Number of locations: Five in/near New York, one stand, one location in Portland, ME
Why it’s great: In the 1930s, a New York City deli worker named Constantine “Gus” Poulos went on vacation in Havana, Cuba, where he discovered the magic of tropical fruit drinks. Intent on bringing his discovery back to NYC, Poulos went on to open a juice bar. Then he opened another juice bar, then another. At some point, he decided to throw hot dogs on the menu -- because what better comestible to wash down a sticky fruit drink than a piece of processed meat compressed into a tube and wedged in a bun? With that, Papaya King was born.
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.