What’s Old is New

Chock Full o' Nuts store in the late 1960s

Chock Full O’  Nuts is that heaaaaaavenly coffee!

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that a new Chock Full O’ Nuts opened its doors on 23rd street last Monday!  Once as ubiquitous in Manhattan as Starbucks, the chain, which began in 1926, fell into obscurity and eventual extinction during the 1980s.  I mean, what kind of self-respecting yuppie would eat at a lunch counter?

Now that times have changed (and boy, how they’ve changed), it seems the owners of Chock Full O’ Nuts are banking on a mixture of nostalgic appeal and good old parsimony to pack their countertops.

“We’re in a recession now, and comfort food is always something that people gravitate to.”

Two donuts are 99 cents.  A regular cup of coffee is $1.55.  And yes, they are still serving their classic nutted cheese sandwiches.

Page Morton Black and Pinocchio sing the virtues of Chuck Full O’ Nuts in this classic commercial

I, myself, am not a coffee drinker, but my mother (Mama Fierce, if you will) has been a devotee of Chock’s self-proclaimed heavenly brew since time immemorial.  As a child, the sight of that familiar black and yellow can in our pantry was as dependable as her Oster Pulse Matic (which I inherited, and still use, so I’d say it rates a 10 on the scale of dependability).

Whether the taste of Chock Full O’ Nuts is actually so divine as to prove addictive might be a debatable matter.  For all I know, Mama Fierce may simply be the perfect audience for their clever commercial jingles and iconic packaging.  However, I do love and adore that they have continued to use that beautiful art-deco font on the front of their canisters.  Nothing spells “brand loyalty” like “classic typeface.”

Now that we’ve got our luncheonettes back, could the return of the automat be far behind?  Ever since the close of BAMN!, I’ve wondered if the secret recipe for a successful modern automat might lie in simply recreating something old-fashioned, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel (as BAMN! did).  After all, there’s no truer cliche than, “what’s old is new again.”

However, until the happy day when I can draw meals from the innards of a tiny window, I will have to console myself with an egg salad sandwich at Chock Full O’ Nuts.  As of yet, I’ve not been able to answer the pressing question of whether their new shop is so vintage as to forgo wifi.  If they do have it, you can expect to find Miss Fierce blogging from their cheap and cheerful premises sometime in the near future.

You’ll recognize me by my full length (faux) mink coat, linebacker shoulders, and profile half-hidden in shadow.   Oh, and also by the fact that I’ll be the only one there not drinking coffee.

5 Comments to “What’s Old is New”

  1. And guess who else drinks Chockful ‘o Nuts?

    • LOL!! I actually had a cup today to see what all the fuss was about. It wasn’t half bad! For coffee, anyway. I think I’ll be sticking to tea though.

  2. My parents have about 20 empty tins of Chock full o’nuts that now live on as storage containers in various odd places. Obviously, Chock full o’nuts is kind to the working man!

    • hahahaha! i actually had a bunch of people email me after i posted this, to give me their own personal chock full stories. it seems like a lot of our parents rely on the heavenly brew!

  3. I am an avid CHOCK FULL OF NUTS fan!
    We can buy it in Alabama and it can be ordered from their web site. If you know anyone who needs some cans…I have some…not vintage but, the real thing!

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