I don't think you'll find much a difference between Schwartz's, The Main, Rueben's, or the multitude of other great smoked meat joints. Besides crafting one sandwich well, Shwartz's has nothing else to offer other than an infamous reputation.
Now, onto the negatives:
- Schwartz's has no liquor license. Want a beer with that sandwich and fries? No dice.
- If you go to Schwartz's during a normal time to eat, there's gonna be a mega-huge line.
- Because of that damn line, the staff just wants you to eat and get out. The service is all about getting you in and out, with no care for letting you chill, relax, and have a good conversation.
- The menu is pretty much just smoked meat. Yes, that's why you came, but options are always nice.
- Schwartz's is small as hell, and even on a lightly-packed night, you're gonna be cramped like a sardine.
Go across the street to The Main and you'll find none of these problems. Go to my personal fave Rueben's, and you can even get an epic smoked meat and liver sandwich. The only reason anyone puts up with Schwartz's is that people are told it's the best, so people believe it, eat it, and the cycle continues.
A long history and an international reputation are the only things keeping Schwartz's going. Although their smoked meat is good, maybe even the best, a single good menu item shouldn't make up for the boat load of shitty qualities the deli has. That simply wouldn't happen at a new restaurant.
Schwartz's functions solely as a money-making corporation, taking your money then sending you out the door, and not as a legit restaurant that has good service, a welcoming atmosphere, and range of other menu items and beverages.
Let's also not forget the artistic atrocity that was the Schwartz's musical. A silly money-making scheme if I ever saw one.
How do you feel about Schwartz's?
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