“They say hot dogs are an antedote for a hangover,” says Richard Pink, owner of Pink’s and son of original owner, Paul Pink. And in a town known for epic partying and equally memorable hangovers, that’s a good thing.
When Pink’s began serving 73 years ago in Hollywood, a hot dog cost just 10 cents. Paul Pink founded the celebrated eatery with little more than a pushcart and a long extension cord, which was wired to a neighbor’s outlet. Pink’s, in large part, gained popularity because it was an illustrious place to spot celebrities, such as Nicolas Cage, Bill Cosby and Tom Hanks. “Because Pink’s is located right in the heart of Hollywood, and there are so many studios nearby, we started attracting a celebrity crowd,” says Richard Pink.
Another reason Pink’s is so popular is the signature hot dog and the outrageous toppings. “The key to our dog is that it snaps when you bite into it. It’s nice and juicy, and it has a wonderful flavor,” Richard says. For those unable to jet to Hollywood every time they crave a hot dog, Pink’s has two Las Vegas locations.
Pink partnered with Block 16 Hospitality—the same company that operates restaurants such as the Barrymore, Public House and Holsteins. The first Pink’s location in Las Vegas is in the Miracle Mile Shops at Planet Hollywood. In December, a second Pink’s location opened at Red Rock Resort. “Now you can pull right into Red Rock and pull into the sports book and it’s easy. It’s great food and a great value,” says Billy Richardson, owner of Block 16.
Although Richard can’t be here all the time, he assures that you’ll get the same hot dog whether you’re in Los Angeles or Las Vegas. “When you come to Pink’s, it’s the exact same topping and hot dog anywhere you go. Everyone wants to know if it’s the same, and it’s exactly the same,” he says. Richard credits the execution of good quality control with having a good restaurant partner. “The most important thing we have is our partnership with the guys at Block 16.”
As for those toppings, Pink’s makes them all fresh, including the signature chili, a closely guarded recipe. “We have every kind of topping you can imagine. We come up with all these combinations that really try to satisfy the taste buds of every customer that comes in,” Pink says.
Here, many of the special hot dogs are named for global and local celebrities. The Holly Madison Dog, for example, has lots of ketchup, while the Lord of the Rings Dog features a hot dog link running through onion rings and topped with barbecue sauce. And the celebrity watching is no less star-studded; in Vegas, celebrities who crave Pink’s hot dogs include Holly Madison, Louie Anderson, Frank Marino and Donny and Marie Osmond.
While the food is tasty and Pink’s does draw a celebrity crowd, Richard notes that there’s more to his family’s namesake empire than just that. “You can watch your food being prepared. It’s a form of eat-ertainment,” he says
Another success factor is having the right attitude. Pink’s offers guests a welcoming and friendly environment. “I think there’s one personality for [all] Pink’s restaurants, and that is friendliness, service, smile and gratitude. That is everywhere,” Pink says.