Dexter Filming Locations: The Hot Dog Stand


The location: The Hot Dog Stand.

Q. What is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. A corner hot dog stand, called "Juan's Hot Dogs".

Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?

    A. Somewhere in Miami.

Q. When did we see it on the show?

    A. In Episode 7 (of Season 1), "Circle of Friends".

    That's the episode where Dexter's sister, Debra, first meets Rudy. (He designs an artificial hand & leg for one of the Ice Truck Killer's victims, earning Deb's thanks.)

    They decide to go out, and their first date (if you can call it that), is at a corner hot dog stand, where Debra tells Rudy about her childhood, and how she joined the police force to impress her father. Rudy tells her that he got into prosthetics after his mother was killed in a car accident. She sympathizes, and they end up kissing.

Q. What is it actually in real life?

    A. The hot dog stand is a fake.  They simply set it up in a parking lot while they shot the scene.

    (It somewhat resembles the old "Tail 'o the Pup" in Los Angeles.)

Q. Where can I find it in real life?

    A. You can't find the hot dog stand, but you can find the corner where they shot the scene.

    The stand was set up in the parking lot of "Dutch Auto Detail", at 3401 N. Norwalk Blvd, in Long Beach, CA - that's the northwest corner of Norwalk Blvd & Wardlow Road. (It looks like the stand was placed near east curb, just a few feet north of the corner, and the little hot dog statue was positioned a few yards away to the northwest.)

    ( In the scene, if you look across the street behind them, to the south, you can see the service station on the southwest corner of the same intersection. That's "John's Mobil", at 8090 E. Wardlow Road. )

    That's about four miles northeast of the "Dexter Neighborhood".

    Here is an aerial photo of the location (looking south). And here is a map link.

Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?

    A. I didn't - I had some help with this one.

    When I first saw this hot dog stand, I assumed it was probably a fake. The statue of the little hot dog guy (squirting catsup on his own head) looked exactly like a statue outside of an actual hot dog place (called "Cupid's Hot Dogs") that used to be located right outside the Rolling Hills Theatres in Torrance. The place has closed, and I wondered if they had borrowed the same statue, or if they had just found its twin somewhere... (probably the latter). Also, the sign on the stand looked fake. So, I looked up the name, "Juan's Hot Dogs", and (as expected) found that no such restaurant existed.

    But I was still interested in the location where it was shot. I zoomed in and tried to read the street sign visible in the distance, but it wasn't quite legible. And it was dark enough that you can't see much in the background other than part of a service station. So I put the location on the back burner, figuring I might not be able to find it.

    Fortunately, months later, a self-described "Dexter geek" named Kerry, emailed me to say that they had shot the scene right around the corner from her house. (Talk about lucky breaks!). I double-checked the scene, and the background matched perfectly. Thanks, Kerry!

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