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Papaya King reopened at a new location on Saturday at 206 E. 86 St., across Third Avenue from the corner where Papaya King stood for over 90 years. (Téa Kvetenadze)
Papaya King reopened at a new location on Saturday at 206 E. 86 St., across Third Avenue from the corner where Papaya King stood for over 90 years. (Téa Kvetenadze)
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Historic hot dog hub Papaya King quietly reopened at a new location on the Upper East Side on Saturday, over a year after shuttering its original spot.

Fans have been lining up at 206 E. 86th St., across Third Ave. from the corner where Papaya King stood for more than 90 years. The building has since been demolished and .

Empty lot is where the original location was across the street. Since demolished to make way for a 17-story tower. (Téa Kvetenadze)
Empty lot is where the original location was across the street. Since demolished to make way for a 17-story tower. (Téa Kvetenadze)

Papaya King’s new home features black-and-white images of the original store alongside the iconic papaya-yellow walls. Diners on Tuesday chowed down on hot dogs piled with toppings and sipped tropical drinks beneath a sign proclaiming “the legend lives on forever.”

“I think it’s good they kept it in the same neighborhood. They have their followers,” said local Lisa Thurlow, 58. “The day it closed, I stood outside in the freezing cold.”

Papaya King reopened at a new location on Saturday at 206 E. 86 St., across Third Avenue from the corner where Papaya King stood for over 90 years. (Téa Kvetenadze)
Papaya King reopened at a new location on Saturday at 206 E. 86th St., across Third Ave. from the corner where Papaya King stood for over 90 years. (Téa Kvetenadze)

She said her frankfurter tasted the same as she remembered, if not a bit saltier.

“I think the quality is great,” she told the Daily News. “This is the only place in the fast food world I feel comfortable. They just do what they’re good at doing.”

Papaya King’s road to reopening was a rocky one.

The original shop closed last April as the building faced demolition and management was tied up in a . The News also reported in January that the storefront they initially hoped to relocate to fell through at the last minute because of an issue with the kitchen equipment, putting reopening hopes in jeopardy.

Papaya King reopened at a new location on Saturday at 206 E. 86 St., across Third Avenue from the corner where Papaya King stood for over 90 years. (Téa Kvetenadze)
Papaya King reopened at a new location on Saturday at 206 E. 86th St., across Third Ave. from the corner where Papaya King stood for over 90 years. (Téa Kvetenadze)

“It was a huge struggle,” said manager Sajid “Sid” Sohail. “I think it was the right decision to keep it here close to the old location.”

Sohail shared some of his plans for Papaya King once the dust settles, including potentially opening new locations. In the coming weeks, the eatery will also be rolling out baked goods and breakfast options such as bagels and croissants “so we can capture the morning rush as well.”

He also told The News they’re currently refurbishing the iconic neon awning that hung outside the original location and hope to install it soon.

“We want to keep that part of the history there,” he said.

Papaya King reopened at a new location on Saturday at 206 E. 86 St., across Third Avenue from the corner where Papaya King stood for over 90 years. (Téa Kvetenadze)
Papaya King reopened at a new location on Saturday at 206 E. 86th St., across Third Ave. from the corner where Papaya King stood for over 90 years. (Téa Kvetenadze)

Sohail estimated about 90% of the customers so far were returning fans.

“Everyone’s very excited,” he said.

Customer Michael Bercovitz, 54, was in town from Colorado but was raised nearby and grew up going to the Upper East Side institution.

“I’m so psyched for this. It’s been a long time coming,” the lawyer said as he savored two dogs with sauerkraut and a papaya drink. “I’m wolfing it down. So worth it.”

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