I recently attended the annual teacher’s convention at the Hotel Bonaventure. It was the first time I did so since before the pandemic. At lunch hour I would always go to the food court in the same building. When I walked over I was surprised to see that it no longer exists.
Across the street is Central Station, another place I had not been to in some time. I did recall they had some good food choices. Then I remembered that when I met up with musician Dimo James over the summer, he told me that his brother-in-law Nick Menegakis operated the Deli Planet Restaurant in that location. So I dropped by and asked for Nick, a happy-go-lucky fellow who works as much as six days a week. His dad Steve started the business 29 years ago. Nick has been on board since day one.
It is also a great place for take-out. Clearly, with the CN train station in the same facility, there is a built-in clientele of people coming and going. Then there are people like me attending conventions and individuals who work in the immediate area. This is also home to the Mtl Comedy Club’s (comedyville.ca) Thursday to Saturday evening shows in the back of the restaurant. Sid Khullar, the brother of comedy superstar Sugar Sammy who occasionally drops in for surprise performances
The restaurant itself can accommodate 350 diners.
“The majority of the clientele are office workers that work 9 to 5,” says Nick. “We were probably the busiest lunch restaurant in Canada before COVID hit. We served up to 600 clients in less than three hours during the peak winter season.
There is a fun menu here. I started off with some piping hot and delicious cream of broccoli soup. Looking at the choices I opted for surf & turf, a perfectly grilled ribeye steak medium rare with butterfly shrimp, rice, fries and a side salad. Everything was outstanding. I sipped a Pepsi and concluded the meal with a decadent piece of black forest cake.
I will be back for sure, as there are so many other selections such as snacks like chicken fingers, mozzarella cheese sticks and poutine. There are several mighty mega burgers, salads, spaghetti, pizza, sandwiches, ribs, filet of sole, a kids menu and cocktails.
So what about the name? “ Our lead designer back in 1994 named Pascale Vaillancourt came up with the name and the theme,” says Nick. “At that time delis were very popular in Montreal and there were themes in US-based restaurants like Planet Hollywood. Of course, if you remember Planet Hollywood was endorsed by big Hollywood names like Stallone and Schwarzenegger. So Pascal wanted to incorporate both the theme and a deli into the name and she came up with the name Deli Planet and the superhero theme as well as the Daily Planet copy of the newspaper. This created a huge buzz back then in the city. Deli Planet became famous and a landmark location in the train station preceding the opening!
“The cool thing was that we were able to play around with our menu items with names like Planet Hollywood did.”
The Deli Planet is located at Central Station (895 de la Gauchetière Ouest). For more information call 514-861-2221 or log on to www.deliplanet.ca. It is open seven days a week from 7 am to 8 pm.