It's time for Dodger Dogs: Here's the SoCal company that feeds the fans

Josh Haskell Image
Friday, October 6, 2023
SoCal family business proud to supply Dodger Dogs to hungry fans
Papa Cantella's in Vernon supplies millions of Dodger Dogs every season to hungry fans.

VERNON, Calif. (KABC) -- Nothing says it's time for Dodger baseball quite like a having a Dodger Dog.

So where does this iconic dog come from? They are homegrown in Vernon, at Papa Cantella's.

"Just thinking about my first game, sitting in the nosebleed seats, I never thought we'd be making the hot dogs that were in Dodger Stadium," said Tony Cantella.

His father started the business back in 1980, when he noticed many vendors had hot dog carts, but not a sausage cart.

So "Papa Cantella" started serving Italian sausages. Getting the Dodger Dog contract was a dream come true.

"We knew our only play was to recreate the Dodger Dog," said Tony. "We figured others would show their own branded products, but we knew being a Los Angeles company that our value was going to be our heritage and we could give that famous dog back to all the customers."

"Sourcing from local suppliers, local purveyors, is a mandate by the Dodger organization," said Mike Chalmers, director of supply chain strategy for Dodger Stadium.

In 2021, the Dodgers announced they were no longer sourcing the dogs from Farmer John, which had the contract for 50 years. And earlier this year, Farmer John announced it was closing its plant in Vernon.

Farmer John didn't share the recipe with their succesor, so Papa Cantella's set out to recreate it themselves.

"When we saw this opportunity we said 'yeah we can make it.' It feels great, you know, your heart starts pumping, having a hot dog in your hands, made in your company with your family, with your friends, everybody involved, it's just amazing," said Carlos Lopez with Papa Cantella's.

Dodger Stadium sells some 2.8 million dogs each season, equaling about 23,000 a game.

Dodger Dogs are never frozen. Papa Cantella's makes them to order and once they arrive at Dodger Stadium, they are boiled and then grilled.

Things can get tricky with the unpredictable schedule of the playoffs. But the company - like all Dodger fans - is prepared, and hopes the team goes all the way.