Noshing on Nostalgia at Pink’s Hot Dogs in Hollywood
After a day of mulling aimlessly around Los Angeles and working up an appetite, I went in search of Pink’s Hot Dogs, the internationally known Hollywood attraction famous for its chili cheese dogs and extensive menu of hot dog variations.
Quickly locating the small storefront thanks to my handy-dandy GPS, I turned into the small parking lot in the back, surprised to see a parking lot attendant directing traffic.
A parking lot attendant? At a hot dog stand? This place had to be amazing.
After parking my car, I made my way to the front of the store where I took my place in the quickly growing line. As I waited for my turn to order, I took in the sights, sounds, and smells of the Pink’s experience, soon learning the reasons why Pink’s is such a must-see stop for anyone traveling to Los Angeles:
You go for the history
Pink’s Hot Dogs is a landmark and a Hollywood instiution that’s been operating in the same spot continuously for the past 73 years. Considering its humble beginnings survived the end of the Great Depression as well as the beginning of the Second World War, that’s no easy feat. Legacy and nostalgia can go a long way in preserving the popularity of a place like Pink’s and it’s a testament to the Pink family that they’ve been able to grow what started as a a hot dog cart on the corner of Melrose and LaBrea Avenues into an international phenomenon with locations throughout the Los Angeles area and fans all over the world.
You go for the creativity
Who knew you could dress up a hot dog so many different ways? In addition to your standard fare, there’s the 3 Dog Night (three hot dogs, three slices of cheese, and three strips of bacon wrapped in a giant tortilla and topped with chili and onions), the Royal Dog in honor of Prince William and Duchess Catherine (two dogs in one bun–awwww–dressed in mustard, cheese, onions, pickle relish, a dollop of Pink’s signature chili and two slices of bacon), and even one named for Martha Stewart (a ten-inch or “stretch” dog served with relish, onions, bacon, chopped tomatoes, sauerkraut, and sour cream). They’ve even got a hot dog named after wunderkind Gustavo Dudamel, the 31-year old conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic (if you’re curious, it’s a “stretch” hot dog with guacamole, American and Swiss cheeses, plus a grilled veggie mix with jalapenos and tortilla chips). Have mercy.
You go for the celebrities
There’s almost no space left on the walls of the tiny storefront as they’re covered from floor to ceiling with frames containing pictures and magazine covers signed by celebrities as varied as singer P!nk to fan favorite actress Betty White. Not only that but a celebrity or two has been known to duck into Pink’s from time to time. That person in the baseball cap and aviators standing two people behind you and five feet away just might be a movie or TV star. Or not.
My first taste of Pink’s
What did I choose for my first taste of Pink’s? One of the standard items on the menu: a chili cheese hot dog with fries on the side and some Pink (ha!) lemonade to wash it all down. The hot dog was really good, but not the out-of-body experience I was hoping for. Maybe my expectations were too high. Maybe I should have chosen one of the more creative items on the menu instead.
The verdict? While the chili cheese dog wasn’t as transcendent as I’d hoped, Pink’s Hot Dogs is still a decades-old Hollywood experience worth having and writing home about.
Just make sure you bring some Tums.