Arts & Entertainment

As Tail O' the Pup gets a new home, remembering LA's best examples of novelty architecture

Two customers eat at Eddie Blake's Tail o' the Pup, a famous hot dog stand located at 300 N. La Cienega Boulevard.
Two customers eat at Eddie Blake's Tail o' the Pup, a famous hot dog stand located at 300 N. La Cienega Boulevard.
David Clarke from the Security Pacific National Bank Collection via Los Angeles Public Library
Two customers eat at Eddie Blake's Tail o' the Pup, a famous hot dog stand located at 300 N. La Cienega Boulevard.
Launched in 1931 by former amateur boxer Art Whizin, the Chili Bowl chain had 22 outposts at its peak. Each building was round and shaped like a chili bowl with 26 stools around a circular counter where diners could get the signature dish: an open-faced burger blanketed with chili. This 1937 photo shows the original Chili Bowl, located at 3012 Crenshaw Boulevard.
Los Angeles Public Library Collection
Two customers eat at Eddie Blake's Tail o' the Pup, a famous hot dog stand located at 300 N. La Cienega Boulevard.
The Toed Inn was originally located on on Channel Road in Santa Monica. After it was damaged by a flood in 1938, it was moved to 12008 Wilshire Boulevard in Westwood. (1920)
Los Angeles Public Library Collection
Two customers eat at Eddie Blake's Tail o' the Pup, a famous hot dog stand located at 300 N. La Cienega Boulevard.
Shaped like an owl, the Hoot Owl Cafe had a head that rotated, blinking eyes made from Buick headlamps and a sign that read: "Hoot hoot, I scream." It was designed by Roy Hattrup in 1926 - 27 and for more than 50 years, his wife, Tillie, ran it. It was originally located in Rosemead but was moved to two subsequent locations, both in South Gate, before being demolished in 1979. (Photo via Los Angeles Public Library Collection)
Two customers eat at Eddie Blake's Tail o' the Pup, a famous hot dog stand located at 300 N. La Cienega Boulevard.
Shaped like a blimp (aka a zeppelin), the Zep Diner was located at 515 W. Florence Ave. near Figueroa St. (1931) (Photo via Los Angeles Public Library Collection)
Two customers eat at Eddie Blake's Tail o' the Pup, a famous hot dog stand located at 300 N. La Cienega Boulevard.
The Teepee was a popular ice cream stand in Long Beach on 2nd St. at Covina Ave, 1931. During this time, the swastika was commonly displayed as a positive symbol before the Nazi Party adopted it and gave it its hateful connotations. (Photo via Los Angeles Public Library Collection)
Two customers eat at Eddie Blake's Tail o' the Pup, a famous hot dog stand located at 300 N. La Cienega Boulevard.
Originally built as an ice cream parlor with an oversized ice cream cone at each corner, the building became the Feed Rack restaurant during the Depression. Notice the sign: "Hello, Oldtimer! Are you hungry? Stop and get some coffee & donuts. They are on us." (circa 1930) (Photo via Los Angeles Public Library Collection)
Two customers eat at Eddie Blake's Tail o' the Pup, a famous hot dog stand located at 300 N. La Cienega Boulevard.
"There was an old woman, who lived in a shoe; she had so many children, she didn't know what to do." Apparently, she opened the Mother Goose Pantry at 1951 E. Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena. (1928) (Photo via Los Angeles Public Library Collection)
Two customers eat at Eddie Blake's Tail o' the Pup, a famous hot dog stand located at 300 N. La Cienega Boulevard.
As its name suggests, the Tamale, located at 6421 Whittier Blvd. in East L.A., specialized in Mexican food as well as hamburgers, chili, malted milk and something called "Spanish delight." The structure went on to become Charley's Beauty Salon in 2001. (Photo via Los Angeles Public Library Collection)
Two customers eat at Eddie Blake's Tail o' the Pup, a famous hot dog stand located at 300 N. La Cienega Boulevard.
Located at 1124 Vine St. in Hollywood, the Hollywood Flower Pot is both the name of this flower shop and an accurate description of its facade. (1930) (Photo via Los Angeles Public Library Collection)
Two customers eat at Eddie Blake's Tail o' the Pup, a famous hot dog stand located at 300 N. La Cienega Boulevard.
This photo of the Sphinx Realty Company, located at 537 N. Fairfax Ave. across from where Fairfax High School now stands, supposedly dates to 1920, so it's too early for it to have been inspired by the Egyptology craze that swept the U.S. after Tutankhamun's tomb was discovered in 1922. Notice the signs listing nearby properties for sale. Back then you could buy a six-bedroom, corner stucco house for $7,200. (Photo via Los Angeles Public Library Collection)
Two customers eat at Eddie Blake's Tail o' the Pup, a famous hot dog stand located at 300 N. La Cienega Boulevard.
Although the exact L.A. location of The Airplane Café is unknown, the airplane-shaped restaurant came with wings, a propeller and wheels, although it rested on raised slabs of wood. (circa 1924) (Photo via Los Angeles Public Library Collection)
Two customers eat at Eddie Blake's Tail o' the Pup, a famous hot dog stand located at 300 N. La Cienega Boulevard.
A giant grand piano marks the entrance of the California Piano Supply Co., which was renamed the Big Red Piano in the 1960s. (circa 1920s - '30s) (Photograph via Los Angeles Public Library Collection)
Two customers eat at Eddie Blake's Tail o' the Pup, a famous hot dog stand located at 300 N. La Cienega Boulevard.
Shaped like a milk can, the Cream Can sold buttermilk (5 cents), orange juice, root beer and other beverages. (Photo via Los Angeles Public Library Collection)
Two customers eat at Eddie Blake's Tail o' the Pup, a famous hot dog stand located at 300 N. La Cienega Boulevard.
The Pig Cafe was built in 1934 near La Brea and Rosewood avenues in Hollywood. (Photo via Los Angeles Public Library Collection)


The Tail O' the Pup, the famous L.A. hot dog stand shaped like, well, a hot dog, will finally have a new home — but it won't be dishing out franks. As of Thursday, the landmark restaurant will have a place of honor at the Valley Relics Museum in Chatsworth, the Daily News reports.

The iconic hot dog stand was built in 1946 and remained open until 2005. It has been out of commission since then and currently rests in a Lake Elsinore salvage yard.

Tail O' the Pup is one of the most famous examples of  "programmatic architecture" — buildings designed in the shape of food, animals or other items. Southern California was ground zero for the boom in novelty architecture, which reached its apex in the early 20th century.

Motoring was still a new pastime. Business owners, often but not always restaurateurs, were desperate to catch the eye of passing drivers. Unhampered by modern building codes, they built these cool and kooky structures shaped like owls, toads, pigs, planes and more. 

Most — but not all — have been demolished. The Idle Hour, a barrel-shaped building on Vineland Avenue in North Hollywood, was revamped and restored to its original glory.

Fortunately, Southern California's rich history of novelty architecture remains well documented.

The Tail O' the Pup facade will be available to view at Print Lab in North Hollywood on June 15 at 2 p.m. before it moves to the Valley Relics Museum, Tommy Gelinas, the museum's curator and founder, told KPCC.  

"Tail O' the Pup will continue building its brand," he said. "They do have plans to open a brick and mortar restaurant in Santa Barbara and they have a few other locations in mind."

The restaurant's brand name will also live beyond brick and mortar locations, the Los Angeles Times reports. Most recently, it had a pop-up food truck last September featuring both new and old school recipes.

This story has been updated.