Top Stories 2012: Nathan's Famous Announces Closing

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Dozens of Nathan's Famous fans turned out to say goodbye to the Central Park Avenue restaurant before it closed this November. Photo Credit: Matt Bultman

YONKERS, N.Y. – As the end of 2012 nears, The Yonkers Daily Voice is taking a look back at some of the year's biggest stories.

It was a sad day for Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog fans this November when the iconic Yonkers eatery announced it had served its last basket of crinkle fries.

The popular Central Park Avenue hot dog joint, with its arcade and large play space, closed Nov. 25. In its place a smaller Nathan’s, roughly a third the size, will be built.

Loyal Nathan’s fans came from near and far during the last weekend in November, hoping for one final hurrah before the restaurant shut its doors.

“This place brings back a lot of memories,” Denise Wilson said at the time. “It was a lot of fun. It’s like we’re losing a little piece of nostalgia.”

The downsizing had been talked about for years but was spurred by a revamping  of the plaza, which the restaurant is a part of, company executives said.  On Dec. 1, the restaurant auctioned off its game machines and restaurant equipment to the highest bidder.

The new Nathan’s is expected to be completed in roughly a year and will be “the size of a very large McDonald's,” Nathan’s President Wayne Norbitz said in November.

“The menu will be the same [when it reopens], but the restaurant will be much smaller,” he said. “Right now, that is a gigantic facility.”

While they understood the changing times, many diners said they were sad to see the restaurant go. As they looked around one final time, they reminisced about the hours spent playing pinball at the arcade and grabbing a bite to eat after the movies.

“It was almost like a rite of passage. As soon as you could drive you came here,” said Wilson.

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