It's Kent's 5th Birthday!
This week we take a quick break from all of the holiday goodies to take a look back at one of the biggest moments in recent Dick's Drive-In History. After 37 years of waiting for a new restaurant, Edmonds opened in 2011. Seven years later the Drive-In finally headed south of Seattle and opened in Kent on December 12, 2018. Today is Kent's 5th birthday and we are sharing memories from that day from some people very close to the Drive-In, Dick's son Jim, and his wife Fawn.
Kent opened only 7 years after Edmonds. Was the new business model to start expanding more quickly?
The hope was that if Edmonds was a success we could open another new restaurant after the debt was mostly paid off. In between we had to remodel and upgrade most of our other restaurants which were all 40+ years old.
How was Kent selected for the new location?
The same way as Edmonds. We had another vote, this time just between South and East. South won and then we began talking to the individual cities in the south who were hoping to get the next restaurant. The City of Kent suggested the site we ultimately chose, which is on the west side of the city, near Highline College and Des Moines. But all of the South Sound cities were very welcoming. When we met with the Mayor of Auburn, she welcomed us with the Auburn High School Band and cheerleaders before our meeting with her and her planning team at City Hall. It was amazing.
What kind of festivities were there to celebrate? What did you learn or change from Edmond's opening?
It was very similar, except that Dick had passed away in 2016 so he was only with us in spirit, and not in person. We had a Groundbreaking ceremony, an Orange ticket contest, the Grand Opening Ribbon cutting, short speeches by local officials, great food, and long lines. Because Dick was no longer there to cut the ribbon, we instead gave all of our Orange Ticket winners and local officials souvenir scissors and asked them to cut the Grand Opening Ribbon together.
How was the grand opening?
Wonderful, but cold and rainy.
What was your favorite part?
I love the part of our openings when we invite the people who worked on the construction and the local police and fire departments to the “soft” opening the night before our “Grand” opening. The crew is so excited to be done with their initial training and to be serving people. Our special guests are so excited to see their hard work come alive and begin a new tradition.
How was it opening a restaurant without Dick for the first time?
He was with us in spirit. He would have loved it, just as he loved the Grand Opening at Edmonds. I always think about this quote as we grow our family business.
"They say you die twice. Once when you stop breathing and the second, a bit later on, when somebody mentions your name for the last time." - Bansky
Our family has the goal to continue the business for at least 7 more generations. We hope we succeed because that will keep Dick’s memory alive for a very long time.