Not Your Average Hot Dog: Papaya King Truck Takes On NYC

Papaya King Hot Dog, Photo Credit: Papaya King

By Anna Lesser

Behind the Food Truck is a FoodtoEat original series where we meet the amazing men and women behind our favorite mobile cuisines and share their inspiring stories. At FoodtoEat, we’re lucky to have the best food trucks NYC has to offer in our family. Here are their stories.

Photo Credit: Papaya King
The brand new Papaya King Truck | Photo credit: Papaya King

If you haven’t heard yet, Papaya King, the well-known NYC hot dog and fruity drinks restaurant now has its own food truck bringing hot dog loving to the streets.

Let’s rewind about 80 years ago. It’s 1932 and Gus Poulos, the founder, literally the “Papaya King” if you will, discovered papaya on a vacation to Miami. He shortly began importing the fruit to New York to make his own tropical drink. A great idea, but sadly no one came to try the drink so Gus decided to dress girls up in hula skirts and gave the drinks away for free – creative marketing for that time. New Yorkers quickly became hooked. He was inspired by his girlfriend to bring frankfurters to his juice stand on 86th and 3rd Avenue. And that was the birth of a NYC classic.

Wayne Rosenbaum, President and Jason Witkes, Marketing Manager

Along with their two locations on 86th and Marks Place, their bright yellow truck can be found roaming around midtown and sometimes at The Seaport.

Last week, we sat down with Wayne Rosenbaum and Jason Witkes of Papaya King to chat about their new food truck (and they fed us amazing hot dogs and fried oreos!). Wayne is really enjoying the food truck business so far. “I love it! It’s definitely different than the store, a lot more logistically challenging because of space, but we have the same methods as we do in the store. Everything is exactly the same, ” he said enthusiastically.

Wayne’s love for hot dogs sparked his creative imagination while experimenting with new recipes. His newest addition to the food truck, The Crunchy Munch, is one hot dog you definitely do not want to miss. Filled with jalapeños, sweetened pickles, sautéed onions, and crunchy potato sticks, your taste buds will be in hot dog heaven.

In New York, there are millions of places to grab a hot dog on the go, but none of them beats Papaya King, an establishment so intricately connected to the city and the heart of food entrepreneurs; a man who started with just a juice stand, ended up creating a delicious empire and now is returning to its roots and back to the streets with a food truck. Wayne says, “We have been an 82-year old brand, since 1932. So with that we are the first branded hot dog truck in history in New York.” You don’t hear that everyday from a hot dog restaurant!

Papaya King Hot Dog, Photo Credit: Papaya King
Papaya King’s Custom Hot Dogs – perfection | Photo credit: Papaya King

Wayne and Jason have their hot dog system down to a science. New York now has its options between St. Marks place, 86th street, or their new restaurant on wheels! At the end of the day, Papaya King is a fun restaurant and food truck where there is a flavorful mix of hot dogs and fruity drinks that will leave you wanting more.

We’re excited to welcome Papaya King to the FoodtoEat family, where they will be helping us feed hot dogs and fruity drinks to people all over the city. Contact us at if you want Papaya King Food Truck to cater your next event!

DailyFoodtoEat is the official blog of FoodtoEat, a socially conscious online food ordering and concierge catering service featuring your favorite restaurants, food trucks and caterers. Check out the deliciousness here:

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