LA: The King of Hot Dogs?

Papaya King's new L.A. Location

ByEat: Los Angeles

This week on KPCC’s Off-Ramp, John Rabe talked to the Pink’s women, and then John and Colleen Bates headed to Hollywood’s hot new outpost of Papaya King, the revered New York hot dog (and papaya drink) stand. You can listen to the podcast here. Our take on the King’s dog? The classic beef dog is small, juicy and peppery, given a good bit of snap from semi-grilling on foil. It’s quite good. The larger dog tastes even more peppery, just because of its larger size, but it’s a little squishier than the smaller one. Toppings are straightforward, the curly fries are generic, and the papaya drink is tasty if you like papaya. Is it better than Pink’s? Absolutely.

Below are some of our other favorite dog destinations around town.

Home of the “ripper,” a dog deep-fried until its casing bursts—just the way New Jersey natives like it. You can also get your dog steamed or grilled, but why? Don’t miss the house-made mustard relish.
19417 Victory Blvd., Reseda, 818.344.4336,

Let’s Be Frank
Born in San Francisco, this deluxe hot dog cart is run by Sue Moore, who used to be a meat forager for Chez Panisse. Sue brought her cart to L.A. in 2007, predating the food-truck fad, and her dogs are as healthy as a tube of moderately fatty meat can be: uncured, nitrite-free, hormone-free, made from grass-fed beef and/or family farm-raised pork. Try the brat dog or the uncured turkey dog. You’ll find the cart regularly at the Helms center in Culver City and on Thursday evenings at Silverlake Wine, among other locations.
Various locations, 888.233.7265,

John Rabe’s personal fave is this Hollywood stand, where the classic grilled beef hot dogs have a good snap and robust flavor; try the bacon-cheddar. And the garlic fries are worth the calories.
6654 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, 323.468.3647,

Slaw Dogs
Pasadena’s newest hot spot is an order-at-the-counter café on a funky stretch of North Lake. They’ve taken the slaw dog—a hot dog topped with cole slaw—to new levels, with such creations as the Thai Slaw Dog, the Picnic Dog and the Caesar Salad Dog. Once they get their beer and wine license (allegedly any day), you’ll have to drag regulars out of there.
720 N. Lake Ave., Pasadena, 626.808.9779,

The Stand
With three locations around L.A., the Stand is L.A.’s upscale hot dog king, and deservedly so. They’ve got every type imaginable, from beer-cured brats and spicy Polish to veggie dogs and kosher franks that are split and grilled; we’re partial to the bacon-boosted Downtown L.A. Dog. Add good beer and wine, house-made potato chips, comfortable seating, and $1 hot dogs on Mondays, and you’ll understand its success.
1116 Westwood Blvd., Westwood, 310.443.0400; 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Century City, 310.785.0400; 17000 Ventura Blvd., Encino, 818.788.2700;

A beer hall for 25-year-old guys with ironic hats and intellectual tattoos, this place has met with huge success for two reasons: beer and hot dogs. The beer is Belgian and the dogs cover the gamut, from the classic (beef franks, pork brats) to the adventurous (rattlesnake and rabbit seasoned with jalapeno). Excellent caramelized onions and sweet or spicy peppers are among the toppings. An affordable must-visit on the edge of Downtown’s Little Tokyo neighborhood.
800 E. 3rd St., Arts District/Little Tokyo, 213.687.4444,