Hot diggety! Five cent franks for Nathan’s 100th anniversary

Dog day of summer: For three hours on May 28, a classic Nathan’s hot dog will cost just five cents!
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

It will be as packed as its first day in business!

Nathan’s Famous will celebrate a century in business this Memorial Day weekend by offering up its world-famous $4.25 hot dogs for just a nickel a piece at the original Nathan’s Famous restaurant at the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues from 11 am to 2 pm on May 28. That is the same low price that founder Nathan Handwerker charged for his sausages 100 years ago when he first opened his hot dog stand in Coney Island.

The Polish immigrant got his start in the business slicing buns and delivering franks for Coney Island entrepreneur Charles Feltman — the man who literally invented the hot dog in the mid-19th century. Handwerker reportedly “lived on free hot dogs,” slept on the kitchen floor of Feltman’s Surf Avenue restaurant, and eventually saved up and borrowed enough cash to started his own frank stand, according to the Coney Island blog Amusing the Zillion.

The savvy — or cutthroat, depending on your opinion — Handwerker opened his stand directly across the street from his former boss and sold his hot dogs for half the price Feltman charged, eventually putting him out of business.

The attractive five cent price — roughly a buck in today’s dollars — and the unique hot dog spice recipe his wife Ida created made Handwerker’s dogs an instant hit with the millions of New Yorkers and out-of-towners who came to enjoy the People’s Playground in its heyday.

Since then countless celebrities and politicians both local and global — including more than one President of the United States — have called Nathan’s their favorite.

There are now over 300 Nathan’s Famous hot dog restaurants and carts around the world. But only the original spot is offering this deal!

“Five Cent Hot Dog Day” at Nathan’s Famous [1310 Surf Ave. between Stillwell Avenue and W. 15th Street, (718) 333–2202, www.nathansfamous.com]. May 28. 11 am–2 pm. $0.05.

Reach reporter Dennis Lynch at (718) 260–2508 or e-mail him at dlynch@cnglocal.com.
Man of the century: Nathan Handwerker, shown in a photo from 1966, opened Nathan’s Famous one hundred years ago this weekend. When it opened, the store charged just five cents for a frankfurter.
Associated Press / Silverman

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