Chock full o’Nuts coffee shops were founded by William Black (1898-1983) in 1926, when he expanded his Times Square cart into a lunch counter. One popular food item at the shops was the “nutted cheese sandwich,” cited in print since at least 1947.
The nutted cheese sandwich was made with raisin bread—not date nut bread (that Chock full o’Nuts also sold). The cheese was Neufchâtel cheese (not cream cheese) with chopped walnuts mixed in. The sandwich has mostly disappeared in New York City since the 1980s, along with the Chock full o’Nuts stores.
Wikipedia: Chock full o’Nuts
Chock full o’Nuts is a brand of coffee originating from a chain of New York City coffee shops.
Its unusual name derives from the eighteen shelled nut shops founder William Black had established under that banner in the city beginning in 1926. When the Depression struck he converted them to lunch counters serving a cup of coffee and a sandwich for 5 cents.
In time the brand grew popular, being introduced to the consumer market through grocery stores starting in 1953. Today it is owned by coffee giant Massimo Zanetti Beverage Group, the largest privately held firm in the industry.
The chain was founded by William Black (1898–1983), an American immigrant who sold nuts in Times Square to theater-goers. In 1926, he opened a store on Broadway and 43rd Street, eventually adding seventeen more. When the Depression settled in, New Yorkers could no longer afford the luxury of shelled nuts, so Black converted his shops into lunch counters, selling coffee and sandwiches.
Their signature “nutted cheese” sandwich, made of cream cheese and chopped nuts on dark raisin bread, cost a nickel with a cup of coffee when the company was founded.
17 April 1947, Barnard Bulletin (Barnard College, New York, NY), “Barnard Seeks Nutriment at Chock Fill and Tilson’s” by Marion Freda, pg. 2, col. 3:
Hot dogs and nutted cream cheese sandwiches have long been Barnard standbys. In fact, the latter are the only item that is chock full.
Google News Archive
11 September 1951, Miami (FL) Daily News, “‘Chock Full O’ Nuts’ Snack Shops Set New Style In N.Y. Eateries” by Helen Burns, pg. 6-B, col. 2:
Every day they feature skinless frankfurthers and their very special sandwich, a nutted cheese, rich cream cheese full of nuts.
By Julius Horwitz
Cleveland, OH: World Publishing
A nutted cheese sandwich at Chock Full O’ Nuts untouched by human hands.
The Girl in the Freudian Slip:
A Comedy in Two Acts
By William Ferdinand Brow
New York, NY: Samuel French, Inc.
WELLMAN. The Chock Full o’ Nuts on 49th Street. I hate to see a grown woman cry on an empty stomach. So I waited till she’d finished her nutted cheese on whole wheat raisin bread.
7 December 1980, Boston (MA) Herald American, “Holiday time for Fifth Avenue stroll,” pg. D7, col. 2:
Another good snack stop is Chock-Full-of-Nuts, at 47th Street, famous for its grilled cheese and nutted cheese sandwiches at 90 cents, as well as excellent coffee.
Food and Things
September 18, 2009
Chock Full o’Nuts To Bring Back Nutted Cheese Sandwiches
By LauraB. Weiss
But, the best sandwich of all, hands down, is the Chock Full o’ Nuts “nutted” cheese sandwich. Sadly, this little snack disappeared when in the 1970s, the company decided to close down its coffee shops and focus on beverages instead.
But, happy day! Chock Full o’ Nuts has just announced that it will be opening a full service restaurant in the space on 23rd Street recently occupied by the Comfort Diner, according to a report from Crain’s New York Business. Why am I excited? The restaurant chain will be bringing back its divine cream cheese and nut sandwich.
October 19, 2009 at 4:04 pm
Thought you should know that the Chock nutted cheese sandwich did not consist of cream cheese.
It contained Neufchatel Cheese with chopped walnuts mixed in and was served on raison bread, not date nut bread as is commonly thought. That’s why it was called “Nutted Cheese” and not “Nutted Cream Cheese”. The cheese was produced by the Zauzner Cheese Company in PA and shipped to the Chock stores in 5lb containers. The original chain disappeared slowly as its long term leases on prime locations ran out. The final few locations were sold off the the Riese Bros. I wish this new restaurant under the “Chock” logo the best but frankly it will never be the same.
Eating In Translation
October 02, 2010
Chock full o’ Nuts
The return of Manhattan’s first full-service Chock full o’ Nuts in 30 years also marked the return of the “original nutted cheese sandwich” (above, $5.95), Neufchatel cheese and chopped nuts on whole wheat raisin bread. Like the confusingly named “Chock classic,” plain whipped cream cheese on datenut bread, it was prepped ahead of time, perhaps in temporary response to a rush of nostalgic coffee-shop lovers. Sadly, this chilly treatment frustrated the homey, sandwich-counter experience I was hoping for, however warm the service.
Harvey Fishman • 5 years ago
I was never really addicted to the nutted cheese but my mother was and when she would take me shopping on Fulton Street in downtown Brooklyn she would always stop in the Chock Full ‘O Nuts for coffee and a sandwich. I got milk and a sandwich. As I remember the sandwiches were always pre-made and refrigerated. This was more than 60 years ago.
the jew york times
“The Original Nutted Cheese Sandwich” (Taken with Instagram at Chock Full O’Nuts)
Jan 29th, 2012
Capital - New York
Lost Foods of New York City: Date-nut bread sandwiches at Chock Full o’ Nuts
By Leah Koenig 2:10 p.m. | Jul. 16, 2012
For all of the memories about the date-nut sandwich, however, there’s something peculiar about it: it was not Chock Full o’ Nuts’ original cream cheese sandwich. That honor goes to the “nutted cheese,” a similar dish that slathered whole-wheat raisin bread with cream cheese that had been mixed with chopped walnuts. That’s the sandwich that Brooklyn-based food historian and author Arthur Schwartz recalls eating as a young Esquire magazine intern in 1967. “I remember liking the name ‘nutted cheese,’” he said.
Eater - NY
10 More of the Craziest New York Sandwiches
by Robert Sietsema, Jun 30, 2015, 2:00p
Nutted Cheese Sandwich — Long ago our city was paved with Chock Full O’Nuts, a chain of lunch counters founded in 1932 that later became famous for its supermarket coffee. Its most notorious sandwich was something called the nutted cheese, which featured cream cheese embedded with crushed walnuts on date nut bread. The sandwich was universally recognized as unique to New York but seemed totally weird to outsiders. Find it at: Chock Full O’Nuts, 8521 4th Ave, Brooklyn,