Dec 2009

Pink’s Hot Dogs – Los Angeles (West Hollywood)


After supping on small plates at Cube, my mother desired a little something else to top off her evening. While visions of cupcakes dolloped tall with frosting were dancing in my head, my mom was dreaming of chili cheese dogs with thick squiggles of yellow mustard. Since Pink’s Hot Dogs was located only 469 feet away, I curbed my sweet tooth and we headed for the bright lights and lengthy lines—It was time to experience a Los Angeles institution.

Paul Pink started his hot dog stand, a large-wheeled pushcart to be exact, in 1939. He outgrew the hot dog wagon in 1946 and traded it in for a small building that was constructed on the same spot where the wagon stood. For the past 70 years, locals and tourists alike have been queuing up and patiently waiting for a taste of Mr. Pink’s famous hot dogs. Oh, the power of hype and nostalgia!


As we approached the culinary landmark, we were all wondering how long of a wait we’d have to endure. It’s a good thing we had eaten at Cube beforehand, because it ended up taking an hour from the moment we lined up to the moment we sat down to eat. Interestingly, Pink’s website notes that “an average Pink’s chili dog can be ordered, prepared and delivered to the customer in less than 30 seconds!” Damn those specialty hot dogs for holding up the line.


I had high hopes for Pink’s after seeing the wall of celebrity endorsements in the restaurant’s dining room. Everyone from Celine Dion to Nobu and Gordon Ramsay were bestowing heaps of praise upon the wiener shack. Of all the famous faces adorning Pink’s walls, I was happiest to see Martha Stewart smiling down on me—the woman has impeccable taste.


Finally, our hot dogs were ready. My mom and I ordered chili cheese dogs ($3.75), The Astronomer went for the “Lord of the Rings” ($4.85), and my mom’s friend David had a mushroom Swiss dog ($4.40).


The Astronomer’s Lord of the Rings was comprised of a 10-inch hot dog topped with onion rings and drenched in tangy barbecue sauce. It was impossible to consume the wiener as the chef envisioned it without looking like a caveman, so The Astronomer removed the rings and ate them on the side. [He also devised another rather ingenious mode of delivery.] The hot dog was so super-saucy that The Astronomer had to wipe off the excess barbecue sauce with napkins in order for it to taste palatable. Gross.

David was most pleased with his Swiss cheese, mushroom, and mayonnaise hot dog. I wanted to steal a bite, but didn’t want to disrupt his dream-like state.


My mother and I pretty much felt the same way about our chili cheese dogs—indifferent. The chili lacked the heartburn-inducing kick that we were hoping for, while the cheese was strangely tasteless. The extra-long hot dogs had a decent snap, but their flavors were hardly robust. Overall, we felt that Pink’s most famous creation was sadly lackluster. When I indulge in good ‘ol American junk food, I want to be overloaded with salt, grease, fat, and flavor. Pink’s brought the grease and fat, but didn’t pack the punch where it counted most.

I really wanted to count myself among the legion of Pink’s devotees, but the product just didn’t move me.

Pink’s Hot Dogs
709 North La Brea Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90038
Phone: 323-931-4223

Previous Post
Next Post

21 thoughts on “Pink’s Hot Dogs – Los Angeles (West Hollywood)

  1. Haven’t been to Pink’s in ages. I didn’t know Martha ate there! That crazy woman! For hotdogs, I love Carney’s. It’s brings the flavah! And no lines Ma!

  2. Last summer I ate at Katz’s Deli in the Lower East Side. Same problem. Not that good, lots of people, kind of meh. I agree with RavenousCouple that sometimes a place kind of coasts.

    Oh, well.

    Meanwhile – you need a KitchenAid stand mixer for your wedding. Need it. I’m very suspicious of kitchen crap (so I wouldn’t tell you to get something just to get it, I mean). I really think the stand mixer is a useful tool.

  3. This only reconfirms what I originally suspected — Pink’s is a disgrace to my signature color.

    Okay, maybe disgrace is a little tooooo strong of an adjective.

    But can you imagine what I would look like trying to eat the Lord of the Rings?!?!

    It wouldn’t be pretty (in pink).

  4. Yep. Pink’s. Overrated. Although they’re doing something right because every time I drive by there’s the long line that’s synonymous with Pink’s Hot Dogs. I never recommend this place for the reasons you stated. I’d rather go to Costco for their dogs. Happy New Year!

  5. I felt the same way when I went there for the first time, but gave it a second chance and realized that Costco has better dogs, for cheap AND they come with a drink! PLUS, there usually isn’t a long line….Hope you are well!

  6. Agree 100% on Pink’s. I might even give them a lower score. Not worth the lines, not worth the $, not worth a trip in all honestly.

    As what Eddie stated, I’d rather get a hot dog from Costco…

    P.S. Loved Vern’s “Hole in One.”

  7. Do I see Celine Dion on the wall there? Ok, that’s good enough a reason for me not to visit this joint..hehehe! Oh how I hate her singing even though I’m Canadian.

    Cathy, your photo of the hotdogs is enough to make me drool! They look really good, too bad the taste doesn’t live up to the picture!

  8. dang, with that line I’d expect better. I am not a fan of onion rings and bbq sauce, but I would like the ring around the hotdog!

  9. I’ve been a fan of Pinks for 40 years. The hot dogs they use are fully cased and have a delightful “snap” to them when bitten into. The lines are always long regardless of the time of day you visit, with many, many repeat visitors. My favorite dog is the Slaw Dog. Next time you visit, may I suggest you go for more basic type hot dogs rather than the ten-ingredient exotics as the allure of the place is, indeed, the dog itself. The film studio I worked for has been and continues to be a long-time customer, frequently ordering five or six dozen dogs (which, I add, are often delivered as a courtesy).

  10. I really really despise Pinks! Being a native Angelino I don’t understand the hype, there are places that are significantly better without the ridiculous line. Skinny tough dog, mediocre chilli no bueno.

  11. I’m embarassed to say I still haven’t eaten at Pinks. I’ve heard so many different opinions. I want to try it for myself one of these days.

  12. Line are always wayyyyy too long for me to handle. I walk a block down and enjoy the delicious food at M Cafe.

  13. What a great business. It doesn’t take 70 years to create a great hot dog though – anyone can pull off the ‘Pinks’ style and quality with access to the right ingredients and some trial and error. However that kind of ‘pricing power’ that nostelgia can command does take time to develop.

  14. I agree with you about Pinks. I waited 45 minutes at 1130PM, eagerly awaiting what I thought was going to be the best hot dog in my life. I too got the chili cheese dog and some fries. In the end, I thought, wow, Weinerschnitzel is better. The dog was just OK, the fries actually below average. A total let down. Now if you want a great hot dog, go to, of all places, Temecula to The Hot Dog Shoppe where you can get a Reuben Dog, possibly the best dog ever. Piles of pastrami and gooey cheese and sauerkraut on top of a first class dog, delicious.

  15. I went to LA last summer and just had to visit Pink’s!
    I loved every bit of my Lord of the Rings Hot Dog! It was perfect and tasted amazing. I can see why you didn’t like it, but you could have found a way to eat everything together. What a pity!
    The fries with ranch sauce and the ones with chedar were also incredibly tasty. I’ll definitly go there again on my next trip to LA.

  16. I guess y’all had to be there in 1961 when hot dogs were 25 Cents and were served up to you by the irascible Boris. Even back then the 25 Cents was a bargain and if you had a part time job while going to school you could afford two or three at a clip. They were damn good dogs then, but I agree with those who say they won’t wait in those long lines modernly. I’m sure someone can compare a 25 Cent number with $4.00 today for the same dog but it sure sounds like it is more expensive in today’s dollars. Well I’ll go back to dwelling on memories.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *