I find it strange that Hollywood is like my backyard, and that I didn't start hanging out there until I found out about Skooby's.
When most people think about hot dogs in L.A., they think about Pink's. It's a Los Angeles institution, but frankly I find it overrated. And overcrowded. I don't think the hot dogs there are so great that I would be willing to stand on line for a half hour, especially considering that you only have to wait a few minutes for a Costco Polish and it only costs $1.50 and you get a drink. That being said, it's not like Skooby's hot dogs are altogether amazing either, but then it's only a few blocks away from Pink's, you barely have to wait to order and get one served up, and they hafe infinitely better fries. The difference really is their fries and their Arnold Palmers.
I discovered Skooby's because I was hunting for the best fries in L.A., particularly Belgian-style French fries. Researching the Chowhound message boards led me to Skooby's. Skooby's doesn't really serve Belgian-style fries, but they are good, and if they're not the best in L.A., then I don't know who is.
Skooby's uses real, fresh Idaho and Washington potatoes that are generously cut into traditional fry strips and less traditional chip slices. They are double fried (the best way to fry) in peanut oil, then tossed with seasoned salt and served up with an aioli dipping sauce. If the fries only consisted of the fries proper, that would be good enough to distinguish themselves from most other restaurants that serve fries. Add in the chip slices and the aioli though, and you have something otherworldly. Add chili, cheddar, or bacon and you have heaven. The fries would be one of the sides in my dream meal (which would also have Pioneer Chicken).
The hotdogs, on the other hand, are alright. The hot dogs and buns are made specially for them, and are different from the other hot dog joints around town. The hot dogs are somewhat small, especially when compared to the hot dogs at Pink's, or even Carney's. But they have less of a mass-produced feel to them, if that makes sense. The buns are atypical of hot dog buns and are more similar to rolls. They also have a slightly chewy quality to them which may or may not be desirable to some. Of note is their chili dog which they serve with their homemade chili made with Guinness. It is a very mellow chili that has a bit more personality than say Pink's or Tommy's.
They also serve one of the best Arnold Palmers in town, made with fresh lemonade. I find that both their ice tea and their lemonade go well together, neither one standing out more than the other. It's not too tart, not too sweet, and not too bitter.
My typical meal at Skooby's is usually a double bacon cheddar fries, a side of hot dog, and an Arnold Palmer. It's a generous meal, with an excellent proportion of fries to hot dog. I would suggest however ordering additional aioli, since you'll find yourself wanting more.
Some other notes about Skooby's:
- 5 out of 7 on my mess-o-meter, meaning you will need napkins.
- Skooby's is literally a hole in the wall in Hollywood, so don't expect any fancy indoor seating. Or any seating for that matter. Eating space is very limited outside. The Manhattan Beach location is probably roomier (they also serve burgers there), but it isn't the same as hanging out on Hollywood Blvd.
- What you lose in space, they make up for with an awesome soundtrack. They're constantly blasting great punk music, sometimes even foreign punk music.
- If you have the option of choosing between a bacon cheddar hot dog and a double Skooby's fries, or a regular hot dog and a double bacon cheddar cheddar fries, go for the latter. The price breakdown is such that you get more value adding the cheddar and the bacon to the fries rather than the dog. Or better yet, get both bacon-cheddarized.
6654 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA 90028