far from Canters is a tiny little shack just
north of the corner of trendy Melrose Avenue
and La Brea. It's
called Pink's, and although it looks like a dive, it's one of the
most popular spots in town for grabbing a late-night snack.
Bill Cosby tells of being introduced to Pink's by Carl Reiner, and their chili dog changing his opinion at the time that there were no good hot dogs in L.A. (He and co-star Robert Culp even filmed a scene in a 1972 movie, "Hickey & Boggs", where they were ordering chili dogs from Pink's.)
Diana Ross is another regular - she waits in line like everyone else for a dog. Other faces on the wall include Seinfeld's "George," Jason Alexander, "Spin City"'s Michael J. Fox (who used to refer to Pink's as his 'office'), Tony Danza ("Who's The Boss"), singer/actress Bette Midler, "Wheel of Fortune" 's Vanna White, talk show host Jay Leno, former "Tonight Show" announcer Ed McMahon, and actor James Woods ("Contact"). Producer Aaron Spelling sends a car over twice a week for Pink's dogs.
On June 15, 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama and her kids dropped by. (She had a Polish dog.)
In 2008, "Friends"' Matthew Perry stood in a long line for a Pink's dog, and even posed for photos with one customer.
Other fans have included Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin, Jerry Lewis, Kim Basinger, Barry White, Ruth Buzzie, Cheech Marin and Richard Dreyfuss.
When Rosie O'Donnell, was in town taping her talk show, she had 1,300 Pink's chili dogs delivered to her studio audience. Tom Hanks ordered Pink's dogs for his wrap party. Matt LeBlanc of "Friends" said his idea of success was to get his photo on the wall of Pink's. He got his wish.
Pink's also had a cameo appearance in the 2001 David Lynch movie, "Mulholland Drive".
Certainly, no one would guess it by looking at this shabby little hot dog stand, which has become a landmark of sorts since it was established by Paul Pink back in 1939 - the same year as the “The Wizard of Oz” and “Gone with the Wind”. It actually started out as a $50 push cart, with Mr. Pink selling wieners for 10 cents at the then-unpaved corner lot. Three years later they put up a structure, and in 1946 they erected the building which still stands as Pink's. Since Paramount and the other studios are so close, a lot of struggling actors used to come over for a cheap meal, and Mr. Pink would help them out. Jerry Lewis & Dean Martin were early customers.
It's still a Mom & Pop kind of place, although the cost of the great chili dogs haev increased, of course, and they sell over 2,000 a day. Paul Pink turned the humble hot dog into a million dollar business, before he died in March of 1996. (Mr. Pink was buried at Hillside.)
One secret to Pink's
success is their unusual hours: Pink's is open seven days a week, from
9:30 AM to 2 AM. On weekends, they stay open until 3 AM for night
owls in search of a quick snack. But I should also mention they sell the
best hot dog in town. (My personal favorite is the chili dog with kraut.) No
credit cards accepted.
( Recently, Pink's
has opened branches in two local theme parks: Knott's Berry Farm (in
Buena Park) and Universal Studios Hollywood. So, if you get an uncontrollable
urge for a Pink's chili-kraut dog, you don't have to drive all the way
to Hollywood to satisfy it. )
is located just north of the intersection of Melrose
Avenue and La Brea Avenue. From Farmers
Market, take 3rd Street east (about one mile) to La Brea, turn left,
and take La Brea north (about one mile) to just past Melrose Ave. Pink's
will be on your left (west) side.
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