By Derrick Knutson
Something smells good in North Branch.
It tastes good, too.
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit recently opened in the 5400 block of St. Croix Trail, the former site of Everyday Joe Coffee and Café.
Owner Rick Waytashek said even though the official grand opening is still about a month away, a steady stream of customers have been heading into the restaurant to sample an assortment of barbecued fare.
“We’ve been very busy,” he said.
Dickey’s is a nationwide chain based out of Dallas, Texas.
The restaurant’s founder, Travis Dickey, opened his first barbecue eatery in 1941.
Since then, Dickey’s has steadily opened restaurants across the nation, and Minnesota is the chain’s fastest growing market in the Midwest, Waytashek said.
The North Branch location is the 13th Dickey’s to open in the state, and three more are soon to follow in Blaine, Detroit Lakes and Marshall.
Waytashek credits great-tasting, affordable food for the building boom.
The restaurant offers eight different types of hickory-smoked meats, a selection of sandwiches, salads and a choice of a dozen side dishes, such as coleslaw, baked potato casserole and potato salad.
Also, unlike some chain restaurants that simply reheat already-cooked food, Dickey’s prepares everything on location.
“All of our product comes in non-smoked and everything is smoked on-site,” Waytashek said, adding that each restaurant has the ability to smoke about 350 pounds of meat at a time.
That’s an asset when it comes to implementing the other facet of the business: catering.
“We can cater just about any size event,” Waytashek said. “We offer boxed meals and buffet style.”
Catering with Dickey’s doesn’t break the bank.
Each plate averages about $10.
Specials soon to come
Waytashek said dinner and lunch specials will soon be offered at his restaurant, but there are already perks for customers who dine at Dickey’s.
He noted every meal comes with a free pickle and lactose-free soft serve ice cream – Travis Dickey was lactose intolerant and wanted to offer a dessert that could be enjoyed by all patrons of his restaurants.
Dickey’s also has the “kids eat free on Sundays” special.
With the purchase of an adult meal, children ages 12 and under can select a meal off the kids menu free of charge.
“Everybody has been waiting for a restaurant like this in this area,” Waytashek said.