Restaurants + Bars

Manhattan - Papaya King

The Papaya King -- with its Julia Child-approved frankfurters and 'patented' tropical drinks -- has survived since 1931. Gus Poulos, a Greek immigrant, originally only sold exotic fruit juices at this exact location. However, he soon found himself entranced by the then predominantly German neighborhood's eats, specifically frankfurters. He began selling them too and the rest is hot dog history. Supposedly the secret is in the all-beef hickory-smoked dogs' seasoning (oregano, garlic and 'South American spices') and snappy imported casings. Refreshments include the eponymous papaya, mango, pina colada and banana daiquiri. The basic package -- two franks and choice of tropical drink -- will only set you back a couple of bucks.

As the story goes, Gus' first store was on 86th Street and 3rd Avenue in Manhattan, which at the time was heavily populated with German and Polish immigrants. One day while trying to impress a young German-American woman named "Birdie" on his newly purchased roller skates, Gus took a fall and badly injured his ankle. The young lass took pity on him and helped him during his recuperation, bringing him food from the German establishments in the neighborhood. Gus quickly took a liking to all things German, and after he and Birdie decided to marry, he introduced the frankfurter to his juice stand. The rest is history.

map it 179 E. 86th street
Corner of Third and Lexington
New York, NY 10028
location website

Check out another Papaya King subsidiary:

121 W. 125th Street
Between Lenox and Adam Clayton Powell
New York, NY - 10027
Phone: 212.665 5732
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