New York has a decreasing number of Jewish delis, but the reopened Second Avenue Deli will be among them.
Federman said that his clientele has gone from “95 percent Jewish to 50-50” and that changing with the times is part of business. (He now sells three varieties of tofu “cream cheese.”) “I think Second Avenue Deli, Katz’s, us, we’re all making our little sphere of the world a better place,” he said. “Doctors and lawyers basically live off other people’s misery. Part of the perk of working here is people coming in and being so happy.”
The deli’s general manager recalled his favorite customers at the old location:
But my favorite was when we had five nuns eating matzoh balls served by a Lebanese waiter — in a kosher deli. That’s New York.
See also a writeup of a panel on Jewish Cuisine and the Evolution of the Jewish Deli on Serious Eats.