Since William Black opened the first Chock Full o' Nuts coffee shop in 1926, the name has been synonymous with coffee, nut and cream cheese sandwiches, and New York city. But by the early 80s, the iconic stores were all but gone from Manhattan, giving way to things like espresso, frappuccinos, and half-caf. This Monday, the chain will be opening its first Manhattan store in decades. But has the city forgotten about the honest goodness of a simple mug of "heavenly coffee"?
Jim LaGanke, a vice president of the company, said, “It finally dawned on us that we were missing the heritage, and that we really needed to get back to the roots of what Chock was really well-known for. We’re going to bring back Chock to New York in a way that people remember it." But pening next to Italian food mecca of Eataly may mean tough competition with the espresso bar, where customers can get fresh made shots of the stuff for $2. But developer Joe Bruno remains confident in their success. "We’re in a recession now, and comfort food is always something that people gravitate to. On top of that, let’s face it: leases are now to be easily had in Manhattan."
Some longtime New Yorkers seemed excited about the comeback. Two Carroll Gardens women said, “Just goes to show, some things do come back." However, another longtime fan scoffed at the "whipped cream cheese" featured in the Classic Chock sandwich, saying, "There was no such thing as whipped cream cheese in those days — that does not make it a classic." And one Queens resident told us that, nostalgia aside, the coffee isn't great. But don't worry guys, nostalgia can go a long way in this city.