Pink's Chili Dogs
Elliot Gould, usually the taciturn master of the monosyllable, had gone into a soliloquy on The Tonight Show about Pink's on La Brea Avenue in Hollywood. Henry Fonda, another guest, said he'd never had a chili dog, but he'd been to Nathan's. Gould looked shocked. "Nathan's is New York," the Big Apple-born actor defended. "Pink's is Los Angeles."
But Pink didn't know what it was 41 years ago when he started in the same location with an umbrella-covered perambulator selling hot dogs "with everything" for 10 cents. In the next few years, he'd have gladly sold the business, but no one would offer him a good price. So, in 1946, he put up the modest stand he's still in today, continued serving "a good-quality hot dog, and everybody kept coming back."
Pink's family moved to L.A. from Minneapolis when he was 16. They owned a produce market on Melrose Avenue, and he went to Los Angeles High School. Now, in his seventies, he opens his stand at 8 a.m., does all the buying (he uses kosher hot dogs specially made in L.A. and all-beef chili), and he's usually there till midafternoon, kibitzing with regulars such as Bill Cosby, Carl Reiner, Jerry Lewis, Diana Ross, Regis Philbin and Frank Sinatra.
For 15 years, Pink also ran a flower business next door, but decided to stick to hot dogs, hamburgers and tamales. And the last time he thought of opening other branches of Pink's was 20 years ago, for he decided that "without the personal touch, you can't make a go of it. It proved wise."