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Where to Eat: Lunch at Pink's at Universal Studios Hollywood

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Published: May 1, 2014 at 2:46 PM

Day or night, you'll find one of the most persistent lines in LA outside the Pink's hot dog stand on LaBrea and Melrose. Known for its long menu of topping combinations, usually named for various celebrities, Pink's has built a national reputation for its brand, which includes outposts at several theme parks around the country.

Including Universal Studios Hollywood, where Pink's occupies a prime space on the edge of the new Universal Plaza, at the center of the park.

Jeff Elliott and I enjoyed lunch at Pink's a while back, ordering two of the restaurant's more popular dogs.

The Mulholland Drive Dog, on the left, is served with grilled onions and mushrooms, nacho cheese, and bacon ($9.49), while Pink's most popular offering is the Bacon Chili Cheese Dog (on the right, $8.99). Both are served with seasoned fries.

The big plus here is the lack of the hour-long wait often found at the original Pink's. But the dogs served at Universal taste much the same as at the original — a pleasantly spicy, beefy flavor from the hot dog, which offers a nice snap from the casing. I like Pink's chili, too, which isn't too chunky for a hot dog topping, nor too bland to be a waste of time and effort. It strikes a nice balance between substance and condiment, adding to the hot dog without overwhelming it. I could, however, do without the yellow mustard under the dog. I understand how some might like the sharp taste to cut the richness of hot dog, chili, bacon, and cheese, but, hey, I just don't like yellow mustard. (Jeff gave his hot dog an enthusiastic passing grade, too.)

Also on the menu: a "naked" dog ($6.99) and Polish ($8.49), a Chicago-style Polish served mild or spicy ($8.99), a bacon burrito dog ($9.49 — it's two hot dogs, bacon, cheese, onions, and chili, wrapped in a tortilla), a chili cheeseburger ($10.49), and turkey cheeseburger ($9.49) The kids' meal is $5.99 and includes a choice of kid's hot dog or chicken tenders, fries or applesauce, a cookie, and a drink.

So place your order at the window, walk around the corner to pick it up, then find one of the many nearby tables surrounding the plaza to enjoy your lunch. Even if you're not in the mood for hot dogs, with the Flintstones' Bar-B-Q, Mel's Diner, and the new Palace Theatre Cafe just steps away, you have plenty of other options for a quick-service lunch on the plaza, as well.

Readers' Opinions

From James Koehl on May 1, 2014 at 4:33 PM
I'm glad that Pink's decided to open a restaurant at Cedar Point a few years ago. Last year on opening day, after riding GateKeeper for the first time, my son and I decided to grab an early lunch at Pink's. While we were sitting there eating I saw a guy standing there watching the diners in the dining room. He looked like a guy I saw in lots of the pictures decorating the walls, so I went up and asked him if he was the same guy. He was- Mr. Pink himself. Turns out he comes for opening day of Cedar Point every year to be sure everything is in order. He was a really nice guy- we chatted for a few minutes- I told him that his fries were almost as good as Mama Berardi's fries (she ran a concession at Cedar Point for decades and is still remembered fondly by many "old timers"- or so I'm told ;+) I then went back to finish my terrific dog- don't remember what kind I got that day. I saw him introduce himself to several of the workers and guests there that day.

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