HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Pink's --- WTF!

  • v

Can someone please explain the whole Pink's phenomenon to me? Waited an hour to get a totally unremarkable hot dog the other day as we had a relative in town who wanted the Pink's experience.

Do the people, you know, the hipster locals, that line up all the time actually think they are getting something that is even remotely better than any other hot dog? I am not saying that Pink's dogs are bad or over-priced, well, maybe over-priced, but a hot dog is a hot dog. And I can't say that experience of waiting in line is particularly entertaining.

Anyone else feel my pain? Or am I just a grouch who doesn't get it?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. In spite of the fact that I used to be in L.A. for business all the time, I had never been to Pink's until May 2007. Luckily, we stopped by during a lull in service and I got the dog right away (I would not have waited in a line) and it was one of the absolute worst hot dogs I had ever eaten. Sodium-laden dreck is what I thought while eating it.

      So bad, I didn't finish it.

      It's really the hot dog for celebrity-types and wanna-be's with a very parochial palate.

      1. Pinks is a good hot dog if there's no line but I haven't been in years because of the long lines.

        Hipsters? Maybe this word is over used or maybe you meant mid western tourists.

        Parochial palate? Are we still talking about hot dogs?

        4 Replies
        1. re: Hershey Bomar

          I'm a midwestern tourist and I wouldn't stand in line to buy a hot dog anywhere. I wouldn't even pay to dine out for hotdogs, whether it's on the east at Coney Island or west at a Weinerschnitzel...and I enjoy occasionally eating hotdogs on the grill/fire.

          1. re: sausagefinger

            OK I'll be the first to bite, (pun intended) I like Pink's. I don't love it but there is something about standing in line super buzzy at 1am with the other famished drunkards. You can meet some really cool people. If I were not trying to sober up...maybe not but if I had my pals with me it might be a fun way to chat each other up and get some gutbusting grub. I sooo love the snap to those dogs...Ok fire away.

            1. re: bubbles4me

              The best thing about Pinks is the late night crowd. One time, a very long time ago, a friend of mine was in line next to Axl Rose. That's definitely worth the price of a hotdog!

              1. re: bubbles4me

                If you enjoy going there, that's cool. My response was more in line with the midwestern tourist comment. I'm from the midwest, and I don't go out for hotdogs here. I couldn't imagine traveling 2000 miles to eat a hotdog with Hugh Hefner, let alone wait in line and pay dearly for one. I can see Axl, and have, in my hometown of Lafayette. It's his hometown as well.

          2. Just browsing the L.A board since I'll be visiting soon. I actually like, really like, the hot dog at Costco. Don't know if it is the buck fifty factor or what, just do. Out of curiosity, how does Pink compare?

            2 Replies
            1. re: ceekskat

              apples and oranges. Pink's is a scene and the dogs can be made with any topping you can or might not think of. The dogs themselves have the snap to the casing that people love or hate. It is more of a "thing you do in LA" kind of thing. Fun to me hateful to others.

              1. re: bubbles4me

                I love it - but then again I order the Chili Cheese Fries (well done), well done, which I love, to go with my dog. It is, as others have mentioned, a scene and a fun place to be.

            2. Jalapenos and the Polish is what I go for at "Pink's". For that inexpensive Chili dog...Tommy's, but for the value vote it's got to be Costco!

              5 Replies
              1. re: jungle_gym

                I am an L.A native. The Pink's dogs are vastly overrated...I used to live in New York....a hot dog at Gray's Papaya beats a Pink's dog anyday.

                1. re: tu_triky

                  Gray's Papaya for the price, I would agree! The Tuesday specials unbeatable! But, In terms of favor, texture, and looks I would list it on the bottom of the food chain. You got history and the "Big Apple" working in your favor. Yes, Pink's is over price! But, where do you go at 10:00 o'clock at nite for a Jalapeno dog that is half the length of your arm covered in chili and see famous people(ie. Penny Marshall) chowing down like everyone else? Raise the prices at Gray's Papaya and let's see the lines outside...I do think so!!

                  1. re: jungle_gym

                    I see your point, a dog for ppl with different sensibilities...I always like the recession special at Gray's - 2 dogs and a drink....a nice fix.

                  2. re: tu_triky

                    for the price, yes, gray's papaya's dog beats pinks. but in taste, pink's is better......and i'm no fan of pinks.

                    gray's papaya has 2 things going for them:

                    1. super cheap
                    2. hype

                  3. re: jungle_gym

                    Amen. A Costco dog beats Pink's any day.

                  4. OK, Pink's is just a hot dog, agreed. It's a pretty good one as such things go, better than many, probably not as good as some. The place has been in business since like the Depression, so it's something of a landmark/institution. I personally like the chili dog there. I wouldn't drive across town for one, but if I'm in the area I don't mind waiting in line.

                    IMHO Pink's chili is head and shoulders better than Tommy's.

                    1. me (to cashier): "Can I get chili on that?"
                      Cashier to counter person: "can you put chili on that for him? He's paying $5 for a hot dog, the least we can do is put a little chili on it."

                      I never got the Pink's thing too. But every time I go I always wait in the that long line which makes me believe their is something good about it.

                      1. Pink's is an average hot dog at best and not worth (IMHO) standing in line for. As others have stated here, Costco serves a great hot dog and is the best value in town.

                        The best hot dog I've ever tasted is Top Dog hot dogs in Berkeley. Nobody comes close to the flavor of a Top Dog... not Nathan's, not Shofar, not Hebrew National... no one.

                        1. I stopped going there years ago when the line started getting ridiculous. I'm sorry but I don't need to wait on a line like that for a hot dog. I go to Carney's now, instead.

                          1. sorry, but no "hipster locals" wait in line to get pinks. All those people lined up that you see are tourists.

                            Pinks isn't a bad hot dog, depending on what you get. But it's definitely not worth waiting an hour to get it. I'm sure if you just walked up to the window and was able to get one w/o waiting, you wouldn't have thought that it was the worst thing in the world.

                            1. It really isnt worth the wait.

                              You would think supply and demand would have caused entrepenuers from Chitown to open up other legitamte hotdog places. Maybe open up a place on one of the shuddered storefronts on hollywood blvd or something? There is no reason there should be that much more demand than supply for something as simple as a Pink's hotdog.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: jlrobe

                                Anyone know if Tail O the Pup will ever return?

                                1. re: jlrobe

                                  The line never used to be that bad till Huell Howser did a program on it several years ago. I think others will vouch for this, too. Again, I have nothing against Pink's dogs, I just won't wait on line for one. I pass by it alot and I'm always hoping there won't be a line when I just happen to be in the mood for a dog. But no luck yet.

                                  1. re: 2chez mike

                                    When I am in the area working and realize that I haven't eaten in 8 hours, the snap of a Pink's chili dog with kraut can't be beat. Especially since I can go back to my car and scarf. It must be partially a nostalgic thing for me since Cupids is virtually gone and Hot Dog Show isn't what it was once upon a time either.

                                    1. re: Fru

                                      Cupid's is my most favorite. There are 3 originals left (and several not-original ones). VNorthridge, Canoga Park and Simi Valley.

                                2. Wow, all this complaining about Pink's, yet no one has yet to throw out its superior alternative: Skooby's. Skooby's is everything Pink's is supposed to be but isn't. The hot dogs have the casing to provide the snap, the chili is superior, the buns are sturdier, the cheese is real - it's just a better product all around. No, there aren't seventeen jillion variations on the product as there are at Pink's, but I think all those chili dog mutations just serve as a distraction from the fact that the chili dog there just isn't very good in the first place. The fries are cut from real potatoes at Skooby's and cooked to order, too, not the grocery store freezer case "zesty" fries plopped from the automatic fry-o-lator Pink's cranks out.

                                  I went to Pink's for the first time in a long while about two months ago with a friend before a concert. We both hadn't been there in a long time, and we both agreed that it was really poor for their much-ballyhooed reputation. Yes, Tommy's even surpasses them. And as there was no line, the people watching fun wasn't there, either. Pink's is great when one is young and has the time to hang out with one's friends in the long line at two in the morning with the L.A. demimonde. But the food? At best, it's average.

                                  I have had to put my foot down to my parents recently when they told me that they want to go to Pink's on their upcoming visit to L.A. They saw the place canonized on the Food Network and now have this idea it's some sort of chili dog Valhalla. (The friend with whom I dined on my last visit is in a similar position with relatives of her own.) I told them absolutely not. I would take them to Skooby's instead, but not Pink's. Of course, they don't really understand. How could the Food Network lie to them?

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Woolsey

                                    Yeah, but if the want to go.... maybe you should let them judge for themselves. Since that is what this board is about - people's opinions.

                                    1. re: WildSwede

                                      My mom has some dietary concerns, and Pink's was going to be her one "bad" indulgence meal when in town. Along with the long standing wait, suddenly Pink's didn't seem quite as appealing. I made an executive decision, crossed out Pink's for the "bad" meal, and wrote in Mozza instead.