Q: The Great Western Steak & Hoagie Company building on Lincoln in Venice looks like it might have once been shaped like a hot dog or a tamale. What’s the story?
A: You found the Tail o’ the Pup’s kid brother! The giant hot dog is second to Randy’s Donuts as L.A.’s most famous piece of programmatic architecture (the original went into a museum this summer). When the 1947 Venice Tail o’ the Pup was renamed Pinocchio’s, giant puppet faces were painted on the sides and each end of the hot dog became a schnoz. Hoagiemeister George McMaster made a big change in 1972. “We cut off the nose,” he remembers, “to lose the image.”