Continuing the Tradition
What began as a 25-seat hotdog stand in has evolved over the past two centuries into a full service restaurant serving America’s favorite food delights for everyone. Max’s is much more than a “hotdog”, it has become a tradition for all “dog” lovers who come to experience a long time Jersey shore tradition.
Max’s Hotdogs started with humble beginnings by a man named Max Altman, an entrepreneur with big ideas. In 1916, Altman opened a small restaurant on the northern end of the Long Branch pier. The menu consisted of hotdogs, hamburgers and french fries. It wasn’t until fears about a growing “depression” in the late 1920’s that Altman tried to come up with a way to serve a larger size hotdog, while keeping costs down for his customers. It wasn’t until 1928 that the “footlong” hotdog was served and is same recipe used today. Altman took on a partner by the name of Milford “Mel” Maybaum, and sold him the business by the end of the 1940’s. Mel’s son Robert, “bobby” would eventually take over the business.
Mel, or as he became known in the area as “Mr. Max” introduced new foods such as the staple crispy onion rings and sweet jersey corn. He offered big steaming pots of sauerkraut and sweet and spicy relishes for his customers to put on their hotdogs. To this day, big pots of kraut and relishes are placed on tables for customers to helps themselves to this long standing tradition.
Max’s has always been a seasonal restaurant. Mel closed up during the winter months and retreated to Miami, Florida where he owned and raced thoroughbred horses. In the 1960’s Mel met Celia Levy, a Bronx native also living in Miami with her daughter Madeline. Their friendship blossomed into a love affair and the two married in 1967. Shortly there after, Celia’s daughter Madeline married Mel’s son Bobby and in the summer months ran the business together.
Celia was a natural when it came to managing Max’s. She quickly became known as “Mrs. Max” and developed friendships all throughout the community. Especially at the Monmouth race track, where Mel and Celia were friendly with many horse trainers, jockeys, and owners.
Sadly, in 1980 Mel, “Mr. Max” passed away on his 75th birthday. He left the business to his son Bobby. Celia and Bobby continued to run the business for the next 30 plus years. Bobby’s wife Madeline would help out as well when their daughters Michele and Jennifer got older. Celia continued managing and retired in 2009 at the age of 90!
Unexpectedly in June of 2013, Robert Maybaum passed away and left the business to his wife Madeline, their daughters Michele and Jennifer and their husbands Ivan and Jake.
September 13, 2016 marked a sad day for the Maybaum family. The Matriarch known as “Mrs. Max” passed away.. She was 97 and two months shy of her 98th birthday. We will miss “Bobby” and “Mrs. Max” very much and will continue to honor their memory by continuing their legacy.
2017 marks 89 years on the Jersey shore. Today, tradition continues with new generations making their “must stop” to this famous hotdog joint. Max’s has been visited by numerous celebrities and are featured on the “celebrity wall”. Max’s has been written about in various newspapers around the country, given shout outs at Springsteen concerts, debated on the Daily show with John Stewart, and showcased on a tv show. Our customers love to share their personal stories of the “first time” to Max’s and now bring their second and third generations to the restaurant. The Maybaum family invites you to come and share in the tradition.