Tail o’ the Pup

One of the most famous structures in Los Angeles — it seemed to get in every montage of city sights — was the hot dog stand that looked like a giant hot dog. Tail o’ the Pup was built in 1946 and opened near the corner of La Cienega and Beverly Boulevards with a real, star-studded Hollywood-type gala. It was built by a man named Milton Black and its original owners were the dance team of Veloz and Yolanda. It was a way of investing their show biz earnings in something more stable. The dog, by the way, was 17 feet long and was basically a front piece that fit onto a more conventional kitchen trailer.

Around 1971, a man named Eddie Blake bought it and thereafter operated the stand with the help of his son, Dennis. Dennis eventually took over the family business and the Blakes did a pretty good job. Obviously, the novelty attracted customers but the quality of the dogs kept them coming back.

All was well until 1985 when the landlord decided to build a luxury hotel on that corner. The Blakes moved their big dog over to San Vicente. A few years later, an expansion of facilities at the nearby Cedars-Sinai Hospital displaced them again. Unable to find a suitable new location, the Blakes moved the giant frankfurter into a storage facility as they dickered for a new address. At last report, they’re still looking and they say that when they do find the right plot of ground, the big wienie will come out of storage and they’ll slap on a new coat of paint — or mustard or whatever — and set up shop.

I’ll bet they do it. The stand is too famous not to be part of the L.A. landscape once again. When they manage it, I’ll amend this item…but right now, it’s an L.A. restaurant that ain’t there no more.

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