Friday, June 3, 2011

Papaya Puzzle

There's a place in Greenwich Village called Gray's Papaya. Gray's has its own Wikipedia entry. Some similar places which don't have Wikipedia entries, but nonetheless exist are:
  • Chelsea Papaya, just along from us on 23rd Street 
  • Mike's Papaya, which has several branches in the city
  • Polynesian Papaya
  • Papaya Dog
  • Papaya King
  • ... and I could go on...

What do they all have in common? They sell hot dogs, and papaya juice. That's right, hot dogs and papaya juice. They sell a range of hot dog combos - red onion sauce is the NY classic, or you can have slaw, chilli (meat on meat... that's another puzzle for another day), or some other slop on it.

Most offer a range of juices, all of them tropical. But none of them are called Pineapple Dog, or Mango King, with good reason: it's all about the papaya juice. They all offer some sort of dog/papaya combo, like the infamous Gray's recession special: 'Two dogs and a juice for $2'.

(A side note on Chelsea Papaya: they are not so pure. They sell way more than dogs and juice. If the people want pizza they'll go to Rays... if they want a burger they'll go to Goodburger, you chumps! The purpose of a papaya/ dog shop is to sell papaya juice and hot dogs. Doh.)

TLOML's Easter Sunday lunch

So my puzzle is... what's so compelling about this combination? This guy explains the history, but doesn't really answer the question. Why is papaya so important to the hot dog shop that the hot dog shop is named for it? Why is no-one running a papaya and sandwich shop? Or a hot dog and soda place?

And, when I open my fish finger shop, what tropical juice should I focus on?

1 comment:

  1. If you want to stick with the English nursery vibe of fish fingers, why not serve lemon barley water – not technically a juice I know, but I feel it is often overlooked and deserves a revival. But if you want to compete with the sheer randomness of the papaya/dog combo, what about pomegranate? I’ve only had it mixed with vodka in a cocktail, but it was very nice.