Diners choke on Nathan’s price hike: Hot dogs now cost $3.15
That’s one expensive weenie.
The original Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island is charging $3.15 for a plain hot dog – a price many longtime customers are finding hard to swallow.
“Wow, that’s steep,” said electrician Frank Lehman, 32, as he stopped by the popular Brooklyn eatery for lunch. “I had no idea they cost that much now. I could buy a whole package of hot dogs for that much.”
Nathan’s officials said rising costs for everything from beef to buns forced the landmark store at 1310 Surf Ave. to plump their prices.
“The reason for the price increase was to offset our own price increases,” said Nathan’s spokeswoman Mary Highland.
Food industry analyst Phil Lempert said high gas prices and the increased cost of grains used to feed livestock have raised food prices nationwide.
“In a city like New York, where street vendors still sell hot dogs for $1.50, I think Nathan’s would be hard-pressed to justify such a high price to consumers,” Lempert said.
An “original” all-beef frank from Nathan’s cost $2.95 earlier this summer, up from $2.75 as little as two years ago.
And $3.15 isn’t even the end of the pain. Customers have to keep digging into their wallets for the sales tax.
“These prices are like Yankee Stadium prices,” said construction worker and life-long Coney Island resident Sal Romano, 58.
“That’s kind of rough, especially if you’re trying to bring your family here. You might have to buy one dog and chop it up for all the kids to share,” Romano said.
Hot dogs still cost less than $3 apiece at the majority of Nathan’s franchises around the city, as prices are set by individual owners.
For some, the experience of eating a hot dog at the original Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island is worth the beefy price tag.
“You pay for the experience, not the food,” said Gary Mitchell, 40, who stopped by Nathan’s while on vacation from Minnesota. “This is Americana at its finest.”
Still, he added, “I wouldn’t pay $3.15 for a hot dog every day, though.”
By the way, a Nathan’s hot dog cost a mere nickel when Nathan Handwerker opened his first store in 1916.
BY Jeff Wilkins