In 1923, a 16-year-old Greek boy named Gus Poulos arrived here from Athens, Greece. Working at a deli in the Yorkville section of Manhattan, within three years, he bought the business outright.
On vacation in Miami, he noticed the plentiful supply of excellent fruit: oranges, mangoes, grapefruit, bananas, pineapples and most importantly, papayas, so in 1931 he opened his first juice store at the corner of 86th and Third, Hawaiian Tropical Drinks, Inc.
A young German-American woman introduced him to the sausages from the German establishments in the neighborhood and before long, he added frankfurters to his juice stand. The rest is history.
Still doing business in precisely the same location after 80 years, and after a long renovation...
Papaya King on the UES has been reopened and the results look very good indeed.
The dogs are the same. Still packed into a “natural casing” intestine, they still crack in your mouth as you bite through them. Skinless just won’t do after getting to know these first rate hot dogs. They’re the real deal.
The storefront is brand new, more glass, a bit more room for the cookstaff, a bit more of a squeeze for the customer. No problem. These dogs are well worth squeezing for. Even Julia Child said so.
And they left the 1950 neon sign intact. Fantastic!
Blue collar, white collar, every ethnicity, everyone eats at Papaya King. The only platform more democratic is the subway.
179 East 86th Street
New York, NY 10028
Friday & Saturday
8am–2am, and a hat tip to the PapayaKing website.