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Aug 25, 2001 05:44 PM

Original Kasper's

  • m

Ever wondered about that small shack on the acute triangle-shaped block where Shattuck and Telegraph merge?

That’s The Original Kasper's Hot Dogs (4521 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland, Ca 94609 510-655-3215), established in 1929, and the best place to get a real hot dog.

The hot dogs are all beef and carefully built to order. They’re called “sandwiches” here and worth the wait in a long line while each is prepped individually. The onion is sliced to order, the tomatoes are sliced to order, and when the counterman asks you whether you want salt and pepper, be sure to say “yes”. The freshness of the condiments and this extra seasoning add so much to the flavor. In recent years, you can also get real California cheddar cheese on your dog as well. In Kasper tradition, this is finely grated to order too and not broken off a matted prepackaged clump. A selection of somewhat esoteric sodas to whet your whistle and chips are also available. A frou-frou lemon chicken dog was introduced not too long ago for the fat-conscious, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to order one yet.

Open Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday.

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  1. They have a web site.

    If memory serves me, there is a complicated history between Kaspers and Caspers. Anyone got the scoop?


    1 Reply
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      Thanks for adding the link, Ruth. It's been at least a year since I've looked at that site. There used to be mroe info about the history of the place that I think touched on the rivalry.

    2. Is this stand still run by that wonderful, elderly man?
      (was his name Harry?) Might he be the original Kaspar?

      3 Replies
      1. re: gordon wing

        Sadly, Harry is gone. He died about 2 years ago. There used to be tribute to him on the website but it's no longer there. He truly was loved --- the universal thing among his diverse mix of customers is that everyone loved him and misses him. The service is still slow, but the countermen have that loving touch too, something that we don't find much of these days.

        The original Kaspar was one generation before, I think.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          I think the Harry's "kids" are running Kasper's. I'll check out my source next week and report back.

          1. re: JenniferFishWilson

            Yes, young Harry is in charge.

      2. sounds good. i'll have to check it out when i'm in oakland. i heard from some mag that they recently started serving chili dogs, which the original owner would have considered heresy. How much do the dogs cost? and do they have many different kinds of hot dogs and sausages? also, do they serve fries?

        1. s
          Shep aka 2 Cheap Hungry Guys

          Thanks for boosting this East Bay icon. They have several other locations, one I think in Livermore, and my favorite, in a little strip mall on the south side of Winton Ave in Hayward, just east of Hesperian. They serve a Polish that is fat and juicy, with a real snap when you bite it. Fairly spicy, too, and they have dark mustard. I like the tamale as well, when I have time to sit and eat it: a big fat tamal swims in a mysterious sauce of vaguely chile colorado-ish tang, bearing a massive load of grated cheese and coarse-chopped onions and chili beans.
          This Kaspers lies adjacent to Oil Changers and Whiskey River Saloon, so make a day of it!