Cream cheese, grilled or caramelized onions (jalapeños optional), and a hot frank: The Seattle Dog is a simple, delectable combination, if an unexpected one. The general consensus is that Hadley Longe first added hot dogs to cream cheese-smeared bialy sticks (similar to a bagel) at his Pioneer Square cart in the late 1980s. The satisfying cold-hot contrast of sweet cream cheese and savory meat struck a chord, and as the phenomenon spread, a hoagie roll or steam bun replaced the bialy. Carts serving the street snack post up outside events and near bars in late-night neighborhoods like Belltown and Capitol Hill, while the following places offer takes on the unique Seattle Dog at more predictable hours.
This is a stalwart right where it all began: In Pioneer Square, just outside the stadium—formerly the Kingdome, later replaced by CenturyLink Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Sounders FC. Whether it’s gameday or not, this stall slings classic Seattle Dogs, griddled and slathered in cream cheese and onions, for when you have to learn what all the fuss is about. 820 Occidental Ave S
Nationally acclaimed chef Renee Erickson spared no expense building this moody cocktail bar beneath Amazon’s Spheres in Denny Triangle, and her Seattle Dog is a fittingly luxe interpretation. The cream cheese is whipped, the jalapeños and onions pickled, the dog a mix of grass-fed beef and pork smoked with hazelnuts, the decadence cranked to 11 with a dollop of pink salmon caviar. Naturally, the bun is house-made too. 620 Lenora St
This new Pioneer Square burger joint channels retro charm, with a refreshingly basic menu—think fries, milkshakes, and lightly adorned patties, and you’ve covered most of it. The exception to this simplicity is the Seattle burger, a twist on the Seattle Dog that adds a hamburger patty before sandwiching the whole shebang between burger buns instead of hot dog buns. It’s a bold new paradigm. 200 S Jackson St
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