I've only been eating there weekly since the 70's. Guess I'm a newbie.
Two Cupid's hot dogs ready for eating at Cupid's Hot Dogs in Winnetka on Oct. 22, 2009. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff Photographer)
When twins Linda Johnson and Diane Leonard were planning their 64th birthday celebration, the sisters made sure to include lunch at Cupid's Hot Dogs on their itinerary.
The 1963 graduates of Grant High School had fond memories of the venerable stand and stopped by the Canoga Park eatery last week during their annual trip home -- Leonard from Texas and Johnson from the French Riviera.
"We were reminiscing and said, 'Let's see if Cupid's is still around,' " Johnson said.
In fact, the chain is still in business, with the third generation of the Walsh family recently taking over its operation.
"It's been the same since we opened it -- just hot dogs and chips," said Kelly Walsh, a design graduate from California State University Northridge who took over the company when her father, Rick, died earlier this year.
"With Dad passing pretty quickly, we didn't want it to go to anyone else because we've had it for so long," she said.
Dick and Bernie Walsh opened the first Cupid's in 1946, and son Rick took over the business when Dick died 27 years ago.
Rick Walsh sold the rights to several other Cupid's stands. But three stands are still in the family, operated by Kelly and her sister Morgan, a student at UCLA.
At the stands in Canoga Park and Northridge, customers order at the window, then wolf down their dogs at the counter. At the Simi Valley eatery, however, customers can dine inside and wash down their dogs with a beer.
"People just like our chili and the kind of hot dogs we use," Kelly Walsh said. "It's been around for 64 years, so there is some history behind it."
Micah McCloskey, owner of Micah's Custom Cycles in Canoga Park, knows four generations of Cupid's fans -- his own family. When he was a toddler his dad began taking him a Cupid's in Van Nuys, and his own son and grandson are Cupid's fans.
"When you've been going someplace, especially as a family, it takes you back to some good times and younger days," McCloskey said.