Editor’s note: Pacific NW magazine’s weekly Backstory provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the writer’s process or an extra tidbit that accompanies our Mainstory.

YOU KNOW THAT cafe or bar that’s your go-to place? Where, after a long day or long night, it’ll be there, nothing fancy, come as you are, plop yourself down, and if it’s a 24-hour joint, order breakfast at 3 a.m.?

Savor it, because, eventually, they all close down.

Take a few pictures of the joint that shows the long counter and the entirety of the room. See whether the waitress or owner will pose with you. Years from now, you’ll remember: Yeah, that’s how it was.

This week’s magazine cover story is about four legacy places and their struggles. In looking for historical photos showing them in their heyday, there weren’t that many.

The Northlake, Blue Moon, Vito’s, College Inn Pub: Tough times for legacies

Which takes me to the Dog House at the corner of Seventh and Bell at the edge of downtown Seattle.


I wish I had taken some images, back when I worked late nights at The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and then this paper. Or after going to a club to listen to a band.

I always used to order the ribeye steak, “tenderness not guaranteed,” and the waitress would always call me “honey.”

Let’s see … it closed in 1994. That was 29 years ago. So you have to be at least in your 50s to remember it from your club days. It was replaced in that location by The Hurricane Café. That closed in 2014. That was nine years ago. So you’d have to be at least in your 30s to remember it from those days.

Now at that spot, there is a towering office building listed as owned by Amazon.

In 2001, for HistoryLink, Floyd Waterson reminisced: “The Dog House was a great place where truly people of all types and ages went. Their famous sign was true — all roads did lead to the Dog House. In some ways, I think it is possible to date the death of old Seattle to when the Dog House closed. After 1993 is when the high-tech, hip Seattle, the darling of the national press city, really took off. Perhaps that era ended in 1999 with the WTO riots.”

The Seattle Public Library has an online collection of more than 2,000 menus of these old places so you can go down memory lane. It was started by library employees gathering menus from restaurants they visited. You’re welcome to submit menus you might have by going to the library’s Ask Us service.

The Dog House. Can anybody name a replacement?