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Could Dick's Drive-In return to Bellevue? | Fans will vote
Dick's Drive-In has named Bellevue as a possible home for its first expansion in 36 years.
The iconic fast-food chain announced this week that it would select the location for a new restaurant with help from an online poll.
Fans have until Sept. 30 to vote for one of three regions in the Seattle metropolitan region – North, South, and East – at the Dick's web site.
The East region includes Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Bothell, Mercer Island, Sammamish, and Issaquah. North consists of Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Edmonds, and South Everett. South includes West Seattle, South Seattle, Renton, Burien, SeaTac, and Tukwila.
North led the field on Wednesday with 49 percent of the votes, while South took 48 percent. The East had a meager 1 percent.
Dick's vice president Jim Spady said the numbers were badly skewed because hackers found ways to cast multiple votes.
"Some fans really want Dick's in their neighborhood, and they've tried to put their thumb on the scale so to speak," he said.
Dick's is working to resolve the repeat-voting issue, and the company has vowed to come up with accurate numbers.
"We'll look at every single vote and its IP address if we have to," Spady said.
Voting isn't the only way fans can influence site selection for the new restaurant. They can also post preferences on the Dick's Facebook page.
Dick Spady opened the first Dick's drive-in 56 years ago in Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood. There are now five locations, all in Seattle.
A Dick's Hamburgers located in Spokane is not owned by the Spady family.
Dick's opened a Bellevue drive-in near the southeast corner of Bellevue Way and NE 10th Street in 1965.
The restaurant had to compete with a nearby Herfy's Burgers that offered indoor seating – a new trend in fast food around that time. It closed in 1973.
Dick's opened its first location with indoor dining a year later in Seattle's Queen Anne neighborhood.
A love for all things nostalgic has given drive-ins a popularity boost in recent years. Spady said the new Dick's restaurant will use that design format.
Dick's makes a point of paying some of the highest wages in the region among fast-food establishments. The company provides a starting wage of $9.50 an hour, a 50-cent raise after three months of employment, and full tuition payments for community college – or an equivalent amount at four-year schools.
Workers can also substitute child-care for tuition. The company has spent nearly $1 million on those two programs in the past 20 years, according to Spady.