May 12, 2021


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The Barrio Theory Driving Dino’s Renowned Chicken’s Mysterious ‘DUI Fries’ ~ L.A. TACO

I’ve been a faithful paying Dino’s Well-known Hen customer considering the fact that 2001. 

Again when their popular ‘Dino’s Chicken’ plates had been $4.75, my mother would give me $20 of her challenging-gained revenue in the mornings soon after dropping me off at Berendo Middle University so that I could get 4 plates on the way back again residence to share with my family members. 

But this tale is in appreciation of their underrated next-finest seller. A pile-up of their L.A. Greek diner fundamentals put together into a single glorious one particular-plate feast: DUI Fries.

The outside consuming area at Dino’s Renowned Rooster primary Pico spot. Picture by Vladimir Santos for L.A. TACO.

DUI fries, for the uninitiated, are carne asada fries topped with chili, shredded yellow cheese, pastrami, and drenched in their famous hen marinade. It is the city’s greatest expression of chili cheese fries. 

Their DUI fries are the graduate-stage application of that famous spicy, acidic, garlicky dazzling orange solution marinade. It is the fantastic continuation after you have place in years of work ingesting their iconic chicken plate. Developed by the late founder, Demetrios Pantazis, in the early 80s, that sauce is the business’s developing block. I usually joked that what ever is in that juguito is coursing by way of my veins since I have consumed so a great deal of it in the course of my lifetime. And when you are completely ready for it, it tastes exceptionally wonderful on their french fries.

George Pitsos. Photo by Vladimir Santos for L.A. TACO.

In accordance to George Pitsos, the son-in-law of the late operator Demetrios Pantazis, the fries do not correlate with the police code for drinking and driving. It is an acronym for Dino’s Ultimate Invention. 

I imagine the truth of its origins lies somewhere in the center: with die-difficult Dino’s prospects customizing their orders to what they beloved the most and Dino selflessly abiding as an ode to his golden rule of superb consumer service. 

As ‘Hood lore goes, two rocker foo brothers, Alex and Rick Morales, who ended up born and raised in Koreatown, allegedly invented the dish just after numerous booze-loaded evenings crammed with fast songs would convey them to Dino’s every weekend. In an endeavor to sober up prior to driving residence back again in early 2010, they would purchase the pastrami sandwich and carne asada fries so generally that the cooks started out combining the more pastrami (they pack them significant) with their fries. If you want to get genuine deep into the rabbit gap of the hazy origins of DUI fries, this Foodbeast article also from 2017 disputes this claim and alleges that the dish was in fact created in the 70s from the rival burger location across the avenue. 

Dino’s DUI Fries. Picture by Vladimir Santos for L.A. TACO.

L.A. TACO introduced this choice ‘hood idea up to Pitsos, and he did not dismiss it, but he also did not endorse it. “Maybe, I do not know, if you say so,” ahead of telling me that Dino himself imagined the most essential pillars of his small business were being purchaser assistance and high-quality components. “My father-in-regulation considered so considerably in mouth-to-mouth advertisements…if a buyer said, ‘Hey Dino! Give me some fries with some juice on it!’ He would do it, and term would spread.” 

I assume the real truth of its origins lies someplace in the center: with die-tricky Dino’s prospects customizing their orders to what they beloved the most and Dino selflessly abiding as an ode to his golden rule of outstanding buyer service. 

Dino’s ‘off-menu’ DUI Fries with Dino’s Popular Chicken included. Photo by Vladimir Santos for L.A. TACO.

Despite the fact that these packed fries are also loaded with carne asada, this dish bears no resemblance to the nacho-like pleasure and joy of San Diego, carne asada fries. There is no bitter cream or guacamole in this article, just a couple of generous ladlefuls of Dino’s marinade. 

Pitsos did not deliver comment to L.A. TACO about how numerous gallons of marinade they go via day-to-day, or how a lot of rooster plates they offered, or how many DUI fry plates they offered, but with a sly smile, he reassured me it was “a good deal.” Even so, an report on Eater about Dino’s from 2017 reviews that blended, all places of Dino’s Hen go by way of in excess of 12,000 orders of their hen a week. 

For quite a few who grew up nearby, it is a excursion down memory lane. DUI fries are additional than the sum of its sections, and it is embedded in Pico Boulevard’s DNA. 

Dino’s DUI Fries, all three and a 50 % kilos of it, goes a prolonged way in Koreatown’s historically diverse performing-course neighborhoods. It is adequate to feed your inner circle of homies, or if you are continue to expanding boy in the barrios of K-town, a very hungry you. 

Outside the house of Dino’s. Photograph by Vladimir Santos for L.A. TACO.

The property-reduce fries are crispy, the sauce addicting, and the toppings added weighty and freshly designed. For lots of who grew up nearby, it is a vacation down memory lane. DUI fries are far more than the sum of its components, and it is embedded in Pico Boulevard’s DNA. 

Pitsos tells L.A. TACO that the cafe has actively been working on developing an enhanced, off-menu model of his family’s well-known DUI fries. It contains a freshly charbroiled quartered chicken on prime of the fries, mainly because why not? Immediately after all, opposite to well-known leftover fries perception, they strike differently the next time about para la recalentada. 

Dino’s Popular Rooster, 2575 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006

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