Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Kosher Meat: Hard to find in Toronto?

You might think situations like Gourmet Glatt , make kosher shopping inconvienent.Toronto now has an even bigger problem finding Kosher Meat. This is due to one of the largest distributors of Kosher Meat Perl's Meat and Delicatessen, a landmark in the city's Jewish community, being swallowed up by a four alarm fire.


Because it was the Sabbath, Perl did not know the fire had occurred until hours after it had happened because he did not answer the phone. Most stores in the heavily Jewish area were empty because of the Sabbath, which starts Friday at sunset and ends at nightfall Saturday.

He only viewed the hollowed-out remains of his store yesterday morning. To get inside the cordoned-off building, he showed his Ontario Health Insurance card to fire officials as identification.

"It was really distressing because there is so much history in that building. He built that business from nothing," said Perl's daughter, Cheryl.

Despite the damage, with typical optimism he told Cheryl he would be "back in business within a week." It will likely be months before the business is returned to normal, as Perl figures he will now have to find a temporary headquarters.

"There will be a lot of customers affected by this," said Perl, who could not resist adding in confidential tones to a reporter: "You know, at Perl's, it's all about quality on the table."

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

thats not exactly true. there are plenty of places to buy kosher meat in toronto. toronto kosher,kosher city,hartmans,dominion,no frills,sobeys and pusateris all sell glatt kosher fresh and/or frozen chicken and meat

Anonymous said...

First, a short blog about Perl's http://moshavnick.blogspot.com/2006/11/fire-in-perls_5378.html second, from canada.com

Competitor assists kosher deli destroyed by fire
Perl's meats


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Melissa Dunne, National Post
Published: Monday, November 13, 2006

Herman Perl is rebounding -- with a little help from the competition -- from a four-alarm fire that gutted his Toronto retail landmark on Friday.

Perl's Meats and Delicatessen was the first Toronto butcher to sell ready-made kosher meats. But on Friday, a $2-million fire ravaged the building at 3019 Bathurst St., near Lawrence Avenue, in North York.

"People have been very, very helpful. Many people have been coming forward with offers of help, Mr. Perl's daughter Cheryl said yesterday morning.

"My father's main competition just called to help him out ... it is very nice."

Perl's main competition is Toronto Kosher, a few blocks away.

"Yes, of course [I am helping Mr. Perl] with whatever they need," confirmed Tzvi Hershman, owner of Toronto Kosher.

"We have a federal plant we use to make the kosher meat and we have room downstairs for catering."

Cheryl said the family plans to set up shop temporarily close to the deli since Perl's serves more than half the Toronto market for ready-made kosher meat.

The family also plans to rebuild the deli in the same building.

Mr. Perl, 81, has had to start from scratch before. He was in a concentration camp in Austria during the Second World War and was freed in 1946. He lived in Brussels until he moved to Canada in 1950.

He went into the deli business with $24 in his pocket and opened his first store on Bloor Street in 1953. He moved to the Bathurst Street location in 1961 and has been there since.

"My father is a Holocaust survivor. He lost five brothers and five sisters. This is nothing compared to that," said Mr. Perl's son Elliot, who was in the building 15 minutes before the fire broke out.

"He's a very strong person. He rolls with the punches."

The deli's insurance is expected to pay for the damage to the kitchen, and Cheryl says her father hopes that money will help to support his workers too.

"Sixty families earned their living here [at the deli]. He [Mr. Perl] wants to be able to pay their salaries until we reopen."

When the fire broke out on Friday at around 4:30 p.m., most stores in the Bathurst strip plaza were closed for the Jewish Sabbath, which starts Friday at sunset and ends at nightfall on Saturday.

Mr. Perl did not hear about his destroyed deli until hours later because he did not answer the phone.

"My first reaction ... it was kind of surreal. Now that things are sinking in it's a really emotional time, Cheryl said.

Elliot and his brother were in the deli just before the fire started. His brother closed the kitchen on the second floor at around 4 p.m.

"I was shocked [about the fire] because I was there until about 4:15 p.m. I didn't go upstairs, I was downstairs working on the computer," Elliot recalled.

"I was the last one in the building, it started 15 minutes after I left. Luckily, I wasn't in the building."

It took firefighters more than four hours to get the blaze under control.

Toronto Fire said pyrolysis, the decomposition or transformation of a compound caused by heat, was the cause of the fire. Dried-out old wood above a huge oven on the second floor is believed to have burst into flames.

The second floor is gutted and the first floor and basement are damaged. It is expected to take four to five months to rebuild Perl's.

So it seems like Toronto Kosher is going to step up to the plate.