Love or hate them, hot dogs are here to stay. But what exactly typifies a classic dog, here in Los Angeles or elsewhere? Should the franks be grilled or boiled? Should the skin have a snap or no snap? With the tortilla as one exception — because the taco is still king in this town — the dogs in this roundup are served on a classic bun with (mostly) traditional toppings. No trendy lobster rolls, sweet Hawaiian rolls or pretzel rolls here.
Art’s Chili Dog Stand — Art’s Famous Chili Dog is a bargain at $2.30 and includes mustard, chili and onions. A plain hot dog is $1.95. Additional toppings include kraut, jalapeno and coleslaw. Long-standing Art’s — open since 1939 — is at the corner of Florence and Normandie, and you can almost feel the history surround you with every bite. Art’s Chili Dog, $2.30, 1410 W. Florence Ave., Los Angeles. (323) 750-1313 (no website).
Belcampo Meat Co. — The Belcampo hot dog is made from 100% organic, grass-fed beef with a natural sheep casing. It’s less watery than most hot dogs, which makes it extra snappy. At $4 (not bad, considering) this extremely beefy dog may just be your new, favorite classic. Look for it on the specials board at Grand Central Market. Belcampo Hot Dog, $4, 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, (213) 625-0304, belcampomeatco.com.
Carney’s — The Carney Dog, with chili, tomato, onions and mustard, is all beef with a natural casing. A local packer with a smokehouse uses Carney’s recipe to make the franks fresh every week. Still hungry? Bulk up with an order of Train Wreck Fries, topped with American cheese, grilled onions and a special thousand island dressing. Carney Dog, $4.30, 12601 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 761-8300, carneytrain.com.
Chroni’s — Chroni’s, open since 1945, serves a super snappy hot dog for $3.20 (mustard and onions included). The spot opens daily at 9 a.m. and has a large, covered eating area in back. Hot Dog, $3.20, 5825 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 728-7806, ChronisFamousSandwichShop.com.
Cupid’s Hot Dogs — Cupid’s Hot Dogs has been open in the San Fernando Valley since 1946. Originally called Walsh’s Hot Dogs, the family still runs the business today. Keep it simple and order the “triangle dog” (mustard, onions, relish). There’s Mexican Coke too. Triangle Hot Dog $2.99, 9039 Lindley Ave., Northridge, (818) 885-8160, check website for other locations, cupidshotdogs.net.
Danger Dog — Bacon-wrapped hot dogs are the quintessential L.A. late night (hangover-preventing) street food. Whether you call them danger dogs, street dogs, bacon dogs or BWHDs (bacon-wrapped hot dogs), they can be found outside (or in the shadows of) clubs, concert halls and sporting events. Not into this type of adventurous eating? Why not make them at home? (Make the entire cart while you’re at it.) Near the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood (after a concert).
Earlez Grille — Brothers Cary and Duane Earle have been grilling hot dogs for almost 30 years. In 2014 they had to relocate to make way for the Crenshaw Metro Line; you can find them currently grilling at a cart at 3864 Crenshaw Blvd. Does a hot dog taste better when you see, up close, the care put into each order? Of course it does. A new space is scheduled to open sometime in April. (Catering available.) Beef Sabrett Dog, $3, 3864 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 299-2867, EarlesGrill.net.
Infield’s Dodger Dog — The Infield is a baseball-themed hot dog stand in Sherman Oaks. Order your dog and kick back in actual baseball stadium seats (both Dodgers and Angels represented). The Infield’s Dodger Dog, a Farmer John footlong, is $2 on Mondays, $3 otherwise. Got a sweet tooth? There’s a deep-fried Twinkies too. Infield’s Dodger Dog, $3 ($2 on Mondays,) 14333 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks (818) 501-1850, infieldhotdogs.com.
Larry’s Chili Dog — Larry’s Chili Dog is a classic Burbank hangout with possibly the cutest hot dog sign we’ve come across (so far). Hoffy franks topped with chili are $4 with a generous topping of shredded cheese. Larry’s is known for fantastic breakfast burritos too. Chili Dog, $4, 3122 W Burbank Blvd., Burbank, (818) 842-0244 (no website).
Let’s Be Frank — Let’s Be Frank uses California grass-fed beef without nitrates or nitrites. It’s a gorgeous dog, especially when topped with Devil Sauce (a chutney-like combination of jalapeno, ginger and garlic). But this dog is great with just mustard too. Find the cart at the Helms Bakery Complex in Culver City, on Helms Avenue between Washington and Venice boularvds, Check website for hours of operation. You can also buy party packs for your own hot dog party. Frank Dog, $6, Helms Bakery Complex, Culver City, LetsBeFrankDogs.com.
Lucky Boy — Lucky Boy serves a crispy turkey corn dog that’ll make you feel like a kid again. Unless you’re in your 20s, wearily lined up at the counter for hangover relief. On the weekend, the place is packed (inside and out) with (mostly college-age) folks and a few actual kids. Corn Dog, $2.45, 640 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena, (626) 793-0120, luckyboyburgers.com.
Marty’s Hamburger Stand — Studio execs and construction workers eat side by side at this fast-food stand, open since 1959. Marty’s serves a hearty Vienna beef dog with chili, cheese and onions. The onion rings are a must. Still hungry? Go for a combo burger, which includes a grilled, split hot dog. Chili Cheese Hot Dog, $4.75, 10558 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 836-6944 (no website).
Motordogs — Visit Motordogs with a grandparent or just take the entire family. The former gas station is filled with nostalgia — and this place makes a great Chicago Dog. It comes with mustard, relish, onion, dill pickle, peppers and a great poppy seed bun. Chicago Dog, $3.50, 1265 E. Green St., Pasadena, (626) 486-2256, modoggs.com.
Oki’s Dog on Pico — Not to be confused with the Oki Dog on Fairfax. To quote Jonathan Gold: “The Fairfax Oki was never an official Oki — I think they may have been family friends at some point, but the family never had anything to do with it. I pick up a pastrami burrito at least once a year or so, and the counter guy still asks about my college girlfriend, whom he had a big crush on.” The classic Oki dog at Oki’s Pico comes with two hot dogs, pastrami, chili and cheese in a large tortilla. If you’re there with a large group of friends, you might as well order the legendary pastrami burrito too. Both are gut bombs in the best possible way. Oki’s Oki Dog, $4.50, 5056 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 938-4369 (no website).
Pink’s “Betty White Naked Dog” — It’s the beloved actress’ favorite, a stretch, 9-inch, all-beef hot dog in a bun with “absolutely NOTHING on it.” Just like Betty, an all-American classic. Betty White Naked Dog, $4.20, 709 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 931-4223, pinkshollywood.com.