Thornhill deli gets new life at Yonge and St. Clair as Zelden’s Deli and Desserts

They make their own pastrami plus some pretty incredible matzo ball soup


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Co-owner Irene Zelden holds a pastrami sandwich

Back in the ’80s, Irene and Shelley Zelden ran a deli in Thornhill, Zelys Deli and Desserts. After selling it in 1989, the duo skipped around with a number of other businesses but recently opted to return to their roots with Zelden’s Deli and Desserts. 

Why did you decide to go back into the deli business?
The city needed another good deli. All the good ones are closing — or people are retiring — and so we just figured, you know what, we need another authentic kosher-style deli.

Why did you choose to open shop in this ’hood?
Well we’ve lived in the area for 15 years, and so we know it very well. We were supposed to open in January, but we didn’t actually open until the end of May.  

Have you brought over any of the Thornhill menu items?
Oh, absolutely! Everything. We do everything that we did up there.

What are some of your signature offerings?
Our pastrami is one of our best known items. We make it in-house. We have our own seasoning, and then we roast it for three to four hours, steam it and slice it to order. 

What would you recommend people try?
Our chicken matzo ball soup. People rave about it — it’s all homemade. Some say it’s the best chicken soup they’ve ever had, so that’s a huge compliment.

What are you serving the brunch crowd?
We actually do quite a few different twists to brunch incorporating deli. We do a breakfast skillet: shredded potatoes with scrambled eggs and ground deli meats served on top.  

Are any of your original customers popping by?
They are! Or their sons and daughters, kids with their kids…

Zelden’s Deli and Desserts, 1446 Yonge St., 647-347-3474

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