Something is missing at Chandler's Deli.
According to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, it's not the soul food - there's plenty of it piled high and steaming in foil trays behind the counter.
It's not Charles Chandler or his wife, Gwen - both are busy serving lunch and getting catering orders ready.
What Chandler notices as he glances around the interior of his East Knoxville restaurant is a lack of fellow blacks among his customers.
Though situated in one of the areas of town with the highest number of black residents, blacks have never been the majority of customers at Chandler's Deli. The restaurant attracts whites from East Knoxville and other parts of town for its barbecue and other fare. Still, Chandler said he's also never seen a time when so few blacks came to his restaurant.
"The recession hit them worse, so they can't afford to eat out as much," he said, adding that because of the decline in black and other customers, he now has less money to spend at other businesses.
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