My trip to Tribeca to visit SP Nuts & Candy Co. was inspired in a round about fashion. I was watching that old Meg Ryan/Tom Hanks classic You’ve Got Mail engaging in one of my favorite past times: trying to spot the locations used in Manhattan-centric films. In this case, the scene takes place as Meg walks up Broadway passes a shop called (appropriately) the “Broadway Nut Shop.”
My eagle eye noticed a sign for W80th in the background and yet I couldn’t recall ever seeing this store on a stretch of pavement I know well, which led me to Google which led me to these two links: RIP Broadway Nut Shop on Chowhound and a piece on the New York Times entitled Plenty of Nuts for Sale, but the Roasters Are Vanishing.
I had no idea that in the early 20th Century people would regularly shop for roasted nuts in the same way they might visit a butcher or baker, or that there was a whole category of shops that have nearly disappeared from the modern street. The Times article mentioned SP Nuts as one of (if not the only) holdout in Manhattan that still roasts some of their stock on site.
I knew I had to visit and see this piece of Old New York for myself. What I found was a bright, well organized shop with a rows of nuts, legumes, candy, dried fruit, and chocolates contained in clear glass jars with a vintage roaster turning away in the front window. The sign declares "We Are Nuts About Nuts" and it's clear that their customers are too. One of the shop assistants, Gustavo, explained that many of SP’s customers come in just after Noon because the almonds and cashews will be freshly roasted and still warm. Luckily I was there at this magic hour and Gustavo was kind enough to offer a taste test. Now I understand why folks arrive right on time – a freshly roasted cashew is delicious!
I had a recipe in mind, so I had to skip the house specialties and bring home a bag of pecans instead to whip up a batch of for Sugar and Spice Candied Pecans, but my visit to SP Nuts has me pondering ways to incorporate almonds, cashews and pistachios. And, you can bet that I’ll definitely show up at Noon!
SP Nuts & Candy Co. | 166 Church St; New York, NY | Mon – Fri 9:00 am – 7:00 pm; Sat 10:00 am – 6:00 pm