A friend tells the following story about Los Gatos’ Happy Hound: He was getting married and a friend made an elaborate meal for dozens of gathered friends and family. Someone else made a run to the Happy Hound for hot dogs and fries to help feed the crowd. Years later, when people recount the festivities it’s the hot dogs people remember most.

It’s that kind of affection that has kept the family-run Happy Hound going strong for four decades. August marked 40 years of business for the Happy Hound, an occasion the restaurant celebrated with a live band and 75-cent hot dogs. “It was crazy,” said employee and family friend David Michaels. “We had lines out into the street.”

The restaurant began as the Happy Hound Dog in Danville, Calif. In 1968, owner Dorothy Dresslar served a menu of just hot dogs, potato chips and soda pop. She sold the business to her ex-husband, Hugh Dresslar, who opened in Los Gatos in 1971. Dresslar’s son, Dan Dresslar, has been running the business for the past 20 years. Dan Dresslar and his family live right behind the restaurant off Los Gatos Boulevard.

The top sellers are the hot dogs. Michaels said they’re made to the restaurant’s specifications, but he wouldn’t reveal who makes them. “I can’t tell you that. That’s a secret.”

It would be a stretch to call the Happy Hound slow fast food, but the restaurant does stand apart from its big-name fast-food competitors. The burgers, chicken and hot dogs all arrive fresh, never frozen. “Our vendors know we don’t serve crap to our customers,” said Michaels. “We don’t use the types of frozen junk and low quality that other people use. I can’t even put us in the same category as a McDonald’s or a Jack in the Box.”

And if you like French fries, the Happy Hound is for you. They’re just what you want in a fry: thin, crispy outside and moist inside. You can also get them in industrial-size quantities. A large order weighs in at two pounds. “It’s an abundance of fries,” Michaels admitted.

Over the years, the restaurant has dabbled in franchising the business, but Michaels said the quality never met the family’s standards so they shut them down. For now one location is enough.

“It’s working and we’re not going change it,” he said.