(Above: Ivan Saric, owner of Ivan’s Meat and Deli. Photo by Barry Gray.)
- Ivan Saric’s parents were from what’s now Croatia, and opened a deli in Stittsville in 1987.
- Croatia’s food history is greatly influenced by German, Hungarian, and Italian cuisine.
- Most meat products sold are raised locally and free of antibiotics or hormones.
EDITOR’S NOTE: I think I first became curious about Ivan’s Meat and Deli earlier this fall on Twitter, when they started tweeting out their daily lunch special. They always sound delicious, like this one from yesterday:
— Ivan's Meat & Deli (@IvansMeatsDeli) January 23, 2015
Ivan’s is located on Stittsville Main Street just north of Abbott. It’s owned by Ivan Saric, who grew up in Kanata and can usually be found cutting meat and serving customers inside the busy store. Here’s an interview I did recently with Saric about the family business. All photos by Barry Gray.
GG: How long have you been open for?
IS: We have been open since October of 2011, so a little over three years. My parents bought this current location from Garny Scheels in 1987 and opened the first and original Stittsville Meat Market.
My parents came from Croatia which was Yugoslavia back then. Like many eastern European the were fleeing communism. Croatia has a rich food history greatly influenced by German, Hungarian, and Italian cuisine. They retired about nine years ago and rented out this space to the fellow that eventually bought the old Royal Bank on Main Street (currently it’s the Tony Greco facility).
I had always worked along side my mother and father from a very young age. I skipped on taking over their business to pursue other interests at the time. When the space became empty I jumped at the opportunity to open my own shop.
GG: How many staff do you have? Is it still a family operation?
IS: There are four of us currently including myself. We hire more for summer help as it’s the busy season. My wife Natalija works with me full time and my mother Maria works part time.
GG: Tell me a bit about the shop – what kind of meat and food do you sell?
IS: We are a family-owned small business that sells fresh meat, custom cut with a full service meat counter like lots of shops had in the old days. We have a wide assortment of deli meats and cheeses and prepare hearty sandwiches as well.
In addition to that we do a lot of ready-to-eat prepared foods made from scratch here in the shop. That’s become a very big part of my business as families are more and more busy these days and sometimes don’t have the time to prepare a homemade meal.
We also try to keep the meat and products we carry as local as possible and naturally raised without antibiotics and added hormones.
We are most known for our kebabs, seasoned in a home-made herb and spice mix that’s been a staple in Stittsville since 1987 with my parents.
GG: What do customers say they like the most about Ivan’s?
IS: I think they like the personalized service. Nothing is set in stone and anything can be custom cut and packed to their liking. Quality and freshness is also really big with us. People get to know us as we do them, it makes for a small town feel that I think people moved to Stittsville for in the first place.
GG: How is the business climate on Stittsville Main Street? Is there anything that in your opinion could be improved?
IS: I love Stittsville! Stittsville is growing at a phenomenal rate. Lots of young families. The infrastructure of Main Street needs improving as it’s very busy at all times of the day.
I remember back in the 80s it was only Main Street and the train passing twice a day. It’s grown and become much more of a diverse community and I think that’s great. I moved to Kanata in 1988 and attended St. Paul’s High when it was in Bells Corners. I’ve run into old high school chums that I haven’t seen in 20 years. Seems like everyone’s moving out here.