1916: the birth
1955 or 59: second branch opens
1965: third in yonkers
1987: all 3 sold by handwerker family, triggering excessive franchising.
1993: nathan’s goes public
2008: brooklyn original locale displays calorie count
cary grant + al capone allegedly favored nathan’s coney island hot dogs above the rest. fortunately for them, this was before franchising streamlined production and made nathan’s inedible (sorry – my opinion). wiki tells us ‘at a time when food regulation was in its infancy, and the pedigree of the hot dog particularly suspect, handwerker made sure that men wearing surgeon’s smocks were seen eating at his stand to reassure potential customers.’ which is even more amusing by edo mcCullough’s account: ‘handwerker hired bums to stand around the counter and paid them in hot dogs in order to give the impression he was busy. the crowds, seeing only unkempt patrons, still stayed away. nathan then took the concept to the next level, had the bums shave themselves and wear doctor’s outfits so they looked well-off.’ mcCullough chronicles a boasting sign: “If doctors eat our hot dogs, you know they’re good!”
happy coney tuesday + nathan’s does offer deep fried frog legs