Wiener Classic: Feltman’s Hot Dogs Return to Coney Island After 63 Years
The prodigal hot dog is returning to Coney Island.
After two years of developing a buzz for the dearly departed dog, which included a pop up stint at the Parkside Lounge, opening the East Village outpost Feltman’s Kitchen, and getting the wiener on the Mikey’s Burger menu, proprietor Michael Quinn is ready to bring Feltman’s of Coney Island and its famous franks back to its birthplace. Hot diggity dog!
According to a press release from Luna Park, after a 63 year hiatus, “the original hot dog has returned to Coney Island and at its exact location on Surf Ave. and West 10th St.” Feltman’s of Coney Island Restaurant has replaced the Cyclone Cafe as well as the White Castle on W.10th and Surf Ave. There are also plans for a Feltman’s hot dog kiosk to be located inside Luna Park. Soft opening for the restaurant is already underway, but the grand opening is slated for Memorial Day weekend, complete with celebratory Feltman’s iconic marquee signage.
As previously noted in the annals of New York hot dog history, founder Charles Feltman is credited with inventing the hot dog as we know it back in 1867. Business boomed that first summer, having reportedly sold 3,684 “Coney Island Red Hots” right out of a cart. Some history from the Coney Island Blog (which Quinn also runs):
German immigrant Charles Feltman has been considered by many the inventor the American hot dog. Sometime around 1867, an Irishman named Donovan built Feltman his first hotdog cart at his shop on Howard ave. in East New York. Feltman boiled these German sausages that he called “Coney Island Red Hots” and put them in between the pastry buns that he made at his Park Slope bakery. That first summer Feltman sold 3,684 of these “Red Hots” from his cart up and down where modern day Surf ave. is now located (modern day Surf ave. is where the shoreline was located at the time, hence the name). The hot dog was born. The rest is history.
Colloquial lore blames Nathan’s for Feltman’s demise. Apparently Feltman’s employee Nathan Handwerker left the company in 1916 to start Nathan’s, which undercut the whole business. But Quinn disputes the myth; he previously told Gothamist: “These two businesses coexisted for nearly 40 years. People like the whole ‘Nathan’s put Feltman’s out of business’ thing. No! Nathan opened his stand in 1916, Feltman’s lasted until 1954. Feltman’s was a completely different type of place! There was a park there, they showed outdoor movies, and they had the carousel. It was more of an upscale clientele at Nathan’s.”