Montreal icon Charcuterie Fairmount closes permanently after 56 years of activity

After 56 years on the Main, Charcuterie Fairmount closed for a happy Saturday after a fire in the former smokehouse forced the shop to upgrade or close, according to the owners.

“It’s very difficult,” said owner Joseph Prepszl, who opened the store after moving to Canada from Herend, Hungary, at the age of 21. The day Fairmount closed, he was 86.

“It won’t be easy to accept it,” he said.

The family did not plan to close until a fire broke out on Monday, October 17. Co-owner Gregory Ellerton received the call after his shift that day, he said.

“I was driving home,” said Ellerton, Prepszl’s son-in-law. “That’s when the police called me to come back and told me there was a fire in the store.”

The flames were contained inside the metal smoker, and firefighters say the small blaze was brought under control within an hour. Ellerton said he was relieved to hear that no one was hurt.

“Thank goodness. That’s all I can say,” he said.

A few days later, he says, they received a letter from authorities saying the smoker was not up to code and they should stop using it until they could get a new one.

But Ellerton said putting on a replacement smoker would cost upwards of $70,000 — a price out of reach.

Instead, they opt for the other option: sell the remaining stock. “And then basically that’ll be it,” Ellerton said.

Fairmount Charcuterie had a loyal following and some of its customers had been frequenting the store for decades. When news spread that they would have to close, for some it was hard to say goodbye.

Prepszl’s daughter, Linda Ellerton, grew up in the deli. She admitted to CTV, with a laugh, that she only started enjoying smoked meat as a young adult.

“Now I love it,” she said, adding that her dad’s shop was a source of family pride. “My dad’s sausages are the best.”

Linda and Gregory recounted a customer’s tearful goodbye after 50 years of shopping at Fairmount.

“After he left, my dad had tears in his eyes,” Linda said. “He told me, and I know it’s bittersweet.”

As he looks forward to spending more time with his grandchildren, “I hear it in his voice,” she continued. “It’s going to be emotional for him.”

“It was fun. I liked it. I love being in the store,” the founder said.

Laura T. Thrasher