ManAboutMTL

MTL Culture - Big Bens

On any given afternoon, one only has to tour around the halls of any of the city’s museums to see just how list topping these cultural land...

On any given afternoon, one only has to tour around the halls of any of the city’s museums to see just how list topping these cultural landmarks are among Montreal’s thriving attractions for locals and tourists alike. 

One of Canada’s oldest (founded in 1921), the McCord Museum on Sherbrooke St. opposite McGill hits closest to home as it is dedicated to the preservation, study, and appreciation of Montreal’s history.

This was clearly in evidence as we attended the press launch for a new exhibit, Bens, The Legendary Deli, a retrospective that pays homage to the Montreal smoked meat restaurant/city institution that remained in business for almost a century.


Now apart from bagels, if Montreal is known for ANY food item, it is without question smoked meat. Not to say Bens was everyone’s favorite recipe, nor was it the only game in town, but it was by far the oldest, having been founded in 1908 by Lithuanian immigrants Ben Kravitz and his wife Fanny as a grocery store in the garment district of St. Laurent Boulevard. After a couple moves in the downtown core, the restaurant settled on the south corner of Metcalfe and de Maisonneuve where it stayed until its closure in 2006.


The exhibit itself is contained in one room, and is a nostalgic trip through history, complete with photographs, memorabilia, and actual furniture that the family donated to the museum. The famous wall of celebrities and the poets’ corner speaks for itself as practically every major entertainer, recording artist, sports celebrity, politician came through its doors, many of them as regulars.




Need a little incentive for an exhibit visit? For the duration of the showing, the museum’s café-bistro and terrace will be offering the famous smoked meat, prepared according to the original recipe, on their menu! Yes, the legendary brisket is still being produced, and we’ve heard it will be available for purchase in grocery stores, although no word yet on timing.

D.G.

Ben's, the Legendary Deli
From June 19 to November 23, 2014

690 Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal
(514) 398-7100


Photo Credit: Guillaume Sans

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