Gray's Papaya

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Gray's Papaya
IndustryFast Food Restaurant
Founded1973 in New York City
FounderNicholas Gray
Number of locations
2 (2017)
Area served
New York City

Gray's Papaya is a hot dog restaurant chain, open 24 hours a day year-round with its flagship restaurant located at 2090 Broadway at 72nd Street. The 402 Sixth Avenue at 8th Street and the 539 Eighth Avenue at 37th Street locations are no longer in operation. For several years, the flagship location was the only location left. [1] In 2016, Gray's Papaya signed a 20-year lease for a new location at 612 Eighth Avenue, between West 39th and West 40th streets. The location opened in spring 2017.

Gray's Papaya is famous for its inexpensive, high-quality hot dogs. The "papaya" in the name refers to the papaya fruit drink sold at the establishment. They also sell orange, grape, piña colada, coconut champagne (non-alcoholic), and banana daiquiri (non-alcoholic) fruit drinks.

Gray's Papaya hotdogs are considered among the best in New York City.[2]


Two hot dogs with sauerkraut and onions

The chain was founded by a former partner of Papaya King, Nicholas Gray in 1973.[3]

In the June 1, 2006, issue of Time Out New York, Gray's Papaya's hot dog was ranked first over its competitors Papaya King and Papaya Dog.[4] On March 3, 2008, The New York Times reported that Gray's Papaya had endorsed Democratic candidate Barack Obama in his campaign for the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election.[3] The former midtown location of Gray's Papaya closed in 2011 and the Greenwich Village branch closed in 2014 due to rent increases.[5][6] A new midtown location has since opened. [1]

Anthony Bourdain featured Gray's Papaya on his Travel Channel show No Reservations.[citation needed]

Regis Philbin mentioned it numerous times when he hosted "Live with Regis and Kelly" and on other talk shows that he appeared as a guest.[citation needed]

In popular culture[edit]


Michael J. Fox and Gabrielle Anwar enjoy Gray's Papaya hot dogs while chatting about the piano player on the street corner from the window of the restaurant in 1993's For Love or Money.

In 2001 Chris Rock and Regina King play a scene in Gray's Papaya in Down to Earth.

Matthew Perry's character in the 1997 movie Fools Rush In makes mention of his preference for Gray's Papaya hot dogs, and his wife, portrayed by Salma Hayek, special-orders them to Nevada.

Gray's Papaya is also one of many late-night food destinations of several characters in the 2008 romantic comedy film Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist.

Gray's Papaya features in the 1998 Tom HanksMeg Ryan romantic-comedy, You've Got Mail.[7]

In the 2010 film The Back-up Plan, Stan and Zoe have their "first date" there, picking up takeout.

Gray's Papaya is in the background of the phone box scene with Samuel L. Jackson and Bruce Willis in the 1995 film Die Hard with a Vengeance.

The 72nd St location is visible in the Baseball Furies sequence of 1979's The Warriors, in the 2006 film "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints" featuring Robert Downey Jr., Rosario Dawson, Channing Tatum, and Shia LaBeouf, and in another Michael J Fox movie (The Hard Way).


On the show "Northern Exposure", doctor Joel Fleischman, a homesick New Yorker, has Gray's Papaya FedExed to him at his new post in Alaska.

Gray's Papaya appeared in Sex and the City in the 2002 episode "Plus One is the Loneliest Number."[8]

In the episode "The Limo" of the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, Ted takes Robin to Gray's Papaya to ease her hunger on New Year's Eve; in the episode "Desperation Day", two of Robin's colleagues leave McLarens because some guys offer them hot dogs at Gray's Papaya.

Gray's Papaya hot dogs are referenced at the beginning of an episode of Everwood titled "All the Lonely People"; they are referred to by main character Ephram as the best in the country.[citation needed]

In the fourth season of Castle, Episode 08 (Heartbreak Hotel), Richard Castle mentions Gray's Papaya in order to cheer up his daughter who is trying to get over her break up.

In the Season 4, Episode 3 of Glee (TV Series), "Makeover," the characters Rachel and Kurt had guava juice and hotdogs at Gray's Papaya.

Fox, along with his Gray's Papaya film link in 1993, is shown again outside of the restaurant a few minutes into the first episode of The Michael J. Fox Show which aired in September 2013.

Anthony Bourdain featured his local Gray's Papaya in Season 3, episode 9 of No Reservations.

In Season 1, Episode 3 Gray's Papaya was mentioned in a meeting of the HBO show Vinyl

Also featured in the 2010 romcom movie featuring Jennifer Lopez titled "The back up plan"

Gray's Papaya is featured in Season 3, Episode 3 of Billions (TV series), where protagonist Bobby Axelrod has a confrontation with Ira while waiting in line.


Gray's Papaya features prominently in Kiran Desai's novel "The Inheritance of Loss". It is where Bijou first works when he comes to America.

In William Gibson's 2007 novel Spook Country, chapter 26 is dedicated to (and titled after) the Gray's Papaya on 8th Avenue; the Recession Special is also mentioned as a meal of the characters.

In the Hardy Boys' Pushed, the brothers, while in New York for the first time since they were little kids, mention that they've "been thinking about those Gray's Papaya hot dogs since we got here". Later in the book, it's mentioned that they were "stuffed with Gray's Papaya hot dogs".

In the book series Fearless, main character Gaia Moore has a fetish for the hot dogs of Gray's Papaya.

In issue #32 of The Avengers (volume 4) comic book, Spider-man suggests the heroes "swing by" Gray's Papaya, although it is written as "Grey's Papaya."


The 1980s/1990s New York hardcore/punk band Bugout Society has a song called "Bum Rush at Gray's Papaya" which recalls a fantasy about having one's hot dogs stolen by homeless people hanging around the restaurant.[citation needed]

In the song "Frequent Flyer" by Chromeo, a reference to the papaya fruit drink is made with the lyric "Sipping on a Gray's Papaya".


  1. ^ a b Casey, Nell (January 8, 2014). "There's Now Only One Gray's Papaya Left In New York City". Gothamist. Archived from the original on March 18, 2015. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  2. ^ "The 10 Best Hot Dogs In NYC: Gothamist". Archived from the original on October 6, 2017. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Mainland, Alexis (March 3, 2008). "Two Hot Dogs, a Drink, and a Nod to Obama". The New York Times. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
  4. ^ Pushkar, Katherine; Guest, Jocelyn (June 1, 2006). "Dog Fight". Time Out New York. Retrieved March 27, 2010.
  5. ^ Maurer, Daniel (28 February 2011). "Doggone: Gray's Papaya Closes Hell's Kitchen Location". Grub Street. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  6. ^ "End Of An Era: Gray's Papaya In Greenwich Village Closes Its Doors". CBS New York. 9 January 2014. Retrieved 9 December 2017.
  7. ^ Gray's Papaya page on official Warner Bros. film site
  8. ^ "Sex and the City" Plus One Is the Loneliest Number (2002)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°44′01″N 73°59′57″W / 40.73365°N 73.99929°W / 40.73365; -73.99929