The north side of 23rd Street is alive with the rumblings of food-based commerce: just a few storefronts down from the monolithic Eataly space, “New York’s Coffee Shop….Since 1932” coyly asks passersby, “Guess who’s coming back?”
Who’s coming back, of course, is Chock Full o’ Nuts, the New York-born chain/coffee company that opened its first coffee shop in 1932 (although its founder, William Black, opened the his first nut shop in 1926 at Broadway and 43rd Street. The 2,800-square-foot West 23rd Street space will be the brand’s first full-service restaurant in the city in more than 30 years. In late 2005, Chock Full was bought by Massimo Zanetti Beverage USA, a coffee conglomerate based in Bologna, Italy.
Bologna is approximately 185 miles from Turin, where the original Eataly opened in 2007. As the Times reported last June, the company signed a lease to open a 32,000-square-foot store on West 23rd Street, complete with an 8,000 square-foot rooftop garden. If the sign on its window is any indication, it will open its doors this summer. Given its colossal size, the collection of food halls and restaurants is sort of the Italian artisanal food equivalent of Home Depot–which is appropriate, given its location across the street from the actual, also titanically-proportioned Home Depot.