Original Nathan's to be torn down?

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John Fox
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2009/01/20 07:31:36 (permalink)

Original Nathan's to be torn down?

Mayor Bloomberg is looking to replace the original Nathan's with a hotel, amusement park, and retail stores.
 
http://newyork.seriouseats.com/2009/01/nathans-famous-hot-dog-stand-may-die-with-new-coney-island-developments.html
 
Hopefully this won't happen. Nathan's is the most well known hot dog restaurant in the world. An American icon. In my opinion, the ultimate hot dog shrine. And one of the better quality hot dogs you can get. McDonald's is also an American icon, but there are much better hamburgers out there. Nathan's Coney Island restaurant serves one of the best all beef dogs you can get. It is the quintessential New York hot dog. Though Sabrett is considered a N.Y. dog, the company and plant began in Jersey City, N.J. and is headquartered in Englewood, N.J. Nathan's began in Coney Island in 1916. The brand and restaurant had it's beginnings in N.Y. and is one of the places people from out of state seek to visit along with the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty.
 
It's too bad that a lot of popular restaurants are closing. Specifically hot dog joints. Eagans, Callahan's, and Syd's are three recent ones that come to mind. There are many reasons, but one common one is that someone wants the space and is willing to pay a lot of money for it. That was the case with Eagan's and Callahan's. I can't fault the owners for selling either. Mr. Eagan told me that he would be able to retire with a lot of money. Sure beats working for less money. It seems that these popular mom and pop type restaurants are often replaced by a CVS or Rite Aid. Like we need more drugstores. Jahn's ice cream parlor and the Parsonage Diner were 2 popular places replaced by drugstores. Whatever the reasons, it's not good news for those of us that enjoy eating at these restaurants.
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    leethebard
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 08:32:13 (permalink)
    John,I've been told the dogs served at the original Coney Island Nathans are not the same ones sold at all the franchise places. True? And if so, how are they different? I notice the dogs at our Mathan's seem smaller than a full size dog...is it just size and/or formula? 
                                                  Lee
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    John Fox
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 09:09:04 (permalink)
    I spoke with someone from Nathan's corporate headquarters about 3 weeks ago. I always believed that the natural casing franks that you can get at supermarkets were the same as those sold at Coney Island. This happens to be true and was confirmed to me by the person from Nathan's. There is one recipe that comes in skinless or with casing. You can also get different sizes.

    Some franchises are better than others. Some use the skinless version and prepare it on roller grills rather than a griddle. Some do use the natural casing dogs but don't leave it on the griddle long enough. This was the case with a Nathan's near me that also had a yogurt place with it.

    Nathan's natural casing dogs may be hard to find. I know of a few places that sell them, but they don't always have them. They are the same formula as those served at Coney Island. The Nathan's at the Food Court in the Menlo Park Mall is exceptional. The dogs are always hot, fresh, and tasty. As good as Coney Island.
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    Tony Bad
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 10:08:08 (permalink)
    It would be nice if they could find a way to keep Nathan's while still revitalizing the surrounding area. A look around during a recent visit reveals a retty broken down neighborhood sorely in need of repair. It is great to hang onto our landmark businesses, but if their presence becomes a hinderance to fixing up the rest of the area, it makes figuring out what to do a tough call. I'd love to see it remain as part of a revitalized Coney ISland and hope that is what happens.
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    Foodbme
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 11:13:13 (permalink)
    I'm surprised that the Original Nathan's is not on "The Registar of National Historic Places". It should be there most definitely!!!!!" />" />" />
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    John Fox
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 11:38:00 (permalink)
    Tony Bad

    It would be nice if they could find a way to keep Nathan's while still revitalizing the surrounding area. A look around during a recent visit reveals a retty broken down neighborhood sorely in need of repair. It is great to hang onto our landmark businesses, but if their presence becomes a hinderance to fixing up the rest of the area, it makes figuring out what to do a tough call. I'd love to see it remain as part of a revitalized Coney ISland and hope that is what happens.


    I don't see how Nathan's prescence would be a hinderance to fixing up the area or if it is even relevant. The mayor and others want an amusement park, hotel, and retail stores in the area where Nathan's is located at a huge cost to taxpayers. I'm sure that many more want Nathan's around and don't give a hoot about a hotel, amusement park, or whatever someone else wants there.
     
    This sort of reminds me of Eminent Domain, which I strongly oppose. Bad enough someone's property is taken away and they are forced to relocate, but now it is frequently done not for the "public good" but for private development. Right across the street from where I work a brand new building is being built that will consist of a hotel, restaurant, condos/townhouses, parking garage, etc. Whoever is responsible for building this complex wanted to have the church next door demolished. This church dates back to the 1800's and is home to 3 congregations of worshippers. But who cares about them? Thankfully the people who wanted the church knocked down (including the mayor who I think had a financial interest in the complex) were unsuccesful.
     
    Maybe Mayor Bloomberg's property would make an ideal location for a CVS, Rite Aid, or Walgreens.
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    PopsDogHouse
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 11:58:51 (permalink)
    John Fox

    [
    I don't see how Nathan's prescence would be a hinderance to fixing up the area or if it is even relevant. The mayor and others want an amusement park, hotel, and retail stores in the area where Nathan's is located at a huge cost to taxpayers. I'm sure that many more want Nathan's around and don't give a hoot about a hotel, amusement park, or whatever someone else wants there.
     
    This sort of reminds me of Eminent Domain, which I strongly oppose. Bad enough someone's property is taken away and they are forced to relocate, but now it is frequently done not for the "public good" but for private development. Right across the street from where I work a brand new building is being built that will consist of a hotel, restaurant, condos/townhouses, parking garage, etc. Whoever is responsible for building this complex wanted to have the church next door demolished. This church dates back to the 1800's and is home to 3 congregations of worshippers. But who cares about them? Thankfully the people who wanted the church knocked down (including the mayor who I think had a financial interest in the complex) were unsuccesful.
     
    Maybe Mayor Bloomberg's property would make an ideal location for a CVS, Rite Aid, or Walgreens.

    Amen!  I believe the Framers roll over in their graves daily over the issues in this country.  Eminent Domain is just one of them.


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    Tony Bad
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 12:07:45 (permalink)
    John Fox

    I don't see how Nathan's prescence would be a hinderance to fixing up the area or if it is even relevant.


    I understand what you say, and don't get me wrong, I think it would be awful to lose a place like NAthan's, but whether or not it would be a hinderance is something up t those who take on the development. Having been part of projects in several venues that involved working around an old component, doing so often adds considerable complexity and cost. If preserving Nathan's prevents the redevelopment of the area that would raise some tough questions I'd hate to have to answer. It is a dump around there. Best case scenario would be to see Nathan's as part of a redeveloped Coney ISland. That would be a winner for everyone!

     
    #8
    David_NYC
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 13:08:23 (permalink)
    From the Draft Environmental Impact Statement:
     
    Nathan’s Famous, 1308 Surf Avenue (#5)
     
    Nathan’s Famous restaurant (S/NR-eligible) on Surf Avenue between Stillwell Avenue and
    Schweikert’s Walk occupies the original location of the hot dog stand founded by Nathan
    Handwerker in 1916. Handwerker had been an employee at Feltman’s restaurant at Surf Avenue and West 10th Street—Charles Feltman purportedly invented the hot dog in 1874. Nathan’s became popular due to its low prices and honky-tonk ambience and is now a national franchise. The building represents an expansion of the original operation during the 1920s and 30s and seems to be relatively unchanged from the appearance it achieved in the 1940s. It is a 1-story building with long serving counters fronting on Surf Avenue and Schweikert’s Walk and an indoor area at the northeast corner, and the building is covered in a profusion of painted and neon signs (see view 8 of Figure 7-5). Nathan’s Famous restaurant may be eligible for S/NR listing under Criterion A for its association with the golden age of Coney Island’s expansion as an amusement district in the 1920s and the history of American fast food. This property was identified in the inventory of potential resources prepared by Coney Island USA and, in an Environmental Review letter dated November 16, 2007, LPC determined that Nathan’s Famous
    restaurant appears eligible for listing on the Registers.
     
    Also,
     
    There is one architectural resource that could be redeveloped under the RWCDS for the proposed actions. Nathan’s Famous restaurant at 1308 Surf Avenue is located on a potential development site in the Coney East subdistrict and is assumed to be replaced under the proposed actions with a new building containing hotel, amusement, retail, and enhancing uses. In the absence of NYCL designation for this resource located on a development site, and as the site is privately owned, there are no procedures in place that
    would ensure pre-construction design review or preventative measures to minimize effects of construction and potential demolition. Therefore, the potential development identified on the site containing Nathan’s Famous would result in direct significant adverse impacts to this S/NR-eligible resource through demolition or potential alteration. It should be noted that Nathan’s Famous is located on a potential development site, which is considered less likely to be redeveloped than a projected development site.
     
    From:
    There are also photographs in this .pdf document.

    post edited by David_NYC - 2009/01/20 13:40:33
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    Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 13:39:39 (permalink)
    PopsDogHouse

    Amen!  I believe the Framers roll over in their graves daily over the issues in this country.  Eminent Domain is just one of them.

    Doubtful, in that the framers included the power of eminent domain in the Bill of Rights.
     
    Of course, the real sticking point is "just compensation."  Some would say that just compensation means the government has to pay what it's worth.  And what is it worth?  Same as anything, that combination of what someone is willing to pay and what someone is willing to sell it for.  Doesn't seem very just if the amount of that compensation is decided without the involvement of the seller.
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    David_NYC
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 14:17:55 (permalink)
    This just in:
    "And on Tuesday, The Paper received this statement from Nathan’s CEO Eric Gatoff: “We remain committed to Coney Island in the long-term and we fully intend to maintain our historic flagship restaurant at 1310 Surf Avenue. … As to the latest report issued by the City, we believe the information relating to Nathan’s Famous is being misinterpreted and that there is no intention to replace or demolish our flagship location.”
     
    From:
    http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/32/3/32_3_mm_coney_break.html
     
    A while back, I found some Nathan's 10K's which indicated Nathan's only leases the land on Surf Avenue. I think Eric Gatoff is right, Mayor Mike did not order a wrecking ball for Nathan's Coney Island.
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    John Fox
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 14:26:52 (permalink)
    I doubt that the framers would approve of an elderly couple being kicked out of their home so that a Real Estate Developer like Donald Trump could build McMansions. This was an issue in Long Branch, N.J. Elderly people had small bungalows that cost very little to build years ago. The town wanted to use Eminent Domain to kick them out. "Just compensation" didn't matter to these home owners since they didn't want to be displaced anyway. They wanted to continue to live in the homes that they resided in for most of their lives. What good is the right to own private property when the government won't honor it?

    And in many cases like this one, Eminent Domain isn't being sought to build a needed road for the good of the community or some other noble purpose, but rather for the purpose of someone looking to make money. This isn't what the framers of the Bill of Rights envisioned.
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    John Fox
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 14:30:48 (permalink)
    David_NYC

    This just in:
    "And on Tuesday, The Paper received this statement from Nathan’s CEO Eric Gatoff: “We remain committed to Coney Island in the long-term and we fully intend to maintain our historic flagship restaurant at 1310 Surf Avenue. … As to the latest report issued by the City, we believe the information relating to Nathan’s Famous is being misinterpreted and that there is no intention to replace or demolish our flagship location.”
     
    From:
    http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/32/3/32_3_mm_coney_break.html
     
    A while back, I found some Nathan's 10K's which indicated Nathan's only leases the land on Surf Avenue. I think Eric Gatoff is right, Mayor Mike did not order a wrecking ball for Nathan's Coney Island.


    I sure hope that you're right and that this is a misunderstanding.
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    Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 14:46:44 (permalink)
    John Fox
    And in many cases like this one, Eminent Domain isn't being sought to build a needed road for the good of the community or some other noble purpose, but rather for the purpose of someone looking to make money.

    I don't agree.  It's true that people will make money from the development of the property but that is not the REASON for the development.  There are many people who think that this sort of development serves the greater good.  I disagree with that approach but it is a reasonable and defensible view.  Just seems wrong to me for the government to take someone's property, even with just compensation, and even if it is for the greater good (which puts me, and others with this view, at odds with the 5th Amendment to the US Constitution).
     


     
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    John Fox
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 14:58:27 (permalink)
    Well said. We are a Republic and go by the rule of law. As private citizens, we have the right to own property, and the government is supposed to protect that right. We are slipping towards socialism/communism when we start talking about the greater good. As determined by whom? Pretty soon you will have those advocating that we take away homes and possesions of those who have "excess" and give to those who lack  All for the greater good.
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    Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 15:11:16 (permalink)
    In the case of this particular Nathan's, isn't it owned by Nathan's?  I doubt they really give much of a hoot about whether this property is used for redevelopment.  They probably stand to make more money by selling out and finding another Coney Island location nearby, history be damned.

    If so, arguing against redeveloping the Nathan's site not only is an argument against the government's right to use private property but also argues against the right of the private owner (Nathan's) to dispose of its property as it sees fit.  So should the sentimental attachments of people with a sense of history overrule the rights of the owner of the property?
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    PopsDogHouse
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 15:14:36 (permalink)
    Bruce Bilmes and Sue Boyle

    PopsDogHouse

    Amen!  I believe the Framers roll over in their graves daily over the issues in this country.  Eminent Domain is just one of them.

    Doubtful, in that the framers included the power of eminent domain in the Bill of Rights.
     
    Of course, the real sticking point is "just compensation."  Some would say that just compensation means the government has to pay what it's worth.  And what is it worth?  Same as anything, that combination of what someone is willing to pay and what someone is willing to sell it for.  Doesn't seem very just if the amount of that compensation is decided without the involvement of the seller.

     
    I'm pretty sure they're rollin' lol.  I'm not an expert in Constitutional law, but eminent domain didn't initially apply to states.  Only the Federal government could invoke eminent domain to seize property for public use.  I would imagine that the property would be used for interstate highways, military installations, national infrastructure projects etc....  The federal courts have taken much liberty with the fifth amendment and extended the right to states and have also allowed eminent domain to be used for seizure of private property for private development.  We shouldn't be surprised I guess.  The Federal and Supreme courts have taken a lot of liberty with the entire Constitution since the 1930's.


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    John Fox
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 15:47:25 (permalink)
    Bruce Bilmes and Sue Boyle

    In the case of this particular Nathan's, isn't it owned by Nathan's?  I doubt they really give much of a hoot about whether this property is used for redevelopment.  They probably stand to make more money by selling out and finding another Coney Island location nearby, history be damned.

    If so, arguing against redeveloping the Nathan's site not only is an argument against the government's right to use private property but also argues against the right of the private owner (Nathan's) to dispose of its property as it sees fit.  So should the sentimental attachments of people with a sense of history overrule the rights of the owner of the property?


    This particular Nathan's is the original Nathan's that opened in 1916. I believe it is owned by Nathan's. If it is, then they have every right to sell the property if they wish. Just like the owner of Callahan's and the owner of Eagan's. No one is arguing that Nathan's (if they indeed own this location) doesn't have this right regardless of the sentiments of people like myself who wish to see it remain. I was sad when Eagan's was sold. Also Callahan's, even though I wasn't a big fan of their dogs.
     
    I disagree about whether Nathan's gives a hoot if the property is used for redevelopment. I think they care very much. Nathan's is an American icon. And I would think that the Handwerker Family has more of a sentimental attachment and sense of history than even hot dog fanatics like myself. I spoke with Nathan Handwerker's grandson about 2 or 3 years ago. At the time he was interested in having a documentary done about Nathan's and it's history. I don't think he wants to see the original location torn down.
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    Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 16:16:25 (permalink)
    John Fox
     I spoke with Nathan Handwerker's grandson about 2 or 3 years ago. At the time he was interested in having a documentary done about Nathan's and it's history.

    That is very cool!  Do you know if he is connected to Nathan's, or the hot dog business, in some way?

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    Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 16:28:17 (permalink)
    PopsDogHouse
      The Federal and Supreme courts have taken a lot of liberty with the entire Constitution since the 1930's.


    Or maybe some great legal minds have interpreted the constitution in different ways than you would have done.
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    John Fox
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 16:33:31 (permalink)
    From what I remember someone contacted me and put me in touch with Mr. Handwerker. This person thought that I could answer some of Mr. Handwerker's questions. I don't really recall much of what we spoke about, but I don't think he is too involved with Nathan's or the hot dog business. He wanted to have a movie or documentary done about Nathan's. He was also going to contact me about it but never did.

    I do remember asking him a lot of hot dog related questions, many of which he couldn't answer. 
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    PopsDogHouse
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 16:45:54 (permalink)
    Bruce Bilmes and Sue Boyle

    PopsDogHouse
      The Federal and Supreme courts have taken a lot of liberty with the entire Constitution since the 1930's.


    Or maybe some great legal minds have interpreted the constitution in different ways than you would have done.


    Yeah, perhaps you're right.  Or, its not worth arguing about on a hot dog forum.  Good book for you to read if you get a chance.  Its called "The Constitution in Exile" by Judge Andrew Napolitano.  Very informative.
    #22
    David_NYC
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 17:47:47 (permalink)
    I think the short form answer is that members of the Handwerker family owns the land but the publicly-held Nathan's Famous, Inc. owns the building, leases the land, and runs the restaurant as a corporate one. Last I heard, no members of the Handwerker family are in management positions at Nathan's Famous, Inc.
    #23
    Baah Ben
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 19:01:23 (permalink)
    When most people think of Coney Island, don't they think of Nathan's, the rides, the boardwalk and the beach?  Not sure in what order.  It's an insititution!  Why not redo the existing Nathan's and make it the focus of any new development.  HEy, isn't Totanno's out in Coney Island, too?

    Anyone remember the Carolina's?

    In Florida, you can get the natural casing Nathan's hot dog for around $4.50 a pound.  You have to make sure oyu read the label carefully.  They sell both kinds.  It says natural casing in small print.
    #24
    Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/20 20:30:32 (permalink)
    One other clue on the natural casing Nathan's - they are shaped like parentheses, not perfectly straight like no-casing dogs.  Be sure to cook 'em very slowly for best flavor.
    #25
    lucys hot dogs
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/23 18:38:04 (permalink)
    say it's not so!!!!!
    what is the world coming to?
    #26
    David_NYC
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/23 18:59:03 (permalink)
    Lucy,
    The CEO of Nathan's (see some of the above entries) said it's not so!!!. Don't believe everything you read on the Internet.
    #27
    firecommander3565
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/23 19:33:03 (permalink)
    IF Nathans closes...come to Chicago and get a real good hot dog!
    #28
    David_NYC
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/23 21:47:55 (permalink)
    Yeah, a Nathan's. After all, they are made on West Jackson in Chicago!
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    John Fox
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    Re:Original Nathan's to be torn down? 2009/01/24 09:47:21 (permalink)
    firecommander3565

    IF Nathans closes...come to Chicago and get a real good hot dog!


    Ok, but hard to tell with all the stuff you people put on it.
     
    And when Best Kosher closes at the end of the month, come to New York/N.J. to get an unbeatable hot dog!
    #30
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