Chopped cheese sandwiches — the bodega staple that's inspired rap odes and late-night trips — is getting the Whole Foods treatment, much to the dismay of New Yorkers.
The Columbus Circle Whole Foods was resoundingly slammed for advertising its $8 version of the cult-favorite sandwich, which normally costs between $4 and $5 and consists of ground beef, onions, melted cheese and condiments on a hero roll.
The furor arose on Monday afternoon when one Twitter user mockingly posted a photo of a sandwich stand at Whole Foods, atop a cart titled "1492," sparking accusations of everything from gentrification to colonialism about the growing popularity of the bodega staple, which was born in Harlem.
anyone who buys a chopped cheese for $8 is dumb af https://t.co/4XhUy3Qj21— 🇧🇧 slim (@ionechantel) December 19, 2016
if i ever pay anything about 4$ for a chopped cheese kill me https://t.co/A0lVYoNBhf— Roze (@deadlilrose) December 19, 2016
Where in the world does a chopped cheese cost $8?! Not in the good Lord's city of NY hoods I know that.— Lil Extro Vert. (@_lifeofthepvrty) December 19, 2016
LMFAOOOOOOO— bindy lou who? (@themilkmaid_) December 19, 2016
only white people really gonna pay $8 for a chopped cheese tho 😂😂 https://t.co/6EeqShqAYd
Others took it as the latest encroachment of a gentrification.
Chopped cheese cultural appropriation ? https://t.co/h64ktGmVyu— wine boyfriend (@sleeepycurtis) December 19, 2016
The chopped cheese has become an unlikely flashpoint in the struggle between native New Yorkers and the perceived forces of gentrification and cultural appropriation. (Even the New York Times has written about it.)
One user cited the “1492” display — the year Columbus departed from Spain for what would become the Americas — on the sandwich stand as proof of culinary colonialism.
THE NAME OF THE CART. THE PRICE OF THE CHOPPED CHEESE WHAT IS WRONG WITH YALL https://t.co/sIb1XrRtyq— cheerwine mami (@lilbaabysav) December 19, 2016
The backlash to the gentrification of the chopped cheese got a viral boost in May with the spread of a Youtube video by New Yorker Jeffrey Almonte, who is known for his humorous, often crass videos extolling left-wing politics and jokes about life in New York.
Almonte recorded the video in response to a Business Insider video that presented the chopped cheese as “New York’s answer to the Philly cheese steak” and called its low price “a steal,” which Almonte labelled a symptom of the reporter’s “Columbus syndrome.”
“You would call it a steal when you come to the hood,” he said. “What’s next, the chopped cheese made you fear for your life?”
(Warning: graphic language throughout)
But this is New York, so inevitably, some took the recent Whole Foods chopped cheese debacle as a chance to advance their own neighborhood in the never-ending battle over the claim to the chopped-cheese throne.
No one makes a chopped cheese like a bodega in the Bronx. NO ONE.— Una Ángel (@ruBixCuBedHeart) December 19, 2016