Tail O' the Pup Hot Dog Stand to Make Its Triumphant, Nostalgic Return

Beloved hot dog stand Tail O' the Pup, closed these past 11 years, is set to finally reopen next week in West Hollywood.

This version will be a food truck, the first location in what the new owners — Kevin Michaels and Brett Doherty, along with Jay Miller, the grandson of Eddie Blake, the Pup's previous owner — hope will be a number of Tail O' the Pups. The original hot dog–shaped building, a classic of mimetic architecture, has been in storage since 2005 and is rumored to be due for delivery at a downtown location in early 2017.

Artist's rendering of the planned downtown location, with the original stand serving as a façadeEXPAND
Artist's rendering of the planned downtown location, with the original stand serving as a façade
Courtesy Tail O' the Pup

Mimetic architecture, also known as programmatic architecture, is a style that developed in the 1920s as a way to attract passers-by, who were now in fast-moving cars. The building itself would be built to look like a giant version of the food sold within: perhaps a coffee cup, or a tamale, or a donut. Giant, decorative representations also fit into the category, as do shapes that describe the name of the establishment: a dog for the Bulldog Cafe, a woman for the Betsy Ann restaurant. The Brown Derby was probably the most famous example.

Los Angeles is in the midst of a nostalgia boom, even when it comes to food. This is the perfect time for Tail O' the Pup to reintroduce its classic combos that would not be created today. For instance, the Mexican Olé is topped with chili, Parmesan cheese and onions. Does the name or pairing make sense? No. Will Angelenos go nuts for it? Of course.

Speaking of which, the original Pup was famed for topping its hot dogs with a variety of nuts. No word on if those are coming back, but new dog designs include the Pastrami Dog (pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, mustard) and the Nacho Dog (guacamole, cheddar cheese, pico de gallo).

Welcome back, you kitschy deliverer of calorie bombs.

451 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood; no phone, facebook.com/tailothepup. Open daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Read Jim Thurman's great piece on classic L.A. hot dogs here


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