Nathan’s Famous, host of the annual July 4 hot-dog eating contest, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year and as a hungry visitor who has made the pilgrimage to this Coney Island institution it’s a milestone worth marking.

New York June 2014 089 photo by author

Nathan Handwerker was a Jewish Eastern European immigrant  who arrived at Ellis Island in 1912 along with  some 600,000 others seeking a better life, soon finding work at Feltman’s German Gardens in Coney Island. Four years of hard work later Handwerker risked his family’s life savings of $300 on his own business which was a hit from the start thanks to his nickel hot dog which undercut his former employer’s hot dog price of a dime. The rest as they say is history and for those Summer visitors to New York who haven’t ventured out to Coney Island and sampled a Nathan’s dog it’s well worth the subway ride.

WSJ’s Jeff Bush takes a trip to the original Coney Island location to explore the humble history of the popular sausage on a bun.