“The Hot Dog New Yorkers Relish”
I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to call the blue and yellow Sabrett hot dog umbrella an iconic image of New York. It’s just so perfect.
Anyway, Gregory Papalexis (how’s that for a great last name?), the owner of Sabrett, has passed on. His son-in-law described him as “the single biggest hot dog lover in the world.” That’s no joke.
Sabrett hot dogs are sold nationwide. On the streets of New York, they are sold from stainless-steel pushcarts with instantly recognizable blue-and-yellow umbrellas. Marathon also supplies franks to Papaya King and Gray’s Papaya restaurants, and sells more than 35 million pounds of hot dogs a year.
And Mr. Papalexis, who retired two years ago, practiced what he preached: He ate Sabrett hot dogs four or five days a week, relatives said. The son of a baker, Mr. Papalexis grew up next door to a hot dog factory in upper Manhattan. He earned a bachelor of science degree in industrial relations from New York University in 1948, and then entered the food business.
With a $2,500 G.I. loan, Mr. Papalexis bought his father’s bakery and sold rolls to clients throughout New York City, making deliveries in a Cadillac because it had the biggest trunk he could find. His daughter, Nikki Rosen, also a company executive, said her father gave great detail to the buns his company sold, insisting they be “light, airy and fluffy,” she said. His reasoning was simple: If customers fill up on the bun, they won’t have room for a second hot dog.
Words to live by. Rest in peace.