Chock Full O’ Nuts

September 15th, 2020 § 1 comment

Chock Full O’ Nuts, the fast-food chain (at one time with 80 stores in New York) served excellent coffee and a signature sandwich of cream cheese and chopped nuts on dark raisin bread. During HG’s busy New York/New Jersey public relations career, it was a favorite stop for a quick lunch or afternoon snack (very superior whole wheat donuts among other menu items). Very efficient. Very clean (“Untouched by Human Hands” was its motto). Surly, grumpy African-American women were the servers and they used tongs to deliver the food. Jackie Robinson, after his retirement from baseball, was hired as personnel and general manager. He did his best to make the service friendlier. Chock Full was founded by William Black starting with theatrical district nut shops in the 1920’s. When the Great Depression hit, Black converted them into sandwich shops, selling the nutted cheese sandwich and a cup of coffee for five cents. Chock Full coffee was very good. When Gault Millau, French food critics, visited New York, they enjoyed the coffee and added that it was an effective laxative. Canned Chock Full was distributed in supermarkets. The singing commercial (by Black’s wife, Page Morton)–“Chock Full O’Nuts, that heavenly coffee, better coffee a Rockefeller’s money can’t buy”–was omnipresent on radio. The food chain closed down in the 1970’s. The coffee brand was sold to the Zanetti coffee conglomerate. The stores were revived in 2010 as Chock Full O’Nuts Cafes (there are now six, two in Brooklyn, two in New Jersey and two in upstate New York). The nutted cheese sandwich costs $4.95. A frankfurter, the same.

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