Larry’s Chili Dog in Burbank has been around since 1952, and the current owners, John and Veronica, have owned it now for over 10 years. This little green shack with a comfortable shaded patio has been a longtime favorite of Burbank’s locals. Even if you are just driving past, you still get to enjoy their cool vintage sign.
Recently Larry’s got the foodies’ attention thanks to Chef Albert Aviles of Corkbar singing its praises to CBS LA. The chef picked Larry’s as one of his top 4 favorite restaurants in LA. the Chef lauded the breakfast burrito stuffed with both sausage and bacon and a spicy green salsa. There has always been a friendly rivalry for king of Burbank breakfast burritos between Larry’s and the Corner Cottage. For the customer, you win either way.
The most popular dog, obviously, is the Chili-Cheese Dog with the addition of onions and mustard by request. The hot dog is flavorful with a nice snap to the casing. If you order a Polish dog it’s twice as good. I have yet to try their popular “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon,” which features a Louisiana hot link smothered in chili and cheese. Thankfully, the chili is not very spicy. It is the smooth, flavorful chili sauce ubiquitous in LA, possibly inspired by Tommy Burgers’.
Besides their traditional Chicago Dog and New York Red Onion Dog, they get a bit experimental. There is a Hawaiian Dog with pineapple, a Reuben Dog with Sauerkraut, Russian dressing and Swiss, a Pastrami Dog and Philly Cheesesteak Dog. There is the unfortunately named Mini Stroke – a Polish dog wrapped in bacon, threaded with onion rings, then thrown in the deep-fryer. In their defense, a customer named that one. They also make a killer hand-dipped corndog.
A number of sources have voted Larry’s Chili Burger the best in Burbank. It is flavorful, and the bun doesn’t disintegrate at first bite. You can also get fries or a tamale with chili and cheese. Really, you can probably get anything you want with chili and cheese.
There are salads and sandwiches as well. The only thing I didn’t love was their tuna sandwich, although each batch of tuna salad is made fresh for every single order. That’s right, every. single. sandwich. I am just not a fan of carrots in my tuna salad. Really, if you go to a place named after a food item, with a sign displaying that food item, it is ridiculous to order anything but that food item. To accompany your lunch you can choose between fountain drinks, retro sodas like Moxie and Nesbitt’s, or milkshakes made fresh with real ice cream.
Not only does Larry’s have friendly service and excellent chili dogs, but there is a feeling of community there, a genuine neighborhood joint. People talk to strangers, and sometimes start conversations with the entire patio of diners. Burbank is a bit of a Mayberry, but I haven’t seen this kind of comaraderie anywhere else in town. Larry’s Chili binds us all together in fellowship.