Simple to Stratospheric

Hot dogs that are gourmet, goofy and downright diggity

By Ian Fox


Picnic Dog. Photos by Michael Kartes. Recipes by Danielle Kartes

Hot dogs aren’t just for cookouts anymore. Foodies are starting to see the bun-sausage combo as a platform for meaty treats, cooking up some of the most original dogs around. We created some delicious DIY dogs, starting with some gourmet wieners from Bill the Butcher. The result? Out-of-this-world goodness.

Made for You — Puget Sound-Area Dogs to Try

All of these locally owned businesses have taken their love of dogs to uncharted territory (for some, quite literally), whether it’s topping dogs with whipped cream and peanut butter or baked beans and Fritos. Some of these pups are known throughout the nation; some throughout Puget Sound neighborhoods.

The Red Hot
The Red Hot is known nationwide for its diverse menu and extensive local brews on tap. With all these quirky combinations, it’s difficult to choose just one dog to focus on, so we turned to Twitter. One South Sound reader said to check out the Bianca. “Sriracha and peanut butter sounds odd, but it tastes like Thai food!” And since all dogs are available with either an all-beef naturally cased or a veggie dog, The Red Hot is the dog spot in North Tacoma. And a destination. 2914 Sixth Ave., Tacoma.

Dave’s 21 Dogs
Cheese lovers will flock to Dave’s 21 Dogs (it’s a food truck). Like the Cour-Dog-Bleu, a bacon-wrapped frank topped with gooey cheese; a version of a Seattle Dog, with cream cheese and onion; and the Kansas City Dog topped with kraut and Swiss. 29021 SR 410 E, Buckley.

The Cuban Dog

The Cuban Dog

Eddie’s Dawg House
Meet the Fat Boy — a half-pound beef dog wrapped in bacon, topped with mac ’n cheese and sprinkled with bacon bits, which definitely lives up to its name. Deliciously satisfying, this oddball combo of flavors and textures comes together in a dog you won’t find anywhere else. Check Eddie out at 10625 Pacific Ave. S., Parkland.

Jay Dogs
For those Washingtonians who don’t want to sift through lengthy menus, Jay’s is about as simple as it gets — choose either an all-beef dog or a spicy link sausage served on a freshly baked and toasted bun, then add condiments to taste. And Jay’s giant slew of toppings, from cream cheese to jalapeno peppers, from sweet pickle relish to his many types of mustard, are all free of charge (the only exceptions are bacon for 50 cents and hashbrowns for $1). Catch Jay’s traveling truck and his two-for-$5 deal at the Broadway Farmers Market on Thursdays or at his regular stop, South Union and Center streets in Tacoma.

Olympia Hot Dog Co.
Corn dogs aren’t just for the fair. Olympia Hot Dog Co. serves them freshly hand-dipped until 2:30am daily. Hot, tasty batter surrounds your favorite wiener (choose from a number of veggie dogs, sausages and dogs), making this the perfect late-night snack. And while you’re there check out the expansive, (and vegan-friendly) list of dogs on the menu. 311 E. Fourth Ave., Olympia.

Patty’s Burgers and Milkshakes
Though this classic diner (neon sign and all) makes a killer burger, Patty’s is also home to the ginormous (and tasty) James Dean Dog. Clocking in at around 2 feet, this monster dog calls for Patty’s specially-made buns. Find them at 56th and South Tacoma Way, Tacoma.

Puyallup River Brewing
Chicago transplants rejoice — downtown Puyallup has the cure for your homesickness in a meal. Puyallup River Brewing serves juicy dogs with all the fixings (lettuce, tomato, onion, relish, mustard, pickles) atop a classic poppy seed bun, just waiting to be perfectly paired with a seasonal brew. 120 S. Meridian, Puyallup.

Shake, Shake, Shake
A relatively recent addition to the South Sound’s dog-scene, Tacoma’s homegrown Shake Shake Shake presents dog-fanatics with the bacon dog, a foot-long dog topped with diced onions, applewood smoked bacon and housemade steak sauce. And while you’re at it, grab some fries (all seven dipping sauces are made in-house) or a signature milkshake. 124 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma.

Lefty’s Burger Shack, University Place

Drunk Dog

Drunk Dog

If you’re looking for a throwback of a dog, look no further than Lefty’s Burger Shack in University Place, a classic drive-in that serves dogs grilled. Topped with housemade sauerkraut or chili, dogs at Lefty’s are done right. 8317 27th St. W., University Place.

Order This!
Also check out the hot dogs at Pick-Quick in Fife and Auburn, Tacoma’s Frisko Freeze (fried!) and at Eastside Big Tom in Olympia. Yeah, we know you go there for the burgers, but hot dogs are delicious, too. And don’t forget Costco! One of the tastiest hot dogs around for under $2!

Did You Know?

  • Between Memorial Day and Labor Day each year, Americans will eat more than 7 billion hot dogs, or about 818 every second.
  • On July 4, Americans down more than 150 million dogs, enough to stretch from the Washington Monument in D.C. to the Tacoma Dome more than five times.
  • According to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, Miller Park in Milwaukee is the only stadium in Major League Baseball where sausages outsell hot dogs.
  • The “Coney,” named for Coney Island, is not actually from there. The classic dog with beanless chili, onions and two stripes of mustard was reportedly concocted in Michigan.
  • Every year since 1916, Nathan’s holds its annual hot dog eating competition. American eater Joey Chestnut is the reigning champion with 69 dogs in 10 minutes. (The world record, though, was set by famous Japanese competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi at the New York State Fair —110 dogs in 10 minutes.)
  • Hot dogs were one of the first foods eaten on the moon. Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and “Buzz” Aldrin Jr. ate hot dogs on their 1969 journey.
  • The average hot dog is consumed in 6.1 bites, according to researchers.


Chicago Dog
Traditional slaw + pickle spears + tomato slices on a ¾ pound brat

Kraut Master
Quick homemade sauerkraut (recipe follows) + German whole grain mustard on a ¾ pound brat

The Cuban Dog
Thinly sliced Black Forest ham + baby Swiss + whole grain mustard + kosher dill pickle spear on a Wagyu hot dog

Little Italy Dog
Baby arugula + sundried tomato aioli (recipe follows) + whole sweet roasted garlic on a Wagyu hot dog

Sundries Tomato Aioli

Little Italy Dog

Little Italy Dog


  • 1 cup of your favorite mayonnaise
  • ½ cup chopped sundried tomatoes, oil-packed
  • ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

In a medium bowl whisk together all ingredients. It’s really that easy.

Picnic Dog
Bourbon baked beans + kettle cooked potato chips on a Wagyu hot dog

Drunk Dog
Jalapenos + peperoncini + sweet cherry peppers + cream cheese on a Wagyu hot dog.

Dynamite Duos
What is Batman without Robin? Or Wally without the Beav? Here are some of our favorite dog toppings that work best when paired:

  • Bacon bits + maple syrup
  • Shrimp + coconut flakes
  • Mozzarella + fresh basil
  • Onion rings + ranch dressing
  • Apple slices + peanut butter sauce
  • Thai peanut sauce + crispy Asian noodles
  • Fried egg + Sriracha
  • Fritos + chili
  • Cream cheese + anything spicy

All of the specialty dogs and brats featured are from Bill the Butcher, with locations in Woodinville and Wallingford. All of their sausages are fresh, house-smoked and made in their shops from natural ingredients. Many of Bill the Butcher’s offerings are special availability only. Call ahead.

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