2. The Entrepreneurial History of Nuts4Nuts Carts
The official story (the one on the Nuts4Nuts website) goes like this: The honey roasted nuts came to New York City from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where they were called “Mani Garripanda.” And if we want to go back even further, Nuts4Nuts further states that the recipe dates from the 1920s, when the French brought honey-roasted pralines to Argentinians, who then started “experimenting with peanuts.”
The New York Times adds some more context, explaining that the Argentines “trace the origins” of the nut vendors to an Argentine man named Jorge Aguirre, who started selling them in the mid-1980s and “gradually enlisted” Argentine men to help him.
Interestingly, there is a competing Chilean version of the story, according to a 2002 article by The New York Times. Chilean vendors maintain that Nuts4Nuts began when a poor Chilean immigrant vendor named Luis Martinez (known as “El Conejo”) arrived in New York City and sold nuts from a cart to scrape some money together. According to this version, Chileans arriving in the U.S. then sought Nuts4Nuts carts for work.
Additionally, the Argentinians even had their own version of the Chilean story: In 1991, Aguirre saw El Conejo crying on the street because he was unemployed. So Aguirre gave him work as a nut vendor” until El Conejo was ready to strike out on his own. In any case, New York City’s first roasted nut cart debuted in 1993, then branded “Nuts About Nuts” by Rad. In 1998, the name was changed to “Nuts4Nuts.” Today, Rad co-owns United Snacks, Inc., which supplies almost 100 pushcarts around New York City. Read more here.