Montreal kosher meat store J&R abruptly closed after 70 years. The reasons why were complicated

The Nemes family had to vacate their J & R Kosher Meat and Delicatessen store in Montreal's Cavendish Mall as of Dec. 23, 2022, including removing all the machines and counters, which have been placed into storage. (Lois Lieff photo)

Sidney Nemes hasn’t been able to take more than a long weekend off work in decades of running his family’s kosher meat business in Montreal.

But this week, the owner of J&R Kosher Meat and Deli in Cavendish Mall, is relaxing in Florida for at least a month with his wife Susie, who worked alongside him.

The Nemeses are recovering from their decision to close the meat factory and retail store, which his late father Robert—a Holocaust survivor—founded in 1952. The news was a shock to the community. But after a goodbye Hanukkah party for customers, the premises in the heavily Jewish area of Cote Saint-Luc had to be vacated three days later, on Dec. 23.

Nemes, 67, says he couldn’t keep the business afloat any longer for three reasons: unfavourable terms to renew his lease, a drop in business after the COVID lockdown, and a lack of support on pricing from Montreal’s rabbinical kosher agency.

J&R may be gone, but Nemes isn’t going to abandon his customers. He joins The CJN Daily to discuss his plans for a comeback in the spring.

What we talked about:


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here.