The minute you walk into The Deli at Yukon Meat and Sausage you know you are in a special environment. The place simply smells like, well, like Europe. The shelves are stocked with delightful offerings from Germany, from Holland, from Denmark, from England. Many of the items are imported directly from overseas, but Yukon Meat and Sausage produces many of their own products such as amazing sausages, including wild game sausages.

But we were here for lunch. There were a number of tables to choose from by the large and brightly lit window. We hung our jackets on the seats to save a spot and got into line to see what was on the menu this particular day.  

There was soup: potato bacon or borscht.  On the chalkboard up high near the ceiling, we read the regular daily special, a working man’s lunch of sausage. The variety included krakauer, elk, Bavarian, buffalo, weisswurst – how exotic is that!

Under glass, we could see the variety of salads: broccoli, bean, noodle, potato, orzo, pasta. All colourful and obviously fresh. There were even perogies with all the fixings.

My companion went round to the other side of the counter to find the sandwich bar where you can choose the layers, bread, meat, cheese, added condiments and vegetables. People handed over their cards to be stamped, collecting enough to eventually get a sandwich for free.

It was difficult to choose from the delectable variety and it didn’t help that we kept seeing people we knew and couldn’t not stop to chat and catch up. Ultimately, though we made it to the front of the line.

My companion chose the perogy special, while I had borscht with bread and a medium broccoli salad, as I just couldn’t decide between the two. We both went to the coffee corner and helped ourselves to coffee and cream, knowing we could refill our cups before we were done.

My bread was fresh and delicious and the borscht, with sour cream, was perfect. It had that, I don’t know, Russian type flavour, seasoned just enough – but not so much that you couldn’t taste the big chunks of beet. My companion’s perogies tasted just as if a Ukrainian baba had had a hand in the preparation. They melted on your tongue!

The coffee, in the large mugs, was fresh and delicious and hot, an important characteristic of good coffee.

Even though the restaurant part of The Deli was self-serve, our dishes and trays were picked up by a smiling member of the staff. There was much joking and kibitzing with the customers and we were delighted to discover it was someone’s birthday and everyone in the place cheered and wished the celebrant all the best.

I couldn’t help checking out the retail part of the store as it was situated all around us. I picked up tea, cookies, pickles, and, of course, some dark chocolate. I even saw gourmet jelly beans.

The Deli is located at 203 Hanson St. and is open Tuesday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.