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John’s Delicatessen & Meat Market

John's Delicatessen & Meat Market, butcher shop, grocery store, Kingston, OntarioFor folks living downtown, students and Kingstonians alike, John’s Deli is a treasured staple.  I was lucky enough to live next door to John’s for almost my entire undergrad and my roommates and I went there often.  We were even on a first name basis with some of the people who worked there – but this isn’t a unique story.  Although they have so much to offer, one of the first things that comes to mind when John’s is mentioned is how friendly the people who work there are.  Ownership has changed over the years but this quality hasn’t faltered.

John’s Deli offers a huge variety of items, making it an excellent alternative to the large, corporately owned grocery stores in town.  Their produce is delivered daily and over 50% of it is organic.  Not all items are local but they do provide locally sourced products when they can.  I have to admit, the produce isn’t my favourite part of John’s.  It’s not always as fresh as it could be and it’s a bit pricey compared to other stores nearby.  However, sometimes this is the price you pay for great customer service and a speedy shopping trip.  I rarely stand in line at John’s which is more than I can say for any of our other downtown stores.
John's Delicatessen & Meat Market, butcher shop, grocery store, Kingston, OntarioIn addition to a plethora of produce, John’s offers a wide variety of sundry items, canned goods, local cheeses, Fred’s Bread, jams and jellies from Waupoos Winery, crackers and other snacks (gluten-free and otherwise), a variety of beverages, fair trade items including a wide selection of Multatuli coffees and you can even pick up your toilet paper and toothpaste while you’re there.  John’s truly offers a one-stop shopping experience.
John's Delicatessen & Meat Market, butcher shop, grocery store, Kingston, OntarioIn the back of the store is John’s claim to fame: the deli.  The staff in the deli are very knowledgeable of the various cuts they offer and can help you make the right choice – and cook it to perfection.  The deli provides a large variety of marinated meats ready for the grill as well as special cuts such as London Broils and Frenched Local Lamb Racks.  All the lamb they sell is 100% local and the beef if 90% locally sourced.

I have tried many of their pre-made items from the pepper steak to chicken wings and I’ve never been disappointed.  One year we ordered our Thanksgiving turkey from John’s and were proud to say that it was raised near Kingston.  Aside from the excellent cuts of meat, the deli staff are some of the most friendly people you’ll meet.
John's Delicatessen & Meat Market, butcher shop, grocery store, Kingston, OntarioJust next to the meat counter is a student’s dream come true.  John’s kitchen staff prepares hot, ready to go meals on a daily basis and the prices are close to unbelievable.  Personal sized prepared meals offer a healthy, homemade alternative to homesick students and range in price from about $3.50-$5.00.  There is also a wide selection of salads to choose from.  The hot food counter offers a variety of freshly made items such as roasted potatoes, cabbage rolls, various cuts of roasted chicken, shepherd’s pie, lasagna and more.  Many of these tasty treats are also included in weekly specials, which you can keep up with here.

When you mention John’s Deli to a Kingstonian, their eyes always light up.  The prices on items not made on site tend to be a bit on the high side but that isn’t enough to keep people away.  The quality of their meat and prepared food is worth the extra few cents on a can of chick peas and honestly, the speedy and friendly service will always keep me coming back.

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Danielle Lennon

Danielle Lennon is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. She was the Editor, Community Event Coordinator and Contributor at-large (2008-2018). She is otherwise employed as a section violinist with the Kingston Symphony, violin teacher, studio musician and cat lover. Learn more about Danielle...

7 thoughts on “John’s Delicatessen & Meat Market

  • September 13, 2012 at 4:07 pm
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    John's is excellent for meats, and so is Bob's in Reddendale (Days and Front rd.) .

    The guys at Bob's were originally butchers at John's, and have very similar offerings…!

  • September 15, 2012 at 5:41 am
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    Bought myself a great cap there last year. I love their salads and baked goods, especially the brownies and Nanaimo bars. The roasted chicken's not bad either.

  • September 18, 2012 at 8:31 pm
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    One of my favourite shops in Midtown. Easy walking distance to my house and has just about anything I need or want. Love the bulk foods section because I can get as much or as little as I need. They also stock local foods, which makes it even better for shoppers. It's also a great place to chat with neighbours. I always see someone I know.

  • September 18, 2012 at 8:32 pm
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    And, they hired our neighbour's son for the summer. A great community supporter.

  • September 21, 2012 at 12:55 pm
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    John's is good, and convenient, but I rate Pig and Olive a bit more, even thought it's way out in La Salle Plaza. Mind you, it's worth going there because Cha Cha Tea is in the same plaza…

  • November 7, 2014 at 7:37 am
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    John's is decent… I did however buy lemon pudding from there one time that was past its expiry date by a month. Other than that, I really can't complain

  • November 26, 2014 at 9:16 am
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    John's is the best. Great meats, deli and vegetables. Lots of local stuff and GREAT folks! Don't know how I'd survive in this town without it. Thanks, John's!

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