Papaya King closed its iconic hot dog stand on New York City’s Upper East Side last week after 90 years — but it will reportedly reignit again.
The venerable venue — whose neon signs were fixtures on the northwest corner of East 86th Street and Third Avenue for generations — is reportedly moving to a space across the street at 1535 Third Avenue. Between East 86th and East 87th Streets.
Papaya King closed its longtime haunt at 179 E. 86th St. on Friday — a move that scared frankfurter enthusiasts for months, speculating that the 1939 hot dog and fruit juice concoction would be unexpected. The demise of the organization that introduced the combination was feared.
Accel Development, headed by property billionaire Gary Barnett, bought the squat building in 2021 for $21 million and filed plans to demolish the city last year This to make way for a luxury tower.
News of Papaya King’s new lease appeared on a sign on the front door of the old location and was first reported by uppereastsite.com,
One of the original restaurant’s neon signs “now hangs above the brown paper used to cover the windows” while workers prepare the new space, according to the blog.
Workers told UpperEastSight.com that the restaurant could open within a week as signs and the former countertop were removed from the original location to the new one.
The new location was previously a Modell’s Sporting Goods store.
According to reports, Papaya was in litigation with his former landlord since 2020 over non-payment of rent at his last remaining restaurant.
Still, it’s unclear who really owns Papaya King these days.
Founded by the late Constantine “Gus” Paulus in 1932Papaya King was taken over by Paulus’ son Peter, who opened several new restaurants and attempted to franchise the business.
It was sold to a group of investors in 1997 More locations opened in Hollywood and Las Vegas, which closed shortly thereafter.
In 2010, a group of investors and caterer Wayne Rosenbaum bought the business, telling New York magazine at the time that he planned to focus on franchising.
Rosenbaum claimed to the publication, “The papaya king will be here for 178 years.”
By then it had spawned several spinoffs and copycats. gray papayaMike’s Papaya, Papaya Dog, Papaya Heaven, Papaya Heaven and Papaya Place.
Even Nathan’s Famous infiltrated the neighborhood in 1976, opening a location next to the flagship store and igniting a hot dog war that lasted six months until Nathan’s moved.
But Rosenbaum told The Post on Tuesday that he has not been involved in the business for “four years” and declined to discuss the matter further.
Meanwhile, Sajid Sohail, owner of Grab & Go Convenience LLC, claimed to own the business, according to litigation between Sohail and Papaya’s former landlord on East 86th St. Imperial Sterling.
Imperial alleges the Grab & Go facility broke into the store on East 86th St. after the lease was terminated for nonpayment of rent and continued to operate the restaurant without permission, according to court filings.
Sohail could not be reached for comment.