THE BEEF HEATS UP BETWEEN NATHAN’S AND FELTMAN’S
An age-old wiener rivalry heated up last weekend when six-time Nathan’s Famous hot dog eating champ Takeru Kobayashi popped into McSorley’s Old Ale House, downed a dozen Feltman’s of Coney Island hot dogs, and talked turkey with Feltman’s owner Michael Quinn.
“We’d love to work with him in the future,” said Quinn, who scored a big win last year when he got the 150-year-old tavern to carry his hot dog brand. That marked the first item McSorley’s had added to its menu in half a century. “He’s a very unique talent.”
Kobayashi (photo left, with Quinn at far left) won Nathan’s Famous’ Independence Day hot dog eating contest in six consecutive years before relinquishing the crown to Joey (Jaws) Chestnut in 2007. He was banned from the competition in 2009 for refusing to sign a contract with Major League Eating, which is tied to the ESPN-televised event. In 2011, Nathan’s Famous removed Kobayashi’s image from its “Wall of Fame.”
Nathan’s Famous also has a contentious relationship with Feltman’s of Coney Island, though that feud dates back more than a century. Feltman’s claims to have invented the hot dog as we know it on Coney Island in 1867, where founder Charles Feltman operated a street cart. Nathan Handwerker worked for Feltman until 1916 when he left to open Nathan’s Famous, which now sponsors the July 4 eating contest on the Coney Island Boardwalk. Brian Niemietz