Of all the culinary delights Los Angeles is known for, for some odd reason, hot dogs aren’t one of them. Sure, we may not have the regional concoctions that define a sauerkraut-topped New York Dog or an overdressed Chicago Dog, but instead of a specific set of toppings, what our city has to offer is a wide variety of delicious hot dogs. Does your mini-me likes chili? Pink’s is our top pick. Looking for a dog that’s (literally) bursting out of its bun? Grab the hot dog at Dodger Stadium. Living the plant-based lifestyle? No problem–we have a few on this list. Here are the best hot dogs Los Angeles has to offer that everyone in the family is sure to love. Who knows, maybe Los Angeles hot dogs will become a thing after all.
photo: Carter Jung
Ok, so the consumption of this hot dog does require tickets to an MLB game and a trip to Elysian Park, but what better excuse to go out for a meal than spending an evening or half a day at Dodger Stadium? What your fam will be getting into is a 10-inch, bun busting wiener in the company of the defending World Series champions, making it easily one of the hottest dishes in town. For something a bit more sabroso, there’s also the Dodger Sausage made of al pastor and topped with pineapple salsa and cilantro-lime crema. For our vegan friends, new for this season is a plant-based Dodger Dog, making this hot dog extra LA.
1000 Vin Scully Ave.
After leaving a show at the Staples Center, Hollywood Bowl, The Fonda or any other major venue in Los Angeles, you’ve most likely encountered this very uniquely LA hot dog—the compelling bouquet of bacon-wrapped hot dogs grilling alongside onions and peppers on top of a makeshift grill of a street vendor. While those olfactory-tickling dogs were more accessible in our younger, pre-little-ones, staying-out-late days, thanks to Dirt Dog, you can now enjoy bacon-wrapped treats during regular business hours.
One of our favorites is the Elote Dog that combines another street cart favorite, grilled corn smeared with mayo, lime, cotija cheese—trust us, it’s amazing. For the little ones who are less adventurous, mini corn dogs and chicken nuggets are viable options. Another tactic is to try bribing the kiddos to push their palates with Dirt Dog’s sweet and crispy churros. Worked for us.
Various Locations: DTLA, Pasadena, Downey & LA
800 E 3rd St.
If you’re looking to push the boundaries of what can legally go on a hot dog, Vicious Dogs is the place. For the uninitiated, they’ve categorized their 35-plus varieties into six self-descriptive buckets: Classic, First-Timers, Spice It Up, Adventurous, Back For More and I’m Hungry.
Feeling basic? One from the Classic section is a safe bet, such as the cheese dog, an all-beef sausage topped with melted cheese. Does your junior foodie heart peanut butter and have an incredibly open mind? The Peanut Butter Dog in the Adventurous column comes with a bacon-wrapped beef dog slathered with nutty stuff—strawberry jelly, bananas, chocolate candy pieces are extra (no, seriously). Hungry? Mozzarella sticks, jalapeño poppers, pastrami and a Philly Cheesesteak are but some of the accoutrements available for your hot dog in the namesake Hungry category.
If those aren’t enough, feel free to wash down a Vicious Dog with a side of their tasty chicken wings. For plant-forward options, they offer soy veggie and Beyond Meat dogs. Regardless, you may want to hit a playground (or two) afterwards.
5231 Lankershim Blvd.
Restaurants may bandy the term “world famous,” but few come as close to Pink’s. Established in 1939, the humble hot dog stand’s vicinity to the film studios has drawn the Hollywood elite for years, making its signature chili dog a veritable star in its own right. The signed celebrity headshots lining the walls, pining their love for Pink’s, will have the family playing an impromptu game of Guess Who?
More overwhelming than the photographs though are the number of hot dogs. The chili dog is a sure bet, but from there, toppings range from pastrami, bacon, grilled mushrooms, guacamole, cole slaw, japalepeños, sauerkraut, sour cream, onion rings and a multitude of cheeses in apropos names such as the Mulholland Drive Dog (nacho cheese, bacon, grilled onions and mushrooms), the Brando Dog (mustard, onions, chili, cheddar cheese), or Martha Stewart (relish, onions, bacon, tomatoes, sauerkraut, sour cream). For finicky little ones, plain hot dogs and burgers are available. The number of options that are sure to satisfy even the most picky eaters makes this one of the best hot dogs spots in LA.
709 N. La Brea Ave.
If a standard hot dog just won’t do, there’s Wurstküche. Having the original outpost in the Arts District in DTLA and with a second, seaside footprint in Venice, this hard to pronounce (for both parents and kids) establishment serves over a dozen different kind of sausages. From the basic bratwurst to plant-based Veggiewurst to sweet and spicy mango jalapeño to the exotic Filipino Maharlika made of soy sauce and ginger to the double-dare your kids to try rattlesnake and rabbit, there’s something for everyone’s risk tolerance.
For parents, their draft selection is impressive, specializing in German and Belgian beers. And a Belgian treat for all ages is their perfectly crisped Belgian fries served with a choice of inventive sauces such as Thai peanut curry ketchup, bleu cheese walnut and bacon or chipotle aioli. Wurstküche? Your whole family will be saying danke.
800 E 3rd St.
625 Lincoln Blvd.
Richmond Bar & Grill
Serving El Segundo for over 40 years by way of one of the oldest buildings in the city is Richmond Bar & Grill—a down to earth spot that is ideal for popping in for a quick bite. Riley Montz heads up the family-owned establishment (and was recently honored as a City of El Segundo Hospitality Hero) that cooks up a wide fare of food but thankfully, hot dogs are one of their specialties. Check out the Pup, a plain dog made especially for young ones. For more gourmet options, parent-friendly choices include the Mutt topped with pickles, onion and jack and cheddar cheeses or the Bad Dog stuffed with four-alarm chili, cheese and onion. Most of the entrees, including the dogs, come with a choice of homemade chips or fries.
45 Richmond St.
Top Chili Dogs
If you had to characterize hots dogs in Los Angeles with a single style hot dog, the chili dog would have to be it. The thick, brown, beefy sauce is available at many of our local fast food joints, plussing up every dish it touches. Here are a few notable establishments that specialize in the craft.
Although In-N-Out basks in most of the SoCal burger chain limelight, true Angelinos give Tommy’s an equal nod. Their chili burgers are what they’re known for, but their chili dogs are equally as delicious and with 34 locations across the area, there's bound to be one nearby.
George’s Burger Stand
A relatively new entrant to the field, George’s is a refreshed burger stand in East LA that uses locally sourced food, grilling up a solid chili-cheese dog.
This Fairfax District's namesake dish substitutes a bun for a tortilla and packs it with two hot dogs, chili, cheese and pastrami, making this burrito hybrid a uniquely LA creation.
Your kids will love the old train car repurposed as a dining room. You’ll love the savory chili dogs and the two locations—one in Hollywood and the other in Studio City.
A local favorite for Valley denizens, Cupid’s serves their hot dogs with a chili that’s of a less heartier variant.
In addition to their signature pastrami sandwiches, The Hat cooks up a well-appointed chili dog at their 11 locations. Their mountainous chili fries served on a drink tray are an indomitable side.