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Top Dog-style Hot Dog in L.A.?

potatohead Mar 11, 2003 09:19 PM

I'm a recent transplant from Northern Cal to down south, and I'm jonesing for a Top Dog from Berkeley.

I've tried Pink's, which doesn't seem to do the same thing.

A Top Dog's main distinction for me is that the dogs are grilled (instead of boiled/steamed), and are served on a grilled substantial (seeded) bun. You can add your own cold chopped onions, sourkraut, spicy russian mustard, etc.

They offer something like 20 different types of dogs, including "Lemon Chicken", Brautwerst, New York Style, etc...

No Chili, no steam. Anything like this down here? Oh yeah, I always used to chase down a pair of top dogs with a tall lemonade.

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    Goonie6 RE: potatohead Sep 25, 2006 06:47 PM

    Time to revisit this. I have some friends that live down here that would love to find a place like Top Dog. U-Dog in Westwood was awesome but short lived.

    So, favorite hot dog joint, if not a Top Dog replacement?

    1. b
      bsalts RE: potatohead Sep 25, 2006 10:48 PM

      "The Stand" in Encino www.thestandlink.com ,the Weiner Factory, Carni's and Okidog. I was told there is a great place in Manhatten Beach as well - Skooby's maybe. Not are the same as topdog, but maybe the stand comes closest. Of course Pinks is the most well know dog place in LA.

      1. a_and_w RE: potatohead Sep 25, 2006 10:53 PM

        I don't have an answer, but since I will be moving to LA in a few months, I hope you're successful. A while back, I found this blog devoted to hot dogs in LA, which might be helpful. Let me know if you find anything.


        1. westsidegal RE: potatohead Sep 25, 2006 11:14 PM

          i don't have an answer for you but i worked my way through college at the top dog on the north side of campus.

          (d'ya know if dick and renie still own the place?)

          their dogs ruined me for anything that i found down here--none measured up.

          1. m
            Muskrat RE: potatohead Sep 25, 2006 11:26 PM

            Since Steve hasn't checked in yet, I'll send you to his spot:


            1. o
              Ollie RE: potatohead Sep 26, 2006 09:22 PM

              For a large variety, The Stand in Encino, posted above. Upscale atmosphere, for a hot dog joint, but worth a try.

              1. a_and_w RE: potatohead Sep 27, 2006 04:46 PM

                PS: I almost forgot -- you can now order Top Dog on-line and have it shipped to you.

                2 Replies
                1. re: a_and_w
                  Goonie6 RE: a_and_w Sep 27, 2006 06:41 PM

                  Hot Dog Spot. Good times! Thanks for the links, guys. haha. PUN!

                  1. re: a_and_w
                    ns1 RE: a_and_w Sep 10, 2007 09:31 AM

                    Do you have a link?

                  2. w
                    wise1too RE: potatohead Sep 27, 2006 08:41 PM

                    As a former NY Nathan's Hot Dog eating champ, a great grilled dog, I'm sorry to say i haven't found out here.
                    But I do like Carneys on the Sunset Strip. Much better than Pinks (way overated) it has a casing which makes each bitbite crispy!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: wise1too
                      jessejames RE: wise1too Sep 27, 2006 11:40 PM

                      congrats on your accomplishment! there is a nathans on pico/beverly area. i like the vienna beef dogs at martys on pico a bit west of there.

                    2. meekorouse RE: potatohead Sep 27, 2006 10:10 PM

                      Have you tried Jerry's Dogs in Orange?? Nothing is the same as Top Dog (we're from Berkeley too!) but this is the best & closest they seem to have down here!

                      1. g
                        go_bears RE: potatohead Sep 28, 2006 02:58 PM

                        There is a place in Riverside near UCR called "Dogout" that appears to be affiliated with Top Dog. Very similar menu, similar buns, and similar style dogs. They even have the same wall mural of the top dog serving customers overlooking Durant Ave posted on the wall (only on northside top dog in Berkeley) and their logo is suspiciously similar to Top Dog.

                        Not quite as good as the original, but not bad at all. The location is not convenient from LA and its probably not worth making a special trip, but if you are in the neighborhood it might be worth checking out. My parents live in Riverside, and I've been to the Dogout twice. It satisfies a craving, but there's no Berkeley "ambiance" to add to the experience.


                        1. h
                          hotdoglover RE: potatohead Sep 28, 2006 11:52 PM

                          You must be Steve! Sorry you missed our 3rd Annual New Jersey Hot Dog Tour. Having never been to California, I've heard from someone I know and trust that Top Dog is the best of the bunch. A grilled dog similar in flavor to Boars Head all beef. Not as spicy and flavorful as Nathan's Sabrett, or Best's (Newark, N.J., not Chicago), but a straightforward, solid, New York kosher style dog.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: hotdoglover
                            stevedoggiedogg RE: hotdoglover Sep 29, 2006 08:57 AM

                            I personally don't care as much for kosher dogs. If it doesn't have a natural casing, it might as well be a Costco dog. The best dogmeat in LA is Carney's. Their dog is perfectly spiced, snappy and it squirts properly when you bite into it. (It won't squirt if it's grilled...)

                            Steve Doggie-Dogg

                            1. re: stevedoggiedogg
                              Briggs RE: stevedoggiedogg Sep 29, 2006 02:15 PM

                              As always, to each their own. Growing up back east BEFORE the hot dog carts bacame so ubiquitous, a grilled beef hot dog signified a guality dog. Squirting never entered into it. Grilling may be one reason so I'm partial to Weinerschnitzel, since it's hard to find grilled beef dogs a la East Cost in L.A.

                          2. h
                            henrychan888 RE: potatohead Sep 29, 2006 04:45 AM

                            as a poor student, i like the bacon-wrapped dogs on the streets of hollywood served on the "shopping-cart grills". funny thing is that you can only find these between 12am-2am on Friday/Sat nights. i'm not sure what's in the dog (i probably don't wanna know).

                            1. therealbigtasty RE: potatohead Sep 29, 2006 09:55 AM

                              Why am I so alone in loving Pinks????

                              I love Pinks.

                              1. h
                                hotdoglover RE: potatohead Sep 29, 2006 10:16 AM

                                What brand of dog is used at Carney's?

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: hotdoglover
                                  stevedoggiedogg RE: hotdoglover Sep 29, 2006 05:40 PM

                                  The Carney's dogs are made special for them. They won't tell where they get them- trade secret. You can buy them uncooked by the pound for your own BBQ or hot dog party though.

                                  Steve Doggie-Dogg

                                  1. re: stevedoggiedogg
                                    Sunabe1 RE: stevedoggiedogg Sep 8, 2007 07:33 AM

                                    I broke their trade-secret a few years ago. Carney's carries a natural casing dog supplied by Farmer John. I actually went to the FJ plant in Vernon to purchase them....

                                  2. re: hotdoglover
                                    Wes RE: hotdoglover Sep 29, 2006 06:31 PM

                                    I am sure the Ralphs PS brand hot dogs in the chubs are NOT Carneys but they are VERY good. Snap caseing and good spicing.

                                    NOTE *** These are not found in the same case as the rot gut dogs but in the meat counter. 1/2# and 1# chubs. Hmmmm I need to get some!

                                  3. g
                                    Galen RE: potatohead Sep 5, 2007 09:46 PM

                                    Is Jodi Morone's still around up at City Walk? They're kind of Top Doggish. Luckily, I'm heading up North end of the week and Top Dog is gonna be one of my stops thanks to this thread. Been a million years since I've had a TD.

                                    1. p
                                      pinpei RE: potatohead Sep 10, 2007 01:10 AM

                                      The Stand is a good bet (about the best in LA), but it pales to Top Dog. I graduated from Cal 16 years ago and have made many a trip up I-5 when the urge has hit.

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