Gregory Papalexis, owner of the great Sabrett hot dogs that dominate Midtown Manhattan street carts, has died has died at the age of 86 in his New Jersey. Papalexis was president, CEO and chairman of Marathon Enterprises, the regional supplier of meats and gourmet delicatessens and parent company of Sabrett.
Sabrett hot dogs have become a staple of New York street food during their century-long availability in the city. Their stainless-steel push carts donning blue-and-yellow umbrellas are iconic among street vendors. Marathon sells more than 35 million pounds of hot dogs per year, according to an AP story.
Papalexis was a hot dog-lover until the end. According to reports, he would eat hot dogs four or five days a week. He was also known for bringing franks-and-beans casserole to family gatherings.
Papalexis entered the food business after earning a Bachelor of Science degree at New York University in 1948. Using a $2,500 G.I. loan, Papalexis bought his father's bakery and began selling rolls to clients throughout the city. Soon, he began selling hot dogs as well, and began to market the hot dogs using push carts called House O' Weenies. After a string of success, Marathon Enterprises was formed in 1964 and acquired several competitors including Sabrett Foods.
Marathon Enterprises runs two manufacturing plants and a distribution center in the Bronx. The company's corporate offices are in Englewood, N.J., near Paplexis' home.