12 Must-Try Hot Dog Spots Around LA

By Lesley Balla  |  June 16, 2014
Credit: Fritzi Dog

Maybe it's because Memorial Day has come and gone, marking the unofficial start to summer, or maybe it's because baseball season is in full swing. All we know is this — everyone has hot dogs on the brain. Whether you like yours artisanal, Chicago-style or smothered in chili (or even sprinkled with furikake), we've got your fix. Read on for our favorite new and classic hot dog spots around town.

  • Fritzi Dog

    The artisanal hot dog joint neatly across from Bennett's Ice Cream in the Original Farmers Market is a gleaming white-and-red space lined with golden hot dog buns, grills and fryers. Created by chef Neal Fraser (BLD), there are several housemade dogs, including a carrot-heavy veggie dog, to choose from, with an array of topping and roll choices. For the undecided, try the mini-dog samplers so you can taste the classic stadium dog with chili and cheese, the spicy Fritzi Dog with grilled onions and peppers, the porker with kraut and mustard, the curry-tinged bird dog and the deli dog with ketchup and mustard — or any combo of the above.

    6333 W. Third St.; 323-936-9436

  • Credit: Dog Haus

    Dog Haus

    This chain began in Pasadena, but is quickly growing: the first franchise location opened in Canoga Park this month, with 35 more on the way for LA, Orange and Riverside counties and Utah. The hot dogs are proprietary skinless all-beef dogs that get topped with crazy combinations, like the Sooo Cali dog, which comes with arugula, tomato, crispy onions, spicy basil aïoli and avocado. The Reservoir Dog is a messy beast with the good meaty chili, yellow mustard and slaw. The soft, slightly sweet Hawaiian rolls practically disintegrate under all of that flavor, which could also include bacon, fried egg, BBQ sauce, American cheese and Fritos, but the mess is worth it.

    Multiple locations

  • Meea’s

    The little box of a restaurant sits in the shadow of a Taco Bell with a Tommy’s right across the street in Eagle Rock. Blink and you’ll pass it, and if you do, you’ll be very, very sad. The family-owned outfit offers nothing more than about 10 loaded hot dogs and sides like sweet-potato fries. When we say loaded, we mean things like bacon-wrapped dogs with cream cheese, grilled onions, sauerkraut and spicy mustard, or chili, nacho cheese and Fritos. Since you’re in Eagle Rock, try the “Eagle Rock,” a big all-beef frank completely smothered in pickled papaya, avocado, Sriracha and spicy aïoli, and chicharrones for crunch. The flavors pack a serious wallop, all resting nicely in a soft, fluffy and squarish roll that's made in-house.

    1734 Colorado Blvd.; 323-285-4850

  • Credit: Fab Hot Dogs

    Fab Hot Dogs

    Go here for the “Ripper,” an East Coast-style beef-and-pork dog that’s deep-fried, thus torn across the top of the link, or “ripped.” It’s a little crunchy, very juicy and delicious no matter the toppings you choose — although we suggest classics like relish, onions and mustard for the full meaty effect. You'll find more Fabs in Westwood and Valencia.

    19417 Victory Blvd.; 818-344-4336

  • Let’s Be Frank

    There is no doubt that one of the best hot dogs in LA can be found at Let's Be Frank, a bright-red truck with a long wiener dog for a mascot. Whether beef, pork or turkey, the franks are made with pasture-based livestock that aren't injected with hormones and steroids and are nitrate-free. They're snappy, juicy and so flavorful, it's impossible not to get one when you pass the truck parked at Silverlake Wine on Thursdays, Everson Royce on Fridays and especially if we're in a one-mile radius of the cart at the Helms complex in Culver City. We're partial to the Mutt Dog, which is a pork and beef blend, topped with grilled onions and Let's Be Frank's own Devil Sauce, which is laced with curry and chiles (buy a jar for your eggs at home, trust us). This isn’t a dog that you want topped with too many things. You really just want to relish every bite (sure, relish is ok).

  • Japadog

    The wildly popular hot dog stand from Vancouver, the culinary capital of Canada, has officially landed in Los Angeles. The goal is to open three street-food vendors and one brick-and-mortar store within the year. According to the website, they're eyeing locations around LA, near Hollywood and in Santa Monica. The Terimayo is the classic, a hot dog topped with teriyaki, mayo and seaweed. But why stop there when you can get hot dogs topped with shrimp tempura, yakisoba or Japanese potato croquettes? The cart has already hit Little Tokyo, Pershing Square, Abbot Kinney and the Wilshire lineup near LACMA. Follow along on Twitter and Facebook for its daily location.

  • Vicious Dogs

    This is where hot dogs morph into something a lot more extreme than just a chili dog. While you can get something more traditional at the North Hollywood hot dog joint, why would you when you can get bacon-wrapped beef dog doused with sweet-chile glaze, grilled onions and fried shrimp, chopped crab patties or peanut butter, jelly and bananas? Other regions are also represented, as with the Chicago dog, a quarter-pound Vienna beef hot dog topped with mustard, neon-green relish, onions, tomato wedges, a pickle spear and a sprinkling of celery salt on a poppy-seed bun.

    5231 Lankershim Blvd.; 818-985-3647

  • Credit: Slaw Dogs

    Slaw Dogs

    The world knows no bounds with this Pasadena hot dog spot, and we mean that in the best topping sense. From macaroni and cheese to bacon, beer chili, roasted garlic aïoli, avocado, mint-ponzu slaw and peanut sauce, sometimes the link itself is an afterthought (and often very buried). If you really want to go overboard, try the TNT Super Dog, a 12-inch ripped Vienna all-beef hot dog with chili, cheddar, bacon, pastrami, fries and grilled onion all wrapped up in a tortilla. Because there’s no other way to keep it all in one place. There are also locations in Duarte and Woodland Hills.

    720 N. Lake Ave.; 626-808-9777

  • Credit: The Stand

    The Stand

    This hot dog joint, now with three locations (Encino, Woodland Hills, and next to the CAA building in Century City), does everything from a steamed all-beef hot dog topped with chili, cheddar and onions to a grilled dog topped with corn salsa, cilantro-lime aïoli, Sriracha and crispy onion strings. So you get the point: It’s all over the map, literally. Things get messy when you’re left to your own devices to create your own flavors, but you can choose from a beef or turkey dog, kosher dog or spicy quarter-pound beef dog as well as a few sausages.

    Multiple locations

  • Credit: Cupid's

    Cupid's Hot Dogs

    A San Fernando Valley institution since 1946, the hot dogs here are classic and kept simple, even if you want the “Everything” dog, which only entails mustard, onions and chili. The “Triangle” has mustard, onions and relish if you want to switch things up. Of course you can create your own topping combo, but it’s smart to stick with how three generations of the Walsh family have been doing it. Not matter what you get, the hot dog is steamed, as is the bun, creating a perfect vehicle for old-school flavors. Stick with the family-run spots in Van Nuys, Simi Valley and Northridge.

    Multiple locations

  • Pink's

    Yes, yes, we know. It's Pink's, the La Brea stand that's been around since 1939. Any local Angeleno swears they never wait in line for one, but there's always that visiting friend that saw it on T.V. and has to try one. The dogs come with any number of toppings, from bacon and jalapenos to guacamole, tomato and kraut. The classic chili dog is probably all you need.

    709 N La Brea Ave.; 323-931-7594

  • Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs AKA Danger Dogs

    There’s a reason “danger” is in the title — most of the time the carts selling these most delicious-smelling hot dogs are nothing more than a shopping pull-cart with a cooler, heat source and sheet pan. But what those street cooks create on those makeshift griddles are pure evil greatness: bacon-wrapped hot dogs of indeterminate quality, onions and jalapeños sizzling on the same pan and mayo, ketchup and mustard for toppings. Just get it all. They’re really only great when the dog is super-hot, but they still taste pretty good after stumbling out of a concert or a club, or before the walk down the hill from the Hollywood Bowl. Your nose knows where to find them.