Nathan Handwerker made his way from Poland to Brooklyn in 1912, and soon found a job at the popular Coney Island called Feltman’s German Gardens. Two waiters you’ve probably heard of worked at Feltman’s at that time – Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante – and legend has it that they encouraged Nathan to set up his own hot dog stand to compete with Feltman’s. He did, and Nathan’s Famous began selling dogs for a nickel (Feltman’s charged a dime) in 1916.
It wasn’t long before anyone who was anyone wanted to be seen at Nathan’s Famous. Perhaps the zenith of this famous hot dog came in 1939, when President Franklin Roosevelt served them to King George VI (of The King’s Speech fame) when George VI became the first British monarch ever to visit the United States. FDR also had Nathan’s sent to Yalta for his famous meeting with Stalin and Churchill.
After having just the one location for 43 years, the Handwerker family realized there was money to be made by expansion and franchising. So now there are 1,400 stores in 41 states and 17 countries. But there’s still only one place to get a real Nathan’s Famous hot dog. At Coney Island. In Brooklyn. New York, New York.
- 10 Historical Facts About Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs (bizcovering.com)