Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs might be a household name across America, but only visitors to Coney Island, New York are getting the real deal. The dogs sold at franchises and in supermarkets are not the same as those sold at the original location -- they're not even from the same factory.
Legendary gangster and Brooklyn native Al Capone visited Nathan's repeatedly during his jaunts around Coney Island. Capone's love for his hometown hot dog never faded, and he visited the restaurant whenever his travels brought him back to Brooklyn.
In 1924, Archie Leach, later to become one of the world's most loved actors under the name of Cary Grant, wore a sandwich board advertising the Coney Island Steeple Chase. The young man became fast friends with Nathan and the two remained close throughout their lives. In 1952, while filming "Monkey Business" in Hollywood, Grant sends Nathan a telegram stating simply: "Wish I were in Coney stop. Miss the hot dogs stop."
In 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt served Nathan's Famous hot dogs to the king and queen of England, weekend guests at his Hyde Park residence.
In 1952, Nathan's Famous sponsors Coney Island Baseball League, Sandy Kofax is one of the league's stars.
In 1969, Nelson Rockefeller, Governor of New York, visits Nathan's on the campaign trail. Rockefeller states: "No man can hope to get elected in New York State, without being photographed eating hot dogs at Nathan's Famous."
In 1999, New York City Mayor Rudy Guliani declares Nathan's the world's best hot dogs in a special gathering in the Blue Room in City Hall.