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Eight Forty-Eight

Best's Kosher-A Personal History

In 1886, Isaac Oscherwitz fled oppression and poverty in Eastern Europe for a new life in America. Landing in Cincinnati, he started a sausage-making business with his five sons.

When Isaac died in 1925, two of those sons, Harry and Phillip, moved to Chicago and opened up a sister company, which they called Best's Kosher.

It remained family-owned until 1993, when it was sold to Sara Lee, based in Downer's Grove. Last November Sara Lee announced they would be getting out of the kosher meat business, and recently, the Best's Kosher plant on Pershing Road closed its doors.

It was a sad day for the plant's nearly 200 employees also for generations of Chicagoans who noshed on the bolognas, salamis, corned beef, and hot dogs, and especially for the Oscherwitz family.

Susan Berger is the founder's granddaughter, and her dad Sheldon ran the company for many years.

Eight Forty-Eight's Jason Marck recently went to Berger's home to capture some of her personal memories of a legendary Chicago brand.

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