Papaya King finds new home on the Upper East Side

April 4, 2023

Image courtesy of ajay_suresh on Flickr

Papaya King, the Upper West Side’s iconic hot dog and fruit juice institution, has found a new home after years of narrowly avoiding permanent closure, as first reported by Upper East Site. The renowned frankfurter establishment will move across the street from its original location at 179 East 86th Street to a new storefront at 1535 Third Avenue, which could open as early as next week.

The new location is right across the street from the original storefront, located in what was formerly Modell’s Sporting Goods. According to Upper East Site, the new shop’s interior is painted yellow and includes a mural displaying a variety of food brands that came out the same year that Papaya King opened, including Fritos and Mentos. Another mural displays black-and-white photographs of the hot dog shop when it first opened, as Eater New York reported.

Established in 1932 by Greek immigrant Constantine “Gus” Poulus, Papaya King garnered a reputation over its 90-year existence for its signature “snappy” hot dogs and tropical fruit drinks. In 2010, Wayne Rosenbaum purchased the Papaya King brand, with Gus Poulus’s nephew Alexander cooking up hot dogs on the grill.

In 2020, the property’s former landlord Imperial Sterling sued Papaya King’s current owners, claiming that they had operated the shop without permission after the Papaya King’s original lease was canceled due to unpaid rent, according to The Real Deal.

Papaya King and its surrounding properties were purchased by developer Extell in the fall of 2021, and plans to demolish the site were filed in June 2022, according to Patch. When Extell took over as the property owner, they requested to take over as the plaintiff in the lawsuit against Papaya King, according to court records.

As of Monday, April 3, Papaya King’s website and phone numbers are still inactive.


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