It Happened to Me Toronto (a.k.a. Accordion City)

Mel’s Montreal Deli: Thumbs Down

Mel's Montreal Deli.

On Saturday night, before taking Dave out on the town, Wendy and I decided to hit Mel’s Montreal Diner (440 Bloor Street West, just east of Bathurst) in order to give him a taste of Montreal smoked meat and poutine.

Unfortunately, he never got that taste. Despite the fact that the patio had only two or three occupied tables and the interior restaurant was empty, we waited ten minutes for service before walking out, announcing our departure along the way.

Mel’s waitstaff have generally been sub-par (not just my opinion, see these ones). I’ve seen bathroom mould with more ambition. Even at places where it’s screamingly obvious that the waitstaff are actors with notepads, there’s at least an attempt at professionalism and customer service. The staff at Mel’s seem to have been culled from amateur night at a bipolar disorder clinic.

In spite of the bad service, most people usually forgive Mel’s because of the smoked meat and poutine. The stuff is tasty, and the portions are generous.

There’s also the factor of its location in the Annex, a neighbourhood active both day and night (Jane Jacobs chose to live there). Typically, when I go there, it’s usually after last call, when I’m tired, hungry, with a crowd and perhaps a little tipsy, so the slow service isn’t as noticeable. It’s very telling that the place seems to do its best business is on Friday and Saturday nights after 2, when many other people are in the same state. If it weren’t for the uniqueness of their Montreal deli offerings, the local bar-hoppers, dance-clubbers and film-goers would hit the nearby Tim Horton’s, Insomnia and Pita Pit instead.

But not getting any service at all? On Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m., prime time for the resto-bar trade? That’s bad, even for Mel’s.

7 replies on “Mel’s Montreal Deli: Thumbs Down”

What a coincidence! My parents were in town this weekend from NY and I wanted to take them out for a little smoked meat to let them contrast it with pastrami. We almost ended up at Ben’s when at the last minute they changed their mind (as they’re wont to do these days) and we went for Chinese instead. Wow. I’m glad for once they were so fickle!

Mel’s stinks. Lots of waiting. As for Jane Jacobs, everyone who sits in traffic with their cars in high idle (while adding to the pollution & golbal warming) has to thank the late JJ for her anti-car/anti-road rants of a generation ago. Yes it’s a shame that a thriving modern metropolis has to have antiquated idealists proliferating from their soap-box with their horse & buggy thinking while denying the sheer reality that everyone drove in a car in the 70s as they do today.

I have been told that the owners of Mels specifically hire people who are not doing so well in their lives; whether they are recovering addicts, homeless, whatever, I do not know..I’d never eaten there because of this precise reason.
The waiter we had last night at the Keg, COULD be a recovering addict, but, had i known that in advance, i’d probably choose to eat elsewhere.
I’m all for people making a positive change in their lives, but, don’t touch my food until you do okay?

Those last comment is sooooo stupid!
I can’t beleive how closed minded people can be sometimes.

Mel’s rules! The food is good and the portions are big!
I try the smoked meat and then another time the breakfast and both were delicious!

Who cares what the people working there do previously in their life? If we start looking at all the cooks and waiters who have been ex-junkies or homeless we will never stop counting!

Do you think Mc Donalds hire only ‘clean’ people?

You make me laugh with your snob comment! :-))

Dreadful place…what used to be a great place to eat (when it first opened), is now even less than a last resort to eat. 15 mins to get noticed, 20 mins to get a menu, 25 mins to get water and a few mins more to to be told that there’s no Matzoh ball soup. The plastic glasses were crusty with grime, the fries tasted like fish and there was so sauercraut in my Reuben sandwich. They also could have a world class patio if it wasn’t for the decade old plastic furniture with duct tape and grime and soot. want some good eats? go to Dooneys, The Pump or Pizzaiolo.

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