Monday, August 16, 2010

Pink's - Buena Park

If there was a hot dog stand more hyped than Pink's, I don't know what it is. You can't watch a travel show about L.A. without hearing about the lines and the celebrities who have wrapped their collagen-puffed lips around their snappy-skinned wieners.

For a while, the iconic stand insisted they never wanted to expand. I heard them say that their original location on La Brea near Melrose was good enough; and that it would dilute the brand to even think of exporting the dogs out from that spot.

One might wonder then, why they recently broke the vow by opening a Pink's at Knott's Berry Farm. But the fact that they did allows this hot dog skeptic to try it without schlepping it to L.A. to wait in a forever line.
And I'm glad I didn't have to, because while the Guadalajara Dog ($3.85) that I had was good--the skin snapped with a satisfying pop 'neath my incisors--it's still just a hot dog. What made it Guadalajaran? Why that thin drizzle of sour cream, of course! Duh!

My bun was softly steamed (I think) rather than toasted, which is how I much rather prefer it; but the toppings were done as if presentation counted for something.

The Brooklyn Dog ($5.55) used the same 9-inch wiener, but had an excess of pastrami piled on top, all of it chewy thick and remarkably flavorless. I didn't get to taste the Polish sausage ($4.60) a friend had, but he ended up knife-and-forking it. It came with chili regardless of the fact that it did not say it would...which is not a complaint, just an observation.

A side order of fries ($2.95) were cajun-battered, and the onion rings ($3.35) had a crust that reminded me of hush puppies despite the mushy onion beneath.

We ate all of it within earshot of roller coaster screams and smelling distance of Mrs. Knott's famous fried chicken, another lauded eatery that did not choose to expand (a theme park was just built around it). Any bets on when we'll see a Mrs. Knott's chicken franchise taking on KFC?

Pink's Hot Dogs at Knott's
(714) 220-5200
8039 Beach Blvd
Buena Park, CA 90620

Food Issue 2010 - Holiday Restaurants
Fish Camp - Huntington Beach


At 11:14 AM, Anonymous JB said...

I'm from NYC...where the hot dog is the Big Apple's night market noodles, cheesesteak, etc...and have not yet had the Pink's experience. I must say that frankfurter with the pastrami on it looks utterly nauseating. And I'm not exactly salivating over the sour cream one, for the same reason you don't see me making an illegal U-turn for a mustard-coated burrito.

What I'd really like is a Pink's dog with just spicy brown mustard, onions and relish on it. Keep it simple...don't mess with tradition. Imagine the outcry if mini-fish tacos were placed atop a banh mi sandwich.

At 1:42 PM, Blogger mark said...

I went to Pink's a couple years back after a showing of Wicked at the Pantages (sp?). My friends from LA raved about it, so I felt so inclined to try it. The hype was no consistent with what I had. Ridiculous wait times only added to the frustration. At the end of the meal, I was full, but not satiated. It's a hot dog. Not a good one. Not a bad one, but just a hot dog. And it's funny because I read alot of other food blogs and such, and the consensus is the same: why not just go to Costco for some truly bomb hot dogs?

At 5:35 PM, Blogger Molly said...

I've always wanted to go to pinks but I hate driving into LA, so I was excited to see this post.

I have only heard about it on food channels, but have never heard anything negative--I will probably still go, but I'm glad to have more realistic expectations.

At 5:36 PM, Blogger Dennis K. said...

I heard there's a pink's cart at LAX now too. I think it was Bradley Int'l.

At 10:56 AM, Blogger EatTravelEat said...

Glad to hear Pinks didn't even inflate prices for Knotts. It makes me very skeptical of Universal, since I went there a few weeks ago and they were selling hot dogs under the name of Pinks, Nathans, Dodgers, and other brands all at the same price of 6.99 with a bag of chips! This seems so much of a better deal. :)

And I have yet to try Pinks. Guess I'll try it at Knotts one day! Definitely not going to wait in the long line in LA.

At 4:18 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Call me a blaspheme, but I'd eat a carne asada banh mi right this minute. ;-) Of course, banh mi itself wasn't invented until the last century (I think), but thank goodness for that enterprising Vietnamese street vendor who thought he could do better than the French!


I can't argue with anyone who brings up the Costco hot dog. Hot dogs are at its core, supposed to be cheap. And nothing is cheaper, and thus true to its cause, than Costco.


Yes. You gotta at least try it once. It's not ever going to live up to the hype. Your level of enjoyment will be inversely related to how much time you have to wait for it. In Buena Park, that ratio is high. I didn't have to stand in line. I walked up and ordered!


Dang! I didn't know that! I guess they don't mind the brand dilution as much as they said they would.


Yes. It's sort of like the Kogi taco. It's good but it's not two-hours good!

At 9:53 PM, Blogger digkv said...

There's a Pink's in Vegas too! at the Planet Hollywood Miracle MIle Shops, and at Vegas prices, which is a lot... Never had a chance to try it myself though, and now I doubt I'll take the trek out to Buena Park to try it when PCH dogs is in Orange and Newport (I hear their hot dogs are the same as Pink's, same distributor and all). Honestly though, my fav hot dog is from Ikea, at 50 cents for one, it's a delicious and cheap eat.

At 12:25 PM, Anonymous Just Cid said...

Knotts' did try a bout of minor franchising about 10 years or so ago.

From what I remember, they opened 2-3 Knotts' Family Restaurants throughout Southern California (the one I remember was out in Rancho Santa Margarita).

The menu was similar to a Claim Jumper type of thing, with the traditional Knotts' fare as its centerpiece.

I think they lasted about 2 years and then went under.

This is all coming from memory, so pardon me if the dates and durations may be wrong.

At 3:53 PM, Blogger elmomonster said...


Ah yes, IKEA's hot dogs. I always forget how much I like them simply because of that price!

Just Cid,

I had no idea! Thanks for the history lesson. Now that I recall, I might have even remembered that Knott's tried to expand, but this was before my food blogging days, before I even paid attention to anything besides video games and studying.


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