Is the king in trouble? Apparently the Papaya King located on 14th Street is on the block. The Harlem location has already closed. The dogs represent the perfect union of a Greek man — Gus Poulo, who brought the tropical juices that make Papaya what it is to NYC — and a German woman — Gus’s wife who taught him to love frankfurters. Gus opened his 86th Street storefront, which is not for sale yet, in 1932. The store was the first of its kind, but was followed closely by Gray’s. The 14th Street location is up for sale, brokered by Branded Concept Development, and comes complete with kitchen and all, so pay $250 grand to Papaya King (which will get you a newly negotiated 10-year lease with the landlord), move in and start grilling.
And this sad news comes on the heels of the big downer that the inventor of red onion sauce recently died. Alan S. Geisler, who created the sauce for Gus Poulo, long ago relocated to Florida, where they probably don’t know a damn thing about red onion sauce, and died there among the mosquitoes and swamp rats. Keep in mind Geisler wasn’t any mere tinkerer messing around with an onion and som vinegar and a tomato. No, dude was a trained food technologist with a degree from MIT who set out to create the perfect condiment. He and Gus and likely both rolling in their red-onion-sauce slathered hot dog shaped coffins.