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Hot Dog Royalty Papaya King Saved From Extinction, Finds New Uptown Home

The NYC icon will continue to reign on Third Avenue

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Papaya King expansion NYC
The original location of Papaya King at 179 E. 86th Street on the Upper East Side.
Eater NY
Melissa McCart is the editor for Eater New York.

After years of lamenting the imminent closing of New York icon Papaya King, the hot dog institution has found a new home and will open at 1535 Third Avenue, between East 86th and 87th streets, Upper East Site reports. The new location could open as early as this week.

The expanded location is part of what had been Modell’s Sporting Goods and is located across the street from the original Papaya King. Upper East Site, which broke the news, reports that the interior of the new space is painted yellow and features a mural of food brands that debuted the same year Papaya King opened: Fritos, Mentos, and Mars. Another mural displays black-and-white retro photographs of the original hot dog shop. The website shows Papaya King has added a sign that it has moved.

The website and phone numbers are still down. Google and Yelp still list the restaurant as open at its original address, with Yelp’s hours having been updated three months ago and the last review from March. Eater has contacted Papaya King for more information.

The corner spot serving snappy hot dogs and tropical drinks is a cornerstone of Manhattan lore, which Constantine “Gus” Poulos, originally from Athens, Greece, opened in 1932. Papaya King has moved because Extell, the developer behind billionaires’ row near Central Park, bought the location and indicated the restaurant and other buildings would be demolished.

Business owner Wayne Rosenbaum bought the brand around 2010, with nephew of Gus Poulus, Alexander, working the grill. At the time, Rosenbaum told Grub Street, “Papaya King will be here for another 178 years.”

Papaya King has had several lives. In addition to its renovation more than a decade ago, the restaurant has tried to expand to Downtown Brooklyn, the East Village, and the Roosevelt Mall on Long Island, plus California and Pennsylvania. The menu has grown, too, to include curly fries, onion rings, fried Oreos, knishes, cheesesteaks, and other items.

No word yet on whether they’re going to bring the original sign across the street.

The exterior of a stretch of Third Avenue in Manhattan.
The new Papaya King will open at 1535 Third Avenue, between East 86th and 87th streets.
Google Maps