Lemonade: The new building looks very similar to the old but is a little larger. Emily Sawicki

After being closed for the better part of 2022, Santa Monica’s iconic beachfront snack shack Hot Dog on a Stick reopened Thursday without much fanfare. The prior 1940s-era building was fully demolished and replaced with a bright new version in its exact location but 50% larger, expanding from a tiny 440 square feet up to 680. 

Despite its designation as a historic landmark, the Santa Monica Landmarks Commission approved the demolition, agreeing that the new version would retain landmark status. 

“It’ll still have the same signature red and white, still be primarily rectangular and shape, [still have] the windows in the front — all of those sorts of things,” project architect Michael Riley described as his team was securing final permits late last year. “So, you know, there was a lot of thought [put] into making the building as close as possible to the existing building.”

The project was a long time in the making. First proposed in 2009, the remodel was first paused due to a company bankruptcy declaration in 2014. More announcements came soon after in 2015, but by late 2021, the demo was still on hold. 

Demolition finally began in early 2022, with an ambitious announced opening date of Memorial Day this year. That was eventually revised to Labor Day, but various delays kept the remodel from being complete until this week.

“The Hot Dog on a Stick Muscle Beach location is where our brand’s history began, and we are forever grateful to the locals in the area for giving us such an amazing start,” Jenn Johnston, President of Hot Dog on a Stick, said in a statement provided by spokespeople following the demolition earlier this year. “For over 75 years, it has been our pleasure to serve up smiles with our fresh, hand-stomped lemonade and signature stick offerings. We built a unique experience that people seek out, all while not losing our authenticity.”

The reopening was a low-key affair. The day it opened, the new and improved Muscle Beach Hot Dog on a Stick saw a steady stream of customers including young couples, families and workers on lunch break. 

A spokesperson for Hot Dog on a Stick confirmed there was no celebration planned to kick off the reopening, but wrote in an email that “We plan to have a big celebration next year. Right now, we were focused on being open again and serving our amazing fans!”

The storefront, located at 1633 Ocean Front Walk between the Santa Monica Pier and Chess Park, is open each day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

emily@smdp.com