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Florida Guide > Dining

Nathan's

We first came across Nathan’s when we drove up the Florida Turnpike from Miami to Orlando, and stopped at one of the numerous Service Areas on the way. Several of these have a Nathan’s within, and we decided to take a look at what they had on offer. All the Service Areas on the Florida Turnpike have Burger Kings, but we wanted a change from the inevitable burgers and fries which they serve. So we were pleasantly surprised to find that Nathan’s served fresh ‘chips’ together with a choice of fish, frankfurters and burgers.

Nathan’s, as a fast food outlet, goes back a long way. In fact it was back in 1916 that the newly married, Ida and Nathan Handwerker first put down their entire life savings of $300, to buy a frankfurter stall on Coney Island in New York. They beat the competition by pricing their frankfurter, with its secret spice recipe, at a nickel, which was half the price of its competitors. Ida and Nathan had met each other when working as a roll slicer and a waitress at Feltman’s German Beer Garden on Coney Island, which was known at the time as the playground of the world. At first it was known as the frankfurter sandwich, but it soon came to be known as the ‘hot dog.’

Not only did they provide 100% beef frankfurters with spices and garlic, but one of their best ideas was the introduction of their tasty, golden, crinkle cut French fries – or ‘chips.’ Nothing unusual in that, you might say, but these were made from potatoes peeled fresh every morning, and cooked in cholesterol free 100% corn oil. In fact they are still freshly cooked – from freshly prepared, not frozen potatoes, and they are some of the most delicious fries you can find. Unlike their frozen counterparts, which can be thin and greasy, these are chunky, crisp and golden, and when you bite through the outer layer you will find fluffy white potato inside. Delicious.

Since then, Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs have become a great American favourite, and when King George and Queen Elizabeth visited President Roosevelt in 1939 they were served Nathan’s hot dogs, to give them a taste of America.

As well as the famous Hot Dogs they also serve Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips, which come with Hush Puppies – golden crispy corn balls – and coleslaw. Chicken Tenders are also on the menu, and some outlets serve hamburgers, too.

If you are looking for something a little different from the usual fast food, and would like a change from the frozen apologies for chips that are called French Fries, then stop off at Nathan’s, and experience a real British type ‘chip.’

There is also a Nathan’s in the new Food Court at Orlando International Airport.

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Page added on: 23 December 2005
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