Nathan's Famous

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Nathan's Famous, Inc.
Type Public
Industry Restaurants
Founded 1916
Founder(s) Nathan Handwerker
Ida Handwerker
Headquarters Jericho, New York, United States
Key people Howard M. Lorber
(Executive Chairman)
Eric Gatoff
Wayne Norbitz
(President and COO)
Products Hot dogs

Nathan's Famous, Inc. (NASDAQNATH) is a company that operates a chain of U.S.-based fast food restaurants specializing in hot dogs. The original Nathan's restaurant stands at the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues in the Coney Island neighborhood of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Its headquarters are in Wing A of the second floor of One Jericho Plaza in Jericho, New York.[1]


Nathan's Hot dogs on the grill.

Nathan's began as a nickel hot dog stand in Coney Island in 1916 and bears the name of co-founder Nathan Handwerker (June 14, 1890, Kraków, Poland – March 25, 1974), who started the business with his wife, Ida Handwerker, née Ida Greenwald (September 25, 1897 - December 24, 1976).[2][dead link][3] Ida created the hot dog recipe they used, and Ida's grandmother created the secret spice recipe.[2][4] Handwerker, an employee of Feltman's German Gardens, was encouraged by singing waiters Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante to go into business in competition with his former employer.[5] He and Ida spent their life savings of $300 to begin the business.[6] Handwerker undercut Feltman's by charging five cents for a hot dog when his former employer was charging ten.[5] 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.[7] The business proved immensely popular.[8] The expansion of the chain was overseen by Nathan Handwerker's son, Murray Handwerker.[9][3] A second branch on Long Beach Road in Oceanside, New York, opened in 1959, and another debuted in Yonkers in 1965. Murray Handwerker was named the President of Nathan's Famous in 1968.[9] All were sold by the Handwerker family to a group of private investors in 1987,[9] 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

In the 1990s, Nathan's acquired Kenny Rogers Roasters and Miami Subs Grill, both of which were later divested. As of September 2001, Nathan's consisted of 24 company-owned units, 380 franchised or licensed units and more than 1,400 stores in 50 states, Guam, the District of Columbia and 17 foreign countries. One unit was lost due to the collapse of Two World Trade Center on the September 11, 2001, attacks.

International master franchise agreements have also recently been signed with Egypt and Israel.[10] 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. Having been open for business every day, 365 days a year, the stand was forced to close on October 29, 2012 due to Hurricane Sandy.[11] Despite a small fire on May 4, 2013, the stand re-opened later that month.[12] Service is provided year-round inside, and during the summer additional walk-up windows are opened to serve the larger seasonal crowds.

Hot dog eating contest[edit]

Nathans hotdog contest countdown clock

The Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest has been held at the original location on Coney Island since the early 1970s.[13] Contestants try to consume as many hot dogs as possible in a ten-minute time period. The Nathan's event is at the center of the competitive eating circuit. Recent winners include Takeru Kobayashi (2001-2006) After Kobayashi left Nathan's, the hot dog contest was down year-to-year. With an average 0.7 HH U.S. rating, it was off just a tenth of a point from 2012, when it aired on ESPN. ESPN averaged 1.949 million viewers for 2011's Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest, but went down 41% to 1.15 million viewers in 2013.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Contact Us." Nathan's Famous. Retrieved on December 17, 2011. "Nathan's Famous Executive Offices One Jericho Plaza Second Floor - Wing A Jericho, New York 11753"
  2. ^ a b , accessed July 4, 2010
  3. ^ a b Abelson, Reed (2011-05-15). "Murray Handwerker, 89, Dies; Made Nathan’s More Famous". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b "Nathan Handwerker obituary". The Daily Sentinel. 1974-03-25. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ Jakle, John A.; Sculle, Keith A. (1999). Fast Food. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 163–164. ISBN 0-8018-6109-8. 
  8. ^ Diane Sokolow. "Nathan's". One for the Table. 
  9. ^ a b c "Murray Handwerker dies at 89; Nathan's Famous owner expanded nationwide". Los Angeles Times. 2011-05-22. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  10. ^ Inside Nathan's – Corporate Profile, accessed August 10, 2006 Archived August 9, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Sarah Pruitt (December 4, 2012). "Historic Hot Dog Stand Shuts its Doors for the First Time". The History Channel. Retrieved 2013-06-08. 
  12. ^ Simone Weichselbaum (21 May 2013). "Nathan’s Famous, destroyed during Sandy, reopens with hot dogs, fries and a new clam bar". Ny Daily News. NY Daily News. Retrieved 2013-06-08. 
  13. ^ ""No, He Did Not Invent the Publicity Stunt" by Sam Roberts, New York Times, August 18, 2010". The New York Times. August 18, 2010. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°34′31″N 73°58′53″W / 40.57528°N 73.98139°W / 40.57528; -73.98139