Beloved by students, bohemians, and the sizable community of newcomers from all over the world who choose the western side of the Plateau around St-Laurent Boulevard (the Main) as home, Segal’s is a grocery-shopping experience. It is a place that is very difficult to find, but not something you want to miss.
I passed Segal’s every day for 10 years before I even knew it existed. In fact, the only visible sign for the store doesn’t even have a name on it. It simply says “Epicerie depuis 1927” (grocery store since 1927). The windows are mostly covered with flattened cardboard boxes. Until very recently they had a “cash only” sign, handwritten in the window.
Segal’s is one of the few true remnants of the Main’s edgier, immigrant past. For almost 200 years immigrants would arrive at the port or the train station and start the trip up “the Main” to find a place to live and work with others from their home countries. You can read about the street’s past on placards on nearby buildings.
And the food? Cheap. Quite a range too: low, low prices on yogurt, cheese, and frozen fish. Vats of dried beans and salt cod, plenty of organic snacks and crackers, and tubs of Haggen Daaz ice cream for $4. The store reflects the clientele: Portuguese, Latin American & Caribbean, McGill students, musicians, and health-conscious urbanites. If you’re in town for a while and have a kitchen, it’s worth a visit. Just don’t expect polish or a particular focus on cleanliness.