Papaya King Returns to the Upper East Side!

Papaya King 206B East 86th Street

Many Upper East Siders are likely thrilled about Saturday’s re-opening of Papaya King at its new location at 206B East 86th Street (between Second and Third avenues), conveniently situated next to Baked by Melissa.


But the re-opening follows intense drama at their old location just a block away at 86th and Third Avenue, where they operated for nearly one-hundred years.

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In 2020, the building’s landlord filed a lawsuit against Papaya King for operating a business after its lease expired due to unpaid rent. Extell Development, the developer behind Billionaires’ Row, filed plans to demolish the building and replace it with a high rise. What followed in 2022 was a rally to save the historical neighborhood institution, which, unfortunately, was not successful. Another developer, ZD Jasper, now has plans to replace the historic site (which was also home to The Children’s Place and Cohen’s Fashion Optical) with a 16- to 17-story condo.

papaya king reopens

Inside the new Papaya King

new papaya king location

Inside the new Papaya King

After closing in April 2023, Papaya King was expected to relocate right across the street at 1535 Third Avenue. Signage went up, but that opening never happened.

Residents have described Papaya King as “a staple of [their] childhood” and “a New York City icon.” Julia Child coined it “the best hot dog in New York,” and it also won Kramer’s affection.

While hot dogs and tropical smoothies might be what Papaya King is famous for, other menu items include fried Oreos, tater tots, and mozzarella sticks. Right now, however, only a small sampling of their extensive menu is available at the new location—namely their classic hot dogs and chili combos, their fried potato patties, and their variety of fresh smoothies. The other sides, the specialty frankfurters, and the chicken sandwiches will be available starting next week.

Onto the next chapter in Papaya King’s nearly hundred-year history!


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  1. t-bo July 8, 2024
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