Seattle Burger Review: Is Dick’s Drive-In still a Seattle classic?
I’m on a mission to find the best burger in the city of Seattle. I travel to various burger joints within city limits and rate the establishment’s most popular burger on a scale of 1-10. Of all the measures I use, taste is most important.
In February, I posed a simple question on Twitter: Where is the best burger in Seattle? Out of all the suggestions I received that day, and all the recommendations in the past six-plus months, Dick’s Drive-In may leads the pack in sheer volume of requests.
But Tom, you might ask, why did you wait so long to do it when it was requested so often?
Well that’s an easy answer. I’m assuming you’re all familiar with a particular morning show host on AM 770 KTTH, the station that just so happens to employ me. He just happens to be a direct descendant of Dick Spady, the man who launched the successful burger chain.
I’m sure you’re also familiar with the term, “conflict of interest.” What one should do is have an independent third-party review Dick’s Drive-In to avoid speculation that the eatery received special treatment. But I didn’t do that (obviously). I went ahead and reviewed the famous drive-in for the sake of journalism. And crucial journalism it is
By the length of the lines at 11:10 a.m. on a Thursday, the answer to my question posed in the title is, unequivocally, yes: Dick’s remains a Seattle institution.
The Queen Anne location I drove to had lines at every window, that only got longer as time went on. Dick’s has five locations in Seattle: Wallingford, Capitol Hill, Queen Anne, Crown Hill, and Lake City. They recently opened locations in Edmonds and Kent.
But the question isn’t if people frequent these burger joints — the question is if people do it based on either reputation, or taste.
As one typically does, I ordered the Deluxe. I actually ordered two of them because I was starving, and size isn’t one of their strengths. It comes with two, one-eighth pound grilled patties (equaling a quarter-pound … duh), with melted American cheese, lettuce, mayo and pickle relish. It’s served on a locally-made brioche-style bun.
With Dick’s, you know what you’re getting. They’ve been pumping out these burgers since 1953. It’s a cheap, on-the-go-style burger.
It’s typically hearty enough to last you a few hours, and won’t make you feel full and gross should you order just one. The mayo and pickle relish team up for a nice, border-line tangy flavor. The patties are thin, but have a little more juice to them than your average fast food burger.
Still, you’re not going to Dick’s for the quality of meat. The bun does its job in holding everything together.
The beauty of the chain is the price of its burgers. This is a burger that would go for upwards of $5 anywhere else. But since there are so many locations, and they have frequent visitors, they’re able to sell the deluxe for $3.65. You’re not going to find a much better deal among rival fast food chains.
The fries will cost you an extra $2.05. The fries are the soggy, sweet-potato kind of fries. They’re salted well, but can wear on you after a while.
Biggest strength(s): Double patty, mayo-pickle relish tag team, price
Biggest weakness(s): Size, cheap American cheese
Rating: Dick’s Drive-In is a Seattle classic and will remain so until the city goes full vegan. It’s a great way to spend a quick lunch, and I would recommend it to any out-of-towner. I’ll give the Deluxe from Dick’s a hearty 7.5/10.
Past reviews: 8 Oz. Burger (7.5/10), Little Big Burger (8/10), Uneeda Burger (5/10), Li’l Woody’s (7/10), CaliBurger (6/10), ShakeShack (8/10), Red Robin (7/10), BurgerMaster (4/10), Sam’s Tavern (7.5/10), Great State Burger (6.5/10), Zippy’s Giant Burgers (8/10), Red Mill Burgers (7.5/10), Henry’s Tavern in Bellevue (9/10), Blue Moon Burger’s ‘Impossible Burger’ (1/10), Katsu Burger (7.5/10), Rain City Burgers (6/10), BRGR Bar (7/10), Kidd Valley (7/10), Loretta’s Northwesterner (5/10), Scooter’s Burgers (7/10), Elliot Bay Public House and Brewery’s elk burger (5.5/10), Burger Express in Federal Way (8/10), Coastline Burgers (7/10)