top of page

Dave Smith


You may have heard of the name Dave Smith, the owner of arguably the most famous lunch hotspot by the Hill, Nate’s Deli, or his equally famous Place Next Door Restaurant.  You may have heard Dave’s name in the news for his charitable missions that have raised over $150 million for local, national and international causes, including $2.2M for Save Our Native Grandchildren long before Native issues were mainstream media. He sat on numerous boards and was an advisor to many organizations.

Sadly, Dave passed in September 2020.  His numerous contributions and legacy will forever be remembered.  He was appointed Member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario, awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, named an honorary Colonel of the Canadian Forces, received an honorary doctorate degree from Ottawa University, honorary law degree from Carleton University, keys to the city of Ottawa, a street named after him, and the list goes on.  Dave also owns the tremendously popular Creative Kosher Catering, renowned for servicing public and private events for celebrities, royalty, and dignitaries.  When asked where he got his passion for the food biz, Dave explained that he’d always wanted to be an architect, but instead, became a passionate architect of food.

But there’s more to Dave’s story.  He lived on Island Park Drive, and was gracious to open his home for this interview at the time.  He shared many incredible stories from being a guest at Frank Sinatra’s New Year’s Eve party, to meeting Princess Diana and Pope John Paul II.  There’s too many stories to fit into this article.  What I wanted to know was more about the man and what inspired him.

When asked which charity is dearest to his heart, Dave said the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre for addiction, which has helped over 15,000 youth in its 23 years of existence.  I asked how this cause came to be important to him.  “I got a call one night from a friend who asked me, ‘Dave, what would you do if you thought your son was doing drugs?’  At the time, no youth treatment centre existed in Ontario – only adult addiction centres.  I bought a building, raised some money, and that’s how it all started.  Years later, I received a call at my restaurant from a woman who said, ‘Bless you for what you do.  A man will arrive at your restaurant within the hour.’  When the man arrived, he handed me an envelope.  In it was a cheque for $500,000 for the Youth Treatment Centre!”  I asked Dave where his inspiration came from.  He explained that his parents always welcomed the homeless into their home and shared what they had.  “My father was a shoe cobbler, and there were twelve kids in our family.  We didn’t have much,” explained Dave, “but we always had a pot of hot soup on the stove and a loaf of bread on the counter.  Homeless people would come into our kitchen, take a bowl of soup and a slice of bread, sit down, eat, clean-up after themselves, say thank you, then leave.  No one ever abused the offering.”  Dave recalled a story where his mother came home in the winter with no coat.  “It was freezing cold outside, but my mother was glowing when she came through the door.  When we asked her where her coat was, she said that she’d met someone who needed it more than she did, so she gave it to them.”

It became clear that helping others was engrained in Dave’s mind from a young age.  Yes, indeed, bless you Dave Smith for the work that you did.

Dave Smith
bottom of page