Just outside concert venue Neumos on Pike St. stands Monster Dogs' Mustafa. Flames shoot up hot on his propane grill, and a blue umbrella shades him from the setting sun. He's selling "monster dogs" plus street sausages, hot dogs, and veggie dogs. Condiments—from cream cheese to relish, Sriracha, ketchup, mustard, and onions—are displayed.
Mustafa is a hot dog vendor in perhaps the most recognizable spot in all of Seattle, and Eater asked him a few questions about the job.
How long have you been working here?
I've been working on Capitol Hill for about five years. I used to work over there (points to a corner across the street,) and there (points north to another corner,) but on this block, yes, it's been five years.
What do you like about working this job?
I meet a lot of good people, especially in Capitol Hill, a lot of nice people—it's why I love working here. Sometimes it can get tough when it gets late, but mostly everyone is kind and good.
Do you like working around all the music outside Neumos?
Yes—well, enough. Some of the bands I really like, some of them I hate actually (laughs). Sometimes they're too loud!
What are your best sellers?
The Polish sausage with cream cheese and onions—you know, Seattle style. That's the most popular. The second most popular is probably vegetarian, the hot and spicy one. There are lots of vegetarians in Seattle, and they love cream cheese and onions too.
Any horror stories, difficult nights working here?
Around 1 o'clock in the morning when it's dark and people are drunk, that's when it's hard to enjoy the job. People slur their words, sometimes they try to walk away without paying me. But most of the time people are very nice. On the weekends the lines get very long, but that's when people are the most generous.