D, F, N, Q at Coney Island-Stillwell Ave.
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No longer a restaurant but rather a brand, immediately recognizable by the old-timey green logo, Nathan's Famous has been popping up for a few years now in places like the back of Home Depots in the Midwest and food courts in the Middle East. But that's something of a loss, since the flavor of those crispy-on-the-outside, juicy-on-the-inside all-beef hot dogs is only part the true Nathan's experience: The rest is that ineffable mixtures of salty sea air, spilled beer and crowd sweat that is a summer afternoon on the Coney Island boardwalk. Luckily, New Yorkers are still able to get the real deal in the original Surf Avenue location. What started out as a simple hot dog stand in 1916 is now a block-long 12-station grease factory, with express lines for hot dogs, separate ordering areas for hamburgers and seafood, and outdoor seating for several hundred people. Shredded bacon and beef-heavy chili toppings enhance the classic frankfurters, but beware deviations from the institution's namesake. Although the ocean is only a block away, the fish comes in pre-frozen rectangles and the soft-shell crab is a bit scary. Beer and wine coolers come in soda cups for maximum, if not particularly legal, portability.Extra
Every July 4th, Nathan's holds its famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest on the boardwalk, attracting worldwide competitive eaters and their fans.Recommended Dishes
Nathan's original all-beef hot dog, $3