May 23, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
A company known for supplying honey-roasted nuts to pushcart operators around the city has moved its production operations to Astoria.
Nuts4Nuts, which was established in 1993, opened a new roasting and packaging facility at 34-01 30th St. on May 13. The company has taken over a former industrial space, with the location replacing the company’s former production facility in the Hells Kitchen section of Manhattan.
The new 2,800-square-foot facility is now supplying dozens of independent vendors with its nuts, which have become a staple on New York street corner streets and parks.
The nuts — typically peanuts, almonds and cashews — are roasted at the facility and then distributed to the street vendors who then boil the nuts in copper bowls with water, sugar and organic powdered honey. The process caramelizes the nuts giving off a distinct aroma and sending steam billowing up into the air.
The crunchy nuts are then sold to passers-by in waxed paper bags.
The new facility is also supplying nuts for supermarkets and the company’s online store, which ships to states throughout the US. The space will not offer street snacks directly to customers since the property is not zoned for retail.
Nuts4Nuts is owned by Alex Rad, 54, who is originally from Argentina, and Cliff Stanton, 59, of the Bronx, who said they were delighted to have moved to Astoria and are aiming to grow the company into the future.
“It’s an exciting new chapter for us and the community,” Stanton said. “We hope to employ up to 10 local residents and serve over 60 independent vendors in Manhattan and around the city from here, and this will be our new launchpad for our online store and supermarkets.”
The duo hosted a grand opening event on May 13 to mark the occasion during which attendees were offered free caramelized nuts, hot dogs and ice cream. There was also face painting and music by acoustic guitarist D.A. Sempre who blasted out Brazilian bossa nova music.
The grand opening celebration was a gesture of gratitude to their new neighbors, said Rad, who initially started the company. The honey-roasted nuts are a tradition in his native Argentina, he said, where they are known as “mani garrapinada.”
“We look forward to laying down roots in Queens and becoming an active community partner and responsible corporate neighbor,” Rad said. “And what better way to celebrate that than with some free treats and fun for our new neighbors.”
The owners said the location in Astoria is a good fit for the company since it is accessible and close to Manhattan, where many of the street vendors who sell their nuts are located. Several vendors are also located in Queens and tend to move around the borough.
“Queens and Astoria in particular are on the rise,” said Stanton.
“It has great retail in the vicinity for our employees, excellent access to public transportation and proximity to the Queensboro Bridge. It’s also a quiet, safe neighborhood in a working-class area, so there is access to a strong labor pool. And of course, it’s home to the Mets!”