This place does not look very appealing from outside (look at the picture), but it had been recommended to us, so we wanted to give it a try.
We went by, took a look at the menu and decided to go in.
As often happens to me, I have difficulty choosing what to eat and being European, some of the things are not known to me. For instance, we asked what corned beef was and the waitress said she would get some for us, along with some smoked meat so that we could see the difference.
When she came back, she had a plate filled with meat, I mean this would be a complete serving in many resataurants and it was only a sample!!!
In the end, my girlfriend had a Corned beef Deli (which according to the waitress, is one of their most popular choices) and I had regular steak. We were both very satisfied with our choices.
We came back a few days later for brunch and could confirm that the quality was consistently good.
Prices were very reasonable, we paid 28 CAD for 2 people and on top of that, we had very friendly and efficient service.
I would definetly go back.
Whoever thought that finding a good old deli in downtown Toronto would be so difficult? I asked, I researched online, but there doesn't seem to be anything famous in the same vein as Montreal's "Ben's" or "Schwartz's" restaurants. So, what's a person to do with a craving for smoked meat then?
It's Shopsy's... I realized that Shopsy's is the Torontonian equivalent to the Montreal greats. Shopsy's began in 1922 by Harry and Jenny Shopsowitz as an ice-cream stand in Toronto's garment district. It eventually became a chain with several restaurants, stands serving in malls and airports, and their meat products were sold by hot-dog vendors and stocked on the shelves of grocery stores. It seems the number of Shopsy's outlets in Canada have been dwindling in recent years. I don't see as many of them around as I used to and it's a shame.
Shopsy's serves a large menu of affordable items--from traditional smoked meat and corned beef sandwiches on rye, to banquet burgers, soups, Reubens, and club sandwiches. The wait staff are relatively quick and friendly to deal with.
This Yonge and Front location is one of the chain's oldest. Although the view isn't anything tremendous, there's a large, comfortable outdoor terrace and I loved the old wood and brass decor inside the restaurant.
2010 Update: This restaurant is in the process of moving. (Thanks to 'kehale' for the info.)
ARGHHHHHHHHH They've closed this restaurant - because of the SARS worries, and being in the entertainment district, the theatres have lost patrons, and in fact Mama Mia has stopped their run for the summer.... so... no patrons... no income... and bye bye Shopsy's. *sigh* There is a deli- restaurant there now, but I haven't tried it.
They do have 2 other outlets, but not with tvs, I don't think. One on Front just east of Yonge, and the other up on or around St. Clair Ave, midtown.
Shopsy's has been known for years for their corned beef sandwiches and hotdogs. Sam Shopsowich (sp?) was a well known personality in the Toronto business community. "Hot Dog - It's A Shopsy's" was a well known jingle.
Shopsy's was easy to miss... along King St W, just east of the Princess of Wales Theatre. It caters to office lunch people, folks in for the theatre, before the baseball or football games at the Dome. One of the great things about it, was that many of the booths had tvs so that you can catch your lunchtime news, sports game, soap opera... or the kids could play one of the games attached to the tvs. You just needed to ask your waitor.
Favorite Dish: I love the huge mounds of freshly sliced corned beef on their sandwiches. They have decent burgers and onion rings. I have to admit to enjoying their tuna melt on garlic bread with a side of ceasar salad. The menu reads with spiced havarti, but they will change the type of cheese for you... and the salad is extra - fries comes with it normally. I've found too that I usually ask for a couple of lemon slices to tang up the salad.
Should I mention that I work in a cubicle all by myself the rest of the day? But boy that is good.
A great Toronto born restaurant with a few locations - but I used to frequent the one on Front St (before they were forced to move), considering it's my favorite place to go before a Blue Jays game or a concert. A little bit further east than the Air Canada Centre and Rogers Centre, I find that the crowd doesn't tend to head in this direction before a game or show.
Their burgers and sandwiches are delicious and I love their fries. The beer is cold and the staff are always incredibly friendly. I've never had a bad experience here once and I continue to bring people back when I'm showing them the city.
Favorite Dish: The Maple Leaf Club is my favorite sandwich hands down! Smoked turkey, bacon, cheddar, lettuce and tomato on your choice of bread with fries. Nothing fancy - but that's the point. They do simple and they do it real well!! If you're in the area of Front St - definitely pay them a visit - you won't be disappointed!
Shopsy's was a great place to chill and have lunch and a cold drink after wandering around Toronto for a while.... our waitress was very friendly and knew the foods on the menu, which is always a bonus. You can either be seated and have a waitress serve you, or you can go up to the deli and order your food which comes in a to-go container, and then you can sit or take your food with you. There was business men in meetings and students studying. Overall it had a great atmosphere and even better food!
Favorite Dish: I had the Banquet Burger with fries which was a predictable but enjoyable selection.