Handwerker, Nathan

Handwerker, Nathan

(1891–1974) food merchant; born in Poland. He arrived in New York in 1912 and worked as a roll slicer for Charles Feltman (sometimes credited as the "inventor" of the hot dog in America). Taking advice form Jimmy Durante and Eddie Cantor, and assistance from his fiancée Ida, he opened a sidewalk stand on Coney Island in 1916, selling his hot dogs for a nickel, half of what Feltman charged. His stand grew and in 1925 he incorporated as Nathan's Famous. Further expansion occured in 1957 when son Murray Handwerker (born 1921) persuaded his father to open a second store in Ocean Side, Long Island; soon thereafter they began franchising. Nathan's Famous went public in 1967 and began selling products to supermarkets in the early 1970s.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.