Bill was Here. Iceland's Best Hot Dog Stand in the NYT Skip to content

Bill was Here. Iceland’s Best Hot Dog Stand in the NYT

The New York Times recently talked about how former U.S. President Bill Clinton has the power of making restaurants famous. One of the “restaurants” mentioned was Baejarins beztu, a hot dog stand in the center of Reykjavík. The website recalls that photographer Gunnar V. Andrésson had followed Clinton around town during his visit in 2004. Bill and Hillary Clinton had come to visit Prime Minister Davíd Oddsson who had undergone cancer treatment.

Photographer Gunnar called to the woman working at the stand that she should offer the President a hot dog. She shouted to the President: “Best hot dogs in the world.” Clinton turned to the photographer, smiled and said: “Why not?” The hot dog was on the house.

It has not been widely discussed but a short while later Clinton himself had to undergo treatment and Icelanders have jokingly attributed the heart operation to the hot dog in Reykjavík.

Baejarins beztu has been known as the best hot dog stand in Iceland for decades. The stand was established in 1937. The company has been owned by the same family from the beginning and is now in the fourth generation.

Iceland Review’s journalist Bart Cameroon wrote about the incident for the world press and in his Daily life Column: “Icelanders have also made it into the New York Times recently for their night-life, for their ability to fight depression and for serving Bill Clinton hot dogs. (I wrote the hot dog piece through the AP, though the New York Times didn’t give me a damned by-line.)”

The New York Times said:

“Good fortune, it seems, plays a surprisingly large role in the Bill Clinton international restaurant sweepstakes. Mr. Clinton helped a hot dog stand in Reykjavik called Baejarins Beztu Pylsur achieve worldwide acclaim after he stopped there during a visit to Iceland in 2004. But the ex-president nearly walked right by.

“I have this nice older woman, who has been working for me for 30 years, and she saw Clinton, and she just shouted at him to stop and try one of our hot dogs,” said Gudrun Kristmundóttir, the stand’s owner. “And he did.”

The next day, TV reporters and newspapers from all over the world were calling. And in 2006, Baejarins Beztu Pylsur (“city’s best hot dogs” in Icelandic) turned up on a list of the five best European food stalls in The Guardian newspaper in England. Inevitably, Mr. Clinton’s stop was noted.

“It was just unbelievable, the amount of attention,” Ms. Kristmundottir said. “I never understood all the fuss over a single hot dog.” “

The story in

The story in the New York Times

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