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Chock Full O' Nuts

Chock Full o' Nuts began as a nut stand on New York's Times Square in 1922. William Black, a Russian emigant, graduated from Columbia University with a degree in engineering, but was unable to find employment, so he began selling nuts in New York's Theater District. Business was good, and the nut stand evolved into a coffee shop/lunch counter. Black owned 18 of them within ten years, and there were 80 of them by the 1960's. The shops' signature product became, not nuts, but its blend of coffee, which today survives as a popular commercial brand. Many people fondly recall the food sold at the shops, which was not prepared fresh on site, but was all made at a commissary in Secaucus, New Jersey and transported to the individual shops. After Black's death in 1983, the company was sold and the lunch counters went into decline, dwindling to only one by 1991. However, with the success of Starbuck's Coffee Shops, Chock Full O' Nuts was re-invented in the nineties as Chock Express, once again purveying coffee in New York City.

I get lots of requests for items sold at the old Chock Full O' Nuts lunch counters, but the only recipe from there that I have ever been able to find is the date nut bread. One reason is probably the fact that all of the food was prepared at the Secaucus, New Jersey commissary and then transported to the shops. None of the employees at the shops would have had any idea of recipes for the food.

Requests that I've searched for but had no luck locating include:

  • Whole-wheat donuts
  • Nutted cheese sandwiches
  • Chicken salad sandwiches
  • Pea soup

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