It has graced book covers, it has been seen featured on the big and small screen, it has been visited by celebrities like Betty White, Sigourney Weaver, and the band Devo, just to name a few. What is it? It’s a 17 foot long hot dog stand, dubbed Tail o’ the Pup, one of the most beloved icons of LA, and after being in storage for almost two decades, it’s finally back open!
Designed by Milton Black, Tail o’ the Pup first opened in 1946 by the famous dance couple Veloz and Yolanda, whose talents were seen on the silver screen. A prime example of programmatic (also known as “California Crazy”) architecture, Tail o’ the Pup was originally situated at 311 La Cienega Boulevard, and quickly became an institution over the next 30 years. In 1976 Eddie Blake purchased it, and moved it in the 80s. Blake operated Tail o’ the Pup for almost another 30 years, finally forced to close in 2005. Blake’s grandson attempted to carry on with the larger than life dog and bun, but failed, and in 2017 donated it to Valley Relics Museum (click to check out my visits to that museum), who planned for it to become part of their ever growing collection of California nostalgia. But then 1933 Group stepped in. With several other iconic LA eateries under their belt, 1933 Group purchased the huge hot dog in 2018 and began restoration, which included glorious hand-painted signs by Golden West Signs. They also had to hunt for a new location. After years of searching, Tail o’ the Pup finally greeted new and old customers alike last week, with a grand opening on National Hot Dog Day.
The beloved chicken wire and stucco hog dog isn’t the only thing that got a revamp, the menu did too, and it now includes veggie and gluten-free options. But Tail o’ the Pup hasn’t forgotten its inspiration, and has put treats for real life dogs on the menu as well. We witnessed several guests stroll up with their four legged friends and order “Doggie Beer” and “Doggie Pups” for them. The food for both humans and pups arrive in some of the cutest packaging I’ve ever seen too (although sadly they were out of the dog house shaped fry boxes during our visit) and there’s plenty of merch to take home too!
The massive hot dog is attached to a small building which houses the kitchen, small indoor dining room, and two patios. But the colossal dog isn’t the only piece of history at this location. The building was known as “The Doors Workshop” in 1970 and 1971, serving as rehearsal space and is where they recorded their final album, LA Woman. The room where Jim Morrison laid down vocals is now the restroom.
While never an icon of Route 66 in its heyday, today the Tail o’ the Pup has been added to the fabled Mother Road as it now sits on Santa Monica Boulevard, which is Route 66 as it runs though Hollywood, and it is ever so fitting. Enjoy your very own pipping hot pup at Tail o’ the Pup at 8512 Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood. Learn more and buy merch on their website.