More than 1,000 people showed up in mid-October to wait in lines for bargain burgers and fries from the Seattle chain of restaurants.
That's not my scene, but as a local foodie of sorts, I needed to know: Is Dick's worth all this fuss?
I visited Dick's, next to the Top Food & Drug parking lot on Highway 99 in Edmonds, at 2:30 p.m. on a Wednesday, hoping it would be slow.
It wasn't. About 50 people were spread into multiple lines. I left empty-handed.
Thursday the same thing happened again.
Finally, I ventured over a few minutes before the place opened at 10:30 a.m. on a Friday. I joined a group of about 20, figuring it wasn't going to be much better.
And I am so glad I did.
I loved the food at Dick's.
And those lines? Well, I get it now. They move really fast.
I had food in less than 10 minutes.
There must have been 30 workers behind the counter, buzzing away, readying burgers they knew would get ordered and scooping ice cream, even at 10:30 a.m.
Dick's surprised me with some menu quirks, including chopped pickles -- but not ketchup -- on its deluxe and special burgers.
Relish on burgers? And I have to pay 5 cents extra for ketchup?
Dick's deluxe is a double-patty quarter-pounder ($2.70) topped with gooey American cheese, mayo, chopped lettuce and the aforementioned minced pickles.
Dick's special is the same sandwich with just one patty and no cheese ($1.80). Both come on soft white buns that melt in your mouth.
Next time I'll go for the cheeseburger ($1.50) and skip the messy lettuce and chopped pickle, which seemed out of place to me.
I loved Dick's fries, sold in a small size only ($1.50). (How delightfully and dietarily prudent!)
Made with house-cut potatoes with some skin still intact, they were shoe-string thin.
They had a floppy structure, but they were hot and had a crisp, fresh-from-the-fryer texture.
These are the kind of fries you must fold immediately into your mouth. They won't keep.
Dick's milkshakes are famous for being awesome.
I can see why.
Ice cream here is old-fashioned, hand-scooped, not squirted out of a machine, and it's rich and delicious, reason enough to come to the drive-in, where you don't drive in, but park and walk up.
I had a hot fudge sundae and it was seriously sublime, an almost 1-to-1 ice cream-to-fudge ratio that had me groaning with satisfaction and calorie overload.
Ice cream flavors at Dick's include vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, maple nut, peppermint, rocky road and mint chocolate chip.
I cannot imagine how good my sundae ($2) would have been with mint chip. Other toppings are butterscotch, strawberry and blackberry.
Dick's burgers are pretty darn good. They reminded me of the fare at Five Guys Burgers and Fries, a Virginia-based chain that has opened restaurants in Lynn-wood and Smokey Point in the past few years.
To be honest, I like Five Guys better because the burgers and fries there seem bigger, heartier, and you have a lot more topping options, including bacon.
But Five Guys isn't local and they are nowhere near as affordable.
Dick's basic hamburgers cost $1.25. Five Guys burgers start at $3.79.
Regular shakes are $2.15. Dick's sells take-home frozen chocolate milk shakes for $1.35.
Where else can you get anything that inexpensive anymore and still be supporting a local business?
If you need a break from turkey and other home-cooked foods this weekend -- and you'd like to take some visiting relatives to a local treasure -- I say, go to Dick's in Edmonds.
It won't set you back much. And what you do spend, in terms of time and money, should be worth it.
Sarah Jackson: 425-339-3037, email@example.com.
21910 Highway 99, Edmonds; 425-775-4243; www.ddir.com.
Hours: 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.
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