When it comes to historic hot dogs, Brooklyn’s already got some serious bragging rights with the century-old Nathan’s Famous, but now we’re about to be reintroduced to the OG of the wiener world—Feltman’s.
While they coexisted on Coney Island for close to four decades, Feltman’s actually beat Nathan’s to Surf Avenue by almost 50 years (in fact, the latter’s founder, Nathan Handwerker, was a former employee). Largely credited with inventing the modern hot dog as we know it, German immigrant Charles Feltman began peddling his “Coney Island Red Hots” (sandwiched in buns made at his own Park Slope bakery) all the way back in 1867, pushing his cart—which eventually spawned a booming beachside complex—up and down the shoreline.
But (intriguingly coinciding with Nathan’s own, 100-year anniversary), Coney Island Tours creator, Michael Quinn, is intent on asserting Feltman’s as more than just a footnote in the annals of Brooklyn history. Not only has he successfully obtained the trademark, he’s painstakingly recreated their Frankfurt-style, nitrate- and filler-free recipe, with help from master sausage maker, Josef Brunner, previously of Bark.
Like his progenitor, Quinn has started off small, jumpstarting the reboot with a series of pop-ups on the Lower East Side, with plans to branch out to Brooklyn on March 26th, at Ditmas Park’s whiskey bar/flower shop, Sycamore. But he hopes to expand in a major way by Memorial Day weekend, launching a GoFundMe page in order to facilitate large-scale tubesteak production, and hopefully, finance another brick-and-mortar institution on Feltman’s storied Coney Island stomping grounds.
Once reunited with their famous rival, Nathan’s (which, in 1915, deviously undercut Feltman’s 10-cent franks by an entire nickel), Quinn fully intends to sell theirs at half the price.
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