I was at a birthday party, for my friend Katie, and the host, Mike, announced (during the DejaBlue Grass Band set) that he was grilling up some Feltman’s hot dogs because he wanted people to experience the best hot dog ever. I was skeptical, being a Varsity man, and full of delicious barbecue and slaw that was provided at the party. I was sitting by the grill, and just couldn’t resist, so I tried one. I was already stuffed but I have to admit, best hot dog ever!
Charles Feltman, a German immigrant and baker, invented the hot dog on Coney Island, in 1867, so that beach goers could have a meal with no need for plates or silverware. Sold from his cart the “Coney Island Red Hots” became very popular.
This grew into Feltman’s Ocean Pavilion in Coney Island which would one day serve 10,000 guests at once, the largest restaurant in the world. By the 1920’s the pavilion covered a city block with nine restaurants, outdoor movie theater, hotel and amusement park.
In 1916, a Feltman bun slicer, Nathan Handwerker quit and started his own rival hot dog shop. He also claimed to be the inventor of the hot dog.
Feltman’s closed its doors in 1954. In 2010, 143 years after the opening two brothers from Brooklyn reopened Feltman’s Hot Dog Restaurant. Michael and Joe Quinn did this in memory of their brother Jimmy, killed on 9/11. Just as Charles had intended, they brought back the 100% beef dogs, smoked in a snappy natural casing that holds in the perfect spices and juices, with no artificial nitrates or ingredients.