OUR HISTORY

Augie’s Montreal Deli is a Canadian inspired restaurant specializing in authentic Montreal Smoke Meat sandwiches and Quebecois Poutine; along with a menu of delicious salads, sides, and local craft brews. Our authentic Montreal smoke (or smoked) meat is maple and spice cured, hand rubbed, smoked, and slow roasted beef brisket that is best described as having the rich delicious flavor of pastrami and the crumbly texture of corned beef. It’s a one-of- a-kind taste served hot on locally made Metropolis Bakery deli rye with yellow (or spicy) mustard, Uncles Famous garlic dill pickles with a kick, and a side of Zack’s Zesty coleslaw (you’ve to get your veggies).

We take pride in serving the most authentic poutine south of the border. Starting with triple fried red potato fries with the original St Hubert poutine gravy and real deal squeaky cheese curds from Oakdale California; it’s the what the good people of Quebec intended poutine to be.

Owner, Founder & Meat Maker

Alexei (Lex) Gopnik-Lewinski

The Augie’s Authentic Montreal Deli concept comes from founder and creator Alexei (Lex) Gopnik-Lewinski, who has called the San Francisco Bay Area home since 1988. He spent his earliest years growing up in Canada, and holds both American and Canadian citizenship. Lex's passion to bring the Canadian comfort food of his youth to the people of the Bay Area is contagious. What started out as a way to enjoy his favorite food from his homeland took on a life of its own and has snowballed into a successful business venture. With the constant encouragement, undying support, and sage advice of his wife Josie, he was able to take the plunge into the restaurant world. You can expect to see Lex when you come into Augie’s Montreal Deli making sure all of his customers come hungry and leave satisfied and delighted with their experience. Augie’s Montreal Deli is truly a family business - it's named after his oldest son, Augie. But he has also named his Poutine after his daughter Georgie and the smoked turkey after his youngest son Attie.

Owner, Chef, & Mad Food Scientist

Chef Mike C

Hailing from a family of educators, scientists, and engineers with a passion for organic gardening, winemaking, and cooking, the stage was set for MikeC.’s lifelong exploration to understand the inner workings of all things culinary. He has crafted his gastronomic skills managing a natural foods grocery and Sur la Table culinary programs, graduating with honors from the California Culinary Academy, owning three catering companies in two states, partnering as chef at a successful wine bar in Berkeley’s famed Gourmet Ghetto, co-owning two highly successful home chef cooking schools in Berkeley, co-authoring a cookbook, chef/hosting the final season of the long running PBS cooking show series “Organic Living with the Hippy Gourmet”, and consulting for some of the top wineries in Napa Valley.

Our Story

So how did Augie’s come to be? Over the years, whenever Lex went back to Montreal to visit friends and family, without fail he would return with pounds of the traditional smoked meat because, surprisingly, it could not be found in the Bay Area (or most of the US for that matter). On one particular trip home to SFO, his meat was taken by a customs officer for reasons not clearly explained (it happened to be near the time of the mad cow scare, though we think this may have been a hungry customs officer!). It was at that moment that Lex decided he would no longer live without the Montreal mainstay. He would work to create his own version of the smoked meat, and is excited to share his passion with the very culturally diverse and food-savvy San Francisco community.

Lex took a few years to patiently perfect the Montreal recipe from a friend of his, and working painstakingly to maintain the authentic method and flavor. He even spent time staging at the Montreal’s famous Smoke Meat Pete’s to learn the trade from seasoned pros.

At the time, he was working as an audio engineer at a sports network and would bring in a sampling of his brisket to share with colleagues. One who happened to be from Montréal exclaimed the taste was as good as, if not better than the original! A number of supporters encouraged Lex to begin selling commercially. He eventually took a sample of his brisket to the owner of a very popular Montréal style bagel shop, Beauty’s, in Oakland. After trying the meat, the owner offered Lex an opportunity to do pop-up events out of his space. From there he started doing pop-ups throughout the East Bay and San Francisco, and received critical acclaim for his authentic Montréal deli menu offerings on websites such as Yelp and chowhound.com and from Bay Area and national media outlets.

When it came time to figure out how to transform the pop-up concept into a brick and mortar restaurant, Lex turned to his buddy Chef MikeC to partner with him on embarking on his next adventure. With MikeC’s mastery of all things culinary the business models were made, the menu expanded, and the location secured. After a couple years of intensive development, Augie’s opened its doors to the public in 2018 at 875 Potter St in Berkeley.

Montreal Smoke Meat

Like Pastrami and Corned Beef Had a Baby

Check Our Menu