Nathan’s Famous has a nationally televised Hot Dog Eating Competition every July 4.
An annual tradition since 1916, the hot dog eating competition at Coney Island, NY, features the top male and female qualifiers competing in front of 30,000 spectators in the ESPN2-televised event.
About Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs (from Wikipedia)
Nathan’s Famous, Inc. is an American company that operates a chain of fast food restaurants specializing in hot dogs. The original Nathan’s restaurant stands at the corner of Surf and Stillwell Avenues in the Coney Island neighborhood of the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York.
Nathan’s began as a nickel hot dog stand in Coney Island in 1916 and bears the name of co-founder Nathan Handwerker (June 14, 1890, Kraków, Poland – March 25, 1974), who started the business with his wife, Ida Handwerker, née Ida Greenwald (September 25, 1897 – December 24, 1976). Ida created the hot dog recipe they used, and Ida’s grandmother created the secret spice recipe. Handwerker, an employee of Feltman’s German Gardens, was encouraged by singing waiters Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante to go into business in competition with his former employer. He and Ida spent their life savings of $300 to begin the business. Handwerker undercut Feltman’s by charging five cents for a hot dog when his former employer was charging ten. At a time when food regulation was in its infancy and the pedigree of the hot dog particularly suspect, Handwerker made sure that men wearing surgeon’s smocks were seen eating at his stand to reassure potential customers. The business proved immensely popular.
The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest has been held at the original location on Coney Island since the early 1970s. Contestants try to consume as many hot dogs as possible in a ten-minute time period. The Nathan’s event is at the center of the competitive eating circuit.