Cutting the ribbon after 37 years

By Terrah Short

The new Dick’s Drive-In is a history-making restaurant for the company. It is the first new location in thirty-seven years, the first Dick’s to have a cash machine, and possibly the beginning of a new wave of restaurants.

Dick’s Drive-In recently had the “Orange Ticket Contest” to determine who will be the first customers at the new restaurant.

MTHS’s own Michael Sorenson, a senior, is one of the 12 lucky winners. For winning, Sorenson received a group photo on the opening day with Dick’s Drive-In President, Dick Spady, $20 in Edmonds gift certificates, a commemorative T-shirt, and a framed “orange ticket,” an Edmonds hard hat, and, of course, a fresh Dick’s burger on opening day.

The first new location Dick’s Drive-In since 1974 is located at Highway 99 and 220th Street SW in the Top Food & Drug parking lot. Fans and customers chose the region (north, south or east) in a 2010 online poll that lasted about three weeks.

The north, which includes Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Edmonds, and South Everett, won with 40 percent of the vote.

According to Jim Spady, vice president of Dick’s Drive-In, part of the reason for picking the location in Edmonds was because of the “great visibility to Highway 99… and easy access to the other cities in the area.”

Since the first Dick’s Drive-In opened in 1954, very little has changed. The new Edmonds location will follow this pattern of similarity. There will still be the iconic rotating sign, the famous giant neon script on the building, and most importantly, the same quality food. The hamburgers, cheeseburgers, and shakes have not been changed since they debuted in 1954, according to Spady, the son of the 88-year-old founder Dick Spady. Dick’s top selling Dick’s Deluxe hasn’t been changed since it was first introduced in 1971.

Dick’s is still a cash-only company, but why? Spady said for Dick’s to accept electronic payments would be “just so darn expensive,” and would result in higher prices. According to Spady, the bank charges fees that would be six figures plus. To make things more convenient for customers, a cash machine will be provided at the Edmonds location. “We hope to roll out cash machines to all of our locations by the end of next year,” said Spady.

Much will be determined by the success of this Edmonds restaurant. If it is successful, Spady expects another new location will be built in about five years. If there is continued success, he said they might start building another new restaurant “every five years or so for a while.”