Nathan’s Famous was founded by a Polish immigrant, Nathan Handwerker, and his is truly an authentic “only in America story.” He started his business in 1916 with a small hot dog stand in Coney Island, New York, where he sold hot dogs that were manufactured based on a recipe developed by his wife's grandmother.
In the 100 years that have passed since opening day, Nathan’s has gained worldwide recognition for the unequalled quality and taste of its product. Today, Nathan’s has gained a reputation for being among the highest quality hot dogs in the world.
Nathan’s popularity was almost instantaneous, and in its earliest days had legendary characters such as Al Capone, Eddie Cantor, Jimmy Durante, and Cary Grant as regular customers. It gained its first international exposure when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt served Nathan’s Famous hot dogs to the King and Queen of England in 1939. Later, Roosevelt had Nathan’s hot dogs sent to Yalta when he met with Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. Years later, Nelson Rockefeller, Governor of New York, stated that, “No man can hope to be elected in his state without being photographed eating a hot dog at Nathan’s Famous."
Politicians, show-business personalities, and sports celebrities are often seen and photographed munching Nathan’s dogs, and heard singing its praises. Barbra Streisand, actually had Nathan’s hot dogs delivered to London, England for a private party. A trip to Nathan’s was the focus of a Seinfeld episode created by comedian Jerry Seinfeld. More recently, the ex-mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani declared Nathan’s the “World’s Best Hot Dog.” Shortly after that, Nathan Handwerker was named to the city’s top 100, joining the ranks of Joe Namath, Irving Berlin, Andrew Carnegie, Joe DiMaggio and others. Even Jacqueline Kennedy loved Nathan’s dogs, and served them at the White House. In his final last will and testament, actor Walter Mathau requested Nathan’s hot dogs to be served at his funeral – they were! The point is Nathan’s is not just a hot dog, it has history and it is Americana!