Papaya King | 179 East 86th St. (at 3rd Ave.) | 212.369.0648 |

WHEN I'D VISIT my grandparents in South Carolina when I was much, much younger, I thought it was so cool that Burger King, Dairy Queen, and Jack in the Box were all within a 5 minute drive of each other. The playing cards reference wasn't lost on me at all.

And it was a fun game my aunts and uncles used to play with me, asking me before taking me and my sister out for a meal, when they asked if I'd prefer the "King", the "Queen", or the "Jack" to dine at.

This was all years before Burger King became BK, and even that was before BK got their own Ronald-rivaling mascot, The King.

But that development occurred after I moved to Manhattan's Upper East Side, when I was still referring to Burger King as "BK", and "The King" had then become a reference to Papaya King, a neighborhood—nay, city-wide—institution, churning out grilled, nicely seasoned, flattop-grilled, skin-cased hot dogs that, according only, seemingly, to the original purveyor, were "better than filet mignon", regardless went perfectly well with a cold cup of frothy-yet-creamy, fruity and naturally sweet papaya juice.

I helped myself to a "recession special", two dogs with a medium papaya juice, as I enjoyed the rewarding solace of a quick, cheap, and never disappointing meal.

I notice as I take pictures while leaving, that they already have a mascot, of sorts, on their awning. I wonder if its name is "The King", and if I was going to eventually refer to Papaya King as PK...!

Bun Apple Tea!


Papaya King | 179 East 86th St. (at 3rd Ave.) | 212.369.0648 |