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Grocery Stores

European Quality Meats Outlet Centre

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on March 8, 2012

European Quality Meats and SausagesEuropean Quality Meats and Sausages may be closing its Baldwin Street location, but that doesn't mean the more than 50-year-old business will shut down production anytime soon.

European Quality Meats and SausagesThe original European Meats opened in Kensington Market in 1959, but for the past 15 years or so, it has mostly served as a retail location. The production and shipping happens from this outlet store off of Kipling in Etobicoke, which is swarming with dinnertime planners and workers in the area who are looking for a hot lunch.

European Quality Meats and SausagesThe Etobicoke outlet is lush with space, which allows for a hot table, deli counter, and a few tables with seating. I reluctantly bypass the hot sandwich area (but alas, I will return) in pursuit of one of the owners: Morris Leider, a Polish Holocaust survivor, or his son, Larry Leider. Neither is onsite at the time (I'll assume they're preparing for their April 7 downtown closure), so instead I chat with manager Ana, who confirms what's I've heard about the Kensington departure.

European Quality Meats and Sausages"There was some loss in business," she says. "It was time to sell." Her comments echo those made by Leider to the Toronto Star last week, in which he referenced changing demographics in the neighbourhood as a reason for the sale. Nevertheless, this location, along with the one in Brampton, are poised to stick around. The top sellers, according to Ana, are the shop's own sausages, which you can order freshly grilled and in a bun from the hot counter.

European Quality Meats and SausagesAna confirms that most of the meats at European are Ontario-sourced, and the abundance of space allows for greater variety in display than at the Kensington location. Known as a great spot to get a bang for your buck, I do a quick once-over of the counters, which offer most of the butcher shop staples including veal cutlets ($5.99/lb), New York steaks ($6.99/lb), and whole chickens ($2.29/lb) (plus an assortment of sausages, which generally ring in at about $2.99/lb). The Etobicoke shop is also the spot to buy in bulk, and it offers special combination boxes including its steak-lovers package (four 8-oz New York steaks, four 8-oz ribeyes, four beef tenderloin for $55) and its breakfast special (two 1lb pork breakfast sausages, two 1lb packages of sliced bacon, two 1lb packages of peameal, and two 1lb packages of smoked ham for $25).

European Quality Meats and SausagesHaving resisted long enough, I saunter over to the hot table and see that the value has indeed carried over to prepared foods. Here, you can grab a freshly prepared BLT for $2.50, a sausage on a bun for $3.00, or a hot burger for $2.50. Needless to say, all the meat comes from just the other side of the shop. I decide to splurge (sort of) and order a roast beef sandwich on a kaiser for $3.50, and watch intently as it is sliced, topped, and handed over. The meat is piled high and thick, and is tender and juicy enough to reinforce that my decision to forgo the condiments was a good one. While it will soon be gone from the realm of immediate downtown accessibility, it's nice to know that "quality" meat is only a drive away.

European Quality Meats and SausagesPhotos by Christian Bobak

Discussion

8 Comments

Gil / March 8, 2012 at 10:31 am
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Never knew this was in my neighborhood. 3.50$ for fresh deli roast beef on a kaiser !

Ironically, there several overpriced 'premium' burger, burrito and steak spots within 2 city blocks of here.
Antonia / March 8, 2012 at 10:52 am
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I am still sad to lose the Kensington location, but this makes me feel a little better, although it's so far from home.
bye bye pork hock, oktoberfest sausages and brisket, Hellow to exploring new neighbourhoods.

What's taking the place of European Meats?
Michelle / March 8, 2012 at 12:38 pm
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A sad goodbye and best wishes to the Kensington location. We've come once a week for over 10 years, even when we lived uptown. Your bacon, sausages and deli are wonderful. You are leaving a big hole in the entire area because there will be no affordable, accessible butcher. There is not even a grocery store with a comparable meat counter.
Katie / March 8, 2012 at 01:04 pm
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We make a trip to this location about once every 3-5 weeks and load up our freezer.
The quality is fantastic (rivaled only by Highland Farms), the selection is better than you'd find at any supermarket (again, barring Highland) and the price is about 1/3 to 1/2 of what we would pay at the Superstore by our home.
We usually come away with a month's worth of meat for about $50 - pork, chicken, sausage, beef, steaks, bacon, it's all just fantastic.
HIGHLY recommend to other carnivores
MARY / April 17, 2012 at 09:05 pm
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I used to work here and, man, what a terrible place this is. The workers are miserable, the bosses unreasonable and the customers are cheap.

The steak that's too nasty-looking to sell gets tenderized and served in the steak burger. The cold cuts samplers are made from nasty meat that's been sitting out on the counter for 8 hours. Ana, the lovely lady you talked to, tried to put some week-old kabobs (they were actually dark brown and hardened) in a customer's order when they weren't looking.

This is where hope goes to die.
Frank / August 24, 2013 at 03:51 pm
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They have awesome perogys there. The meat ones and the bacon cheddar are fantastic. Don't buy the 2.99 bags, powdered ingredients. Get the 2 pound bag with the penguin logo.
Bob / September 2, 2013 at 10:32 pm
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best place to buy Polish Sausages. Come in a white box = same as the vendors buy for street meat. Worth the drive...
Bob / September 2, 2013 at 10:33 pm
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This is the best place to buy those Polish sausages to bar BQ.
Same quality as the street vendors - who buy it here by the white box. Worth the drive from Whitby....

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