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DON'T think PINK: Pink's (Hot Dog Stand) Revisited

  • m

After watching yet another Food Channel tv show wax nostalgic about the myriad hot dog varieties enjoyed all across America, and seeing LA's venerable Pink's featured, I decided (ok, my stomach decided) that it was time to for a visit to the famous wienie haunt on the outskirts of Hollywood, California.

So I rolled up there last night at about a quarter past 11 in the evening, and even at that hour there was a thick line protruding out on to the sidewalk. Undaunted, I happily sauntered up and took my place in a cue that snaked around a number of metal posts and chains set up much like you see outside of the old time movie theatres. People from all walks of life were busily chatting as the smells of cooking bacon and steaming hot dog buns wafted into the midnight air. It was easy to strike up a conversation, which of course in time turned to food, and who had enjoyed the best 'dog', where and when. You may be thinking at this point in my story, "so what's the problem?" Hold on, I'm getting there.

The camraderie and friendship developed while waiting just under ONE HOUR was the only highlight of this hot dog stand adventure. Why, pray tell?

For starters, the WAIT was interminable. Fifteen minutes would go by and the line had not moved. At all.

The problem, in a nut shell, is that whoever set-up their "system" of taking and filling orders must have died sometime in the 1940s and no one since has bothered to revisit the flow chart. A guy who does industrial time and motion studies for a living would surely have a stroke watching, mouth agape, at the incongruously lame brained method they use at Pinks, namely, whoever takes your order, proceeds to make it for you, regardless of how complex your order is or how long it takes to make it. There are only four people behind the counter, so you do the math. Here's an example: Say that the big guy and his posse in front of you orders 3 Pastrami/Hot Dog Combos, plus 2 chili cheeseburgers, plus fries, plus 2 Martha Stewart specials. It could literally take your cook 10-12 minutes, or more to prepare all that, then wrap it up, get your drinks and serves it up to you. A lone "cashier" stands around for the sole purpose of taking your money at the end of your transaction; meanwhile he is otherwise motionless for 11 minutes. Thus, they have served only ONE customer. That leaves only 3 other employees to do the same routine for the next three customers. Meanwhile, 47 people stand in line and cool their (swelling) heels, rocking back and forth, waiting for their turn just to move forward an inch. Mind you, none of those 47 have given their order -- no matter how small or easy their order might be.

While the burgers are cooking, YOUR cook stands around and does NOTHING until its time to flip your burger, etc. The grill employees, low paid and overworked to be sure, nonetheless seem to be working in slow motion. That's not due to laziness, it's just a reflection of a 'system' that's so slow and dysfunctional, it makes US Post Office employees at lunch time look like an Indy 500 pit crew by comparison

Instead of having one cashier, who takes your order, calls it out to multiple cooks, takes your money and makes change, Pink's has ONE person who does it all --everything -- when it comes to EACH order.
He or she may walk back and forth behind the grill, and squeezing around other cooks, 5 or 6 times. pulling together the various components of your order. There is no economy of movment; every step is repeated again and again and again, turning the simple prep of a putting a lowly hot dog into bun a major production.

There is no "assembly line", no handing off, no ONE person making dogs while another flips burgers or cooks bacon. Fifty people in line? They will be served one at a time, each entire meal fully prepared and served in its entirety before the next ORDER is even taken. So, this is why it takes about an hour, or more, to get one lousy hot dog at Pinks.

And lets talk about that lousy hot dog. First of all, the standard dog there about as thin and narrow as a slightly built, man's ring finger; maybe even a woman's finger ring finger. Talk about "where's the beef'? There ain't none. If you plan on buying the standard dog, better plan on buying at least two. What you're buying is a bun with a hint of meat in it. (Notably, the Polish dog IS a decent size).

Then there's the famous Chili. I have one word: yechh! OK, two words, heartburn. Normally I can power through a Tommy's Chili Cheeseburger in no time and be ready for seconds. I barely got through the one dog before that queasy feeling rumbled to the surface.

Maybe the wide variety of ways they dress up a skinny little hot dog (a slightly overweight 'Slim Jim" would be a more apt description) makes this spot enticing. Or maybe it's the fact that its been there for over 50 years, making it a Los Angeles antiquity. Or the stars black and white photos on the wall. Or maybe 'cuz its a fun place to see and be seen. But whatever it is, it ain't a cuz the hot dogs are good, and it sure ain't the 'short' wait and friendly service. This place is highly over rated. My advice: skip it!

As a former Chicagoan, I know a good hot dog when I see one, and when I eat one. And they ain't serving any good ones over at Pinks.

Anyway, that's my opinion --As comedian Dennis Miller likes to say, I could be wrong.

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  1. You're not wrong. I agree. Pinks is pretty bad. I could care less if their dogs "snap" when you bite them. For waiting a half an hour+ in line for a chili dog or whatever is pretty absurd.

    Run out of your Yoohoo? Get in line again! YUCK.

    I think waiting for it actually makes you think its better than it actually is. Just standing there, getting angry watching how slow everything is made just gets ya hungry!

    1. Agree. I've always been baffled by the recent hype about Pinks and I go back a long time in LA. We need traditions, but that shouldn't put them beyond criticism.

      1. "As a former Chicagoan,..."

        'nuff said!
        The rest is well known.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Curt

          When I lived in Asia and people would complain about the smog and traffic and syphilis, I'd lean over and say, 'y'know, the boats run both ways.'

          But seriously...well-written review. (You misspelled 'queue')
          Wow. You didn't like it! I go once a year. That's about how often I can handle a Shaq Dog or whatever it is they're calling it now: tortilla the size of a bed-spread, three hot dogs or Polish sausages, six strips of bacon, ladle of cheese, ladle of chili (and not gourmet chili! this is industrial chili) and I've seen guys get pastrami on top of all that. Gee, uh, what do they call that back in old Chicago?

          They don't have it there.

          It's a tradition that Pink's has a loooooong line at all hours, that half of the people in that line are criminally insane or totally wasted, that the counter workers are always happily frantic and miss half of your order the first time. We accept that here. We don't run the gauntlet every day- anybody who eats at Pink's every day is a maniac and won't be around long!

          I love the way Pink's names dogs after current events and celebrities.
          I love how the cashier looks at you funny if you get 3 chili dogs, chili fries with cheese and THEN ask for a DIET soda.
          I love eavesdropping in line.
          And the family that has owned the place for how many years? LOVES that line, that ever-present line. For them, it's the sound of money.
          They could be faster. The Original Pantry could put locks on the doors and clean up once in a while. Cole's PE Buffet could start selling hamburgers- just to see, hey, what happens, maybe we make a few bucks, what's tradition?

          Original Pantry Cafe
          877 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles, CA 90017

        2. I, too, cannot understand the hype surrounding Pinks. I haven't been to Chicago, but the hot dogs I've had in NY's "papaya" places (well, I'm thinking Mike's, in particular) run circles around Pinks. It's bizarre that people like Martha Stewart come out here from NYC and rave about the dogs.

          1. I abandoned Pink's years ago and have been going to Carney's for their wonderful dogs and burgers!

            11 Replies
            1. re: John

              Here, here! Carney's *indeed* for an example of L.A.'s very best* when it comes to burgers and dogs. I like the one on Ventura for a more relaxing vibe, but the one on Sunset has a liquor license, so you get a choice!

              My typical Carney's order:

              1. One mongo sized Coke

              2. One or two Carney Dogs (I ask for extra tomato slices and eat them on the side -- great tomatoes at Carney's, by the way, and they offer a wonderful counterpoint to the dog-bun-chili-mustard symphony of flavors and textures! To further enhance this, I like to introduce temperature into the equation by ordering my Carney Dogs with tomatoes on the side. This way, I can have one bite of hot and one bite of cold -- dee-licious!)

              3. One small Chili-Cheese Fries (which are excellent), and finally...

              4. One "Half-Pound" Cheeseburger (Be sure to order the "Half-Pound" size and specify your cooking preference -- I like mine medium rare!)

              Note: Since the "Half Pound" Cheeseburger takes much longer to cook due to the thickness of the patty, I always request my Carney Dogs and Chili-Cheese Fries "right away" and begin enjoying them in anticipation of one of the best fast food hamburgers in the known universe. This way, when my cheeseburger arrives, I am ready to focus full attention on it and all of its deliciousness (to coin a Leff-ism). And what a cheeseburger it is! Truly one of the all-time greats.

              Anyway, just go to Carney's! Their consistency is pretty good. So, odds are you won't be disappointed. On that note, I have found that my best meals there are around the time of the lunch or dinner rush. This way, everything is as hot and fresh as possible.

              * This is not to say that there are others. Just none better. For example, I have yet to sample the dogs and fries at Scooby's, but Steve Doggie-Dog waxes eloquent about them on his site (see below), and they are definitely on my list for a future hot dog excursion. For that matter, anyone seeking an informed opinion on the best hot dogs in Los Angeles should definitely check out Steve's "Hot Dog Spot" website for the wealth of information that it offers. On the subject of hot dogs -- and especially hot dogs in Los Angeles, I take my hat off to Steve Doggie-Dogg for his hard work and dedication to this much beloved tasty treat!

              Link: http://www.hotdogspot.com

              1. re: David Ford

                do you actually eat two chili dogs, a half pound chili burger, a small chili fries, and a jumbo coke all in one sitting?

                1. re: kevin

                  It may sound like a lot at first, but think of it this way:

                  1. The mongo sized Coke is my beverage. Every meal has gotta have one, and this is my choice at Carney's. Normally I like to do a nice iced tea, but this is not an option here. Besides, Coke goes better with chili dogs than anything else I can think of! As far as the size (mongo being the largest) goes, I drink a LOT at a meal. This is why I always end up getting at least one refill of my mongo Coke in any given Carney's sitting!

                  2. The one or two Carney Dogs are the appetizer course -- comparable to a plateful of breaded shrimp with dipping sauce or maybe an order of pork spare ribs at a Chinese restaurant. And since Carney dogs are so delicious, they go down smooth!

                  3. The small order of chili-cheese fries qualify as my "starch" that one would normally order with an entree sized portion of beef -- as I am in this case with my anticipated half-pound cheeseburger. At a luxury steak restaurant such as Mastro's or Arnie Morton's of Chicago, this would be either pan-fried potatoes with onions and peppers or simply a baked potato. But at Carney's, a small order of chili-cheese fries fit the bill nicely, thank you very much!

                  4. My half-pound cheeseburger qualifies at my entree -- a beef entree, in this case. This would be comparable to a standard 8 oz. steak at a luxury steakhouse, which is actually on the small side as far as steaks go.

                  A mongo sized Coke, one or two Carney Dogs, a small order of chili-cheese fries and a half-pound cheeseburger -- all consumed in one sitting? With relish! Pun INTENDED! :-)

                    1. re: David Ford

                      so where's your dessert by that rational?

                      1. re: kevin

                        I have never been much of a "dessert" eater, at least not as a formal part of a meal. Not that I don't like sweets (I do), it's just that I would be more likely to wait a few hours after the meal and enjoy a nice piece of cake or an ice cream sundae either at home or an establishment specializing in said dessert-type fare.

                        But I digress.

                        In answer to your question, after my signature meal at Carney's, I am perfectly content nursing what's left of my mongo sized Coke and munching ice while I relax and take in the environment.

                        1. re: David Ford

                          just joking about the dessert thing.

                          i actually was there a few days and had a new york dog and a chili dog, no fries, and a root beer, and then a split another chili dog with my friend. sounded gooded at the time, but that extra half dog was pushing my limit.

                          so that's why i'll stick to one chili dog next time, and carney's is definitely the best chili dog in la, puts pinks and all the others to shame. But if you ever get out to orange county they make great chili dogs, i mean great, at pch dogs. the chili is just right, it's a sauce rather than a meaty chili, and the shredded cheddar works perfectly on it. carney's is more of a meaty chili.

                          1. re: kevin

                            Thanks for the tip! I have heard PCH Dogs mentioned by others on this board, and specifically for their chili dogs as you say. Huntington Beach, if memory serves, is the city they are located in. They are definitely on my list when I am in the vicinity and looking for a good dog. :-)

                            1. re: David Ford

                              We eat da same. No shame, just grind-um. But I like dessert. Many years ago we go down Hollywood and grindz at Carney’s and den we go down to da Famous Amos Cookies and get da pound bag of Fresh Pecan & Chocolate Chip. His Mother was always cool. Dat place long gone and I miss it. So I told the owner of Carney’s we miss dat Famous Amos fo dessert. Next thing I know Carney’s has Cookies. Now Carney’s sells frozen banana – dat mo better. I go down to Santa Ana and grind very good dogs at Jerry's. A thread on OC grindz say dat da best dog in O.C. is at Hollingshead's Delicatessen on Saturday only, 11:00am to 3:00pm. I trust dat post by oc climber. He posted about Ralph’s Sub’s and already I been there four times and think about it all da time. I think I go down Orange town and grindz some Hollingshead's dogs on Sat.

                              12601 Ventura Blvd.
                              Studio City, CA
                              (818) 761-8300

                              8351 Sunset Blvd.
                              Hollywood, CA

                              Hollingshead's Delicatessen (Dogs only on Sat 11:00am to 3:00pm, Sandwiches only Monday through Friday. Try “The Bernie” – hot pastrami on squaw with blue cheese and mayo)
                              368 S Main St
                              Orange, CA 92868-3834
                              (714) 978-9467
                              (Staples/Duke's Burgers parking lot. Hard to find as it is tucked up in a corner
                              )oc climber

                              Ralph's Subs (Try "The Big Pig,” "Ralph's Favorite” or anything else they make) oc climber
                              1891 N. Tustin Av
                              Orange, CA
                              (Tustin and Taft in the new Home Depot center)
                              (714) 998-1940

                              Jerry’s Dogs
                              2276 E. 17th Street (17th St. At Tustin Ave. Near the 57 Fwy)
                              Santa Ana
                              (714) 245-0200

                              Pacific Coast Hot dog
                              300 Pacific Coast Highway
                              Huntington Beach, CA 92648
                              (714) 969-8799

                              Pacific Coast Hot dog
                              3438 E. Chapman Ave.
                              Orange, CA 92869
                              (714) 744-1415

                              1. re: Like-Go-Eat?

                                Thanks for the very nicely organized information! You just saved me some footwork. :-)

                2. re: John

                  Carney's is so superior. Delicious food, and fast, efficient, and interesting workers. Love the one on Sunset.

                3. I went to Pink's yesterday for the first time after living in LA nearly my entire life, and wasn't disappointed, but that's only because I knew not to get my hopes up, based on previous reviews. I figured that I had to try it once, just to say that I had. I got a 10 inch stretch chili dog with cheese, but no mustard or onions, and it was just eh. Nothing spectacular at all. Their fries and onion rings aren't bad, though. And yes, their system of serving makes for an awfully long wait.

                  I far prefer Skooby's, on Hollywood, although I think their buns are a bit too much and always end up chucking half of it. But their hot dogs are great! As are their fries as well.

                  1. That was the funniest review I've read in years (humor comes from pain, dontcha know). Thanks, you saved me the pain of Pinks.

                    1. also from chic, also think they are just ok and think carney's on sunset at least is the best dog in la by a long shot

                      1. Hi... You know, as recently as five or so years ago, that (current) kooky one-long-line snaking around as you accurately described, did not exists. During the 80s and most of the 90's, there existed a 'multiple line' approach to Pinks. It was not a perfect system, but at least one *perceived* oneself to be moving directly forward at a more brisk clip. I hypothesize that the actual food preparers seemed less stressed and as a result did their jobs more effeciently when only a half dozen hungry patrons stood directly in front of each of them, due to multiple lines. So it's odd that the new Portillo's does a relatively efficient job with the one-line process (though it technically 'splits' along the way) down in Buena Park...

                        1. Yeh, its so busy no one goes there anymore.

                          1. Wonderful review Mark. Your humorous style is engaging and entertaining. Plus your commentary is right on target.

                            I'm a former Chicagoan too, so my hot dog frame of reference is probably similar yours.

                            Pink's is a great L. A. roadside icon, that's about it.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: n

                              So much of L.A. "classic roadside eateries" is more about "place" or visualization than the food, think Randy's Donuts, the original Brown Derby, Googies (which inspired a whole school of "googie" architecture), the Tail-O-The-Pup, that joint downtown that had the like 50 foot tall chicken-man on its facade, etc. Kitsch and Kar Kulture, locale "scene" as exploited by the motion picture industry, food itself was usually an afterthought.

                              What about the bacon-dog vendors around the downtown sports venues? Some might argue that they have supplanted the likes of Pink's as the current manifestation of the tube steak experience in L.A. Minimalist architecture, maximum flavor.


                            2. Great observations on what the problem is with Pinks. What bothers me also is eating in that crummy parking lot when the owner could build something nice. Shame on Pinks! I only go to Pinks when I am in the area and the line is short. Pinks is NOT worth a drive and NOT worth a wait. I only buy the Bacon Burrito Dog. The 3 slices of bacon adds some meat and much needed flavor to the two little dogs. IMO the best dog, best chili, and best bun is at Carney’s. Also, the old Pullman Car overlooking Sunset Blvd. is a fun place to eat. I also go to Tommy’s but only for the Breakfast sandwich – never the dog. Four of us did a blind side-by-side taste test (dog vs dog, chili vs chili) and Carneys was the tops in every way. Tommy’s dogs were inedible side-by-side with Carney’s. For a Chicago Dawg I go to Taste Chicago. IMO their dawgs compare well with The Wiener's Circle but they are steamed. I have not asked them to grill one but they probably would if asked. Good people there. The owners are from Chicago.

                              I hope Pinks considers fixing the problem and updating to a “assembly line method” like McD did half-a-century ago. The result would be, “Fast” fast food. Now if only In-N-Out would go back to the Two Lane drive-thru that they originally had with the speakers located two cars from the service window rather than around the corner and waaaay out back maybe we could get fast and hot burgers like they sold half-a-century ago. The burgers at the newer stands simply are not as hot when you order it from the rear of a slow moving single lane traffic jam. Shame on In-N-Out for “fixing” something that was not broke.

                              Pink's Hot Dogs (BACON BURRITO DOG = Big Flour Tortilla wrapped around 2 hot dogs,
                              2 slices of cheese, 3 slices bacon w/ Chili and onions)
                              709 N. La Brea Blvd.
                              L.A., CA 90038

                              Carney’s (Chili Dog, Burgers, Chili cheese fries
                              )Studio City
                              12601 Ventura Blvd.
                              (818) 761-8300
                              8351 Sunset Blvd.

                              The Original Tommy’s (Breakfast Sandwich = Sausage, egg, cheese, chili, tomato, onions, pickles & mayo on a Large English Muffin)
                              SANTA MONICA
                              1900 Lincoln Blvd.
                              SANTA MONICA
                              (310) 392-4820

                              Taste Chicago (Chicago Dawgs and Beef & sausage combo
                              )603 N Hollywood Way
                              Burbank, CA 91505
                              (818) 563-2800

                              In-n-Out (get a triple-triple but only at a Two Lane Drive Thru
                              )420 N. Santa Anita Ave.
                              Arcadia, California 91006

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: Like-Go-Eat?
                                snooze button

                                I love Pink's. It's an experience every time I go and am never disappointed. That being said...I am not terribly familiar with their various types of dogs because I too am quite fond of the their bacon Polish burrito dog. It rocks.

                                1. re: snooze button

                                  I, too, am a fan of Pinks. Although I am much more a fan of their chili cheese fries than their dogs. You are correct - it is an experience. People from all walks of life - just like LA. Period.

                                2. re: Like-Go-Eat?

                                  FYI, there are still plenty of In-n-Outs with two lanes; it just depends on the property they get, I guess.

                                  E.g., there's one in La Verne at the corner of Foothill & D, which doesn't look all that old, that sports two drive-thru lanes.

                                  1. re: Like-Go-Eat?

                                    The two lane In-N-Outs take just as long as the new single lanes, ever notice how "big" that griddle is in there? At least at the single lane in Chino, when they are busy, they send an order taker out to "walk the line" of cars and take orders and pass them along on a wireless connection to the kitchen.

                                    Link: http://www.indefatigable-indolence.org

                                    1. re: Chino Wayne

                                      I have seen several locations have the order taker outside. Do not really notice a difference in time, though. For me, it is worth the wait!!

                                      1. re: Chino Wayne

                                        The older two lane In-N-Out simply moves the traffic faster and that means a better chance of a hot burger. I will only eat at those older stands because of that reason. Ever notice the driver in front of you holding up the traffic jam while he is looking under his seat for nickels & dimes? Multiple that guy (sometimes it is me) times two when there is only one service window. I don’t want a bigger grill or a order taker further away from the service window radioing my order to mission control someplace ahead of me. Those things only result in the burger being cooked way before I get to the service window and being colder when I finally get to it. I notice that The Donut Hole moves traffic faster with one lane but that one lane has Two service windows. Just today I was there and had a great cup of coffee and plan cake donut and drove through as part of a two-car-at-a-time movement. A two lane In-N-Out is right across the street from The Donut Hole. Maybe they should check it out and consider Two lanes with each having two service windows. The result could be moving four drivers looking for nickels at-a-time = fast hot food for us all.

                                        In-n-Out (For a triple-triple with extra pickel)
                                        420 N. Santa Anita Ave. (A classic Two Lane drive thru w/ hot burgers)
                                        Arcadia, California 91006

                                        Donut Hole (Drive thru the Donut Hole for apple fritters, bear claws, twist, glazed, cake donuts
                                        )15300 Amar Rd
                                        LA Puente, CA 91744-2004
                                        (626) 968-2912
                                        Open 24/7. 1 block West of Hacienda Blvd. Across from the cool old two lane In-n-Out drive thru – You will not miss it!.
                                        For a photo see http://www.roadsideamerica.com/set/do...

                                    2. As an L.A native, I'm ashamed to admit that Nathan's hot dogs are WAY BETTER.

                                      1. Thanks for your great commentary! During my 3-year residence in LA, I was hoping to try Pink's just once for the experience, knowing that it wasn't really about the food.

                                        We would circle by whenever we were in that vicinity and sure enough the long line deterred us from stopping. We'd see a long line even during typical off hours. I guess we didn't care enough to endure the wait...

                                        Their system sounds really flawed based on your description, but they must intend for that on some level. I'd think they'd sell more food and get more repeat customers w/ a more efficient system, but perhaps the long line is what keeps their hype going. Sounds like it would be a whole lot easier and more delicious just to stay home and customize your own dog and name it after yourself.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: Carb Lover
                                          can't talk...eating

                                          You raise a good point.

                                          I wonder if a Pink's (-type) hot dog is one of the few food items in town that you can have better, faster and tastier at home. (assuming you can heat a pot of water yourself)

                                          I agree that the line/hype = the experience. There's also the predictability factor, so key to the success of places like McDonald's - it may not be good food, but you know exactly what you're gonna get: An interminable wait, a confused, uncomprehending staff, and one lousy hot dog. Of course, there are the proud few who actually deeply like Pink's, TGI Friday's (yes, it's possessive), McDonald's, etc., so who are we to question.

                                          It's funny - I've heard the "yeah, but the fries are great!" excuse applied to McDonald's as well.

                                          1. re: Carb Lover

                                            You got it CL, Vienna Beef natural casing dogs can be imported from Chicago via the Lou Malnati's web site, then fix em right yourself. But this is a discussion for General Topics.

                                            Link: http://www.indefatigable-indolence.org

                                          2. Also being a Chicago transplant, I was appalled at all things pink at Pink's. Worst "Chicago" Polish I've ever had. The grilled onions where demolished into burnt paper thin slices and the bun couldn't hang with the grease boat of a sausage. Horrible fries too.

                                            What a terribly run operation. I guess lackadaisical and unorganized employees translates to tradition in this town. It is possible to have lines out the door and spunky employees and still present a quality food operation.

                                            Mr. Pink should take a trip to Gene & Judes in River Grove, IL and take with him a notepad and empty stomach.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: jeffro

                                              Excellent Post Jeffro. Well written and well said. And "dittos" and thanks to the other Chicago transplants who have tactfully and respectfully championed the cause of a Champion dog.

                                              And nix to those who insist that "their way" of eating a dog is the only way to do it, and therefore the rest of us must be peons and cretins.

                                              "Also being a Chicago transplant, I was appalled at all things pink at Pink's. Worst "Chicago" Polish I've ever had. The grilled onions where demolished into burnt paper thin slices and the bun couldn't hang with the grease boat of a sausage. Horrible fries too.

                                              What a terribly run operation. I guess lackadaisical and unorganized employees translates to tradition in this town. It is possible to have lines out the door and spunky employees and still present a quality food operation.

                                              Mr. Pink should take a trip to Gene & Judes in River Grove, IL and take with him a notepad and empty stomach. "

                                            2. 1. The "problem" with the cashier is more one of health code regulations rather than economy of motion. It is against the health code for the money handler to also prepare food (Although I'm sure you've noticed that many small shops do not follow this law.)

                                              2. As an east coast guy, I personally find Chicago hot dogs rather revolting. I grew up on sabretts, a little brown mustard, maybe a little sauerkraut. That's it! All that other stuff just gets in the way of the flavor of the dog. However if your gold standard is the midwestern casserole ideal of "it ain't done until you've emptied your cupboard into it" I can understand how you'd be disappointed by the "minimalist" dogs at pinks :)

                                              3. There is NO reason to EVER wait in line at Pink's for longer than 10 minutes. Like the LA freeways, you've just got to know when to go. Go for lunch or grab a dog for a snack at 3:00. NEVER go in the evening, especially on the weekend. (Having said this, I would love to see them upgrade their efficiency to "broaden out" the acceptable times)

                                              4. As another poster said, the (automatically seasoned) fries and really, really good. As for the dogs, the snappy skin and the pop of juice makes for a textural experience that is totally missing from Skooby's. It's funny, before Pink's, I never knew any better. Now any time I eat a dog, if it doesn't have the snap and the pop I really miss it.

                                              Mr. Taster

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: Mr. Taster


                                                It's funny you mention your love for the "snap," which is caused by the integrity of the natural casing used for the dog. Real Chicago dogs are made using Vienna beef natural casing dogs, which are loaded with that familiar snap. And your idea of a casserole dumped in a bun is your interpretation of a Disneyfied Chicago Hot Dog experience. Talk to a real Chicagoan and they'll tell you all you need is mustard, onion, relish and maybe a sport pepper or two. No need for salad, tomatoes or ketchup.

                                                And if your such a anti-casserole purist, please admit that it is ungodly to have a dog surrounded by pastrami, bacon, tortillas, chili, cheese, chicken wings, flap meat, or whatever celebrity-endorsed meat topping might happen to engulf a Pink's dog. "Minimalist dogs at Pinks"??? Come on with that, they are anything but minimalist and thats what's dissapointing and revolting.

                                                FYI - If it wasn't for Chicago's or "the Midwest's" invention of mass hog butchering, you brilliant East Coaster's wouldn't even have had a chance to perfect your flawless dog. And I do hope you have experienced a Chicago dog in Chicago, or the point of your argument is moot.

                                                1. re: jeffro

                                                  Small correction. A Chicago dog must also have a shake of celery salt. It's just not the same without it. It also helps if the relish is neon green :-)

                                                  1. re: jeffro


                                                    Good points all, and well stated. Some exquisite hot dogs, indeed, in the windy city. A long and proud history, as well. Don't give up on L.A. quite yet, though! Pink's is just gross, and they most certainly do NOT represent the best that L.A. has to offer. Try Carney's on Ventura Boulevard (my favorite -- check out my post), and check out some of the others on Steve Doggie-Dogg's "Hot Dog Spot" website (below). And if you like corn dogs, you MUST go to the original "Hot Dog on a Stick" at the base of the Santa Monica Pier! The BEST!

                                                    Good luck,

                                                    Link: http://www.hotdogspot.com

                                                    1. re: jeffro

                                                      I used "minimalist" in quotation marks for a reason! Pinks certainly isn't minimalist compared to the NY dog (by the way, Sabrett's is kosher, so no midwestern pig slaughter to thank for them!) However compared to the typical chicago casserole dog, a little chili makes the dog seem downright lonely.

                                                      I spent 5 long years going to school in the midwest (Missouri) and my sis went to school in Chicago so I've had many opportunities to try the real thing. However it has been about 10 years since my last visit. My most recent experience was Taste Chicago in Burbank, which just rekindled my revulsion for the hot-dog-casserole phenomenon. Maybe the snap was lost amid the peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. that made the dog incidental to the experience. It's a textural thing too.... the bun is soft, the dog meat is soft, the chili is soft, etc so the snap of the skin really stands out. If it's muffled under layers of salad, etc it gets lost.

                                                      Maybe it would be worth trying a vienna dog NY style... bun, little mustard, etc. Who sells 'em that way in LA?

                                                      Mr. Taster

                                                      1. re: Mr. Taster

                                                        well, i think with vienna dogs, they can have casings or not. you'll notice this if you go to QT dog's in studio city, since you can get the vienna beef dog with a natural casing or without. and a natural casing costs a buck more.

                                                        also, are you sure sabrett's are kosher, because kosher law prohibits casing on their dogs, unless sabrett's doesn't have a natural casing and has a collagen casing or something of that nature. with all beef dogs (aka "kosher-style dogs") if they have casings they have sheep casings which still does not make them kosher.

                                                        anyways, sabretts's dogs are not bad, and sabrett's supplies most of the dogs supplier's in new york, and except for some of the glatt kosher delis that carry Empire National kosher dogs like 2nd Ave Deli.

                                                        also, according to steve the hot dog guy, larry's dogs in burbank serves vienna beef dogs and you can get them with minimalist condiments over there.

                                                        1. re: kevin

                                                          There's nothing treif about casings per se. Were that so, kishka would be verboten, and that's crazy talk.

                                                  2. I'm positive they keep the line long on purpose, to make everyone think the
                                                    crap is worth eating.

                                                    It's sort of a landmark, but the dogs are nothing special IMHO.

                                                    1. Risking lifetime banishment on this board, I'll go ahead and say that I think Costco hot dogs are the best tasting dogs around. Granted, my hot dog experience is quite limited.

                                                      1. I think Pink's purposely slows their operation down so that there's always a line in front. That's their gimmick. Passersby see the line out front and think: "Wow, look at the line! They must have really great hot dogs there!" Well, to me the dogs are just OK and not worth waiting more than a minute or two for. I'll take Carney's over Pink's anytime.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: 2chez mike

                                                          I just don't understand...... for me hot dogs are pretty unspectacular foodstuffs as a whole. When you have something undeniably characteristic as the snap and juicy pop of Pinks, I would think it would make it stand out in more people's minds here.

                                                          Mr. Taster

                                                        2. I've only been to Pink's once but the experience scared me enough to not go back. My husband and I went there for our first anniversary (3 years ago). I was all excited anticipating the wonder that is Pinks. I am a ballsy chick so I ordered a bacon chili cheese spicy polish burger. Yes it was all of those things! Over all it was mediocre. The chili kinda sucked. But here is the important information: The spicy polish is extremely spicy. I cried as it left (can't think of a more genteel way to say it). So, if you love your * don't get the spicy polish.

                                                          8 Replies
                                                          1. re: kiwi

                                                            "But here is the important information: The spicy polish is extremely spicy. I cried as it left (can't think of a more genteel way to say it). So, if you love your * don't get the spicy polish."

                                                            ROFL! (Rolling on floor laughing). We take your meaning! Ouch!

                                                            1. re: Mark Roth

                                                              You suggest ,“So, if you love your * don't get the spicy polish." Wrong! You can have the Spicy Polish Dog at Pink’s but you must have ice cream for dessert. Next Day, “Come on ice Cream!”

                                                              Pink’s Hot Dogs
                                                              709 N. La Brea Blvd.
                                                              Los Angeles, CA 90038.

                                                              Al Gelato (Ice Cream)
                                                              806 S Robertson Blvd
                                                              Los Angeles, CA 90035-1601
                                                              (310) 659-8069
                                                              (Cross St. Gregory Way)

                                                              Silky Smooth Ultra Premium Ice Cream
                                                              Beverly Center
                                                              7th floor

                                                              Lickity Split (Frozen Custard)
                                                              6708 Hollywood Blvd.
                                                              Los Angeles, CA 90028
                                                              (323)466-LICK (5425)

                                                              Fosselman's Ice Cream (Ice Cream, Shakes & Malts
                                                              )1824 W. Main St.
                                                              Alhambra, CA 91801
                                                              626) 282-6533
                                                              Cross street, Marengo Ave. (Between Atlantic Blvd. & Fremont Ave.)

                                                              Fair Oaks Pharmacy & Soda Fountain (Breakfast on Sat & Sun & Best Hot Fudge Sundae in L.A.)
                                                              1526 Mission St
                                                              South Pasadena, CA, 91030-3297
                                                              (626) 799-1414
                                                              Breakfast Sat & Sun 9:00 am to 2:pm
                                                              Mon - Thu 11am - 10pm;
                                                              Fri - Sat 11am - 11pm;
                                                              Sun 11am - 9pm
                                                              Corner of Fair Oaks, One block South of Pasadena Fry – 110

                                                              Ghirardelli Soda Fountain & Chocolotate Shop (Nuff Said
                                                              )110 W. Colorado Blvd
                                                              Pasadena CA 1105
                                                              (626) 564-8818http://www.ghirardelli.com/

                                                              1. re: Like-Go-Eat?

                                                                You forgot one that is even CLOSER Than any of those... Masti Malones!!!

                                                                Mashti Malone Ice Cream & Ice
                                                                (323) 874-6168
                                                                1525 N La Brea Ave
                                                                Los Angeles, CA 90028


                                                                1. re: Like-Go-Eat?

                                                                  The fear is still there. I'd have to get good and drunk to find the cajones to get another Pink's Spicy Polish even with ice cream. Does that really work? Do you SWEAR?!

                                                                  1. re: kiwi

                                                                    This thread is going where no Hound has gone before. Ice Cream works for me. I am not trying to burn you. I swear! Go to Pink’s for the Spicy Polish Dog and then go down the street to Mashti Malone for some Ice Cream. I wonder how Dommy knew about Mashti Malone being so close to Pinks?

                                                                    Pink’s Hot Dogs
                                                                    709 N. La Brea Blvd.
                                                                    Los Angeles

                                                                    Mashti Malone Ice Cream & Ice (posted by Dommy)
                                                                    (323) 874-6168
                                                                    1525 N La Brea Ave
                                                                    Los Angeles, CA 90028

                                                                    1. re: Like-Go-Eat?

                                                                      I'm not sure where this story is finally headed, but I hope that it comes out all right, in the end.

                                                                      "This thread is going where no Hound has gone before. Ice Cream works for me. I am not trying to burn you. I swear! Go to Pink’s for the Spicy Polish Dog and then go down the street to Mashti Malone for some Ice Cream. I wonder how Dommy knew about Mashti Malone being so close to Pinks?"

                                                                    2. re: kiwi

                                                                      With a huge grin on my blushing face, I thank you for your delicacy and your care for my... hehem. Thanks, you guys.

                                                                2. re: kiwi

                                                                  That is the only dog I get at Pink's, (maybe a half dozen times over the last 3 years) and to me it's very good, but then again I like spicy food. YMMV.

                                                                3. It all about when to go and what to order. I only go at lunch (before 11:30) and only order 2 double chili dogs with just chili. That's 2 dogs and chili as the only topping in each bun.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: JB

                                                                    JB has it right. The best time to hit Pinks is right when it opens 930-10. That's when I go and get served right away. I prefer mustard, relish and onions on my hot dogs and their fries pop right out of the machine. The lines start to build up at 11. As for me, I like Skooby's and Carney's just as much as I love Pink's.

                                                                    6654 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                                                                  2. IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR NJ EX-PATS & DOG AFFICIANADOS EVERYWHERE

                                                                    Surf Liquors no longer deep fries hot dogs. [Note to mods: this is a local restaurant reference.] As of this moment, there are ABSOLUTELY NO hot doggeries in all of southern California that can even come close to the doggie nirvana that is a Rutt's Hut (Clifton, NJ) ripper.

                                                                    Those hounds w a close personal relationship w, say, Carney's or Skooby's might suggest they drop a dog into their deep fryer until it splits, then slip it into a roll for you. If you slather it piping hot w mustard & relish, you'll experience a wiener epiphany, & they'll have a red-hot (pun intended) new menu item.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Mr Grub

                                                                      I was surprized when you talked about Surf liquors serving Dogs. They closed the stand inside the store. I even went down there today to check and the tenants who ran it are no longer and they are not inviting anyone else to do it. Sigh. But if you do want to have a deep fried dog, go to Johnny's Pastrami. they took a 1/4 lb dog tossed it in the fryer to cook but not rip, then threw it on the grill to finish. so I presume they would be willing to rip one for you.

                                                                      Take Care.


                                                                    2. Horrible.

                                                                      The Martha Stewart special was very bland. Tasted like glue, had too much sour cream and Sauerkraut. The chili fries were nasty. Looked like Dog poop. The only thing i enjoyed was the overpriced pink lemonade which took out the taste of the food.

                                                                      The valet was an A-hole who treated me and my friend like we we're stupid, when it is his job to move cars. We asked him to move the car behind ours and he acted so stressed out as if it was the end of the world giving us attitude. It was only ius in the parking lot?! I don't understand it.

                                                                      Anyways, never going back there again and I'm sticking to Skoobies and there oh-so-yummy fries with their "aioli" sauce.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: ilikefood26

                                                                        Surely you jest! Tried Scooby's this week for the first time. I'd probably eat there again if I were standing in front of the place and suffered a sudden hunger pang, but that's about it. The hotdog was average, at best. The fries had an OK taste, but were limp enough to tie in a knot.

                                                                      2. I tried Pink's once, over a decade ago. Had to wait half an hour in line for an unremarkable hot dog with unremarkable chili. Every time I drive by Pink's, there's ALWAYS that long, stationery line. The only thing I can figure is they either rely on busloads of gullible tourists or maybe they put opium in their food.

                                                                        Carney's reigns supreme for best hot dogs in L.A. Especially if you're lucky and they have some 'dark smokies' lurking in the steamer (their hot dogs are apparently made in small batches, and as with microbreweries, flavor varies a little).

                                                                        1. Great post Mark Roth, and I completely agree. I hadn't been in a decade or so, but I was hungry, it was late, so I went. Stupid long wait - and like you pointed out - just dumb. And all that for - I can't use the word here but you know what I'm talking about. Were they always this bad?

                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                          1. re: foodiemahoodie

                                                                            You realize MR posted back in Aught Five?

                                                                            Well at least there wasn't a new thread started to beat this dead horse..

                                                                            1. re: AAQjr

                                                                              Yeah, well, it looks like nothing has changed at Pinks because there's the same long ass lines there. It just baffles me that people would wait that long in line for ANYTHING. Nothing is worth the wait.

                                                                              1. re: granadafan

                                                                                Well as the Dude said, " That's just your opinion" .

                                                                                5 years later and still ticking Pink's seems to be doing just fine.

                                                                                Why does it baffle you?
                                                                                It makes perfect sense to me.
                                                                                Being successful has more to do then putting out a foodie product that Chow Hounders can go gagga over.

                                                                                1. re: burntwater

                                                                                  Yes, it is my opinion, burntwater. I suppose you don't have much going on to waste your time standing in line for well over an hour for quite average fare, burntwater.

                                                                                  I love a chilidog as much as the next guy, but I'm not standing in line for over an hour. You might, but many won't.

                                                                                  1. re: granadafan

                                                                                    Stand in line, not me.
                                                                                    I never said I liked hot dogs or Pinks for that matter

                                                                                    Yes many folks including myself would not stand in line for a Pinks hot dog but that does not mean I can't understand why someone would.

                                                                                    For some Pinks brings pleasure even if it doesn't pass your judgement on how someone should spend their time.

                                                                                    1. re: burntwater

                                                                                      I very much like their spicy Polish with chili. If I am going by, and the line is down to an "acceptable" level for some reason I'll stop and indulge myself. Some of what goes on with the line has to do with folks getting together post bar or club or pre going out, and sort of having a second or pre party in the line at Pinks. Ritual (and a sense of community) is a powerful motivator.

                                                                                      1. re: burntwater

                                                                                        So, you don't like Pinks or even hot dogs, burntwater. FAN-TASTIC. Why are you even posting on thread about Pinks then? That makes no sense.

                                                                            2. I have to say I've been going to Pinks for over 20 years and never encountered the wait you described and I frequent the place so I have to wonder just how much you exagerated your story??

                                                                              After traveling to New York and Chicago several times and eating in many other cities as well I still really like Pinks hot dogs. I know alot of New Yorkers that when they come to L.A. they want to go to Pinks.

                                                                              Still there are many types of hot dogs out there. I like QT's hot dogs in Sherman Oaks for a basic Chicago Dog. Probably the best in LA for that.

                                                                              Still, never in my life have I had to wait an hour or anywhere close to it at Pinks. Yes, they have lines but those lines move and having been there several times a year for over 20 years I think I'd have been stuck waiting that long just once if that was a regular occurance.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: pudding

                                                                                Based on my handful of visits, when the line wraps around to the side of the building, the wait is about 40 minutes. When I drive by anywhere close to lunchtime and the weather is good, the line frequently is wrapped around.

                                                                              2. I fully agree with Mark's description of the agonizingly slow and inefficient line process. I agree with everyone who has stated that Pink's is not worth the wait.

                                                                                But I call B.S. on everyone who calls their dogs sub-standard. Sorry, but at some point the same quality and type of dog, is a dog. You have to work very hard at differentiating Pink's from Carney's, etc. They are all good dogs.

                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                  I confess i did not read all the posts here. I am a lifetime Chicagoan now living in Georgia; I also lived in LA for a couple of years. What many of the posters describe would be laughable in Chitown. The line would be moving speedily along for some of the greatest dawgs in the country. SuperDawg, Doug's, Demon Dawgs, Portillos, l the Greek sandwich joints, would have you in and out in a few minutes. No wasted time/motion in the kitchen; great Vienna Beef hotdogs with fries at a cost of about $2.50 each.

                                                                                    1. re: Mayor of Melonville

                                                                                      Mayor of Melonville, it sounds like you have an idea that could make loads of money!

                                                                                  1. When I first came to LA in the mid-70's, i used to listen to Robert W. Morgan, who recommended Pinks. I went there on that recommendation, one day, for lunch. Short to no line, but a severely disappointing hot dog to one who grew up in New Castle, PA where the chili dog is king. I even wrote to Robert W. about how bad Pinks was and he called me one morning and we discussed it. At the time I described the chili as gruel. There was so much filler (corn meal, I expect) that any resemblance to a true, meaty, beanless chili was remote. Needless to say, I have never been back to Pinks (I drove by once last year, saw the line, and laughed.)

                                                                                    There is a new place that I plan to visit today. It is in an oversized kiosk in the PEP BOYS parking lot on Beach Blvd. just north of the 405 (Westminster, I think). They advertise Italian Beef and Chicago Hot Dogs. Though not a fan of Chicgo-style hot dogs (though I used to buy the Vienna Beef Dogs when they had a factory store and restaurant in Vernon), I am looking forward to a good Italian Beef Sandwich.

                                                                                    7873 Monticello Ave, Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91739

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: REFFI

                                                                                      I think you're talking about Just Hot Dogs-Chicago Style. I started a thread but nobody replied.


                                                                                    2. I have been going to Pinks for 53 years and have never waited more then 20 minutes. These are the only hot dogs I eat albeit once every two years .....Wish I had one or two right now ! Chili Cheese bacon with a little kraut and mustard.

                                                                                      14 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: hrm

                                                                                        "I have been going to Pinks for 53 years and have never waited more then 20 minutes."

                                                                                        You're kidding! What time do you generally go there for such a "short" wait?

                                                                                        The overall complaint, however, about the ridiculously slow processing of orders, is absolutely spot-on. It's so maddeningly inefficient that I want to jump over the counter to help out. Not only is the system for handling order inefficient, but the people behind the grill move as if they are defusing bombs.

                                                                                        And finally, after all that wait what do you get? A really good dog, but not a uniquely really good dog. You can get the same thing at Carney's or any number of other stands without the agony. I'm with the OP.

                                                                                        1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                          i once went to pink's right when it opened, thinking it might cut down on the wait.

                                                                                          nope. they had less people working, who, of course, couldn't handle the small line of customers in anything resembling a reasonably timely fashion.

                                                                                          1. re: linus

                                                                                            Yes, I've tried that strategy too, and was stymied by the skeleton crew.

                                                                                          2. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                            No, EarlyBird, hrm's not kidding.

                                                                                            Please, people. No more griping about the wait. If you willingly stand in line an hour+ for a hot dog, it's your own damned fault for being disappointed.

                                                                                            As I said in my post (way back in 2005...)

                                                                                            3. There is NO reason to EVER wait in line at Pink's for longer than 10 minutes. Like the LA freeways, you've just got to know when to go. Go for lunch or grab a dog for a snack at 3:00. NEVER go in the evening, especially on the weekend.


                                                                                            Case closed. Time to move on. Don't go at times when there's a crazy line. Period.

                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                              Yup... And I recall in the not-so-distant past - when the Kogi Truck first made its' appearance - chumps were willing to race around town chasing down the truck and/or waiting in line forever for an (OK) taco. At the peak of lunch time.

                                                                                              Whether one values an OK taco over an OK hotdog, at least with Pinks, one didn't need to add the cost of gasoline to the cost of the product. Pinks stays put, like the Chicken Ranch Brothel...

                                                                                              1. re: silence9

                                                                                                That experience was why I got turned off the food truck scene for years. I've only recently re-dabbled.

                                                                                                My original kogi experience was a 2 hour wait at night in the freaking cold. Of course the mediocre tacos would be good after waiting 2 hours in the cold, hungry as hell.

                                                                                          3. re: hrm

                                                                                            As an east-coaster who grew up devouring a variety of delicious hot dogs, I have to say that fifty-three years is a long time to dedicate one's self to eating mediocre ones. You could've gone down to the local 7-11, waited thirty seconds, and gotten a chili cheese dog of arguably the same quality. So in a way, your claim of waiting twenty minutes or less still seems unfair...

                                                                                            1. re: bopdd

                                                                                              Oh come now. 7/11? Pink's is a good dog. It's literally the same frank as most "real" authentic dogs you get out there.

                                                                                              1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                What? You don't like wild hyperbole on your dogs? ;-D>

                                                                                                1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                  "What? You don't like wild hyperbole on your dogs?"

                                                                                                  I think they actually have a hyperbole dog on the menu at Pink's. Problem is, you have to wait four days to get to the front of the line!

                                                                                                2. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                  ....and then they put half a pound of crap on it

                                                                                                  Pink's guac (for instance) is seriously bottom of the barrel.

                                                                                                  1. re: ns1

                                                                                                    i suppose an argument could be made anyone whoputs guacamole on a hot dog deserves what they get.
                                                                                                    then again, i know people baffled by the thought of chili on a hot dog.

                                                                                                    1. re: linus

                                                                                                      "then again, i know people baffled by the thought of chili on a hot dog."

                                                                                                      Every society has their heathens...a few years at "Chili Dog Reeducation Camp" usually straightens them out. ;-D>

                                                                                                  2. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                    Okay, maybe comparing Pink's to 7/11 was unfair. I guess I'm still agitated that I got suckered into waiting for a Pink's dog like everyone else when I first moved to LA.

                                                                                              2. Holy trinity of Los Angeles nostalgia: Pink's, Tommy's, and Tito's...but honestly they all SUCK in their own special way IMHO...

                                                                                                1. Pinks is a tourist trap. They serve greasy, unremarkable hot dogs. Hewell Hauser has a hot dog there named after him, and he hates their fare.
                                                                                                  I see touring buses parked by Pinks all the time and as far as I can tell, the most probable explanation for such lines with such awful hot dogs is that Pinks is bribing the drivers or someone higher up to take them there.

                                                                                                  If you want a good hot dog, go to Carney's on Sunset Strip.

                                                                                                  8 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: D.Millhoff

                                                                                                    I agree; I do not understand it. I also don't like dodger dogs, so maybe it's just me...

                                                                                                    1. re: D.Millhoff

                                                                                                      i would be interested to see the results of a blind taste test of pink's, carney's and a few other chili dogs.

                                                                                                      1. re: linus

                                                                                                        It would be relatively easy to do Carney's http://www.carneytrain.com/locations/ on Sunset Blvd., Coney Dog http://www.coneydogla.com/ just west of them also on Sunset and Pink's http://www.pinkshollywood.com/ on La Brea @ Melrose as they are all quite close to one another.

                                                                                                      2. re: D.Millhoff

                                                                                                        >> Hewell Hauser has a hot dog there named after him, and he hates their fare.

                                                                                                        What's your source for this assertion?

                                                                                                        Mr Taster

                                                                                                            1. re: D.Millhoff

                                                                                                              So you know Huell Howser personally and he told you this?

                                                                                                              Mr Taster

                                                                                                        1. NEVER been a Pink's fan, def DO NOT get the hype. Prefer Carney's, maybe because I grew up loving it maybe not but definitely prefer it. It isnt the sort of 'hot dog' you are looking for, it is tasty but I don't think it compares to Chicago.... but do prefer this to all other hot dog joints in So CAl...

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: loreeLB

                                                                                                            No longer a fan of Pinks as I wrote when this first appeared. My favorite chili dogs are Cupid's. Larry's in Burbank and Carney's (although at Carney's I think I really go there for the chili cheese fries, but their dogs are good, too). I was not so crazy about Coney Dog. It would be fun to get a group together and do chili dog tastings!

                                                                                                          2. Pink's once.........But reading all the replies brought to mind what I thought to be a terrific hot dog place for just chicago red hots dragged through the garden. It was located on Ventura Blvd. under the 405. The owner had piece of the Chicago El shipped in and installed over the building and everything on the dog was perfect including real honest to god sport peppers and a sesame seed bun and the sprinkling of celery salt. I think he retired and sold the business. I went back but it had gone down hill so badly I haven't returned for a few years.

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: Servorg

                                                                                                                Thanks for the name to go with the memory. Seems to have had the same experience. Too bad when an iconic place goes to hell in a handbasket.

                                                                                                            1. I haven't been in years, and I only go when an out-of-towner HAS to check it out. Bad hot dogs and I am convinced that they have their byzantine ordering madness for the sole purpose of creating a line for advertisement. There are a dozen better dog places in Los Angeles.

                                                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: cfylong

                                                                                                                You're probably right that the slow service is to strategically create a huge line. "Wow look at the line! The hot dogs must be phenomenal!"

                                                                                                                I disagree that their dogs are "bad," but they're not worth the aggravation when you can get a nearly identical one at a few places not too far away.

                                                                                                                1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                                  Last week was at Knott's Berry Farm...there is a Pinks near the shopping area, outside of the Park itself. One of those mobile units as seen at the L.A county fair, or so it seemed.
                                                                                                                  Didn't both to check if it was open...Pink's is dreadfully over-rated. I do enjoy hot dogs, in general :)

                                                                                                                  1. re: CatHairCondiment

                                                                                                                    But honestly, if you set a Pink's dog next to a Nathan's from Coney Island, or a Carney's or a nice, high-end hot dog in the same category of dogs, would you really notice a significant difference? They may not be your first, but would you call them "bad" as some on this thread have?

                                                                                                                    1. re: EarlyBird

                                                                                                                      I can honestly say that the one time I ate at Pink's I was not satisfied with my hot dog, mostly ('ll admit, because of my disappointment with the chili. And this was at a time when you could practically walk in and wolk up to the counter to place your order. I never went back until a couple of years ago. When I saw the line, I went elsewhere. I've not yet a Carney's or any of the others mentioned on this site. I might try Just Dogs to see how they stack up. I know that they use Vienna Beef weiners, which I do find to be a tasty hot dog.I used to buy them from the factory store (now long gone) in Vernon. I've gotten to the point where, for a hot dog, I'd just rather make them at home.

                                                                                                                      1. re: REFFI

                                                                                                                        I can understand "not satisfied." I find that when people are talking about food or other subjective tastes, that those items which fall into the lower end of the Good category, somehow get labeled "bad!" or "inedible!" and I think it's just taste and language getting away from us. I agree that there may be better dogs in the Classic American Hot Dog realm than Pink's, that they may be among the lesser of the ones being served in LA, but they're not "bad" as other posters have concluded.

                                                                                                                        By the way, its amazing you found a time at which to practically walk up and order. I've lived in the vicinity of Pink's for many years and have never seen anything but lines doubling around, and it's just not worth it in my opinion.

                                                                                                                        1. re: REFFI

                                                                                                                          Personally, I feel that quality chili of which one might otherwise eat an entire bowl, has no place on a hot dog. I don't want meaty ground beef chunks and/or beans topping a chili dog.

                                                                                                                          I have always preferred a thinner chili-sauce, with finely ground beef and a loose/wet consistency that slides into the bun crevices and is held in place by finely chopped raw onion.

                                                                                                                          To quote Linus from Peanuts: "That's the meaning of Christmas, Charlie Brown"...

                                                                                                                          1. re: silence9

                                                                                                                            My visit to Pinks was in the mid- to-late seventies and was a lat-ish lunch. My home made chili is a meat-only chili sauce that I've homogenized with an immersion blender. I agree that beans have no place on a chili dog.

                                                                                                                2. I wonder if Pink's will introduce a special Hello KItty Hot Dog?
                                                                                                                  You know, in a Pink polka dot wrapper?

                                                                                                                  1. When I first went to Pink's we didn't even know the name for it - we just called it Boris's after the little bald guy who worked there. It wasn't 'famous' yet and we local jr.high schoolers went there with someone's father who drove. They only served hamburgers, hot dogs ('with everything?') and X-LNT tamales, all served with their lukewarm chilli and all cost a quarter. Our gourmet expertise intellectually compared the chilli from Tommy's (the original at Rampart & Beverly) to Pinks; but the comparison was which was worst - not better - yet we knew 'good food' when we ate it.
                                                                                                                    Any more, Pink's is like waiting in a long line at a theme park :: you get to know your neighbors too well to be disappointed by the inefficiency of their 'system', the 'cleanliness'.
                                                                                                                    I guess Pink's flavors of nostalgia have faded.