Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!?

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meowzart
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2004/11/08 09:55:42 (permalink)

Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!?

Long article from this morning's Washington Post (too long to copy and paste):
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A33149-2004Nov7.html
You need to be a registered user to read it, but it is free to sign up.

I can't even imagine a Papaya King in a mall. This can't possibly work can it? I mean, part of what makes Papaya King for me, and part of what makes it taste so good is that terrific sense of place. How in the world can you make that bit of culture work anywhere else but NYC?

I think this is really sad. If the Roadfood places aren't going out of business, they are being sold to groups of investors that want to franchise them and make them conform to marketing mold.

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    Tony Bad
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2004/11/08 11:22:02 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by meowzart

    Long article from this morning's Washington Post (too long to copy and paste):
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A33149-2004Nov7.html
    You need to be a registered user to read it, but it is free to sign up.

    I can't even imagine a Papaya King in a mall. This can't possibly work can it? I mean, part of what makes Papaya King for me, and part of what makes it taste so good is that terrific sense of place. How in the world can you make that bit of culture work anywhere else but NYC?

    I think this is really sad. If the Roadfood places aren't going out of business, they are being sold to groups of investors that want to franchise them and make them conform to marketing mold.




    This is a sad but growing trend. I guess we can just look at it with the hope that the quality of the food will remain the same as the original.
    #2
    garykg6
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2004/11/08 12:48:05 (permalink)
    It started in my 'salad'days,going to school in NYC(juilliard)....the delights of Orange Julius are a lifetime memory...great dogs and the Julius that made hangovers disappear(who among you could not quaff a liter of the stuff?)
    I don't know whether malljulius' will hit my nostalgia button but I 'll give it a try
    although a very large man(not fat-big) I could only consume 11 dogs one autumnal afternoon,reading my 'TRAINS" magazine.....life was oh so good
    #3
    mttbrn
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2004/11/08 13:21:27 (permalink)
    Jeez, They couldn't keep the one on 3rd Ave (across from Bloomingdale's) in business (seems like that location has been gone a good ten years now, leaving only the E. 86th St. lacation as far as I know) and now they're going national? Prognosis negative. Still I would rank PK right near the top as far as hot dogs go...
    #4
    EdSails
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2004/11/08 16:44:25 (permalink)
    Paul Pink from Pink's Hot Dogs here in L. A. was on the radio on a talk show a few weeks ago. When asked about whether Pink's would ever open a second location or more, he stated quite emphatically that it wasn't worth it------and he could never be sure that the quality would be the same in a different location. Gotta respect that!
    #5
    John Fox
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2004/11/08 18:26:51 (permalink)
    Papaya King, as well as Gray's Papaya (a Papaya King knockoff) use the same Sabrett natural casing 10 to a lb all beef hot dog. If, and this is a big if, the dogs are cooked sufficiently long on the griddle, they can be sold anywhere with no drop off in quality. We'll see what happens. Nathans, in my opinion, has failed at this. The product is inconsistent. Many Nathan's don't cook the dogs sufficiently, others use the skinless version, while still others use the skinless dog and cook it on one of those roller grills instead of a griddle.

    As the article states, it's easier to duplicate the taste of a good hot dog stand hot dog at home than almost any other fast food because all you have to do is use the identical dog and cook it the same way. At a lot of hot dog joints, the toppings are what makes them unique and unable to duplicate at home. For me, most of the time I top my dog with brown deli mustard. My favorite beef dog from a hot dog restaurant is Syd's in Union, N.J. I get the same dog from the manufacturer, and cook it the same way. It tastes identical and at 1/5 to 1/4 of the price that I pay for a dog at Syd's. So you can open another or many locations if you have strict control over how everything is done. I wish Papaya King success. If they open stores all over the country and maintain the quality, then much of the nation that lacks a top notch all beef hot dog will have one.
    #6
    hhawk
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2004/11/09 09:47:53 (permalink)
    There are some food items and some places that simply can't be duplicated. There are enough Papaya Kings already in NYC to show that they are in the group that can be duplicated.

    It's not like they have a staff of only CIA trained chefs who need 5 years of specific Papaya king training before they let them touch their first hot dog.
    #7
    mttbrn
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2004/11/11 17:11:39 (permalink)
    hhawk, I think you're confusing Papaya King with it's many lesser knock-offs. There's only one PK at this time (as far as I know) and it's at E. 86th St. You're probably thinking of Gray's Papaya or one of the many other papaya & hot dog operations in NYC (though tons have dissappeared in recent years). Trust me, there's a marked difference in quality between PK and it's competitors.
    #8
    hhawk
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2004/11/11 17:41:25 (permalink)
    You are correct :) Thanks for correcting me :)
    #9
    John Fox
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2004/11/11 18:13:31 (permalink)
    There are currently 2 Papaya Kings. One on 86th st and another in Harlem. There is one Gray's that I know of on either 7th or 8th ave and 30 something st. There may be another Gray's. There is also a place called Mike's Papaya as well as a few other knockoffs. I know for certain that Gray's Papaya and Papaya King use the exact same 10 to a lb Sabrett natural casing all beef dog. This was confirmed to me by several people including the person in charge of private label at Sabrett (Marathon Enterprises). But like mttbrn, I too preferred Papaya King to Gray's both times that I compared them. This can be for several reasons. The dogs seem hotter, fresher, and grilled longer at Papaya King. Also, if you read the article, it says that Papaya King is one of the few places (less than 10% of their accounts) where the meat is delivered fresh rather than frozen. I am assuming that Gray's Papaya is probably in the 90% that get frozen meat. This too can make a difference. That said, I still believe that Papaya King's dogs can be duplicated. All it takes is a commitment to quality and consistency. Like hhawk said, it's not like they have a staff of only CIA trained chefs who need 5 years of specific Papaya King training before they let them touch their first dog.
    #10
    Pwingsx
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2004/11/12 01:38:47 (permalink)
    I know that I would love to have their true food here, but I have to admit, I might compromise slightly to get something even approaching real hot dogs and papaya here in dog-starved Colorado.

    Pwingsx (who is a real dog -- a Corgi.)
    #11
    tiki
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2004/11/12 01:54:03 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Pwingsx

    I know that I would love to have their true food here, but I have to admit, I might compromise slightly to get something even approaching real hot dogs and papaya here in dog-starved Colorado.

    Pwingsx (who is a real dog -- a Corgi.)


    Me too---if they can bring a great dog to Oklahoma--i'm for it!
    #12
    meowzart
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2004/11/12 09:19:43 (permalink)
    I think the food **might** be able to be duplicated, but that quintessentially NYC feel that comes from the dogs at Papaya King cannot be wrapped up and marketed in a chain. You can analyze their cooking techniques and the type of dogs they use all you want--but I truly feel that the atmosphere of the place is definitely one of the things that makes them taste so good. And I can't see it flying nationwide. Their isn't a mall in suburban America that is going to accept a loud yellow and orange store front. There goes part of the atmosphere right there. Neon signs? Standing up to eat? Those, too, will be gone in a chain/mall setting. More atmosphere gone.

    I don't know. I just can't see it working. I am no marketing genius, and I may be way off the mark. It is really just a gut feeling I have.
    #13
    EdSails
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2004/11/12 12:44:22 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by meowzart

    Their isn't a mall in suburban America that is going to accept a loud yellow and orange store front. There goes part of the atmosphere right there. Neon signs? Standing up to eat? Those, too, will be gone in a chain/mall setting.


    Ah ......you think Hot Dog On a Stick is a subtle look?

    #14
    hhawk
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2004/11/12 13:44:38 (permalink)
    The 10:1 Natural casing Sab. hot dogs are about the best there is on the NYC market. I am not aware of them being shipping frozen...

    However, in terms of saying that more cooking is better, i tend to disagree. 1st of course all hot dogs are FULLY cooked when they leave the factory. I find they are best when heat enough to color and flavor the outside but still leave them tender and juicy. I find that extended cooking tends to release the juices and you end up with a dry tough dog.
    #15
    mttbrn
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2004/11/12 17:20:29 (permalink)
    Off the top of my head I can think of 3 Grays Papaya locations, John. The one you mentioned on 8th Ave in the 30s (which is relativly new) one on Broadway in the 70s and the flagship Gray's at 6th Ave and 8th St.
    #16
    John Fox
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2004/11/12 19:44:01 (permalink)
    hhawk,

    A dog can be overcooked, but it's been my experience that all too often they are undercooked. I went to Katz's once, and the dogs needed more time on the griddle. Same goes for many Nathan's. Papaya King does them right.
    #17
    hhawk
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2004/11/12 23:40:39 (permalink)
    Help me understand what you mean by undercooked...

    Do you mean on the outside; you like the to be more crispy?

    Or do you mean in the center? Hotter? More Juicy?

    They are fully cooked when they leave the factory... so i'm not sure exactly what part you like to be better "done."
    #18
    John Fox
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2004/11/13 19:01:33 (permalink)
    By undercooked, I mean not heated enough. All dogs are cooked prior to leaving the factor and then refrigerated (or frozen). Ideally, a griddled dog should be hot, juicy inside, and crispy on the outside. At Katz's, the dogs were warm, not hot. At a Nathan's near me (since burned down) the same thing. Another place grills their dogs, then lowers the temperature on the grill and lets the dogs sit around all day. For griddled dogs in New York, Papaya King is the best.
    #19
    mallthus
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2007/11/11 10:06:56 (permalink)
    Papaya King opened a store in Connecticut Post Mall in Milford, CT in late 2006.

    It was truly beautiful, with bamboo and stainless steel.

    But it lasted less than a year and was closed by Summer 2007.

    #20
    divefl
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2007/11/15 11:08:53 (permalink)
    They aren't so great that I even want one out of NYC. Now, that they are leaving NYC, I probably won't desire them when I am there.
    #21
    roossy90
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2007/11/18 22:16:04 (permalink)
    I guess since this thread is 3 years old, THey never made it nationally.
    Too bad, as I always wanted to try them.
    #22
    hotdogger
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2008/01/17 23:15:01 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by divefl

    They aren't so great that I even want one out of NYC. Now, that they are leaving NYC, I probably won't desire them when I am there.


    WTF?!?! DO YOU LIKE THEM OR NOT???!!?
    #23
    hotdogger
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2008/01/17 23:17:27 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by roossy90

    I guess since this thread is 3 years old, THey never made it nationally.
    Too bad, as I always wanted to try them.


    SABRETT
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    wheregreggeats.com
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2008/01/18 09:31:14 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EdSails

    Paul Pink from Pink's Hot Dogs here in L. A. was on the radio on a talk show a few weeks ago. When asked about whether Pink's would ever open a second location or more, he stated quite emphatically that it wasn't worth it------and he could never be sure that the quality would be the same in a different location. Gotta respect that!
    And Pink's did expand if I recall.
    #25
    Ashphalt
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2008/01/18 09:45:02 (permalink)
    I don't think Papaya King's, or Gray's, or any dirty water Sabrett would taste the same, or as good, without Manhattan smog. To me they're linked with the smells of bus exhaust, the rivers, and that cheap charcoal the chestnut and pretzel vendors burn.
    #26
    billyboy
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2008/01/18 09:58:56 (permalink)
    Yeah Ashphalt. I grew up in Central NY, but to me the smell of NYC is that street vendor charcoal I smelled every time I came to visit as a kid.
    #27
    MiamiDon
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2008/01/18 10:00:40 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by roossy90

    I guess since this thread is 3 years old, THey never made it nationally.
    Too bad, as I always wanted to try them.


    According to their web site, there are three in NYC now, and one in Clifton, NJ, and they are offering franchise opportunities. So, who knows? One could pop up near you.

    http://www.papayaking.com/html/locations.htm
    #28
    David_NYC
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2008/01/18 21:24:34 (permalink)
    Papaya King does have a legacy of franchises that opened and then closed shortly thereafter. I remember the one on West 43rd Street in Manhattan, near the old headquarters of the New York Times. It closed not long after it opened. I really have to ask if any management consultant was called in to see if proposed Papaya King locations would make a go of it. The same with Nathan's Famous franchises. I have seen many Nathan's open, those close less than a year after. One thing I have noticed about successful Papaya Kings, Gray's Papayas, and Nathan's Famous. They all have tremendous volume. The franks do not sit on the grill for six hours.

    Of course, Papaya King has to complete with all the other franchisors out there to sell their concept to prospective franchisees. I think outfits like Dunkin Donuts and Subway look better to franchisees than Papaya King.
    #29
    mikez629
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    RE: Papaya King Going National?!?!?!?!!? 2008/02/06 11:31:20 (permalink)
    They have opened a store in Clifton NJ-in a strip mall near Corrado's market-I went there and had a dog/papaya drink-it was ok-it just did not seem right. Its a different experience in NYC.
    #30
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