Dick's Drive-In to open new Kent location in 2018

The first Dick's Drive-In was opened in 1954 in Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood.

UPDATE: Dick's is set to start construction on their new Kent location Tuesday, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal. On Friday, DIck's bought the Kent property across Pacific Highway south from Highline College.

Original Story: A new Dick's Drive-In is expected to open in Kent in late 2018, not far from Sea-Tac International Airport.

The Kent location will be the company’s seventh restaurant. The company started in 1954 with the Wallingford location and most recently opened the Edmonds location in October 2011 after a similar online poll.

“The Kent property is in a great location on Highway 99, five miles south of Sea-Tac Airport,” Jim Spady, president of Dick’s Drive-In and son of namesake Dick Spady, said in a statement. “It’s a half mile south of the intersection with the Kent-Des Moines highway and very close to Highline College in Des Moines. We look forward to bringing great food and great first-time jobs to the communities of south King County.”

Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke said the new location is “a tremendous vote of confidence for our community.”



"I so appreciate the can-do attitude by our economic development staff in addressing Dick's criteria to invest in Kent," she said in a statement. "What a great example of public and private sectors working together to bring an iconic family business for the public to experience and enjoy."

The company said the location is contingent on obtaining permits from the City of Kent. Meeting with Kent officials have been positive and if things go to plan the sale will be completed in early 2018, construction will start next spring, and the Kent Dick’s Drive-In will open by the end of next year, said Jasmine Donovan, company vice president and granddaughter of Dick Spady.

The company plans to have the Kent location keep the look of the Seattle outdoor drive-in locations, which also was the model for the 2011 Edmonds restaurant.

The first Dick’s Drive-In opened Jan. 28th, 1954 in Wallingford at 111 N.E. 45th Street. Burgers were 19 cents, fries 11 cents and shakes were 21 cents.

"We still use fresh, never-frozen beef and buns, we still hand-cut our fries from real  potatoes, and we still hand-dip and individually whip our shakes,” Jim Spady said when the south region was announced in March. “Our tradition of quality food, instant service, taking care of our employees and investing in our communities will continue as we grow.”

The Broadway store opened in 1955, then Holman Road in 1960, Lake City in 1963, and Queen Anne – the only indoor location – in 1974. For a short time there also was a restaurant near Bellevue Square, which opened in 1965.

When the Edmonds location was announced in 2010 -- on Dick Spady's 87th birthday -- the online survey gained more than 115,000 votes. That was the first new Dick's Drive-In location since the Queen Anne restaurant opened 37 years earlier. In 2015, Dick's was ranked No. 13 on a list of best U.S. cheeseburgers by The Daily Meal.

Spady died in January 2016 at age 92. Follow this link to his obituary.

Spady received the Seattle Municipal League’s Business of the Year Award in 2005 and the Outstanding Philanthropic Small Business Award in 2000. The final responsibility of a successful business, he said, is building a sustainable community to help the common good.

“We are only as successful as the satisfaction of those we serve.”

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