Skip to content
CityLab
Justice

When Food Gets Gentrified

A new documentary about New York’s chopped cheese sandwich digs in to what happens when pricey restaurants adapt bodega fare.
relates to When Food Gets Gentrified
Courtesy First We Feast

The chopped cheese sandwich is usually prepared on a sizzling bodega griddle. Hamburger patties are cleaved into ground beef, tossed with onions, and blanketed with plastic-y cheese. The whole melted mixture is heaped onto a toasted hero. Next come assorted toppings—shredded lettuce, a smattering of sliced tomatoes—and squiggles of ketchup and mayo.

“The best description, I would say, is a wonderful, magical sandwich,” says the rapper Bodega Bamz, a native of Spanish Harlem, in Hometown Hero: The Legend of New York’s Chopped Cheese, a new documentary from First We Feast.