Street meat comes to Harcourt
By Sue Tiffin
Published June 12, 2018
Though visitors sometimes come to this area to escape from the hustle and bustle of their urban lives, there are just some aspects of city-life that are hard to leave behind and would be nice to bring along. Street meat, it turns out, is one of them.
For the past 20 years, David Houtorski has been distributing meat to food truck and street food vendors and restaurants as well as consumers through his downtown Toronto hot dog factory, Soloway’s Hot Dog Factory Outlet, which was opened by an Italian family sometime in 1927 and purchased by Houtorski’s family friend in 1996.
In 1998, Houtorski built the outlet store to distribute products from the factory. Some orders for Soloway’s products come from the Niagara region, or Kingston, but it was after some campers who frequent Algonquin Park and callers with a 705-area code were asking for delivery of Soloway’s products in this region that he started thinking of expanding the business north.
“Because of the distance I couldn’t do it, but now I’ve decided to open up an outlet,” he said.
And so just before this past long weekend, Soloway’s Hot Dog Factory Outlet offering products including hot dogs, sausages, burgers, peameal bacon, steaks, fresh buns, chicken breasts and veggie dogs at wholesale prices had a soft launch at a new location in Harcourt. Houtorski had only just found the abandoned building up for sale on Elephant Lake Road in October, purchased it by February and received final permits on May 17, so the store was still under construction and preparing for a walk-in freezer build during the soft launch. But that didn’t stop neighbours from noticing.
“People came in, the locals came in because they saw the open sign,” he said. “They were more curious about what was going on than purchasing, because I didn’t have much of a variety [yet], just some sausages and buns.”
Houtorski welcomed them in.
“It’s different here but it’s beautiful,” said the Richmond Hill resident of the location, which is close to the entrance to Algonquin Park. “People live here, I see that. A lot of people are travelling by, but it’s quiet, there’s no buzzing noise from the cars. In the summer, I think there is no better place than Algonquin Park. I’ve met some locals, they’re very friendly, they meet face-to-face, they’re coming to see who is in the area. They’re friendly, everything’s good. You don’t get attention like that in Toronto. They might text you or call you, but no one’s showing up at the door.”
Soloway’s Hot Dog Factory Outlet retail store in Harcourt will employ local shop clerks, but Houtorski said he plans on coming to the area on weekends, and is able to deliver to customers in need along the way, for those not able to make it to the store for pick up.
“I intend to supply the public,” he said of the customers who might frequent the retail shop. “People who are visiting the area, campers, tourists, local businesses if they want. We’ll be delivering to the locals, if they like our products and couldn’t get it before, I will drive it myself on the weekends. Because it’s three hours drive, I might as well fill up the truck rather than go empty.” He noted there had already been interest from nearby businesses and camps who are making the drive now to Costco in Peterborough for their supplies.
And though Houtorski doesn’t mind the drive north, he did notice that a Google Street View car hasn’t been in the area of his shop, to offer a view of the retail store for those who look it up using the Google search engine online. But that might change.
“I said it’s not too far because people live there, and they need to get there and know where my store is,” he said of a call to the Street View team. “I’m negotiating with them.”
Soloway’s Hot Dog Factory Outlet will soon be open six days a week, but Houtorski said a grand opening with a clear schedule will happen in about a month’s time.
“My store in downtown has opened every single day for the last 20 years,” he said. “We’ve never closed a day. I know how to work. I’m not afraid of work. I like to work. So I’m planning the kind of schedule in Harcourt. We’ll see how it goes. My plan is to open all the time there.”
Houtorski has been working since he was a young teenager, and is enthusiastic about his business and attentive to customer and the area’s needs.
“I just want to make everything right: good products, good service, beautiful store, and people can enjoy,” he said.
For more information about Soloway’s Hot Dog Factory Outlet, located at 4071 Elephant Lake Road in Harcourt, visit www.solowaysoutlet.ca or call David at 416-350-8385.