Former Doggie Diner set for demolition

Doggie Diner demolition noticeThe former site of a Doggie Diner restaurant on Sloat Boulevard is set to be demolished in favor of an outdoor sales area for the adjacent Sloat Garden Center.

According to a notice posted on the building, which most recently housed the Carousel Diner restaurant, the San Francisco Planning Department will approve the demolition unless it receives a request for a hearing by July 8.

Although the Carousel site may be best known as the former location of a Doggie Diner restaurant, the icon of that defunct burger chain — the head of a giant dachshund wearing a chef’s toque and a polka-dotted bow tie — no longer occupies the northwest corner of Sloat and 46th Avenue, as it did for many years even when the Doggie Diner itself had closed.

Instead, the Doggie Diner head now is designated as San Francisco City Landmark No. 254 and gazes out to sea from atop a metal pole in the median of Sloat Boulevard at 45th Avenue, near the San Francisco Zoo and the Java Beach at the Zoo cafe.

Doggie Diner head moved, 2005

The City of San Francisco moved the Doggie Diner head from Sloat Bouelvard and 46th Avenue to the median of Sloat and 45th on Jan. 27, 2005. Photo: Diana Scott, via the Western Neighborhoods Project.

The head crashed to the street in a windy storm on the eve of April Fool’s Day 2003 when its old, rusted pole outside the Carousel Diner broke. But pressure from the community, including from Diana Scott and Joel Schechter of the Ocean Beach Historical Society, persuaded the City to repair the doggie’s mangled snout and mildewed finish. The City eventually moved the doggie head to its current location in early 2005.

Before the Doggie Diner opened at the corner of Sloat and 46th in the early 1970s, the site was occupied by Fat Boy Barbecue.

According to the Planning Department notice posted on the Carousel building, the building would be torn down and the site repaved. Sloat Garden Center’s outdoor sales area is planned to increase from 1,724 square feet to 3,508 square feet.

Any request for a hearing on the permit would fall under the Planning Commission’s power of discretionary review. Discretionary review allows the commission to make certain exceptions to planning rules if commission members determine that doing so would be in the public interest.


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  1. It’s sad to read the bad feelings these people have for Doggie Diner. SF is my hometown. My first memories of Doggie Diner are when I was small enough to stand under the lighted counter-top where we placed our orders. That was 45 yes ago- to my family the food was great. I can almost taste it now talk in about it, yum;) Ownership had changed several times over the years and I believe that’s when the food started to change in taste and quality but we choked it back because we loved Doggie Diner. This place will forever be a part of me and my families fondest memories of SF? Thank you SF, and the Ocean Beach Historical Society for saving the Doggie for many more generations to see and hear about:)

  2. Just curious, (I’m not from SF)…now that more than one year has passed after the plan was announced: Did this one-time Doggie Diner meet its demise and become part of the Sloat Garden Center? Does the Doggie Diner Head (San Francisco City Landmark No. 254) still gaze out to sea?

    • @Randall, yes, the old Doggie Diner/ Carousel restaurant is gone and is now essentially a fenced portion of the Sloat Garden Center parking lot. The Doggie Diner head protected as San Francisco Landmark 254, and still looks westward from its perch in the median of Sloat Boulevard.

  3. It was disgusting. Always was. Worst part of it was the food, but the Middle-of-the-Room Bugs (those flies which buzz around the middle of the room and never land anywhere) came in for a close second.

    If you want nostalgia, bring on some new memories, and go to the new Bakery on Noriega and 40th.

  4. I’ll admit, I cheered when they rescued the Doggie Head. My kids still look for it when we go to the zoo. But the restaurant? Last time we ate at the Carousel, there was a pool of water occupying a third of the floor, and the sandwiches frankly scared us. The place clearly needed to be fixed up or closed down, and when the latter happened, we weren’t surprised. The SLG will put the space to better use….

  5. Is this the last existing building to have actually once hosted a DD? Agree it’s an eyesore – but there goes another piece of my childhood.

  6. Honestly, as much as people are sentimental about this place, it is a disused eyesore. My kids are scared to death of the disembodied head of a hound on a pole. People get nostalgic about places but there comes a time to move on.

  7. sorry to see it go although i never ate there. the economy was not the problem because the cafe across from the zoo entrance seems to be doing well. a bike store or an anchor store/rest is sorely needed there.

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