Kids love hot dogs like the Kardashians love attention, so treat your little ones to an LA dog that’s as much a local institution as the city’s celebrities. Pink’s has been slinging hot dogs since 1939, back when Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire were dancing across the silver screen, and they’ve seen just about every red carpet idol since. Modern day stars like Bruce Willis, Tyra Banks, and, yes, Kim Kardashian have stopped there for a bite, so grab the family and pay your own visit to this legendary temple of frankfurters.
Pink’s is a tiny hut on the corner of La Brea and Melrose, and a wait is inevitable. The line wraps around the corner like an amusement park queue. But just like a Six Flags rollercoaster, these hot dogs are worth the wait. When you reach the counter, the whole family can smell the mouthwatering dogs on the grill. The menu is huge: You can order a classic hot dog with traditional toppings like chili or coleslaw; or go for a specialty like the hybrid pastrami reuben dog with pastrami, Swiss, sauerkraut, and mustard. If even that is too tame, look to the super specials: 9- or 12-inch dogs with a glorious excess of toppings. They’re often named for notable dog-loving celebrities — there’s a Ryan Lochte Dog, for example, which is two stretch dogs with mustard, chili, French fries, and nacho cheese.
This trip, however, you savor the classics. Order the traditional dogs for the kids and the Huell Howser (a double chili cheese dog) for the grownups. Toss in some hot, crispy fries and get nostalgic with Dr. Brown’s classic cream soda, served in old-fashioned glass bottles. Take your loaded tray to the back patio, blooming with red-and-white striped umbrellas, and grab a table. One taste and you’ll know exactly why Pink’s is so legendary. Is there anything so satisfying as that first savory bite? Commit yourself to getting messy: This dog is loaded with spicy, rich chili and chopped fresh onions, nestled in a bed of melted cheddar cheese on a soft bun.
Before you go home, pull out your camera and head over to the carnival cutout, where you can snap some wacky shots of your kids’ smiling, mustard-smeared faces over a family of hot dog people. It’s no celebrity photo, but it’s certainly going on your wall of fame.