A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from April 18, 2010
Pimp Steak (hot dog)

A “pimp steak” a frankfurter or hot dog. The term was used in Harlem in the 1940s-1950s and refers to an “inexpensive” steak.
“Fine Fur Frankfurter — Pimp-steak” was cited in Dan Burley’s Original Handbook of Harlem Jive (1944).
1 December 1951, New York (NY) Amsterdam News, “Carolyn’s Free Meal Big Topic” by Carolyn Dixon, pg. 2M:
Give The Carolyn a couple of pimp steaks (hot dogs) and a plate of baked beans and she’s a real gone gal for the rest of the day.
3 August 1957, New York (NY) Amsterdam News, “Bronx Nightlife” by Jimmy Hicks, pg. 31:
He also owns the pimp steak (hot dogs to you) place next door.
Google Books
The book of Negro folklore
By Langston Hughes
New York, NY: Dodd, Mead
Pg. 486:
PIMP STEAK: A frankfurter, a hot dog. All Jack eats is pimp steals.
Google Books
Black slang:
A dictionary of Afro-American talk

By Clarence Major
Pg. 91:
Pimp steak: (1940’s) a frankfurter.
Google Books
Dan Burley’s jive
By Dan Burley
Edited by Thomas Aiello
DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois University Press
2009 (A reprint of 1944’s Dan Burley’s Original Handbook of Harlem Jive.—ed.)
Pg. 222:
Fine Fur Frankfurter — Pimp-steak
Chicago (IL) Reader (March 2010)
The Old Settler 
When: Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through March 28 2010
Phone: 847-242-6000
Price: $40-$65
Set in Harlem during World War II, John Henry Redwood’s 1997 play swims in local color—in legendary nightclubs and church suppers, zoot suits and maid uniforms, country bumpkins and urban slicks. Redwood clearly loves the period and the place and lays on cool details like the information that Harlem slang for a hot dog was “pimp steak.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Sunday, April 18, 2010 • Permalink

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