There are things in this world I'll happily wait in line for. But when it comes to Hollywood's most famous hot dog stand, that sadly is not the case. Pink's Hot Dogs on La Brea has been causing long lines to form out front of the restaurant for going on 72 years now. Day or night, you're likely to find at least a hundred people cluttering the sidewalk in front of you. And for what? Guide books might tell you this is quintessential LA dining. But this is not the LA I know.
Now, just because I'm not a fan doesn't mean Pink's isn't right for you. Maybe you just got off your tour bus, snapped a few pictures next to Brad and Angelina's wax statues at Madame Tussauds and have a little time to kill before you bust our your costumes for the 'Let's Make a Deal' show. Maybe you need a lunch break from your Star Map celebrity house hunting and you heard Seacrest loves this place. Seriously, fanny-pack-wearers, this place is for you.
But if you came to Los Angeles, and actually want to experience the culinary melting pot that makes LA one of the most unique food cities in America, I implore you to go elsewhere.
I'd lived just around the corner for over a year before I finally gave in. It was 10:30 in the morning and the store next door wouldn't be open until 11:00. I had time to kill and the line hadn't yet started to form for lunch, so I went for it. A perfect storm brought me there, but it wouldn't be long before I'd be wishing that that storm had diverted me anywhere else.
I sprang for one of their specials. Go big or home, right? It came topped with sour cream, mustard, tomato and a few strips of bacon. There's nothing here that I couldn't have made (arguably better) at home in the microwave. If it's Pink's distinct hot dog 'snap' that you're looking for, I suggest heading south a few blocks to Wirtshaus, where you can skip the lines and sip on German lagers while you wait for a spicy scharfe wurst - a sausage with snap that's actually worth waiting for. The only consolation to my first experience at Pink's was that I didn't have to wait. I can't imagine having stood in a line over an hour for this.
Then there were the french fries. Just as gross. I had only a few before this brazen bird staked his claim on them. The bulbous little buzzard looked like he wanted them more than I did. He and his friends ate very well that day.
I guess the lesson learned is that longevity and demand don't always equate to quality. If you came to Los Angeles and are feeling more adventurous than a mediocre hot dog, let us know. We'll point you towards a few places that are worth the visit on their own.