In 1992 Vicky Arghiriu and Ihab Kolta were a newly married couple working for competing companies, Bell Mobility and Rogers. That did not sit well with their superiors and they were let go. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
Family members encouraged them to start their own business. So, when they learned that a small restaurant called Deli Connaisseur at Alexis Nihon Plaza was for sale they took the leap into an entirely new venture.
“There were long days of work,” Vicky recalls. “I was 19 and Ihab 21. We’d go from 11 am to sometimes midnight. It was a great location at the time, with all of the activity at the old Forum across the street.”
Two years later the couple purchased a Ben Ash location at Carrefour Laval and soon changed the name to Rock’n Deli and added a real “New York deli” vibe. They ended up closing at Alexis Nihon, but in 2015 the business reached another level when three franchises opened in the Quebec City area. Since that time, locales in Gatineau, St. Bruno, Toronto, Vaughan, Mississauga, Fairview Pointe-Claire, Vaudreuil, Mascouche and Terrebonne followed. In 2023 they hope to debut at the Mirabel Factory Outlets, Town of Mount Royal and possibly Barrie, Ontario.
On my way back from Ottawa recently I enjoyed my first experience at a Rock’n Deli, stopping at the Les Avenues Vaudreuil plaza location. This is a standalone restaurant, with plenty of parking and indoor seating. It is situated in a former Subway spot and opened in October 2021. The franchisee is Ayman Benjamin, who runs the operation with his wife Raymondo. It was such a convenient spot as right next door was an M& M Food Market and a Mondou – two places I actually needed to get things from. A Costco is also just across the lot. This is a countertop restaurant but certainly does not have any fast food feel to it.
The smoked meat at Rock’n Deli is Halal certified and I can give it a big thumbs up. I took the opportunity to make a few orders. This allowed me to do a tasting on-site and pack up the rest for a great lunch and dinner the following day.
I opted for the smoked meat club, which also included salami, lettuce, tomato and mustard. This was a real treat, with the breaded toasted just right. It came with their crispy homemade lasso fries. I also ordered the roast beef bacon and swiss cheese sandwich, also containing peppers, mushrooms and caramelized onions and the three-piece fried chicken combo. The roast beef was great for lunch at the office. I just heated it up in the microwave. As for the chicken, a few minutes in the air fryer at home and the necessary crispiness returned.
Some Rock’n Deli locations are open for breakfast from 8 am to 11 am, serving eggs, omelets, bagels, French toast, clubs and wraps. Of course, smoked meat plays a nice option in the selections and these meals come with homemade potatoes, a choice of meat, toast and coffee.
Other popular menu items include 10-inch submarine sandwiches, a variety of wraps, poutines, pogos, beef and chicken burgers, salads and eight different choices of milkshakes. I failed to read the fine print that they offer lactose-free ice cream options, so indeed that is something to remember for my next visit.
For more details log on to https://www.rockndeli.com/