Nathan's Famous Celebrates 100 Years in Coney Island

The Original Nathan's hot dog stand was opened in 1916. 100 years later the famous hot dog establishment lives and thrives!

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According to Nathan's Famous, the original hot dog stand was founded by Nathan Handwerker in 1916.
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Business boomed for Nathan's Famous and in time they also began to sell beer and seafood. In 1933, to mark the end of prohibition the company served free beer to customers, it said. Thirteen years later, it opened a clam bar at its Coney Island location.
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Building on the success of the Coney Island location, the company said the Handwerker family opened three more locations -- in Oceanside, Yonkers and Times Square -- before selling its franks in grocery stores. In 1987, the family sold the business to private investors, who expanded franchises throughout New York.
According to Nathan's Famous, on July 4, 1916, four immigrants held a hot dog eating contest at Nathan's Famous stand in Coney island, to prove who was more Patriotic.
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Nathan's long claimed the hot dog eating tradition began in 1916 with a contest between patriotic immigrants. But the "legend" was a PR stunt, The Associated Press reported. The first winner was Jason Schechter, who downed 14 hot dogs and buns, in 1972.
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The first ever hot dog eating competition grew into an annual battle between champions, happening every year on the Fourth of July. Pictured here are competitive eating champions Joey Chestnut, center, and Matt Stonie, at the 2015 contest. Chestnut won eight contests in a row before losing to Stonie in 2015.
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On July 4, 2001, 23-year-old Takeru Kobayashi broke the world record for hot dogs eaten by eating 50 hot dogs in 12 minutes.
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Kobayashi's record was broken in 2013 by Joey Chestnut with an astonishing 69 hot dogs and buns eaten in 10 minutes. Kobayashi and Chestnut, two of the world's most famous competitive eaters, faced off several times in the yearly contest until 2009.
Nathan's Famous 4th of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest has become much more than a hot dog eating competition.
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People attend the famous hot dog eating competition, and even dress up, to show their love of Nathan's hot dogs.
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Nathan's has been a popular dish for politicians visiting and representing New York. The company said that President Franklin D. Roosevelt took Nathan's Famous hot dogs to the King and Queen of England in 1939, and New York City mayors have visited numerous times over the decades. In this photo, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg enjoys a hot dog.
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Nathan's Famous is also now an important stop on the campaign trail. According to the company, former Gov. Nelson Rockefeller said "no man can hope to be elected in this state without being photographed eating a hot dog at Nathan's Famous." It was advice that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders heeded ahead of New York's primary in April.
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Nathans now sells its products -- including more than 500 million hot dogs a year -- at 53,000 locations, according to the company. Happy 100 year anniversary!
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