The Seattle-Style Hot Dog You Need To Try Before You Die

Ah, Seattle. Home of the Space Needle, host to many famous coffee houses, and birthplace of the grunge music scene (via Culture Trip). When you think of this Washington city, you may imagine a group of businesspeople huddled in a Starbucks listening to Pearl Jam in the early morning hours as the sun breaks over Lake Washington — or perhaps you have a Lynchian vision of Kurt Cobain playing a wailing guitar solo in a conifer-tree forest, obscured by a thundering downpour. 

Suffice it to say, you probably don't think about hot dogs. However, much like the beloved pizza and its many different styles across these United States, hot dogs — from the street-cart frankfurters of New York to Chicago – also have their own unique variations from coast to coast. Hailing from the rainy city's streets is the Seattle-style dog: A hearty, creamy, oniony hot dog that may be the most unexpectedly satisfying frankfurter you've ever tasted.

The origin stories of the Seattle Dog

A Seattle-style hot dog has cream cheese and sweet grilled onions tucked into its bun. For those of who you have seen "The Sopranos," this might sound a lot like the "Lincoln Log," a similar creation (minus the onions) served on white bread (via The Food Channel). It's unknown which dog came first, and there are different stories about just who invented Seattle's famous frank.

According to Thrillist, these dogs first appeared about 25 years ago when street vendors in Seattle's Pioneer Square, a nightlife hub, began selling unusual but popular hot dogs featuring cream cheese and grilled onions. One of the pioneers of the treat, at least according to his wife, was Al Griffin of Al's Gourmet Sausage. After seeing a customer put Philadelphia cream cheese on a hot dog he'd just sold him, Griffin decided to put the invention on the menu. He now runs multiple hot-dog stands and a food truck, so it's safe to say that this experimental technique was a hit.

Another theory comes from Seattle Magazine, which credits Hadley Long, a Pioneer Square bagel man by trade, with heeding customer requests to serve wieners on his bagel sticks with cream cheese in the '80s. The dish grew so popular that Long's bagel dogs even became a top tourist attraction. While it may not be clear who exactly invented this hybrid frank, it's certainly yet another thing that Seattle can call its own.