Hanna Raskin, the restaurant critic for our sister paper Seattle Weekly, has just published an oral history of Seattle's signature street food, the "Seattle Dog," a hot dog topped with onions and cream cheese.
As it happens, the hot dog's history has a local-ish connection.
HADLEY LONGE now manages Tony's on the Lake, an Italian supper club in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. A bagel peddler in Longe's hometown of Athens, Ohio, inspired him to start selling bagels in 1977 when he moved to Carbondale, Ill., to enroll in Southern Illinois University.
I opened up my first bagel shop in Carbondale. It was a small college town, kind of like Bellingham. So after about seven years, I was like the big fish in the small pond, and I was wanting to see if I could do it in the big pond. In the late '80s, Seattle was the place to be, art and music and everything, so I moved to Seattle and I was the bagel man.
Longe arrived in Seattle in 1988. He got a job at the Bagel Express in Pioneer Square, and asked the owner's permission to operate a hot-dog cart at night. His cart was in full swing by 1989, when the Kingdome hosted the Final Four.
Longe: I got started just doing vegetarian bagels on the street, with raisins, cucumbers, onions, sprouts, sunflower seeds. After about a year of doing these veggie bagels, everybody wanted hot dogs. That was just something I didn't want to do, so I thought I would incorporate my bagel and cream cheese into a hot dog. And I was just fortunate enough that the Bagel Deli created very unique bialy sticks. They're all hand-rolled and they're all custom, and I kind of just created the bagel dog with cream cheese.