Together, the juice-dog combo forms one of the most iconic meals an aspiring New Yorker can order -- locally sourced dogs made with a secret spice, washed down with something sweet. Papaya King’s Original Combo -- two franks with ‘kraut, onions, or relish, and a drink -- is still the ultimate late-night meal in New York.
Hot dogs became big business in the city, and in the 1970s, a rival named Nicholas Gray went on to open his own slightly modified version of the wildly popular stand, called Gray’s Papaya. Though these two have long been the main contenders, other offshoots were born, including Papaya Dog and Mike’s Papaya. While Gray’s and Papaya King in particular have enjoyed a vicious rivalry over the years, it seems King has the throne, after all: the city is down to just one Gray’s. Papaya King, on the other hand, is still going strong, with its fifth location having just opened in Brooklyn.