Papaya King founded by Gus Poulos

In 1923, alone and penniless, sixteen-year-old Gus Poulos arrived from Athens, Greece, possessing only drive and determination. He obtained a job in a deli in New York’s Yorkville neighborhood, and within three years he bought the business.

After vacationing in Florida in the late 1920s, he returned to New York with the new business idea. With years of research and making connections with tropical fruit distributors, Gus sold the deli and opened a juice store in 1931 called Hawaiian Tropical Drinks, Inc.
However New Yorkers were not interested until Poulos hired women in hula skits to give out free samples in the sidewalk. By 1935 he opened a second store in Brooklyn and in 1937 it expanded to Philadelphia.

Due to his juice stand was in a heavily German part of town, in 1939 he added frankfurters to his menu, and business boomed. The name Papaya King caught on by way of customers declaring Gus “the Papaya King,” and he officially changed the name in the early 1960s.

By then Papaya King’s the restaurant had become a tourist attraction and the fame had spread from coast to coast and even around the world.
Papaya King founded by Gus Poulos
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Reuters: Business News