The Dog House

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The Dog Houses comprised a chain of very small restaurants around L.A., often on a piece of land that also held a large car wash.  I’m going to guess that was the idea.  Someone said, “Hey, let’s design a little restaurant that can fit in a spot that doesn’t seem big enough for a restaurant and where people have to wait around for their car to be washed.”  And then someone else said, “Uh, like a hot dog stand?”  And the first person said, “Kind of…but let’s make it a little more upscale so we’ll get the business of folks who think they’re too good to eat at a hot dog stand.”

At least, that seemed to be the premise, though I don’t think the one in the above photo was near a car wash.  It did however display uncommon courage by daring to sell hot dogs around the corner from Pink’s.  As you can see, a Dog House was a small building that vaguely resembled a dog house…and I vaguely recall some had stools that looked like hydrants.  You could dine inside at the counter or outside in a small porch area with tables.  Either one was cramped but inside, it was worse.

Outside, they often had waitresses and menus, and the selection was obviously limited by the size of their tiny kitchens.  Basically, it was burgers, dogs and a few sandwiches and salads, and I think some of them also served breakfast.  The food was not wonderful but I think it was a case of the cute decor making you expect something better than your basic hot dog/burger stand.

18 Responses to The Dog House

  • Michael Rankins says:

    Am I the only one who’s creeped out by the fact that there’s a hot dog stand right next to the animal hospital?

  • Craig Printup says:

    There was one in Santa Monica near the Mucky
    Duck that my great grandmother used to take me too. I did not like their food, mostly because they used weird buns…they were bright yellow instead of the normal pasty white…egg buns maybe?

  • Mike Rubin says:

    I may be having a senior moment, but I recall that they grilled their dogs, rather than steam or boil them. They also scored them, so they looked a bit like a curlique in the bun. I recall them being quite delicious, but I was very, very young at the time and probably very, very undemanding when it came to hot dogs.

  • Shel Weisbach says:

    Gray’s Chili Dogs, 166 North 2nd St, Porterville, has the definite look of a one-time Dog House – building shape, chimney, signage… The architect may have been Eugene D. Birnbaum, designer of the iconic IHOPs and butterfly-roofed Woody’s SmorgasBurger.

  • steve diggles says:

    We would eat at the Dog House near the beach in Santa Monica late 50s -late 60s . I remember the grilled dogs with lot’s of onions and mustard. Good eats after after a long day of wave riding. Pop bought a new 1956 red station wagon which was keen to load up the neighbor hood and hit P.O.P., those were the days.

  • david heimark says:

    Wasn’t it a “Dog House” next to the carwash at 6th and Rampart?
    Best of all chilidogs, in my opinion, was Audrey’s on the sw corner of Olympic and Alvarado. I would love to hear from someone who remembers Audrey’s.

  • Randy Bash says:

    If you lived in Westwood Village in the 60’s, you were eating and hanging out at the Dog House!

  • Karen says:

    I don’t remember there Bing one near the Mucky Duck, but that was a great place to hang out on weekends!

  • Jon says:

    I fondly remember Saturday & Sunday afternoons with my dad, at the Dog House on Hollywood Blvd. 1/2 block east of Vine Street. They had the Vienna brand hot dogs, and made hamburgers to order. They served breakfast all day, had pastrami & other sandwiches, and they closed at about 8PM. It was directly across the street from the Pantages Theatre, so we got to see the monikers of latest musicals playing there. Shortly after my dad passed away, the Dog House closed up, and the land was sold to MTA. It was where the escalator entrance to the Vine Street Red Line Station is, now. Maybe it’s the memories, or the good times I had with dad, but I’ve yet to find a hot dog that tastes as good…

  • Hugh Jaynus says:

    There is a building that looks just like that on Saticoy & Reseda Blvd. in the Valley…. it has the gabled house sign over the main shack of the eatery and everything. Oh, and it’s attached to a car wash as well. Thanks for the interesting history of this place! I never knew that.

  • Steve Geist says:

    I remember The Dog House in Westwood Village in the 60’s. I was in a car club call “Performance Unlimited.” Know the “PU” boys (Haaa Haaa). We had a great time racing around Westwood and then stopping in at The Dog House. Everyone would stop by and have a hot dog or two. Great meeting place and I have great memories of that time and place.

  • Shel Weisbach says:

    The diner at Reseda Blvd and Saticoy St was a Pup ‘n Taco. Later, a Fatburger. Presently closed.

  • Karl Humphreys says:

    I remember the Dog house in Santa Monica and the Mucky Duck well. It was on the same property on Wilshire Blvd. before the Mucky Duck moved. I loved the ginger beer they served at the Mucky Duck. You should write about that place too, it was the first place that served fish and chips. There are a lot of wonderful restaurants that have closed over the years. Like the Queens Arms, Michael’s Canoga Inn, The Generous Britain, and Solleys Deli. I would love to hear more about them. How about the one in I think it was Van Nuys, and I think it was called the 455 Aero Squadron. Many many fond memories over the years.

  • John Hurley says:

    The Santa Monica location was northwest corner of 3rd and Wilshire. The office building that was put up once had a bar/restaurant named the Bull and Bear. There was a Merrill Lynch location on the same floor as the bar.

  • Martin says:

    Used to eat at the location on Melrose and LaBrea (almost across the street from Pink’s) with my father. We both preferred the hot dogs at Twin Castle though (down the street at Melrose and Gardner, which eventually became the very first Johnny Rockets). I’d love to see someone write up a history of Twin Castle – hot dogs named after royalty like King, Queen, Duchess, Duke, etc… There is still one left on Moorpark and Vineland, but it isn’t really a hot dog place anymore.

  • Bob of the Village of Los Ranchos (NM) says:

    If ya ever “do” old Route 66 (backwards) like even many international visitors do, but from Chicago: There is a not-to-be-confused Dog House in Albuquerque that goes back to the mid ’50s for Folks like these who were headed out to dine at all of Mark’s oldies!!!. It is a classic hole-in-the-wall currently noted as a backdrop for Breaking Bad, but primarily for its Foot Long (New Mexico Red, not Tex-Mex/Coney Island) Chile Cheese Dog con onions. Having had over a tenth of a mile of ’em I can vouch for ’em and an Orange Drink (not cola…LOL) as a pairing! Its other claim to fame is here to see its neon animation of the era, after you click the pic!

  • Art says:

    Does anyone have a list of the cities that The Dog House was in? Seems like I remember a restaurant like this in Visalia, CA in the early 60’s behind the car wash on Mooney Blvd. & Walnut Ave. I have been racking my brain and researching this and can not find anything to confirm. I see this picture of the restaurant and it makes me think it was in Visalia. Then I see that Grey’s Chili Dogs in Porterville is very similiar. If anyone could let me know, it would be appreciated.

  • Darryle Purcell says:

    I worked at the Dog House on Melrose and La Brea in 1964. Once in a while I would also work at the one on the Sunset Strip. The all-beef dogs were pretty darn good (since, at a dollar an hour, one tended to eat where one worked). The earlier post about the architect is probably right because, as I remember, the chain was started and owned by the same brothers who started the House of Pancakes.

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