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History of the Seattle Dog

Cream cheese and meat go together like PB+J.

A view of a hot dog with onions, relish, ketchup, and cream cheese

What toppings do you prefer on your Seattle Dog, besides cream cheese and onions?

Photo via Monster Dogs

Let’s be frank — cream cheese on hot dogs works, we swear. The surprisingly delicious combo known as a Seattle Dog may occasionally raise foodie eyebrows, but it’s a proud staple around town and great for summer snacking.

Even if you’ve seen this wonder on local grills, how much do you really know about its origins? Get that schmear going as we take a look back.

Pioneering creation

From most accounts, the first appearances of the Seattle Dog were in Pioneer Square more than 30 years ago. An enterprising guy named Hadley Long was working at a bagel deli and started up a cart nearby that sold veggie bagels sometime around 1988-89.

Trying to meet the demand for hot dogs after sweaty local rock shows, Hadley eventually combined the two concepts and sold bagels that were also franks with the deli’s bialy sticks as the bread. Sticks eventually evolved into a more traditional bun and voila — innovation was born.

There’s a debate on whether a true version must have grilled onions. And, for his part, Long has contended that a bialy-style bun is preferable to a traditional one. But the cream cheese is a must (obviously).

Where to find them

Purist or not, you’ll see lots of juicy Seattle Dog varieties around town, some topped with jalapeños or slathered with different sauces. Here’s where you can find one to sate your cravings.

  • Monster Dogs | This Capitol Hill street stand has been a late-night favorite for years — those dogs just hit different after Jell-O shots at Unicorn Bar.
  • Dog in the Park | Find the family-owned business at the Space Needle, the Waterfront, and Westlake Park.
  • Bigfoot Longs | The pop-up hunkers down at local bars like Mountaineering Club and lives up to its name — bring an appetite.
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