Charles Feltman is credited as the inventor of the hot dog. He was a German immigrant who had a baking business selling apple pies, but figured out a great way to serve Frankfurt sausages without the need for plates and silverwares. In 1867, he put the sausage (which he called a Coney Island red hot) in a bun and the rest is history.
A much more famous hot dog personality named Nathan Handwerker worked at Feltman's restaurant (which lasted until 1954) and then with the help of celebrities Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante, opened up his own Coney Island restaurant where he undersold his former employer. Nathan's hot dogs are still famous and sold worldwide.
But Michael Quinn, a Coney Island historian and tour guide, decided with the help of his brother Joe, to bring the Feltmans name back to the hot dog world where it belongs.
After a brief pop-up at the craft beer bar Sycamore in Brooklyn, Michael has set up shop serving Feltman's hot dogs out of a small window at William Barnacle Tavern. Since this is a stop on our Cocktail Tour and the hot dogs are the best you will try in New York, we have added them as a rotating food stop on the tour.
Michael bought the original Feltmans recipe and is grilling them to perfection. The traditional toppings are grilled sauerkraut and onions with a side of homemade apple cider vinegar mustard. But you can also top it with chili, cheese, or sausage gravy. But like a true hot dog connoisseur, there is no ketchup in house.
Bar patrons and East Village passersby can order an incredible and historic hot dog. And pretty soon, these hot dogs will be available in gourmet grocery stores around New York and eventually nationwide. They have also recently partnered with Uber Eats so you can get a gourmet hot dog delivered to your apartment - something the original Charles Feltman probably never dreamed about.
It truly is the best hot dog you will ever taste. The original recipe includes no chemicals or nitrates (they use celery salt as a preservative) and they are made with all beef. A lamb casing causes a consistent snap and each bite reveals garlicky pepper flavors. And the best part is it really does feel like a clean hot dog. You don't get that guilty heavy feeling when eating these.
And it's a nod to a history most New Yorkers don't even know about, which is what we are all about at Urban Oyster. Check Feltman's out on our Craft Cocktail Tour or visit them on St. Marks Place, a street full of hot dog options (Papaya King, Crif Dogs), but after you try them all, there is no question that the best is still the original. And we do mean the original.
Feltman's of Coney Island,
at the window of William Barnacle Tavern
80 St. Marks Place,
New York, New York