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Meet the new owner of Kohn’s, St. Louis’ oldest (and only) kosher deli

Chef A.J. Moll stands in front of Kohns Kosher Meat and Deli Restaurant
Danny Wicentowski
St. Louis Public Radio
Chef A.J. Moll, now a part owner of Kohn's, has been a customer of the Jewish deli since childhood.

In business for nearly 60 years, Kohn’s Kosher Meat and Deli is an institution in St. Louis’ food scene. Yet, earlier this year news of the store going up for sale triggered many to worry that the beloved deli could be in danger of closing for good.

As it turns out, Kohn’s isn’t going anywhere — and it’s keeping its original name, even as a new ownership group takes over the restaurant and grocery.

“I never believed that it was going to close down,” said chef A.J. Moll, who began his tenure as part owner of Kohn’s on Dec. 1. Moll told St. Louis on the Air that over the last months the rumors of the store’s closing became something of a “whisper campaign” in St. Louis’ Jewish community, which for decades has relied on Kohn’s for kosher meat and groceries.

Eventually, that campaign marshaled the interest of investors from the East Coast, who then enlisted Moll. He takes over operations from the brother-and-sister team of Lenny and Rosemary Kohn, who had run the business since 1979 and seen its growth through several locations. Kohn’s was founded in 1963 by Bobbi and Simon Kohn, Holocaust survivors who moved to St. Louis after the war.

Moll emphasized that Kohn’s isn’t like other restaurants.

“We are the last freestanding kosher market in the state,” he noted. “If we went out of business, then people would not be able to get the kosher fresh foods that they wanted.”

To hear more from A.J. Moll, his reflections as a longtime customer of Kohn’s and his hopes for its future, listen to the full St. Louis on the Air conversation on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Stitcher, or by clicking the play button below.

Chef A.J. Moll on the future of Kohn's

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is produced by Miya Norfleet, Emily Woodbury, Danny Wicentowski, Elaine Cha and Alex Heuer. Avery Rogers is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr. Send questions and comments about this story to talk@stlpr.org.

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Danny Wicentowski is a producer for "St. Louis on the Air."

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