Welcome to Ask Eater, an Eater Portland column where the site’s editor and reporter answer questions from readers and friends. Have a question for us? Submit your question in this form with the subject line ‘Ask Eater.’
Where in Portland does Seattle style hot dogs?
—Kelly Unhidden (Twitter)
Hey, Kelly — First, let’s get the definitions out of the way, for those uninitiated. A Seattle-style dog pairs the frank with cream cheese and cooked onions. The onions can be grilled or caramelized; they are rarely raw, however. Occasionally, people will get wild and add peppers (sauteed bells, fresh jalapeños) or cabbage slaw. However, cream cheese + onion are the essential characteristics. Up north, Dog in the Park is the go-to destination for them, but in Portland, there are a few other spots where you can find a Portland-style, Seattle-style dog.
Zach’s Shack on Hawthorne is the obvious contender for cream cheese’d dogs. They have a straight Seattle dog with caramelized onion and cream cheese, but they also have a couple of fun relatives — I’m partial to the John Popper, which comes with cream cheese, onions, green relish, jalapeños, and sweet Thai chile sauce; I swap the green relish for dill relish, however, because I think the chile sauce is sweet enough. Onions here tend to be raw on the other dogs, so you have to ask for the caramelized onions. The dogs themselves are all-beef franks or tofu pups, though you can also upgrade to linguica, a cheese-filled sausage, or Field Roast veggie sausage, among other options.
The other answer to this question is Donnie Vegas. This Alberta Street bar consistently offers a strong Seattle dog, with cream cheese, caramelized onion, and scallions. They use an all-beef dog, or Field Roast for vegetarians. Both Zach’s and Donnie Vegas are also open late (a.k.a. until 2 a.m. or later), which tends to be when I’m craving a Seattle dog.
To include a variation from our hot dog map, Sellwood’s Gibbon Grub has a cream cheese dog, and I think it’s a pretty fun one. It comes with jalapeño poppers, as well as bacon, kettle chips, and salsa verde. The onions are missing here, but if you’re in it for the cream cheese, I do think this is a fun option.
I know, not a ton of options, but it’s at least a start. If you wanted a Chicago dog, we are absolutely saturated with those. And hey, if any of our other readers have favorite spots for Seattle dogs not mentioned here, we want to hear about it.