Chopped Cheese, also known as "a chop cheese",[1] is a type of sandwich originating from New York City. Found in bodegas throughout the Bronx and Harlem, [2] it is made on a grill with ground beef, onions, and topped by melted cheese and served with lettuce, tomatoes, and condiments on a hero roll.[1] It is compared with the Philly cheesesteak and a cheeseburger, often thought of as a mixture of both,[3] and is said to represent the culture of New York.


Though the chopped cheese sandwich has recently gained a lot of media attention, the actual origins of the sandwich are up for debate. Tremont Deli Grocery is credited as being the birthplace of the chopped cheese. There is speculation that the sandwich was influenced by an Arabic specialty, دقة يمنية (“dagha yamneeya”), which is essentially cooked chopped meat and vegetables served with Yemeni bread.[4] Some have argued that it is a century old recipe that has existed all along and has been "Columbused",[5] while some think it is a more recent creation.

In popular culture

The chopped cheese has also made its way into hip hop culture, being featured or the subject of a multitude of songs. Harlem rap legend Cam'ron filmed his music video "Child of the Ghetto" at Hajji's Deli, which is largely considered ground zero for chopped cheeses in NYC.[2] Rapper Dave East has also namedropped Hajji’s several times in his music. Rapper Audubon released a song in November 2014 called "Chopped Cheese," which has over 10,000 views.[6]

The sandwich has also been the topic of a documentary from website First We Feast. The documentary, Hometown Hero: The Legend of New York's Chopped Cheese, discusses the origins of the sandwich and explores how it became an enigmatic icon of NYC. In the documentary, the sandwich is referred to as being legendary, and "Harlem's favorite".[7]

See also


  1. ^ a b Rosenberg, Eli (2016-11-07). "The Chopped Cheese's Sharp Rise to Fame". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 
  2. ^ a b "The Cult of the Chopped-Cheese Sandwich, New York's Most Enigmatic Icon". First We Feast. Retrieved 2017-06-14. 
  3. ^ Times, Robert Rabine Special to the. "RECIPE: The real deal, Chopped Cheese Sandwich". Shoreline Times. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 
  4. ^ http://firstwefeast.com/eat/2016/01/chopped-cheese-iconic-nyc-sandwich
  5. ^ Bellafante, Ginia (2016-12-22). "Gentrification and Junk Food: Chopped-Cheese Edition". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 
  6. ^ "Audubon: Chopped Cheese". Youtube. 
  7. ^ Breslouer, Lee (2016-11-17). "The Crazy & Controversial History Behind the Beloved Chopped Cheese Sandwich". thrillist. Retrieved 2017-04-18. 

External links