For a certain type of Angeleno, perhaps one with a deep personal history with the city (or just someone with a reverence for LA’s unique brand of nostalgia), there are few things quite like the Tail O’ the Pup stand. A 1946 legend left behind a generation ago, the stand is part of a casual street dining culture that is still pervasive in Los Angeles, even as the city continues to burst with big new openings and high-profile chefs. The stand has long represented, in its funky architectural way, the sunny disposition of many Angelenos, and, of course, the hot dogs have always been delicious.
Now after nearly a decade of misses and subtle moves, the 1933 Group — already famous for their love of rehabilitation over redevelopment in the dining space — is returning the Tail O’ the Pup to its rightful place along Santa Monica Boulevard in the heart of West Hollywood. The hot dog-shaped stand with its red and white streamers and mustard yellow design touches returns to life on July 20.
And it’s not just the Pup stand that is born anew. The 1933 Group has completely re-tuned the restaurant’s spare menu, expanding from the hot dogs to include corn dogs, a variety of fries (yes, there will be chili and cheese), burgers, fountain drinks, milkshakes, and soft serve. The dogs are still there, including several nods to the different decades in which Tail O’ the Pup has served — the 1946 option comes as a split dog with grilled onions and mustard, while the 1970 iteration is a full dog with ketchup and mustard, no onions. There’s a hot dog with bacon on it, there are jalapenos and sauerkraut finishes to be found, as well as veggie dogs, burgers, gluten-free buns, and even beer and wine. It’s all there, somehow the same and different after all these years.
The space, too, has been redefined by the 1933 Group. The frontage for the original stand has been painstakingly restored to pay homage to its place in programmatic architecture (or novelty architecture) history, wherein buildings are designed to emulate the things that they sell. Los Angeles is full of old nods to such whimsical designs, from tamale shops to camera stores, to the historic Chili Bowl where sushi restaurant Shunji lived for years. Fans can still walk up to order before snagging a booth, stool, or seat at the building behind, which is also decked out in classic whites, reds, and yellows. Food arrives on red trays or in bespoke paper wrappers, leaving fans to score a spot downstairs or at an attached second-story dining room.
Not one to leave a bit of history out of the story, the 1933 Group also acknowledges the history of the address itself at 8512 Santa Monica Boulevard via a plaque, noting that the Doors recorded music here including LA Woman. Again, for a certain type of history-facing Angeleno, it’s the overlapping details and hidden surprises that make this city so special. The 1933 Group knows this genre well, having built a legacy on restoration at hospitality spaces like Highland Park Bowl, Formosa Cafe, and Idle Hour in North Hollywood.
Tail O’ the Pup opens wide for fans of vintage architecture, hot dog aficionados, and everyone else on July 20 (National Hot Dog Day, naturally), keeping hours from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (or later) moving forward. Expect some limited evening service hours at the address, around the corner from its previous home on La Cienega decades ago, between then and now.