Berkeley restaurants

Augie’s Montreal Deli is permanently closing its doors in Berkeley

Last May, Lex Gopnik-Lewinski paused his Berkeley restaurant, Augie’s Montreal Deli, when the price of meat soared. The move was meant to be temporary until prices adjusted, but months later the restaurant closed permanently, as Berkeleyside first reported.

Gopnik-Lewinski confirmed the closure with SFGATE and shared that the restaurant has been out of service since its temporary closure last year. He added that his lease ended in January 2022.

“We took our break in May [2021] and we were hoping the supply chain would end in the fall, and it’s not,” Gopnik-Lewinski told SFGATE. “Those are the things that are not changing as quickly as we have made it official.”

Operating Augie amid the pandemic had become a challenge when inflation and supply chain issues began to strain day-to-day operations. Gopnik-Lewinski told SFGATE that in the months leading up to last May’s break, he needed to cut an ounce of meat from sandwiches and was also forced to raise menu prices to stay afloat. Gopnik-Lewinski shared that the labor shortage had also been a setback, and when his lease was due to expire in January 2022, he said his landlord was “unwilling” to negotiate rent.

“We were hopeful, but I think we knew deep down that we wouldn’t be able to reopen brick and mortar,” Gopnik-Lewinski said. “It just got to a point where it didn’t make sense to us anymore.”

Augie’s Montreal Deli started as a pop-up in 2011 before opening a storefront in 2018. Gopnik-Lewinski said what she’ll miss most about running her Berkeley restaurant are her customers and the opportunity to introduce many of them to Canadian dishes. . He added that he felt a real sense of pride when Canadian expats stopped in for a visit.

When asked if he would consider opening another Augie’s restaurant in the future, Gopnik-Lewinski said he would be open to franchising his business if the right person came along: “We could put in place something like this.”

It’s not all bad news for Augie fans. Gopnik-Lewinski continues to run its wholesale operation, w

Augie’s Montreal Deli at 700 Essex Way in Berkeley has closed permanently.

Courtesy of Augie’s Montreal Deli

which means customers can still find Augie’s Montreal deli products at the Berkeley Bowl. He also has two Augie counters at the SAP Center in San Joe, which sell Augie’s classic pastrami sandwiches and the ever-popular poutine. An upcoming counter from Augie is set to debut at Chase Center, according to Gopnik-Lewinski.

In the future, Gopnik-Lewinski said he wants to expand his Canadian restaurant to other Bay Area arenas and eventually expand to sports venues across the country.

“The good thing is that all of the items our customers were getting can still be found at wholesale markets and arenas,” Gopnik-Lewinski said. “It may not be me serving it to them, but we are grateful to be in this position.”