A Chock Full O’ Nuts Diner Reopens in NYC
By Tom Ryan
Nearly 30 years after the closing its last café in New York
City, a Chock full o’ Nuts diner has reopened on 23rd Street.
The first Chock
full o’ Nuts shop was opened by William Black in 1926 as a nut store (hence
the name) and added coffee and donuts during the depression. Chock full o’
Nuts had around 100 luncheonettes in the city at its peak before closing the
last one in the early eighties to focus on its supermarket business. (It first
began selling its coffee to supermarkets in 1953.) Recognized for its lengthy
stainless steel counters, the places became known for their Classic Chock nut
bread sandwiches, wheat donuts, grilled hot dogs, and lemon cream pie — as
well as the coffee.
"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
LaGanke, a vice president of Massimo Zanetti Beverage, which acquired the coffee
brand in 2006, told the New York Times. "We’re going to bring
back Chock to New York in a way that people remember it."
The diner clearly
plays to that nostalgia. Back are the wheat donuts, nut bread sandwiches as
well as standards such as split pea soup. The diner also features the lyrics
of its famous "Heavenly Coffee" slogan and black and white
photos, including an homage to Jackie Robinson, who headed up Chock full o’
Nuts HR after his legendary baseball career. The menu also includes some modern
fare, including Buffalo wings, grilled salmon and Cobb salad.
The Times article
found some customers relishing the memories.
"I hadn’t seen one of these in decades, and I got terribly excited," said
Susan Scapier, a former fan of the diner’s hot dogs.
Madeline Tarantino and
Rose Sorrentino, longtime friends from Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, remembered
the old diner’s donuts. "Just goes to show,
some things do come back," said Ms. Tarantino.
A second Chock full o’ Nuts
is being planned for Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. The developers, Joe Bruno and Patrick
Johnson, have rights to develop 50 restaurants across the city (except for
Staten Island) over the next 15 years.
The move comes as both Starbucks and
Dunkin Donuts have recently brought their store brands to supermarket shelves.
Discussion Questions: What do you think of Chock full o’ Nuts reopening
diners? How supportive could diners be to the brand’s wholesale efforts?
Can you think of any other supermarket brands that have an opportunity to
tap into some nostalgia of their past through eateries?
- Chock Coffee Shops
full o’ Nuts Returns to Manhattan. But Is That Salmon on the Menu? – The
New York Times
full o’ Nuts coffee shops perking up again in city after opening new shop on
W. 23rd St. – The Daily News