As you might’ve suspected, there’s more to Papaya King’s closing than just a renovation. We’ve now discovered that in late March, Wayne Rosenbaum, the 34-year-old owner of the Stanley Bear’s Gourmet catering business, bought the company along with a small group of anonymous investors (the investors include “guys that are established in business and some young up-and-comers,” according to Rosenbaum). Before that, says Rosenbaum (who will be director of operations), the company was owned for 68 years by the Poulus family and then by Founders Equity. So what exactly will the “whole new Papaya King” consist of?
First off, Rosenbaum says he won’t be changing the way your sausage is made — though he says he might experiment with a “carb free” hot dog on a stick as well as adding fruit cups and other products to the menu (Rosenbaum phoned us from outside of the closed store and occasionally excused himself to assure shrieking passerby that everything was okay). There will be some “very small tweaks” to the branding and some of the signs will come down (they’ll be replaced with signs that “make sense”), but the store will still be mustard yellow when it reopens in a month; after that, the new owners will focus on franchising (eventually on a national level) and building the company’s catering business. Let it be known: “Papaya King will be here for another 178 years.”
And you can also rest assured that Alexander Poulus (nephew of Papaya King founder Gus Poulos, employee of 35 years, and an Ask a Waiter alum), will still be manning the grills when the store reopens.