If you want to know whether or not you should go to Wilensky’s Light Lunch the next time you find yourself in Montreal, stop. Just answer one question: do you like eating? Ok, there is a second question: do you eat meat? Yes plus yes equals bologna, literally. Wait, there is a third question: is mustard OK? Say, “yes, I want the Special.” It is a grilled bologna sandwich on a kaiser roll, with yellow mustard. Cheese is optional and you can get sour pickles are on the side for an extra charge.
There are some standard facts about Wilensky’s that you will find if you do some research. By research, I mean let Google do its auto-fill collective brain magic. You will get a brief Canadian Lit. lesson on Mordecai Richler. You will be told about the menu, which plainly states that yellow mustard is not optional, no questions asked. You will read that it is a part of Montreal’s heritage. Maybe you will find out that David Chang visited the spot with Aziz Ansari on an episode of PBS’s Mind of a Chef season one. You will be told that it is brilliant because it is simple. You will get a nostalgia report on someone’s school lunches as a child. You will ask someone to go with you. All of a sudden, the answers will become clear. Yes eat. Yes bologna. Yes mustard. Yes, please.
Let’s not make airs about eating bologna though. It’s bologna. This type of sandwich was not part of my childhood and sometimes I feel weird about eating processed meats but I talked about going to Wilensky’s for over a year before I went. I thought about it regularly, as if it were a big Russian novel that I should read. You shouldn’t let anyone tell you that you have to eat this thing because of its historical significance or even because David Chang says so. But, if you like eating, and you eat meat, don’t try to hard to resist the Special. Don’t over think it. You will not be disappointed. Also, don’t forget to order a cherry cola.