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Dick versus Jack


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I’ve always liked Dick’s since moving to Seattle back in 1990, (the Dick’s Special reminds me of the burgers I used to get at Big Tom’s in Tumwater when I was growing up). Admittedly, I’d rather go to Red Mill, Red Robin, or the Six Arms if I’m flush with cash, but I’ve always counted on Dick’s for a good cheap hamburger when I’ve been next to broke.

Today I was down to my last $3 until payday (tomorrow) so decided I would take the #43 to Broadway and go to Dick’s. It was busy as usual, but no more so than a typical Thursday afternoon. First I noticed the prices had gone up since the last time I had been (maybe six months) but it was still reasonable. A Special now goes for $1.50 and a Deluxe goes for $2. I decided I would get my usual, a Deluxe without cheese (I have never liked the combination of mayo and cheese, so have never been into cheeseburgers) and I didn’t want to get two Specials because I didn’t want to eat that much bread. But when I ordered my Deluxe without I was told, rudely, “We don’t do special orders.” I said, “Since when?” and the guy.

Only having so much time for lunch, I said, out loud, “Fuck this,” and went across the street and went to Jack In The Box instead. Believe it or not, at the age of (nearly) 41, I had never eaten at a Jack in the Box before today. Instead of getting the Dick’s Deluxe for $2, I got a Jumbo Jack for $1.29 and I have to say I think it tasted better than what the Deluxe would have, and it was 70 cents cheaper (so I was able to also get a Chicken Sandwich for 99 cents).

I don’t know if this has completely soured me on going back to Dick’s, though I won’t go to the Broadway one again, but the next time I’m broke and find myself on Broadway I’ll walk by Dick’s and go back to Jack (or Taco Bell).

"Homer, he's out of control. He gave me a bad review. So my friend put a horse head on the bed. He ate the head and gave it a bad review! True Story." Luigi, The Simpsons

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the Broadway location has been increasingly less pleasant to go to. i'd say try Wallingford and QA before you give up entirely.

i won't enter that JITB for some very specific reasons dating back to the early '90s. (which is before i lived on the West Coast, if that helps at all.)

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the Broadway location has been increasingly less pleasant to go to.  i'd say try Wallingford and QA before you give up entirely.

I've never been to the Broadway Dick's but have been to the QA one a couple of times and the Wallingford one more times than I'd like to admit. Unfortunately, I've never known them to do any special orders. After many years, we still tease my mother about trying to special order her Dick's Deluxe. (They shot back the same retort you got). There's a cadance to ordering (another soup nazi?!) and, to me, it's part of their appeal.

Practice Random Acts of Toasting

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the Broadway location has been increasingly less pleasant to go to.  i'd say try Wallingford and QA before you give up entirely.

I've never been to the Broadway Dick's but have been to the QA one a couple of times and the Wallingford one more times than I'd like to admit. Unfortunately, I've never known them to do any special orders. After many years, we still tease my mother about trying to special order her Dick's Deluxe. (They shot back the same retort you got). There's a cadance to ordering (another soup nazi?!) and, to me, it's part of their appeal.

Surprising to me to hear this. I used to order Deluxes with no cheese all the time and never had a problem.

Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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elswinger, I'm surprised that you've ever gotten a special order at Dick's. Matthew checked it out when we first moved here in 1996 (he had an In 'n' Out habit in California) and quickly learned that they didn't do special orders (so he never goes there). After not touching a hamburger for at least 15 years, I developed a cheeseburger habit during my pregnancy last year. Now I grab a cheeseburger after school at least once a week from Dick's on Broadway. Many, many times I have heard customers denied a special order. It's the Dick's deal: "instant service" because everything's already made. My only problem with Dick's is that as a public-school employee, I disagree with the owner's politics. So far the lure of the cheeseburger has overcome my qualms.

(I never, ever go to Jack in the Box because the Broadway location seems repulsive. Even when it's clean it looks filthy.)

Hungry Monkey May 2009
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Bravo to Dick's. The day they start accepting special orders is the day they start selling chicken nuggets.

Incidently, this policy doesn't seem to hurt Dick's business. But has anybody noticed the dearth of "have it your way" Burger Kings?

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elswinger, I'm surprised that you've ever gotten a special order at Dick's. Matthew checked it out when we first moved here in 1996 (he had an In 'n' Out habit in California) and quickly learned that they didn't do special orders (so he never goes there). After not touching a hamburger for at least 15 years, I developed a cheeseburger habit during my pregnancy last year. Now I grab a cheeseburger after school at least once a week from Dick's on Broadway. Many, many times I have heard customers denied a special order. It's the Dick's deal: "instant service" because everything's already made. My only problem with Dick's is that as a public-school employee, I disagree with the owner's politics. So far the lure of the cheeseburger has overcome my qualms.

(I never, ever go to Jack in the Box because the Broadway location seems repulsive. Even when it's clean it looks filthy.)

OK! I have NOT had a good burger since i have been here...becuase i TOO had an 'in and out habit'

What is this Dick's place please.... and is it really as good as In and Out burger???

Thanks so much

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What is this Dick's place please.... and is it really as good as In and Out burger???

No. Dicks is nothing like an In and Out.

Personally, my favorite hamburger joint is Kid Valley... perhaps just for sentimental reasons. I started going to it back when it was just a small shack near the UDistrict. I think they were better back then, but I think they are still better then most anything else out there (although I haven't tried Red Mill yet, and I always here great things about them). I still love their deep fried mushrooms.

-Robert

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I've been eating at Dick's on Broadway since I moved to Seattle in 1990 and yesterday was the first time they've told me they wouldn't hold the cheese on a Deluxe (hell, it's just a Special with and extra hamburger patty). No big deal. I'll know better next time.

Today is payday, so I'm thinking about what I'm going to have for lunch today. Sushi? Pizza? Carne Asada tacos? Or do I save money and finally give Daly's Drive In on Eastlake a chance? I want to try some place I haven't been before, or, I could go to Red Robin and order a Monster Burger with Mushrooms so I can post the picture in the Hardee's/Carl's Jr. thread and make them choke on it). :laugh:

"Homer, he's out of control. He gave me a bad review. So my friend put a horse head on the bed. He ate the head and gave it a bad review! True Story." Luigi, The Simpsons

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Dicks is nothing like an In and Out.

Personally, my favorite hamburger joint is Kid Valley...

Unfortunately, In and Out is not a franchise operation. Too bad because I think that's the only way we can get one up here. The Napa In and Out on Imola Ave. is always on our itinerary whenever we go to down there; that and The French Laundry. :laugh:

After my last visit over three years ago, I'll never go to Kid Valley again. Don't ask.

Dick's in Wallingford is the only one I've taken notice to. Their parking lot always seems full whenever I drive past it.

Drink!

I refuse to spend my life worrying about what I eat. There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. --John Mortimera

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I've been eating at Dick's on Broadway since I moved to Seattle in 1990 and yesterday was the first time they've told me they wouldn't hold the cheese on a Deluxe (hell, it's just a Special with and extra hamburger patty).  No big deal.  I'll know better next time.

Today is payday, so I'm thinking about what I'm going to have for lunch today.  Sushi? Pizza? Carne Asada tacos? Or do I save money and finally give Daly's Drive In on Eastlake a chance?  I want to try some place I haven't been before, or, I could go to Red Robin and order a Monster Burger with Mushrooms so I can post the picture in the Hardee's/Carl's Jr. thread and make them choke on it).  :laugh:

If you're looking for a burger, I highly recommend CC's Burgers at 26th & Union. Best 'non-gourmet' burger I've had in Seattle.

Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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Since it's payday, I am going to treat myself to sushi, so I'll try Chiso in Fremont for the first time. After spending $3 yesterday for lunch, I'll probably spend $30 today. I will start another thread and post pictures this afternoon.

"Homer, he's out of control. He gave me a bad review. So my friend put a horse head on the bed. He ate the head and gave it a bad review! True Story." Luigi, The Simpsons

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I seem to remember that the Ranch Drive In in Bothell was pretty good. The standard full parking lot and teenagers in every booth. These are solid indicators of a tasty cheap meal. I haven't been there in a few years though. And it is quite a ways from Broadway in every sense. You can have it your way there.

If we aren't supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?

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i grew up in bothell (which we simply referred to as "hell") and can vouch for the ranch drive in. it's been years since i've been there but it was a staple as a kid and the top choice when leaving campus for lunch when i was in high school.

i remember the ranch burger being a deliciously sloppy affair, crinkle cut fries, great tartar sauce, and soft serve cones dipped in chocolate. the corn dogs were popular, as well. it was a family owned and run operation and probably still is. on a trip to an estate sale out there a few years back, we stopped at the ranch and i actually recognized someone working there. it should be noted that i graduated from bothell high school in 1985 and left shortly thereafter.

i would guess i've been eating at dick's for a good 32 of my 37 years and have never once heard of anyone getting a special order. i'm surprised anyone has even tried! it was one of those rules ingrained in your head if you grew up here: No Special Orders! it was always part of the appeal, particularly if you were a kid with a picky eater sibling.

lemony

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On several occaisions I have woken up on a Saturday morning really tempted to jump in the car and drive like mad down to Eureka, the closest In n' Out to here. I can always tell how many California transplants there are because inevitably some will eventually bring up In n' Out. Double Double, fries, and a strawberry shake, ahh heaven.

Rocky

Edited by rockdoggydog (log)
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If you're looking for a burger, I highly recommend CC's Burgers at 26th & Union.  Best 'non-gourmet' burger I've had in Seattle.

Gotta try CC's. No excuse, really, since we live so close. Hmmm...I wonder what's for lunch...er....midafternoon snack today. :laugh:

Can't really get behind any of the Smash-it-flat-and-cook-it-until-it's-grey purveyors in the Seattle zone. Burgermaster if someone held a gun to my head, but only because I can eat in the car while I'm listening to a game on AM radio. :smile:

c

i play the rock. you shake the booty.
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I love Dick's fries! Occasionally I will have one of their cheese burgers, at the Broadway location, or more rarely, at Wallingford if I'm in the area.

I have read the owner of Dick's treats their employees very well.

Good burgers, fries and employee benefits

On a trip awhile back, I stopped at a Seattle fast-food restaurant called Dick's Drive-In. The food was good, but what really got my attention was the information posted at the window where I placed my order.

Dick's was touting its working conditions. These featured starting salaries of more than $8 an hour, college tuition benefits and — in what is most exceptional for an industry that often says it cannot afford the costs of employee benefits — health insurance.I've seen plenty of businesses built on a model of shaving costs as closely as possible.

Here's a model for how a small business justifies costs that are in excess of its industry's norms:

First, the costs

Dick's Drive-In Restaurants has about 110 employees spread around its five Seattle outlets. There are four primary areas where it spends more than you'd expect of a fast-food joint:

Wages

The standard starting pay at the company's five restaurants in $8.25 an hour. Employees are eligible for a half-buck-an-hour raise after 12 weeks, and the company says its wages for shift and store managers are also higher than the industry average.

" Our philosophy is that if you want to be the best, you need the best people — and if you want the best people you have to pay for them," says Jim Spady, vice president of Dick's Drive-In Restaurants, and the son of one of the company's co-founders.

Health care:

Dick's pays 100% of the cost of health insurance for its employees. The insurance covers anyone who works at least 24 hours a week for the company. Unlike some businesses that have a policy of restricting employees to 20 hours a week of work or less (so they do not qualify for various benefits), Dick's covers more than three-quarters of its employees with its plan.

" I don't want any employees of mine to not be able to take care of themselves because they don't have health benefits," says Spady.

Education

The company also pays to help its employees go to college. The program is worth up to $1,500 in the first year and up to $10,000 over four years. You have to work for at least six months before you're eligible for the scholarships; however, students who work for Dick's full time in the summer and graduate from high school qualify for the program with just two months of service.

" We want people right from high school, so we set up the (education) plan to let them know that if they join us in the summer and have only worked for us a few months, they'll still qualify for the full education benefit," says Lisa Kane, director of training for Dick's.

Kane says that about 35% of the people Dick's hires take advantage of the educational benefits. "We love the high-school kid who applies here, stays with us through college and gets $10,000 in tuition benefits from us."

Community involvement

Dick's even factors subsidizing employee community involvement into the bottom line. The company pays employees their regular salary for up to four hours of volunteer work each month.

More about it Here (I think the article is from 2003).

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While we are on the topic of hamburgers...

I was driving around in Issaquah yesterday and happened to drive by the "Triple XXX" Drive in. I always see it from the freeway as I zip past, and constantly think I should drop in and check them out, well, this time I did.

Besides just driving by all the time, I know absolutely nothing about this joint. Apparently it is a big hangout for vintage hot-rod types. All around on the insides are pictures from various car meets, and at the booths are catalogs and magazines related to refurbishing your 50's vintage auto. Definately lots of character.

I suppose others here know more about it, but it apparently is the "last" of the Triple XXX chain of drive-ins. Not sure how far spread they once were, but I seem to recall seeing them around as a child. There used to be another one down by the Airport, but as I recall it is now a Thai restaurant or something.

Looking at the menu, I wanted to try to pick something out that was a "standard" at the XXX, and I saw a "Triple XXX Burger" listed... so I ordered it... I should have known something was up when the person taking my order (with the number of photo's of him on the wall, I think it was the owner) asked me if I'd ever had one before...

When it arrived, it was -huge-. The bun was as big as a dinner plate, and within it were three large burger patties and all the fixin's. While perhaps not one of these "dare you" size of burgers that only few folks could even think of finishing, it was still definately a big and filling meal.

From a quality standpoint, it was better then most, but perhaps not worthy of a "Best Of" rating. At $10 for burger, and regular Root Beer (which was very good), it was more then a burger and soda would cost you at Dick's, but I also didn't have to eat for the rest of the day :->

-Robert

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I am a recovering vegetarian. It's been a slow process of healing for me. I started eating sashimi grade fish about a year ago, then moved on to Salumi proscuitto in the last month, and I have been getting chicken gyros the last week at the fabulous Gyrocery in the U-District. Today I am preparing to move on to beef. Honestly, I have not consumed beef in four years. Even when I was an omnivore I was never a huge steak fan....I always went for the burgers. In the three years I have lived in Seattle I have not sampled the sweet opportunity to peruse Seattle's great hamburger joint scene. I have come up with a list of nominations of where I want to have my first hamburger this evening, please help me choose(or if you wish, feel free to write in a candidate).

And the nominations for Kyle's complete dive off of the vegetarianism high horse are:

Dick's

Burgermaster

Kidd Valley

Red Mill

Daly's

Deluxe Bar and Grill

Let the voting begin! If you would all be so kind....

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From a quality standpoint, it was better then most, but perhaps not worthy of a "Best Of" rating. At $10 for burger, and regular Root Beer (which was very good), it was more then a burger and soda would cost you at Dick's, but I also didn't have to eat for the rest of the day :->

I haven't been to triple X for probably ten years, but it's the root beer that I really remember. It was good stuff then, and I'm glad to hear that it's stayed good.

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Let the voting begin!  If you would all be so kind....

I would totally go for Dick's, because the other places all have vegetarian options. At Dick's you MUST have a burger. Once you're fully recovered, get a fabulous bacon cheeseburger from Red Mill. (We live right around the corner from Deluxe, and I haven't tried their burger but I know Matthew likes it.)

Hungry Monkey May 2009
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My husband, stepson and I live in Port Townsend. Whenever we make the trip into Seattle (and especially our Christmas trip to Archie McPhee's for stocking stuffers), we go to Dick's in Wallingford. No trip to Seattle goes without a stop at Dick's. It's our favorite....bar none.

It certainly doesn't surprise me that they don't do special orders. I am always amazed that for as long as the lines are sometimes, things still move pretty damn quickly. No special orders is probably one of the good reasons for this. Also, the employees add the totals up in their heads, which saves time. They really rock'n roll in there....and I think Dick's is a prime example of a really well run business. Prompt and consistent service to customers, and great treatment of their employees. I'm sure the number of customers who get pissed off because they don't do special orders are insignificant enough that the lost business isn't much of a concern.

Dick's never professed to be a "Nordstroms" of the burger business. You get what you get.

That's the beauty and simplicity of it.

There's lots of gourmet burger places in Seattle that will be happy to kiss your ass for the business. But ass-kissing is costly.....another reason for the reasonable prices at Dick's.

I also have an insider's view of the whole "special order" thing. I worked at McDonald's when

I was in high school. When you're on the burger grill, your job is to crank those puppies out.

It was very "production line" oriented, just like at Dick's. Watch them. It's very methodical,

repetitive and choreographed. No wasted moves. Once you figure out the rhythm of it all,

you can master the dance quite well. Well imagine, that you're doin' your dance and some

guy decides to stick his foot out and trip you. That's what a special order is like. We grilled

up burgers in "runs". When I got a special order slip, I had to remember on the next run,

that I had to leave off the pickles, or mustard, or ketchup or something. I'd have this in my

head for about 5 seconds, and I'd start the next run. Still in my rhythm, before I knew it

I'd cranked out the run and forgot to leave the pickles off the special order. So I'd have to

wait until the NEXT run to make the special order. By this time the customer is pissed off

because he's had to wait so long. We worked fast....at least I did. Special orders slowed

me up.....as they do for most production oriented places.

What about if Dick's just fried up the burgers, and put 'em on buns, and let the customers

dress them up as they pleased by offering a condiment bar? That just means more health

hazards caused by people that have no concept of hygiene, and a couple of employees to

maintain the bar...one to clean and one to stock....it also means long lines of people waiting

to dress their burger which isn't good for business; no one wants to wait in two lines. Plus they'd

have to add space inside for this all to happen, which is costly. One of the appeals of Dick's is

the reasonable cost. The other is the consistency. You know exactly what you're going to get.

I've eaten zillions of Dick's burgers, and they've always tasted EXACTLY the same. I like that.

I like knowing that I'm going to get exactly what I'm expecting.

Anyone who's worked in the restaurant business as I have, knows that it's IMPOSSIBLE to

please everyone. When you open an establishment, you have to decide what you're going to

do, and who you're going to cater to, and not deviate from that vision. Once you do, you

set yourself up for trouble. Listening to suggestions from well meaning people can be good,

but once you start trying to please everyone your costs go up and before you know it, you're

out of business.

Dick's is still in business, because they've stuck to their vision and their business goals.

I admire that.

And I love their fries. :rolleyes:

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And the nominations for Kyle's complete dive off of the vegetarianism high horse are:

Dick's

Burgermaster

Kidd Valley

Red Mill

Daly's

Deluxe Bar and Grill

Let the voting begin!  If you would all be so kind....

I strongly recommend a burger from Two Bells in Belltown. For one, they bring the burger to you. But secondly they make a great burger. On the very rare occasions when I want a burger and nothing but a burger, that's where I go.

Personally, I don't think Dicks and Burgermaster are all that great. Red Mill is a step above both of them, but still not as good as Two Bells.

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