Should be no surprise ‘the south’ won in Dick’s contest

Mar 30, 2017, 5:35 AM

Dick's Drive-In, Renton...

The City of Renton and its residents fought hard to bring Dick's Drive-In to an area south of Seattle. (KIRO 7 image)

(KIRO 7 image)

You’d think it was election season with the all the buzz in some of our city councils lately. But the latest excitement, that even led to a resolution from the Redmond City Council, is all about burgers.

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After Dick’s Drive-In announced it wanted to build a new location either east or south of Seattle, residents scrambled to vote for the next restaurant on the company’s website. The fact that cities east of Seattle, including Redmond, lost out to those on the list for southern locations shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise when you look at all the effort made by at least one city.

The City of Renton went on an all-out social media campaign on Twitter and Facebook, encouraging its residents to vote for the south. It’s something that Renton City Council President Armondo Pavone says began at the staff level and took off as a grassroots effort, taking on a “life of its own.”

More than 60 percent of votes went for the south. A total of 177,645 votes were cast.

Dick’s Drive-In hasn’t disclosed where the next restaurant will be. Along with Renton, other locations include: West Seattle, South Seattle, Burien, SeaTac, Tukwila, Kent, Auburn, Normandy Park, Des Moines and Federal Way.

Restaurant management will be speaking with development directors to determine where the best fit will be. Dick’s Vice President Jasmine Donovan said they are looking for about an acre of property near high schools, colleges, night life, and busy highways. Whichever city has the best site will get the new Dick’s location.

When you talk to Pavone about it, it’s easy to tell why there is so much enthusiasm.

“Anyone who grew up in or around Seattle knows Dick’s is an institutional icon,” he said. “It’s almost an experience. Everyone’s got a Dick’s experience.”

But it’s more than a place to get a quick bite to eat. Pavone points out that Renton is in the middle of a major redevelopment. In the past 17 years, Renton has been awarded three awards from the Puget Sound Regional Council, including one for its plan to revitalize downtown.

Pavone sees Dick’s Drive-In as another addition that would “merry up well” with what is going on in the city, which has a Comprehensive Plan with goals built out to at least 2021.

Wherever the new Dick’s is built, it would be the seventh location. The most recent addition to the chain was in Edmonds in October 2011 — also picked through online voting.

“Five years ago, when the north region won our 2010 poll, we promised our customers that we would continue to expand east and south if our north location was a success,” Jim Spady, president of Dick’s Drive-Ins, said in a statement. “Opening our location in Edmonds was an incredible experience and we’re very happy to ask our customers to again help us decide where we build next.”

KIRO 7 contributed to this story.

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Should be no surprise ‘the south’ won in Dick’s contest