We talked to owner Danyal Shahzad about Fulton Hot Dog King, from its origin story to what’s in store for its future.
If you’ve visited Downtown Brooklyn any time in the last hundred years, you would have come across one of the neighborhood most iconic businesses. Located at the corner of Fulton Street and Elm Place with its signature red and white signage, Fulton Hot Dog King has long been a staple of the neighborhood, standing the test of time.
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DBP: Fulton Hot Dog King has been a part of Downtown Brooklyn for generations. What do you most enjoy about running the business?
DS: I enjoy seeing the customers and the place full. All the random conversations, taking orders as the food is sizzling like a real restaurant should be. I get to listen to people and what they have to say because we New Yorkers love expressing ourselves. Those moments while their food is being prepared is like express therapy – for people to say something about their day. It gives me and my employees the opportunity to remember them when they come back.
DBP: Can you tell us about how the business was started?
DS: It has been here since 1914, and my family took ownership in the 1930’s. Downtown Brooklyn has always been such a busy place – people running for the train, to work, or to shop. A hot dog is the quickest thing to make, buy, and eat at the same time!
DBP: What is the most interesting or surprising thing you have learned during your time here?
DS: Learning about the history of Downtown Brooklyn from the customers who have witnessed it. Customers always come and tell us about when they were young and how their parents bought them food from here and how they respect our efforts in maintaining the original store setup. People in their late 60’s come by remembering the same feeling they had when eating our food at the age of six.
DBP: What is the most popular menu item?
DS: Spoiler Alert: Our Famous Hot Dogs and Hot Sausages! Have it your way. We also have a vast menu of different food, such as beef patties, burgers and salads.
DBP: Why do you think your customers keep coming back to you?
DS: I believe it’s the experience. Good food is everywhere in NYC, but support and courtesy isn’t and we show our customers love, respect and genuine care that keep them coming back. Most restaurants look at you as a number on a receipt and try to rush you in and out. We ensure what you want is what you get and you leave happy. They say you only get one chance to make a good impression, so make it good!
DBP: What is your next goal for the business?
DS: Branching out Fulton Hot Dog King to new locations in NYC – because there are people who haven’t tried one of the best hot dogs yet!
DBP: How has the city’s outdoor dining programming been for business? Do you plan to keep your outdoor dining structure on Elm (we hope so!)?
DS: People love the outdoor dining setup. It gives them perfect lighting to take photos of the food and store with friends and family. People meeting each other on the street and having a place to talk, eat food and enjoy the view of Fulton Mall? Perfect. Plus if you run out of food, just come back in! We are ready to serve.
Fulton Hot Dog King has evolved over the years, first by adding more hot dog toppings to the menu, and now offering a wide range of new items – appealing to more customers over the years. Their success can be attributed to their adaptation to the changing landscape in Downtown Brooklyn over the past century and their dedication to connecting with the community. The business remains a treasure of the neighborhood.
If you’ve never been to Fulton Hot Dog King or just have a hankering for the perfect juicy hot dog, check them out at 472 Fulton Street and see for yourself why they’ve been a Brooklyn favorite for over 100 years.