Last fall, Los Angeles novelty architecture aficionados and fast foodies alike (together, a powerful contingent) came together in celebration with news that Tail o’ the Pup, a frankfurter-peddling duck of utmost prestige, would reopen in 2022 at a new location along a Route 66-designated stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood.
At the time it was unclear when exactly the storied L.A. hot dog stand, which for decades famously served hungry Angelenos out of a structure shaped like a Paul Bunyan-sized wiener and bun, would be resuscitated. First debuting in 1946 at 311 North La Cienega Boulevard under the ownership of celebrity ballroom dancing duo Frank Veloz and Yolanda Casazza, the Milton Black-designed roadside hot dog stand has been out of sight and (mostly) hidden away in storage for the better part of the last 15-plus years after it closed up shop in late 2005. (A plan to revive it several years ago never panned out.) Now, as first teased by the Los Angeles Conservancy on its Instagram account and recently confirmed by new co-owner and designer Bobby Green in a June 28 interview with KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis, the freshly revamped and resurrected Tail o’ the Pup has an official opening date: July 20, which most appropriately, is also National Hot Dog Day.
Featuring an outdoor dining area, beer garden, and expanded kitchen, the new soon-to-open Tail o’ the Pup at 8152 Santa Monica Boulevard isn’t too far from its original spot in Weho on La Cienega. As noted by Eater, an eatery named Benvenuto Café previously operated at the site although the address is mostly known as a bona fide rock ‘n’ roll landmark due to its associations with The Doors. Tail o’ the Pup taking up residence at this specific location seems nothing short of karmic as, in its original incarnation, the stand was a favorite haunt of L.A. rockers and has appeared in more than a few music videos.
Tail o’ the Pup version 2.0 comes courtesy of historic preservation-minded L.A. hospitality company 1933 Group, which acquired the timeless work of midcentury mimetic architecture from the Valley Relics Museum in 2018 and has spent the last several years sourcing new locations and prepping for its grand return. A year before 1933 Group, which is run by Green alongside Dimitri Komarov and Dmitry Liberman, came into possession of the structure, it had been donated to the museum by the family of previous owner Eddie Blake. (In 1976, Blake purchased the historic hot dog stand from Veloz and Casazza; several years later, it was threatened with demolition and subsequently relocated to nearby 329 San Vincente Boulevard where it operated up until 2005.)
“The return of Tail o’ the Pup is a direct reflection of 1933 Group’s dedication to preserving, protecting, and reviving Los Angeles history,” reads the Tail o’ the Pup website. “Tail o’ the Pup’s giant hotdog shaped building has been attracting visitors to Hollywood since 1946, but this revival isn’t just about nostalgia. We aim to not only celebrate Tail o’ the Pup’s past, but also pave the way for new endeavors and memories which can be celebrated for years to come.”
Although hot dogs are obviously the main event on the revived stand’s menu, it’s also been updated and expanded to offer other items—including milkshakes and more—that “satisfy modern tastes while honoring Tail o’ the Pup’s history.” 1933 Group also has a full-blown online merch shop offering Tail o’ the Pup clothing and collectibles.
Tail o’ the Pup joins other architectural landmark establishments—some once-endangered by new development—operated by 1933 Group including West Hollywood’s legendary Formosa Café, the barrel-shaped Idle Hour in North Hollywood, Highland Park Bowl, and Bigfoot Lodge in Los Feliz.
News of Tail o’ the Pup’s reopening later this month follows reports that another singular L.A. landmark, the Cinerama Dome, will eventually reopen along with larger ArcLight Hollywood multiplex after it was shuttered during the pandemic. And on the Weho fast food front, fabled burger joint Irv’s Burgers reopened on July 1 in a new location on Santa Monica Boulevard after a four-year closure. Like Tail O’ the Pup, Irv’s first opened in the 1940s and has gained a legion of admirers over the decades despite operating in several different locations.