It is a neighborhood institution! Opened in 1932 and still operating at its original location on 86th and Third Avenue, Papaya King has withstood the test of time! The reason is simple, tasty dogs! These savory snappy dogs were once referred to by Julia Child as "the best hot dog in New York", and cited by Martha Stewart as one of her "guilty pleasures."
Papaya King is now celebrating 85 years! The shop was opened in 1932 by Greek immigrant Gus Poulos as a tropical drink stand inspired by his first vacation to Miami. Nobody bought. So, facing mounting risk of spoiled fruit, he dressed his female employees in hula skirts and sent them to the sidewalks to offer the exotic papaya drink for free. It didn't take long for New Yorkers to get hooked. Lines formed. After opening, a roller skating accident resulted in an unintended trip to a local German restaurant with a good samaritan who would later become his wife. He discovered the delicious food and added a frankfurter to his menu. The rest is history!
Papaya King not only serves up great dogs, they also do great deeds. Papaya King was one of the first to "adopt-a-bin" on East 86th Street. The program partners local businesses with the DSNY to tend their corner bins and bag up the bins when they are full. The Association has recruited numerous other partners in the area including local condominiums, rental buildings, and businesses like Papaya King to keep the neighborhood clean.