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Dog fight! Nathan’s and Feltman’s battle for hot dog supremacy

Give it a try: Michael Quinn challenged Nathans by slinging 10-cent dogs steps away from Nathan’s.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

It was a wiener-waving contest!

An upstart took on Nathan’s Famous, selling his own hot dogs down the street from the iconic Surf Avenue store during its 100th anniversary celebration on May 28. The restaurateur resurrected the recipe used by Charles Feltman — the man who literally taught a young Nathan Handwerker everything he knew about cased meat — because he says Nathan’s quality has gone to the dogs.

“We’re the anti-Nathan’s — the hot dogs are 100-percent beef, no fillers,” said Michael Quinn of Feltman’s of Coney Island, who grew up dining at Nathan’s and sold his own creations at the Steeplechase Beer Garden last weekend.

But a Nathan’s booster says Quinn cooked up the allegations to sell hot dogs.

“I suspect that they are trying hard to distinguish themselves,” said spokesman George Shea. “I say, let the public vote, because there is no way that anyone in New York City — in my mind — would chose another hot dog over Nathan’s. It’s the best quality beef and the best quality hot dog.”

Interest seemed stronger in Nathan’s on Saturday — the restaurant served about 18,000 to Quinn’s 500 — but the Feltman’s 500 may have gotten the better brat, one foodie said.

“It’s been a while since I had a Nathan’s, but I think the Feltman’s had a little more seasoning — they were a little spicier,” said Gowanusite Richard Ruane.

Quinn charged 10 cents a frank, because that was the price Feltman — who Quinn says invented the hotdog — asked in 1916.

Reach reporter Max Jaeger at mjaeger@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8303. Follow him on Twitter @JustTheMax.
Rolling through: Rachel and Heather Esswood stop by Steeplechase for a Feltman’s.
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

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