Guest Post: In the Dog House

D is for Dog House

Note: Alphaquerque is pleased to publish our first Guest Post courtesy of Albuquerque’s own Julie James-Griego.  – The Mayor

So… I am driving back from lunch east on Central Avenue from the Old Town area and I’m thinking about all the great Route 66 signage that is still around. And then I see it.… an obscure Albuquerque gem right there on Central, the Dog House.

I’m thinking this is a great piece of Albuquerque’s history. Then I look at the sign before I snap a picture. Wow, that is just some kind of Helvetica with neon. Sadness. I mean Helvetica is a wonderful font but not super usual for a sign, right? So then I compare the letterforms and I realize it is not Helvetica after all.

It’s Grotesque! Neon illumination and all! Monotype Grotesque. (Mayor’s note: The sign appears to use a slightly altered and condensed of Grotesque Bold. Like all families, Grotesque has some unusual characters. For example, the “H” in this sign seems to have raised up its crossbar, sort of like your uncle who wears his pants a little too high.)

The Dog House

Signage for local landmark The Dog House in all its goofy, Grotesque glory. Photo by Julie James-Griego.

Makes sense. The Dog House was founded by the Mead family as one of Albuquerque’s first “fast food” drive-ins. At the time of its founding in the 1950s, we saw the rise in popularity of neo-grotesque sans-serif typefaces such as Helvetica and Univers. Although released by Monotype foundry in or by 1926, Grotesque was overlooked due to the popularity of Futura and Gill Sans which were released near the same time.

The Dog House signage is unique due to the rotation of the letterforms, creating a little whimsy and fun for the whole family. (Well the whole meat-eating family anyhow.) And as a testament to the uniqueness of the restaurant, if not the signage, it made a brief appearance on the AMC series “Breaking Bad.” Now that is what I call a star! Okay maybe it’s a reality-TV style star but it’s a star nonetheless. And the food is doggone delicious.

Did I mention hot? Nom, nom, nom…

Julie James-Griego is a graphic designer, photographer, fine artist, real estate guru and now the honorary Chief Health Inspector of Alphaquerque.

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