You hit the nail on the head. Jewish Deli food as we know/knew it is dying not for lack of an audience, but because of changes in the economic climate and how businesses are run.
i.e.–"You have reached the Deli Hot line. We’re sorry we cannot personally take your call at this time. But be assured it is important to us. Dial 1 if you like your pastrami lean. Dial 2 if you want your waiter to be mean and abrupt. Dial 3 if you just want to tell us that your Dad took you here when you were little and you have fond memories of the place. Oh….that’s nice. Yes, we remember him, and you, too. And while we have you on the line, can we interest you in a Deli Hot line Visa Card? We’re sure your Dad would have thought it was a good idea."
You see, the times they are a changin’, and it just don’t work. Someone left the kugel out in the rain, and it took so long to make it, and we’ll never have the recipe again, oh no, oh no, so to speak.
To make this product really right is labor intensive and, aside from emotional dedication, requires a pride in craftsmanship. There can be no skimping on quality. No shortcuts. No pastrami can be sliced before its time.
Without the good old product available, classically nurtured and prepared, new up and upcoming eaters will doubtful be indoctrinated by a perfect knish, or learn with serene delight that Kasha Varnishkes is the ultimate comfort food.
Hence, this food in its sublime state will be like Jazz. It will be rare, loved, historically important, and not as available as it used to be.