The Best Hot Dogs in Los Angeles
Landmark stands, new school spots and veg-friendly
Hot dogs are a summertime staple, from backyard barbecues to an afternoon at the ballpark. In LA, the "endless summer" weather means that locals and visitors alike can enjoy hot dogs all year long. From landmark stands to new school spots and veg-friendly options, read on for the best hot dogs in Los Angeles.
Tail O' the Pup
One of LA's most famous hot dog stands, the legendary Tail O' the Pup is reopening on July 20, aka National Hot Dog Day. Opened on La Cienega in 1946 by celebrity ballroom dancers Veloz and Yolanda, Tail O' the Pup is one of the city's few remaining examples of programmatic architecture - the original Brown Derby was perhaps the most famous LA building in this style.
After closing in 2005, the 18-foot concrete hot dog sat in storage and was eventually donated to the Valley Relics Museum before being acquired by 1933 Group, which has garnered widespread acclaim for its restoration work on Formosa Cafe, Highland Park Bowl and Idle Hour. Led by Bobby Green, 1933 Group gave the iconic hot dog several years of TLC and upgrades. Installed off historic Route 66 near its original location, the restored stand fronts a two-story building where The Doors recorded the entire LA Woman album in the lower level, which the band called "The Doors Workshop."
The hot dogs range from traditional to veg-friendly, served in whimsical trays shaped like a wiener dog - the frank sticks out of the back, so it's literally the "tail" o' the pup! The interior features a plein air painting by Shag, along with vintage photos of everyone from Sigourney Weaver to The Go-Go's and Devo hanging out at Tail O' the Pup.
One of the true cathedrals of Major League Baseball, Dodger Stadium is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a memorable season that includes the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier; the unveiling of a Sandy Koufax statue; and hosting the 2022 All-Star Game on July 19.
In 2021, the Dodgers announced that Vernon-based Papa Cantella’s would be providing the beloved Dodger Dogs throughout the ballpark, replacing longtime supplier Farmer John. Family-owned and operated, Papa Cantella's is also offering Louisiana Hot Link, Bratwurst, and Italian Sausage at the LA on Deck Circle. The official plant-based Dodger Dog is the Signature Stadium Dog from Seattle's Field Roast.
During the off-season, you can still get your Dodger Dog fix - Papa Cantella's classic is sold in supermarkets like Albertsons, Gelson's and Ralphs; and the Signature Stadium Dog is available at Whole Foods.
Founded in 1975 by John Wolfe, Sr. and his wife Pat, the original Carney's serves up classic American comfort food in a yellow Union Pacific railcar that overlooks the world-famous Sunset Strip. A second Carney's - also built out of a vintage train car - opened in 1981 on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City.
Well-known for their snap, the beef franks hold their own in the signature Carney's Hot Dog with a generous hit of chili, chopped onion, thick tomato slices and cheddar. Add a side of Train Wreck Fries (cheese, Thousand Island, grilled onions) and you're good to go. Other favorites include the Spicy Style (split & grilled with grilled sauerkraut, chili peppers, grilled onions) and the Red Baron with pickled red cabbage and cheddar cheese.
Carney's will be opening a third location at Jerry Moss Plaza in the Music Center, joining recently opened dining options like Ray Garcia's Asterid (in the former Patina space) and a second outpost of Inglewood-based Sip & Sonder outside Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Cupid's Hot Dogs
Cupid's Hot Dogs was originally established in 1946 as Walsh's Hot Dogs by Richard and Bernice Walsh - Richard soon changed the name to Cupid's (Bernice's nickname). With sisters Kelly and Morgan Walsh at the helm, Cupid's is now in its third generation of family ownership.
A San Fernando Valley institution, Cupid's is famous for its namesake chili dog - an all-beef Vienna with mustard, onions and chili. Add-ons include cheese, kraut or Chicago toppings (neon relish, tomatoes, sport peppers, pickle spears, celery salt).
The Winnetka location offers Carhop Service every Sunday from 3-6pm. Order online and Cupid's will skate the food out to you. Be sure to include your space number under special instructions at checkout.
Timothy Cam opened the first Dirt Dog near USC with the goal of making his elevated street dog “the official hot dog of Los Angeles.” Dirt Dog has since expanded to Pasadena and Downey, along with outposts in Las Vegas.
Every hot dog features a 100% Premium All Beef Nathan's 5/1 Dog wrapped in center-cut bacon, including the signature House Dog - topped with grilled veggies, house sauce, house spread, mayo, house mustard, ketchup, and bacon bits. The Flamethrower piles on steak, cheddar, grilled veggies, Henny-Q BBQ, cilantro, chipotle aioli, and seasoned charred habanero. Rap legend Snoop Dogg inspired his namesake dog, topped with curtido, Doggy-style BBQ, Billionaire Bacon, and Gin & Juice Ketchup. You can make any Dirt Dog veg-friendly with a Beyond Meat link.
"Dirty" sides include chili-lime seasoned fries and the elote (aka Mexican street corn) with lime, mayo, chili powder, cotija, cilantro and bacon bits.
Originally opened in Pasadena in October 2010, Dog Haus has expanded to 50+ locations across the country, including Alhambra, Burbank, Canoga Park, Hollywood, Long Beach, NoHo, Northridge, Rose Bowl Stadium, Santa Monica, and Westwood here in LA. The self-described "Craft Casual" chain touts their certified humanely raised, hormone- and antibiotic-free Black Angus beef from Creekstone Farms. Along with housemade sausages and burgers, all Haus Dogs are served on grilled King's Hawaiian rolls.
The popular Sooo Cali features the signature all-beef dog with wild arugula, slices of avocado and tomato, topped with crispy onions and a squiggle of spicy basil aioli. A plant-based version, the Sooo Veggie replaces the Haus Dog with a Beyond Sausage Hot Italian. The ubiquitous LA street dog inspired the Downtown - smoked bacon-wrapped dog, caramelized onions, pickled peppers, mayo, mustard and ketchup. Turn up the heat with the T-Mex, made with beef chorizo & pepper jack sausage, avocado, chipotle aioli, Haus slaw, pickled jalapeños, and pickled peppers.
Earle’s on Crenshaw
Brothers Duane and Cary Earle started with a hot dog cart and have since grown Earle's On Crenshaw into a thriving restaurant in the heart of the Crenshaw District. Earle's serves a variety of gourmet hot dogs, from spicy beef to turkey and kosher, with vegan dogs and links provided by Field Roast. Buns are available in wheat or gluten-free. Choose from a long list of toppings: ketchup, mustard, relish, regular or vegan mayo, regular or vegan chipotle mayo, BBQ sauce, ranch, tartar sauce, NY cooked onions, raw onions, hot mustard, sauerkraut, jalapenos, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and hot peppers. The extensive vegan options include the Beyond Meat Burger, sides and desserts.
Follow @earlesoncrenshaw on Instagram for weekly specials like Meatless Monday, Turkey Dog Tuesday, Vegan Link Vensday, and Kosher Beef Saturday.
The Fat Dog
Hang out with your fur baby at The Fat Dog, the dog-themed gastropub that's been serving up comfort food and craft beers in the NoHo Arts District since 2015. Boasting a huge 1,000 square-foot patio, The Fat Dog takes care of Fido with doggie treats while you enjoy the eponymous dog, made with a grilled frank, house pickle, sliced tomato, chopped onion, and sport peppers.
The extensive menu includes veg-friendly appetizers like fried mozzarella balls, jalapeño & cilantro hummus, avocado toast, and vegan fried cauliflower.
Larry’s Chili Dog
A Burbank institution since 1953, Larry’s Chili Dog has a loyal fan base and more often than not, a queue of customers waiting to order. The lure is the classic chili dog - a juicy beef link is nestled in a soft white bun and covered with rich chili that stains the bread orange. The Combo adds small fries and a small drink. Other favorites include the New York Dog (grilled onions, sauce, spicy mustard), Chicago Dog (available as a veggie dog), and The Hawaiian with grilled pineapples and onions, topped with BBQ sauce. Based on an unofficial Instagram survey, the breakfast burrito is nearly as popular as the chili dog.
Opened in January 2013, Meea's features an eclectic menu of hot dogs that showcases their excellent housemade poppy seed buns. Meea's gives a shout out to its locals with the Eagle Rock, topped with pickled papaya, avocado, pork rinds, spicy mayo, and sriracha. Frito Pie fans will love Meea's chili dog, made with house chili, chopped onions, Fritos, and cheddar cheese. For those in the mood for breakfast, the Early Bird includes bacon, tater tots, fried or scrambled egg, and cheddar.
Is there another hot dog stand in the country that can claim a Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic, a generation of punk bands, and the Beastie Boys among its fans? In a 2004 article for the LA Weekly, Jonathan Gold wrote: "Immortalized by the Descendents, beloved by the Germs, the original Oki-Dog … was to the original ’70s punk rock scene in L.A. what the Brown Derby was to 1940s filmdom." Noted punk fan Anthony Bourdain made the pilgrimage in a Season 1 episode of A Cook's Tour.
Created and named by Okinawa native Sakai “Jimmy” Sueyoshi, the signature Oki-Dog - described by Gold as "strangely delicious" - is a culinary mashup with two hot dog wieners, pastrami, chili and American cheese, wrapped burrito-style in a flour tortilla. The Oki Burger swaps the hot dogs for ground beef with grilled peppers and onions. A $6 special adds fries and a soda to the Oki-Dog or Oki Burger. Cash only, ATM inside.
Pink's Famous Hot Dogs
Paul and Betty Pink founded Pink’s Hot Dogs in 1939 as a pushcart near the corner of La Brea and Melrose in Hollywood. The landmark restaurant opened on North La Brea in 1946 and guests from around the world have been lining up ever since. The menu features more than 30 hot dogs, many named after celebrities and chefs like the Drew's News - Drew Barrymore's favorite features a 12″ jalapeño dog topped with mustard, chili, onions, 3 slices of bacon and shredded cheddar cheese - Martha Stewart, Giada De Laurentiis, and the Emeril Lagasse Bam Dog (9″ stretch dog, mustard, onions, cheese, jalapeño, 3 bacon strips, coleslaw). Movie-inspired dogs include the Lord of the Rings (9″ stretch dog, BBQ sauce, topped with onion rings) and the La La Land - a 9″ stretch dog topped with guacamole, chopped tomatoes, bacon bits and a swizzle of sour cream.
Since its founding, Pink's has expanded to a dozen more locations, including Universal CityWalk, Kia Forum, Del Amo Mall, Camarillo Outlets, and Raging Waters.
Specializing in Korean corn dogs (gamja hot dogs), Two Hands was founded in November 2019 and has since expanded to dozens of locations across the country. LA locations include Koreatown, East LA, Northridge and Torrance. Instead of cornmeal, Two Hands uses fermented flour for its batter, which results in a coating that's crispier than the familiar American corn dog. Filling options include 100% beef sausage, half sausage & half mozzarella, whole mozzarella, half mozzarella & half cheddar, spicy beef sausage, and vegan sausage.
Highlights include the signature Two Hands Dog with Two Hands seasoning and ranch; Spicy Dog rolled in Hot Cheetos; Potato Dog (potato cubes and Two Hands Dirty Sauce), Crispy Rice Dog, and the Injeolmi Dog with bean powder and Two Hands Sweet Sauce.
Anything goes at Vicious Dogs, the North Hollywood favorite with a wildly inventive menu that ranges from classics to the signature Sweet & Spicy - 1/3 lb Kielbasa link with housemade sweet & spicy chili glaze, topped with grilled onions and peppers, on a poppy seed bun. For more adventurous diners, options include bacon-wrapped beef dogs with mac & cheese (the Mac Daddy), peanut butter (plain or add strawberry jelly, chocolate candy pieces, bananas & honey for $1), the Hot Chick (melted mozzarella, chopped chicken tender, Frank's RedHot, ranch dressing), and the Krusty Krab with sweet & spicy chili glaze, grilled onions and peppers, topped with a chopped crab patty and housemade tartar sauce.
Opened in 2008, Wurstküche was one of the first restaurants to pave the way for the current red-hot dining scene in the Downtown LA Arts District. A Venice sequel followed in September 2011.
Lines started forming outside the original Wurstküche ("Sausage Kitchen" in German) from the get-go - diners were eager to try "Exotic" sausages like Rattlesnake & Rabbit with Jalapeños, Duck & Bacon with Jalapeños, and Lamb with Mediterranean Spices. More approachable than the Exotics, "Gourmet" offerings include Kielbasa, Chicken Apple & Spices, Filipino Maharlika, and Mango Jalapeño. Plant-based options include a Beyond Meat Veggiewurst, Mexican Chipotle (chipotle, arbol, chiles, garlic, onion) and Smoked Apple Sage (apples, Yukon potatoes, rubbed sage). The Belgian fries are a must - glazed in white truffle oil and served with a choice of dipping sauces.