In the last three months, three long-standing emporiums of corned beef and matzo around the country have closed.
Faced with aging clientele and a difficult economy, Ashkenaz Delicatessen in Chicago went dark in November and was replaced by a seafood joint called Da Lobsta. In Manhattan, high rent and the recession led to the closure of 75-year-old Stage Deli.
"People don't open up new delis anymore because it's very, very difficult to do," said Marian Levine, owner of Stage's longtime rival, Carnegie Deli in Manhattan.
In the first half of the 20th Century, several thousand Jewish delis were operating in New York. But as Jewish immigration to the East Coast ebbed after World War II and younger generations splintered into the suburbs, the number has shrunk to a few dozen.
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