There are some food places that are legends. For hotdog lovers these include three icons: Nathan’s Famous in Coney Island opened in 1916, Katz’s Delicatessen on NYC’s Houston Street since 1917 and Pink’s Dogs, the ultimate LA hot dog stand. I’d been to the first two countless times while growing up in New York. I’ve wanted to taste a Pink’s dog for years. We weren’t headed for Pink’s. LA traffic was just too nuts to veer from our mission of following Route 66, but when we crossed La Brea, the street it’s on, I just had to go.
A short history of Pink’s
In 1939 Paul and Betty Pink started selling hot dogs from a pushcart parked at the intersection of La Brea and Melrose, LA countryside at the time. Times were tough, the Depression was still on; the business was started with a 50 dollar loan. In those days a chile dog cost a dime. In 1946, with prosperity finally returning to the nation, the Pinks built the small building that is still home; it hasn’t changed much since. The unpretentious stand, still owned and run by the Pink family, has developed a following. Over the years many famous people have dined at the ultimate LA hotdog stand. Want to know what celebrities have eaten Pink’s Dogs? Click here,
Ordering at the ultimate LA hot dog stand
There was a long line waiting at the order window. We took our places and patiently waited our turn. We were starving! Thankfully, the line moved quickly. They have it down to a science. The person who takes your order fixes your dog and gets your sides. Drinks are ordered inside just before you pay. The women behind the counter were fast and efficient. Pink’s website says that they get the dog made and delivered in about 30 seconds. Ours took a bit longer. To move the process along, newbies like us can read the sign with detailed ordering instructions. It was a big help.
While we waited for the line to move we perused the LONG menu board on the back wall behind the servers. There are 30 different dogs on offer. Also read placards all over the front of the stand announcing dogs named for celebrities. That’s where I found the Carl Reiner. It was the dog I was searching for. It’s pure NYC- a hot dog (this one a nine-inch stretch) with mustard and sauerkraut. Steve went for the stretch chile dog. We added an order of onion rings and one of fries. The portions were HUGE! Maybe we should have been a bit more adventurous with our dog picks but we went with our traditional favorites. The menu was a bit overwhelming.
Some of the more over-the-top offerings at Pink’s Dogs
THE PHILLY CHEESESTEAK DOG – with grilled steak, grilled peppers & onions, American & Swiss cheese
THE OZZY SPICY DOG – spicy Polish dog, nacho cheese, American cheese, grilled onions, guacamole & chopped tomatoes
AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL DOG – 12″ jalapeno dog, pastrami, bacon, lettuce & chopped tomatoes
PLANET HOLLYWOOD DOG – Polish Sausage, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, bacon & nacho cheese add jalapenos
THREE DOG NIGHT 3 hot dogs, wrapped in a giant tortilla, 3 slices of cheese, 3 slices of bacon, chili & onions
EMERIL LEGASSE BAM DOG 9″ stretch dog, mustard, onions, cheese, jalapenos, bacon & coleslaw
LORD OF THE RINGS DOG 9″ stretch dog, yummy BBQ sauce, topped w/onion rings
JAWS – The BIG one – POLI-BACON CHILI CHEESEBURGER, one grilled Polish dog and a hamburger with bacon, lettuce, tomatoes & mayo
There’s also a Martha Stewart, a Brando, a Giada de Lautentis and an Emeril Lagasse Bam Dog.
Eating our Pink’s dogs
Hot dogs in hand, we headed for a shaded outdoor table to enjoy our bounty and enjoy it we did. The Carl Reiner was perfect- lots of juicy sauerkraut and spicy mustard just as it should be and Steve thoroughly enjoyed his chili dog. Pink’s, the ultimate LA hot dog stand was worth the traffic we had to endure to get there. And, I got to tick off another food bucket list item. We headed back into traffic sated and smiling. Pink’s was a hit!
If you go to Pink’s the ultimate LA hot dog stand: they’re open seven days a week, is located at 709 N. La Brea Avenue, phone number: (323) 931-4223. Hours are Sunday through Thursday from 9:30am until 2am and Friday and Saturdays from 9:30am until 3am.
When we were in Tucson last year s friend told us we had to try a Sonoran hot dogs at El Guero Canelo — so we did.
A bit thanks to Valerie Mitchell of Valerie Was Here for the hot dog photo. The ones we took of our meals didn’t turn out well.