Nathan's Famous is a company that operates a chain of U.S.-based fast food restaurants specializing in hot dogs. The original Nathan's restaurant stan.. read moreds at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in the Coney Island neighborhood of the New York City borough of Brooklyn.
Nathan's began as a nickel hot dog stand in Coney Island in 1916 and bears the name of founder Nathan Handwerker. Handwerker, an employee of Feltman's hot dog stand, was encouraged by celebrity clients Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante to go into business in competition with his former employer. Handwerker undercut Feltman's by charging five cents for a hot dog when his former employer was charging ten. At a time when food regulation was in its infancy, and the pedigree of the hot dog particularly suspect, Handwerker made sure that men wearing surgeon's smocks were seen eating at his stand to reassure potential customers. The business proved immensely popular.
A second branch on Long Beach Road in Oceanside, New York, opened in 1959, and another debuted in Yonkers in 1965. All were sold by the Handwerker family in 1987, at which point Nathan's was franchised and a great number of establishments were opened around New York City and beyond. The company went public in 1993, and Bill Handwerker, the founder's grandson, left the company three years later.
Nathan's original Coney Island location
Nathan's Hot dogs on the grill
In the 1990s, Nathan's acquired Kenny Rogers Roasters and Miami Subs Grill. As of September 2001, Nathan's consists of 24 company-owned units, 380 franchised or licensed units and more than 1,400 stores in 41 states, the District of Columbia and 17 foreign countries. International master franchise agreements have also recently been signed with Egypt and Israel. Nathan's also owns the exclusive co-branding rights to Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips.
The original Nathan's still exists on the same site that it did in 1916. Service is provided year-round inside, and during the summer additional walk-up windows are opened to serve the larger seasonal crowds.