As most salt-of-the-city New Yorkers will tell you, once a Whole Foods opens up in your area, the appropriate response is “there goes the neighborhood.” Sure, it might help revitalize the district and attract new people, but as cities like the Big Apple deal with the effects of gentrification clashes are often played out in price wars. Just as housing prices rise as more affluent residents move in, so too do those local delicacies. And nowhere is that more exemplified than the Columbus Circle Whole Foods, which was recently spotted selling chopped cheese for $8.
For the unfamiliar, chopped cheese is a bodega/deli staple of ground beef, cheese, onions and other condiments served up hot on a roll. In most cases the sandwiches can be found for under five bucks, and the last place you’d go to look for them is an organic supermarket. It’s convenience food. It’s greasy food. It’s drunk food. The gut bombs were the subject of an Insider video earlier this year, which treated the longtime local favorite as something exotic and unheard of. Well, to some people at least:
People associate Whole Foods with gentrification as it is, so the added irony of serving 100 percent markup chopped cheese from a cart labeled “1492” just seems to hammer in the original controversy around the sandwich, which looks like a textbook case of “Columbus-ing” (when white people claim to have discovered something other people already knew about). Upper West Side meatery Bloomfield Hill also came under scrutiny for serving up their chopped cheese for a whopping $15.
Sometimes good food is supposed to be cheap, and should remain so. That’s part of what makes it so good.