5. Chock full o’Nuts

William Black opened the very first Chock full o’ Nuts on 43rd Street and Broadway in 1926. This simple store’s specialty was roasted peanuts. When the Depression hit, New Yorkers couldn’t afford this little luxury and Black was forced to change his business model. Instead of nuts, he began to roast coffee beans. He also started to sell cheap sandwiches made with cream cheese, chopped nuts, and raisin bread. The sandwiches came with a freshly brewed cup of coffee. With this change, Chock full o’Nuts became a chain of successful lunch counters serving up affordable and satisfying meals, always with a cup of coffee. In the 1950s, the brand had packaged coffee on grocery store shelves across the city and soon became the top-selling brand in the five boroughs. After Black’s death in the 1980s, the remaining New York City locations were sold with the final shop on Madison Ave closed in the 1990s. The cafe had a brief resurgence in Manhattan when a new location opened on 23rd Street in 2010, but it closed just two years later. Today, one cafe location, which opened in recent years, exists on Avenue M in Brooklyn.

Coffee Tour & Tasting

Next, check out The Story Behind NYC’s Greek Coffee Cups