Yitz's deli celebrates 45 years

Despite Crosstown LRT construction, Yitz’s continues to be a local favourite


Owner Barry Silver inside Yitz’s Deli

Yitz’s Deli was founded in 1972 by Yitz Penciner. Now 45 years later, with owner Barry Silver at the helm since 2000, it continues to serve customers classic comfort food even in the midst of ongoing construction. 

What’s good on a winter day? 
Chicken in a pot flies out of here, especially in the wintertime. It’s a feel-good meal, it’s almost therapeutic. Half a chicken with matzo balls and carrots and chicken soup. On a cold day there’s nothing better than that.

Has the Eglinton Crossover LRT construction impacted business?
It is a challenge. I have to try harder, so what do we do? Somebody phones up, “I can’t stop. I can’t park.” What are you going to do? Well, we walk the order out to their car. We’ve always done that. We’re doing it more so now. People say they can’t get to us: “Will you deliver?” Well, of course we’ll deliver. But we use cabs because it’s a lot cheaper than a delivery service.

Any famous customers?
We’ve had Mats Sundin, formerly of the Leafs. We’ve had Mike “Pinball” Clemons. Jackie Mason was an interesting individual. He was the same person sitting in the corner as he is on television or in live performances. He decided he was going to tell me he didn’t like our rogelech. He wanted to get my goat. So he and I had an interesting conversation.

What’s the story behind the salami door handles?
I guess it was something, in its day 45 years ago, something different, something that would be an eye-catching conversation piece. And people tell me, if I ever retire, they’d like to buy the handles! They are still a conversation piece, absolutely, because they’re so different (346 Eglinton Ave. W., 416-487-4506).

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Jo-Anne Craine is a freelance writer and Post City contributor. Follow her on Twitter @TypeACreative1.

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