INCREDIBLE EDIBLE MUNCH
Art's Famous Chili Dogs hangs up the buns
After 80-year run, venerable All American chili dog joint shutters the grill
LOS ANGELES (MNS) – After a run of 80 years, Art’s Famous Chili Dogs in South LA has hung up the buns. But not before one customer who had been coaxed to try one of the eatery’s chili dogs for years finally relented.
“For year’s my dad and my brother been telling us to come try it out,” Brianna Guzman told KABC News. “So, this is the first time and I’m just sad about it. It was really good.”
Guzman chowed down on the Jumbo Chili Dog, immediately realizing after the first bite what she’d missed all these years. Sadly, she wouldn’t be able to return.
Christopher Oliver said he grew up in the neighborhood and has been a customer of Art's Famous Chili Dog Stand for over three decades.
“Sorry to hear that it’s not going to be in business anymore. It really hurts, it really hurts my heart,” Oliver told KABC. “Now I’ve got to go back and explain to my kids, this is my last chili dog.”
Art’s Famous Chili Dogs, was a familiar sight at1410 W. Florence Ave. for 80 years, founded in 1939 by frankfurter entrepreneur, Art Elkind, who was its owner until 1990. After Elkind passed, Darrell Nelms bought it in 1994, remodeled it and kept the popular spot operative until March 8, 2020. Nelms’ daughters Fallon and Naijah Nelms co-owned the stand with their mother.
“This was our father’s dream" to own and operate the chili dog grill, Fallon said of Darrell, who himself passed in 2018.
Fallon told KABC of she and Naijah’s valiant effort to keep the chili dog stand open, but in recent years haven’t been able to attract enough foot traffic to justify keeping the doors open, 80 years ago, Elkind sold the dogs for only 10 cents.
Looking back four decades
A chemical engineer, Elkind turned to selling hot dogs when unable to find work during the Great Depression. He opened the joint two miles west of its current location at Florence and Normandie Avenues. Elkind claims to have invented the chili dog when he was selling hot dogs and chili from a pushcart when someone suggested that he combine the two (other hot dog vendors have disputed this legend). He did, however, invent his own hot dog steamer, which kept all of hot dog’s ingredients at the same temperature, and for using a hot dog which was only part pork and had no natural casing, which contributed to his chili dogs’ unique flavor.
This stand quickly became well-known for its chili dogs and also for the personality of Elkind. He was described as a classic New Yorker, who was tough on the outside but kind on the inside.
Elkind died of a heart attack in October 1990.
Metropolis News Service.