Sunday, September 12, 2004

Taste test: The Stand, Encino

Eating L.A was invited to try The Stand in Encino by its publicist, Lewis Fein, who knows Cathy Seipp. While Eating L.A. generally believes in anonymous, self-funded dining, it was hard to pass up a reason to drive to Encino in 102 degree heat and stuff ourselves with hot dogs. And my boyfriend Matt, hereafter known as the Rhode Island Diner, has an affection for hot dogs that a lifetime of Pink's has somehow not instilled in me.
The room: The Stand is a cute, if corporate feeling, little place (photos below) with a retro, yet not over-the-top interior and a pleasant tree-lined patio.
The food: In addition to dozens of varieties of hot dogs and sausages, it offers beer and wine, hamburgers and salads and desserts. Toppings for the dogs include raisin-onions, green turky chili, and corn relish. For purposes of comparison, our colleagues at the Hot Dog Spot blog give The Stand three and half dogs...Skooby's and The Wiener Factory get four and a half, but I haven't tried either one.
I tried a Kraut dog with a Red Hot beef wiener, sauerkraut and mustard. Since they don't offer New York System style hot wieners like in Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Diner had a Boston Dog with baked beans and swiss cheese, and a Big Blue Dog with blue cheese, onions and fresh tomato. I was skeptical about his choice of blue cheese, but he loved both his dogs and said it would be worth returning to try the beans as a side order. I was equally enamored of my Red Hot dog which had a nice little spicy kick. The fries were ok, but I prefer the grease-laden, slightly overcooked Oki Dog style or the crispy Benita's style fries. This would be a great place to take the kids -- the 'rents can linger over a beer while the rugrats tuck into a hot fudge brownie sundae or a distinctive-looking cream soda float. Everything was top quality -- we'll definitely be back with the kids to try the chili and the andouille sausage.

The news: Partner Richard Shapiro pioneered the Daily Grill concept and the Stand has a similar old-time feeling. Co-partner Murray Wishengrad explained that several more Stand locations are in the works, mostly on the Westside. The first location will be in Culver City, and they're in talks for a West Hollywood location on Santa Monica Blvd., which would stay open much later than the Encino location. I think it's great that entrepreneurs are trying to create a good experience for people who don't have $125 to spend on dinner -- now that I have a teenager, I'm happy to find places that can fill his seemingly-bottomless pit of a stomach.

The Stand
17000 Ventura Blvd.
Encino
(818) 788-2700

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Wow! There's a lot of spam comments on here. I almost feel left out not having some sort of product to plug...

I just wanted to leave a comment because I LOVE the Stand--it's easily my favorite hot dog place in town (and there are a lot of great ones--I agree that Weiner Factory is delicious, too...). The menu at the Stand is great, and as a bonus, the staff is always really friendly. And no, I don't work for them...

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