Hurricane Cafe, former Dog House restaurant site, to be demolished

by: Casey McNerthney, KIRO 7 STAFF Updated:

A matchbook for The Dog House, which was at 2230 7th Ave. for decades. This matchbook is from the Dog House's first location at 714 Denny Way, which was demolished in 2007 to make way for apartments.

The Hurricane Café, a 24-hour restaurant that was also home to Seattle’s legendary Dog House restaurant, is set to close on January 1.

The restaurant is expected to be demolished for an Amazon building.

Staff said the demolition plan was known by some at the restaurant since January, the month it became public that Amazon paid more than $52 million for that at other property on nearly a full city block between Seventh and Eighth avenues and Bell and Blanchard streets.

Also expected to go are a Budget Car Rental site, the Cornish College of the Arts space in a former motel and parking lots.

The Hurricane’s closure comes nearly 21 years after the closure of the Dog House, which had its last day on Jan. 31, 1994.

The Dog House was first at 714 Denny Way, given a building permit in September 1933 for the restaurant meant to attract travelers from Aurora Avenue North and bridge, opened a year earlier. It was run by Bob Murray, a sports promoter and restaurateur who worked there for decades with the slogan, “All roads lead to the Dog House.”

It stayed there until 1953 – a year before the Battery Street Tunnel started taking traffic from Aurora Avenue North under Denny Way – and moved to the current Hurricane Café location at 2230 7th Ave.

The original Dog House location then had other restaurants, including Odman’s Fine Food. In the 1980s and 90s it was home to the Razzmatazz strip club and was bought by the Déjà vu Showgirls chain before it was closed and the building was demolished in early 2007 for a six-story apartment building that was completed the following year.

The Dog House at 2230 7th Ave. was a 24-hour restaurant known for greasy comfort food, drinks and heavy cigarette smoke. By the time it closed in 1994, the pictures on the wall were dark brown from nicotine stains.

The restaurant’s last day bought significant attention. Pat Cashman did his KING-AM morning radio show live from the Dog House, and the final moments were broadcast on KCTS. Owner Laurie Gulbransen, who took over the business from Murray, was there as was J.A. Jance, the renowned mystery author whose fictional character, J.P. Beaumont, hung out at the Dog House.

The Dog House lived on briefly as The Puppy Club, a restaurant at 419 Denny Way, the current site of Zeek’s Pizza. But The Puppy Club lasted less than a year.

The Hurricane opened in April 1994. Owner Neil Scott started at Beth’s Café, one of Seattle’s few remaining 24-hour restaurants that has been at 7311 Aurora Ave N. since 1954.

The greasy spoon has consistently been popular for cheap breakfasts and drinks, attracting bands after gigs and people looking to eat away a hangover. During the Seahawks Super Bowl run, it was also a popular home for the 12th Man.

The Hurricane stayed out of the headlines, short of a September 2012 incident when a car prowler who had tried to run over an officer drew fire from police. He wasn’t hit.

Scott told the Stranger that staff morale is pretty good despite the closure plans, and that they plan to stick around until the end.

"It’s not the way we wanted to go out for sure—losing a lease and getting torn down," he told writer Bethany Jean Clement. "But we’re a standalone building downtown with a parking lot—it was bound to happen."

Want to talk about the news of the day? Watch free streaming video on the KIRO 7 mobile app and iPad app, and join us here on Facebook.