City's Iconic Doggie Diner Head Getting Much-needed TLC

January 16, 2014
Contact: Rachel Gordon, 415-554-6045

Deep Cleaning and Fresh Paint in Store for Treasured Landmark

San Francisco, CA – The City’s iconic Doggie Diner head that serves as a whimsical beacon in the Outer Sunset will be getting a makeover for the first time in nearly a decade.

The 7-foot-tall, steel-reinforced fiberglass dachshund head was taken off its perch at 45th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard by work crews Thursday morning for a 7-mile trip across town to the City’s Central Shops on Jerrold Avenue in the Bayview. There, it will get a thorough cleaning, fresh paint as needed and repairs to any structural blemishes that are discovered.

“I know I won’t be barking up the wrong tree when I say that we are excited to give this beloved and quirky piece of pop culture a new leash on life,” said San Francisco Public Works Director Mohammed Nuru.

The three-dimensional Doggie Diner head, festooned in a natty chef’s hat and polka-dotted tie, was designed by graphic artist Harold Bachman in 1966. It once served as the mascot of the now-defunct Doggie Diner local fast-food chain. For decades, the sign stood outside the last operating Doggie Diner (and later the Carousel restaurant) at 46th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard. After the eatery closed and the Doggie Diner head was threatened with demolition, the community and preservationists waged a campaign to save it.

The then-Board of Supervisors passed a resolution in 2000 authorizing Public Works to take over the Doggie Diner head for preservation and relocation. But months later, in April 2001, a 45-mph windstorm knocked it down, smashing the long nose for which dachshunds are known. The Doggie Diner head was restored, and a new home was found atop a pole on a public median just east of its original location. It was welcomed to its new setting with a community celebration on Valentine’s Day 2005.

A year later, it was officially designated San Francisco Landmark No. 254, described as an “iconic and flamboyant roadside commercial sign … unique and rare in design.”

By Valentine’s Day this year, the refreshed Doggie Diner head will be back in place for all to enjoy.

About San Francisco Public Works: The 24/7 City agency cleans and resurfaces streets; plants and nurtures City-maintained street trees; designs, constructs and maintains City-owned facilities; inspects streets and sidewalks; builds curb ramps; eradicates graffiti; partners with neighborhoods; trains people for jobs; greens the right of way; and educates our communities.