Bellevue residents could soon see the iconic Dick’s Drive-In sign gracing Bellevue Way or Bel-Red Road.
The beloved Seattle hamburger chain announced March 7 that it plans to open up a seventh location either east or south of its home city. Bellevue is one of eight cities listed as potential locations for an Eastside Dick’s Drive-In, along with Issaquah, Sammamish Mercer Island, Redmond, Woodinville, Kirkland and Bothell.
The potential southern locations include South Seattle, West Seattle, Renton, Tukwila, Burien, Sea-Tac, Kent, Auburn, Normandy Park, Des Moines and Federal Way.
“All of the cities listed are prominent cities in the region, and we’ve gotten requests in the past for all of them,” said Jasmine Donovan, vice president of Dick’s and granddaughter of the company’s founder, Dick Spady. “All of them are places where we thought we could have successful stores.”
In true community spirit, the restaurant put the decision in the hands of the fans; Dick’s created an online survey where people can choose between East and South King County.
“We know these communities are really supportive of the drive-in and we wanted to give everyone a chance to affect the decision,” said Dick’s Media Representative Saul Spady.
In just the first five days, Donovan said that the company received a whopping 100,000 votes.
“We hope the entire Eastside gets out there and votes!” Donovan said.
Additionally, customers are encouraged to email Dick’s if they have a certain city and especially a specific street in mind for the new location. Donovan said that a Dick’s location will need about an acre of land and should ideally be located near a highway and high schools. Staff are currently creating a spreadsheet out of each suggestion in the thousands of emails that have come in so far.
“We’re going through every address to see if there are viable options,” Donovan said. One of her personal favorite emails came from an Issaquah resident suggesting Northwest Gilman Boulevard for the new Dick’s.
“We would love to be able to open in all of the cities [listed], but we’re not able to right away,” Donovan said. She explained that as a “small, family business,” it has to grow slowly, rather than trying to take on too much at once.
While it may mean that the restaurant expands slower than larger chains, Donovan believes that the restaurant’s family-run nature is what has helped it to be such a success for 63 years.
“We create a lot of memories with our employees and our customers,” she said. “That’s passed on through generations.”
And Issaquah residents can rest assured that Dick’s will one day hold a spot in town, though Donovan reminds them that the chances are better that it will be sooner if they go vote.
“Someday for sure!” Donovan said. “The qusestion is, will the Eastside be next?”
To cast your vote for the next Dick’s location, go to www.surveygizmo.com/s3/3377627/you-decide-east-or-south. According to Donovan, the survey, will not run later than Monday, March 26.