On a recent walk through Manhattan, I had a craving for a couple of Gray’s Papaya hot dogs. Specifically, the “Recession Special” of two dogs and a drink for under $5. They’ve had that special going on for at least the past five years. I hope the special stays around (recession or not). I don’t eat a lot of hot dogs, but Gray’s really scratches the itch when I get the craving.
All of their hot dogs are grilled on a flat top and develop a nice brown crust that gives them a subtle snap when you bite into one. The toppings are very sparse as the focus is on the dogs. One can choose sauerkraut, onions (like Sabrett’s onions), ketchup or mustard. They apply the first two; the last two you apply as you see fit. I usually go with kraut, ketchup and mustard. I like the balance of sour, sweet and tangy.
The drinks are also of special note. The choices are the namesake papaya (rumor is they started out selling fruit juices and branched into hot dogs as well), coconut champagne, pina colada, orange, and a few others. I’ve had the papaya and the orange and I have to say I find them to be very refreshing, and a harmonious balance to the hot dogs. They have a few locations, but I have only been to this one and the one on 6th Avenue and West 8th Street in Greenwich Village. If you’re looking for an inexpensive and satisfying quick meal, Gray’s Papaya fits the bill nicely.