A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

A nonprofit, independent news source to inform, inspire, educate and connect the St. Louis Jewish community.

St. Louis Jewish Light

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Kohn’s Kosher and Meat Deli sued for $150,000 by Chicago supplier

Mid Town Distribution, a major kosher supplier headquartered in Chicago, is suing Kohn’s Kosher and Meat Deli — the only free-standing, full-service kosher grocery in St. Louis — for nearly $150,000 in unpaid bills.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for Northern Illinois on June 27, alleges that the owners of Kohn’s, Bayk Kohn LLC and Yehuda Kestenbaum, breached their contract and currently owe a balance of $149,345.20 to Mid Town “for goods sold and delivered (and) for which payment has not been received.”

“Plaintiff repeatedly made demand on Kohn’s as well as its member, Yehuda Kestenbaum, for payment of the balance due on the Goods,” according to the lawsuit. “Although acknowledging their obligation to pay the balance due, Kohn’s and Kestenbaum have failed to make payment.”

On Tuesday, July 9, a letter on Kohn’s website from the Vaad Hoeir of St. Louis, which provides kosher certification, said the deli restaurant and grocery at 10405 Old Olive Street Road had “closed until further notice” last week.

The letter also said that while the Vaad understands the need in St. Louis for fresh kosher meat, kosher catering and a kosher restaurant and has “done everything to support these efforts, numerous practical and legal issues need to be sorted through by the parties involved.”

Kestenbaum issued a statement on Wednesday saying, “it was with a heavy heart” that he announced the closing of Kohn’s” after 19 months, and he “regretted the inconvenience this may have caused.”

“For some time, we have been actively looking for an operator who might be interested in continuing the legacy of Kohn’s,” he said. “We hope to have a new operator shortly.”

He declined to answer questions about the pending lawsuit.

In November 2022, Kohn’s was bought for an undisclosed amount by two Orthodox businessmen on the East Coast from Lenny Kohn and his sister, Rosemary Cooper. Kohn and Cooper had taken over the business from their parents, Bobbi and Simon Kohn, who opened the grocery and deli in 1963.

Calls to Lawrence Benjamin, the attorney for Mid Town, were not returned Wednesday to the Jewish Light.

 

 

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About the Contributors
Ellen Futterman
Ellen Futterman, Editor-in-Chief
A native of Westbury, New York, Ellen Futterman broke into the world of big city journalism as a general assignment reporter for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner in the latter part of the 20th century. Deciding that Tinsel Town was not exciting enough for her, she moved on to that hub of glamour and sophistication, Belleville, Ill., where she became a feature writer, columnist and food editor for the Belleville News-Democrat. A year later the St. Louis Post-Dispatch scooped her up, neither guessing at the full range of her talents, nor the extent of her shoe collection. She went on to work at the Post-Dispatch for 25 years, during which time she covered hard news, education, features, investigative projects, profiles, sports, entertainment, fashion, interiors, business, travel and movies. She won numerous major local and national awards for her reporting on "Women Who Kill" and on a four-part series about teen-age pregnancy, 'Children Having Children.'" Among her many jobs at the newspaper, Ellen was a columnist for three years, Arts and Entertainment Editor, Critic-at-large and Daily Features (Everyday) Editor. She invented two sections from scratch, one of which recently morphed from Get Out, begun in 1995, to GO. In January of 2009, Ellen joined the St. Louis Jewish Light as its editor, where she is responsible for overseeing editorial operations, including managing both staff members and freelancers. Under her tutelage, the Light has won 16 Rockower Awards — considered the Jewish Pulitzer’s — including two personally for Excellence in Commentary for her weekly News & Schmooze column. She also is the communications content editor for the Arts and Education Council of St. Louis. Ellen and her husband, Jeff Burkett, a middle school principal, live in Olivette and have three children. Ellen can be reached at 314-743-3669 or at [email protected].
Bill Motchan, writer/photographer
Bill worked in corporate communications for AT&T for 28 years. He is a former columnist for St. Louis Magazine. Bill has been a contributing writer for the Jewish Light since 2015 and is a three-time winner of the Rockower Award for excellence in Jewish Journalism. He also is a staff writer for the travel magazine Show-Me Missouri. Bill grew up in University City. He now lives in Olivette with his wife and cat, Hobbes. He is an avid golfer and a fan of live music. He has attended the New Orleans Jazzfest 10 times and he has seen Jimmy Buffett in concert more t han 30 times between 1985 and 2023.