Montreal Smoked Meat Institution Schwartz's Has Big Plans For Its 100th Anniversary

Expect a red-carpet affair (and maybe Céline Dion?) to fête one of the city’s best-known sources for smoked meat.

Contributing Writer
A smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz's Deli. Right: Schwartz's Deli on boulevard Saint-Laurent in Montreal.

A smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz's Deli. Right: Schwartz's Deli on boulevard Saint-Laurent in Montreal.

Schwarz's Deli knows it has been on everyone's map when they think of smoked meat in Montreal, basically forever — or almost 100 years, anyway. The restaurant also knows that when it turns 100, that party better be big.

The venue’s centenary may be five years from now, but plans have already started taking shape, including red-carpet festivities, free food and a huge media circus (especially if stakeholders like Céline Dion show up).

While the restaurant remains top-of-mind for locals with their regular outreach and community involvement, Anastasia K. Nakis, who runs operations with her mother, Chris Ann Nakis, and her grandfather, Paul Nakis, says the pressure is still on.

"The 100th is always exciting and scary at the same time. There's this lead up to the hundredth for institutions in Montreal," she says.

At least they won’t have to worry about the guest list, since the restaurant has lineups that never seem to stop, international requests to open new locations that go denied — the only exception being Schwartz's to-go counter or 'à-côté' next door. Still, their world-famous recipe for smoked and stacked brisket remains top secret.

Having already planned Schwartz's Terrific Treasure Hunt on June 30, 2018 — a scavenger hunt celebrating the restaurant's 90th anniversary that took participants across the city to different landmarks — Nakis says plans are in motion.

The first decision is that it won't be on December 31, 2028, the day that precisely marks 100 years. Instead, they'll be holding their biggest celebrations in the months beforehand.

"The big party is going to be when all the tourists go home in the fall, for the locals," says Nakis, noting that the preceding summer will have lots of promotional items. "It's going to be a ball, with the actual party happening on the last week of September... likely on Monday (the 25th)."

"I'd like a red carpet, balloons, fun lights — I want everyone to feel like a superstar because our staff and customers are superstars."

They'll be giving away mini sandwiches and cherry cokes, and just about everyone they can think of will be invited, including the mayor and Céline Dion — if the Priestess of Pop would be willing to grace the event with her presence.

"Of course, she'll be invited," Nakis says, "but I can’t speak for her. She has come in the past… but the media circus was ridiculous [last time]. We had so many police then."

"If Céline comes, we'll have to close the street. It's the most attention you could have," Nakis adds. "But she will be invited!"

Schwartz's 100th Anniversary Celebration

Where: Schwartz's Deli, 3895, boul. Saint-Laurent, Montreal, QC

When: Approximately September 25, 2028


JP Karwacki
Contributing Writer
JP Karwacki is a contributing writer for MTL Blog.
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