Hot Dog on a Stick

4th of July weekend is obviously the time to celebrate all things American. And what can be more American than the hot dog? After all, it’s the literal melting pot of meat, reconstituted, grilled up, slathered in mustard and thrown in between a bun.

Unfortunately Santa Monica is a heath conscious community and a subsequent wiener wasteland. Most locals would never dream of consuming something as heavily processed as the lowly tube steak. Hot dogs aren’t exactly made farm to casing. But with all the bbq’s, beach parties and summer celebrations many closet hot dog eaters will be coming out of the woodwork this weekend.

According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, July 4th Weekend is the biggest hot dog holiday of the year with approximately 155 million to be eaten.

Consider this a Santa Monica hot dog guide for the holiday weekend and the remaining dog days of summer too.

If you’re willing to brave the crowds, and they will be out in droves, The Santa Monica Pier has two noteworthy spots in an area where red hot purveyors are a dime a dozen.

The original Hot Dog on a Stick below the base of The Santa Monica Pier is a must mention. You know what to expect, long lines and high priced corn dogs. But for the iconic little red shack nostalgia and heavily sugared cherry lemonade are powerful persuaders. They have veggie corn dogs too.

Pier Burger which is known for having good burgers for a tourist trap holds true for its hot dogs as well. Pier Burger splits a 1/4 pound Nathan’s Famous frank on the flat top and fries to a crisp. If hot dog eating champion Joey Chestnut could eat 69 of them, you could certainly eat one maybe two.

Away from beach not much is happening on the hot dog home front. You’ll find serviceable char-dogs on the cheap at greasy spoons like George’s on Lincoln and Marine as well as Big Jo’s on 20th and Broadway.

Frankfurters can be found from the bars on Main Street to the delis of Wilshire Blvd. On the Third Street Promenade, Barney’s Beanery serves up a massive chili cheese dog worthy of a fork, knife and lots of napkins. In a hurry? The Wienerschnitzel on Pico has a drive thru window for fast hot dog action. But with all these listings this town seems to lack any kind of frankfurter with flare.

The closest dog with pizzazz came from the most unassuming of places. Seasalt Fish Grill in Downtown Santa Monica oddly enough boasts The Loco Dog, a Wagyu beef hot dog with spicy slaw, crispy onions, Dijon and a hoagie roll. It’s hard to discern the Wagyu once it takes the form of a hot dog, nonetheless, it was supported nicely by a contrasting cast of toppings and was one of the few bright spots on the Santa Monica hotdog scene.

If you want something done right it is best to do it yourself. A Cut Above butcher shop stocks Big City Reds, a premium grade red hot. Pick up a few dozen and head home, because the best hot dog is one sizzling on the grill, enjoyed amongst family and friends.

If a hot dog still isn’t cutting the mustard then you probably need more to drink. You’ll get there and when you do remember this guide to set you in the right direction.


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