Thanks for the memories, Marky’s
Tonight night marks the end of an era (no pun intended), as Marky’s Deli & Restaurant will be closing it’s doors for the final time after 43-years of serving the Toronto community.
You heard me right. Marky’s. A place synonymous with kosher Toronto. The oldest strictly kosher in Toronto is going away.
This news sucks.
Marky’s was a unique establishment. In a day in age where falafel/shwarma places seem to be your only options for meat in the city (which in my opinion us really too bad because you gotta have variety), Marky’s was essentially a throw back establishment. It was old school. A place for Eastern-European cuisine, not so unlike what you’d find on your Shabbos plate (see the kishka).
My grandfather used to co-own a grocery store called Stroli’s, which is now known today as Toronto Kosher. Whenever I tell someone (older than 30) that my Saba owned it, they always tell me about their fondness for the knishes – another Eastern-European delicacy.
So I can see where this is coming from – an old school place that’s been around for a while, soon to be left for nothing in a city littered with falafel/shwarma place and not much else.
Besides the food, Marky’s had a number of unique perks – my favourite being that it closed late. Often my friends and I would get the munchies (at 11:30pm) and Marky’s was there to fulfill your appetite.
One time a friend of mine from yeshiva was in town, and us Toronto alumni took him out to Marky’s Motzei Shabbos. Later on, we’d head to one of our houses and chill. But when it was time to leave at around 1am, my car wouldn’t start. And my parents + sister weren’t there to help cause they were in Mexico.
Speaking of Motzei Shabbos – that of course was the prime time to go. I was never a Tov-Li’s guy, part cause I didn’t want milchegs and I hated the crowded in and the wait. So Marky’s it always was.
And speaking if yeshiva, whenever one of our roshei yeshiva – Rabbi Chaim Flom z”tl – would come to town, he’d invite all the Toronto alumni to Marky’s, which was something I’d come to learn he’d been doing it for many many years.
Oh… And for me, it was all about the chicken fingers and fries. Even the dip that came with the chicken.
I don’t want my final memory of Marky’s to be of one where I had to wait at least an hour just to get in, and then probably not being able to get food for a while and then probably get kicked out because it’s closing time for the last time.
I know, I know – It’s the last time you’ll be able to do this so its worth it, so why are you holding back at the last opportunity.
Because I do have a final memory. A final experience. One that’s worthy of being the last bastion of Marky’s awesomeness:
My final trip
It was last Thursday night and I was still at work. My office is downtown at around King and Sherbourne. I had a really late shift – 2-10pm. Normally when I’m finished I get on the Subway and head north to Finch Station where my dad will pick me up. But it was taking me a long time to finish. A really long time.
Every 15 minutes or so my dad would call/text wondering what my ETA was and I kept telling him I needed more time. It finally came to a point where he said he would come pick me up. (Yes, my dad is that amazing). At around 11:30 he arrives and we leave.
While driving, we start talking about Marky’s; we’re trying to figure out when to go before it closes. We were thinking Sunday night as a family. But then we realized it would be difficult cause of when I would finish work (6pm) and my sister having a in-car lesson at 8.
And that’s when my dad, in his typical way, said we should go right now.
I had the hours on me and closing time was at 1. Let’s do it.
Traffic is a little busy on the 401 and we get there just before midnight. But guess what? I goofed on the hours. They were actually closing at midnight. Bummer…
But not so fast…
My dad (like many) happens to be friends with Erez. They actually go back to elementary/high school + they also do business. So the two of them start chatting. And chatting.
Meanwhile I start chatting with a friend who works there. And then… while we’re talking (here’s one of the really good parts), Erez calls over to me and says…
“Your chicken fingers will be ready soon.”
B to the H!
Time passes and mouths keep chatting and soon enough my chicken fingers and fries – my $15 chicken fingers and fries – were ready. (It was worth every penny).
And of course, no one can leave Marky’s without doing one special thing: Take a candy from the jar 🙂
My dad even gets one of the last Marky’s calendars – a collectors’ item!
The next 15 minutes in the car are heavenly.
Thank you, Marky’s.