Dome Burger Is Keeping the Kingdome's Legacy Alive, One Bun at a Time

Hopefully, your memories of the stadium will last longer than these hot patties.

Love it or hate it, through its 30-plus years of pigeon-shit magnetism, the concrete-roofed Kingdome was as distinctive a Seattle symbol as the Space Needle, Dick's Drive-In, or the fish catchers at Pike Place Market. Who can forget that spring weekend in 2000 when the Kingdome was felled by a massive explosion of dynamite, filling Pioneer Square's lungs with an asphyxia-inducing mushroom cloud of dust and debris? A lot of people, evidently: A mere seven years after the Dome's demise—not to mention the recent forced shuttering of the Dome Stadium Tavern on Fourth Avenue—only two businesses still pay homage on their marquees to the iconic stadium. One of these is the King Dome Deli on Second Avenue; the other is Dome Burger in Occidental Square, near the Last Supper Club, Tat's Delicatessen, and a Saveway minimart that sells an inordinate amount of cheap, canned beer. Like its South End burger brethren By's and Stan's, the counter and kitchen of Dome Burger are manned by Asian-Americans, and the menu includes a handful of teriyaki dishes to augment variations on Dome Burger's signature "dome burger." Coincidence? Probably not: Immigrants to this country have a rich history of infusing flagging relics of Americana—the drive-in, the Laundromat, the motel, the corner store—with new life. Were it not for these entrepreneurs, we might be signaling the death of the independent burger depot. Thank goodness that's not the case. Or actually, just thank the Asians who've kept things cooking. Upon approach, Dome Burger isn't all that inviting, what with its rudimentary furnishings and the colorful cast of transient loiterers who constantly occupy Occidental Square. Yet for some reason, Dome Burger attracts a steady, regular stream of lunch traffic. That reason would be the food. With its Mickey D's fries and generous bacon dome burgers (an additional slice of pineapple yields a "Hawaiian"), the cuisine is a virtual carbon copy of Stan's on Rainier Avenue: predictable, but in a good way. And once customers make their way to the back counter to order, they're met with the realization that Dome Burger contains loft seating that affords the paradoxical comforts of peace, quiet, and a view of the chicanery in the Square below. The lone complaint that can be lodged against Dome Burger is that the blackberry shakes are a little runny and could benefit from some more blending. But all things being equal, even a subpar blackberry shake is easy on the tonsils. Meanwhile, the best thing about Dome Burger is the squeeze bottle of Thousand Island dressing that's kept full near the napkins. "Thou-Eye," lest you need a reminder, might be the most versatile sauce on the planet, as good for fry-dipping as it is for bun-spreading. The Kingdome never afforded such simple pleasures at its concessions. Maybe this is why Dome Burger outlived the Dome itself. mseely@seattleweekly.com

 
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