50 years of Memories
Testing the Fries

When I was 11 years old, I lived about two blocks down 2nd from the new drive-in under construction at 2nd and 45th street. My friends and I became real excited when the signs went up identifying the new place as Dick's Drive-In with 19 cent hamburgers. We thought we had found a real gold mine when we knocked on the back door of the drive-in several days before it opened to the public and were able to get a bag of French fries for 11 cents. It was such a great deal we went back two more times before the grand opening.

David Eckert – Age 61
The First to Try a Shake?

My first memory of Dick's is seeing it being built. I lived at N. 50th & Sunnyside just a few blocks away. I used to walk to the site and watch the bulldozer clearing the lot. After the building was built, but not yet opened, I would go there and just hang around.

There was a man there several times and I think he was testing the equipment. It might have been Dick Spady for all I know. One day he saw me hanging around and gave me a little bag of fries and another time he gave me a small chocolate shake to try. Was I one of the first to enjoy Dick's food? Maybe...

My second memory is when I went to Lincoln High School and I piled several of my buddies into the Buick Roadmaster Convertible my dad had gotten my older brother and I. We headed for Dick's. I had skipped my geometry class. There I was in my car on this nice sunny day with the top down enjoying my burger and coke while smoking a cigarette. All of the sudden I hear a voice say, "Mr. Emerson, what are you doing here? You're supposed to be in class. And what are you doing smoking that cigarette?" I turned around and I am face to face with Mr. Starcevich, the boys' advisor at Lincoln High. I did not do that again.

George Emerson – Age 63
The Red Star Meant Our Meal Was Free

I was one of six kids and my dad worked in Seattle at the Wonder Bread Plant. We lived in Bellevue. One night when I was about ten years old, he came home and piled us all up in the Ford station wagon and went way across the I-90 bridge to have a very special treat – Dick's! And the best part was that none of us kids will ever forget was a "red star" on the receipt...we all got our meal for free. Boy was that a really big deal for us. Thank you!

Sue Martin – Age 55
It Seems so Long Ago!

My recollection of Dick's at Lake City was taking my oldest boy there for a burger and a coke after a little fastball league practice. Cokes were 10 cents and burgers were 15 cents? Not sure on the prices. This was 1965-66. Our daughter tagged along. Before the kids, my boyfriend and I went there a lot, for seven years before I said "yes". All my kids still come in to town to go to Dick's with their kids; proms at Greenlake, Brier, and Edmonds. We are some kind of natives, all born in Seattle, even me! One of the things I've enjoyed over the years is the beautiful flower arangements! The kids still come by and say, "Let's go to Dick's!"

Martha Lennstrom – Age 83
Skip Graduation and Go to Dick's

My husband Johnny (John A. Johnson) and Dick Spady were Air Force buddies way back when! Johnny graduated from Roosevelt High in 1937. After graduation came varied careers, business ventures, World War II (B-17 Bomber pilot in Europe), re-call to service in the Korean War. Johnny decided to continue his education at the University of Washington, married and with five kids, he graduated from the UW Business School in June 1957.

Much to my disappointment and all the financial and personal difficulties of him going to school, he refused to attend the graduation ceremony. Johnny didn't want to go to the graduation ceremony, as he was older than the other graduates. As a consolation prize, Johnny took our kids and me; John Carl, Joy, Judy, Chris and Steve to Dick's original restaurant in Wallingford to celebrate. Johnny told us we could order anything on the menu and that's how we celebrated his graduation.

Dick and Johnny served in the same Air Force Reserve Unit for many years, as well as being long time friends until God called Johnny home April 29, 1988.

P.S. I do not like fast food restaurants because of the junk food, but Dick's is "Quality" so the 19 grandkids and 10 great-grandkids know I will take them to Dick's for a treat, anytime, any day to celebrate a special event, award, or goal achieved.

Mrs. John A. Johnson (Millie) – Age 81
A UW Tradition

My Memory of Dick's links me to where I am today. I met my boyfriend (now husband) 13 years ago at the U of W, and our college "tradition" was to walk from his fraternity to Dick's in Wallingford for our late night meal. It tasted so incredibly good on our budget. Today, 2 children later, we still love Dick's. Our 5 year old gets very excited about it...my parents still enjoy it...And what makes it more meaningful now is that my husband has been out of work for one year and it still means so much to us.

Rich or poor, Dick's is great food, great memories, both past and present. Thank you for the memories.

Laura Case – Age 32
It's All in the Timing

As freshman pledges at the University of Washington in 1959, our goal was to make it to "Ricardo's Club 19" in Wallingford and back to the DKE house on 21st NE, with burgers, fries and shakes, during our nightly study break.

Until we got the route and timing right, we often had to bribe the pledge trainer and other upperclassmen with promises of food and drink when we were a bit late.

Jim Carlson
Buckets for Sale

After living in Seattle for 20+ years we left two years ago and moved to Pittsburgh, PA. Dick's always was the choice place for burgers and fries and a shake and much more.

In the mid-1980's while doing my Ph.D. work at the UW, I needed buckets for grains of high temperature materials that I was using. One day while passing Dick's on my way from Wallingford to the UW on Bus #43 I saw a sign out for "Buckets for Sale."

Well I purchased quite a few. Over the next six months each time we went to use one, or open one already filled with grains, we would first make a guess as to what flavor the bucket held. Would our smell senses be hit with chocolate? Or maybe strawberry? Or maybe pickles? This became a great source of betting in my lab and great fun to tickle the senses of new graduate students.

As we grew older and started a family Dick's featured more prominently in our regular routine. Weekly dinners in the Wallingford or Holman road lots were a treat. We gave out Dick's T-shirts for Christmas and coupons from "Santa" in stockings.

This past summer when we returned to Seattle for a trip to visit friends our first stop on the way from the airport to meeting friends was at Dick's in Wallingford to get a Deluxe, fries and a shake. We had to hide the evidence before we got to our friends house lest they really guess that Dick's was our first priority on our return trip. It was a constant stop every time we needed to get something to eat that week. I believe we ate at Dick's 5 times; Wallingford, Holman Road and Capitol Hill. There is nothing like the slim hot fries and the wonderful shakes to go with the deluxe sauce. My sons have grown now and where getting through a single cheeseburger was a challenge, this time they wanted 2 or 3 at a time. The entire week in Seattle we kept wondering where we could start a Dick's franchise in Pittsburgh. It is sorely needed!

Thank you Dick's for being there!

Suzie Laurich-McIntyre – Age 45
After a Movie, It Was a Must to Go to Dick's

I had a date with a Husky Football player. He was a Running Back and then became a Quarterback. Bobby Dunn was Captain of the 1956 Husky team. After a movie, it was a must to go to Dick's Drive-In. This was in 1956 and we were both students at the "U-DUB". We both ordered a hamburger and most likely a milkshake. I was a little shy about eating in front of a guy. So I nibbled away slowly, around and around that burger. Looking over at me several times, as I shyly nibbled that burger. He finally said, "What are you doing with that hamburger?" I said, "I eat all around the outside of the burger and save the delicious, juicy bite in the middle until last!" Bob said, "Now I have seen everything!" This has been a favorite story with all of our family and friends. Our son brought us the article from the Seattle paper and said, "you have to enter your story!" To make things more interesting, I was Miss Wallingford when Dick's Drive-In opened. I lived about a mile away, down near the Gas Works. We were married on Friday the 13th (No bad luck yet!)– June 1958, 45 years ago. By the way, I still eat my burger the same as the Dick's burger on a date with a Husky ball player in 1956!

Joyce & Bob Dunn – Age 68 & 69
Romance at the Drive-In

Going through my clothes, I found a 35th anniversary t-shirt my brother-in-law bought me. I realized that the 50th anniversary for Dick's is coming up, and I want to make sure that we aren't left out of the celebrations this time. Mike and I met in 1969, when I was hired to make malts when I was in my senior year of high school. He had been working there for a couple of years while attending Seattle Community part-time.

We started dating in February, 1970, and we were married a year later (I was 18, he was 22) - we've been married for 32 years, have two great children, 24 and 19. We're both grade school teachers and volunteer firefighters in Port Angeles/Clallam County, WA and he's planning to retire from teaching in another year. We have very fond memories of Dick's. The people we met there are still some of our best friends, and we really want to be included when you plan for the 50th. Thanks!

Freda (Simmerer) Tallmadge – Age 51
Mike Tallmadge – Age 55
There Is this Boy You Should Meet

My older sister worked at Dick's in Lake City and would say "there's this boy I work with that you should meet." I was only 15 years old at the time and kept declining. When I was nearly 16 years old, attending Nathan Hale High School, I began working at Dick's in Lake City in 1976. "That boy", Jim Hewitson, who attended Blanchet High School, was still working there.

After 6 months of being friends I asked Jim on a date to attend an Earth, Wind and Fire concert. I knew Jim was interested when he said yes even before I got out my entire invitation! We both continued to work at Dick's through our high school years. We would spend all day together on Saturday, work the 6pm-2am shift at Dick's and after closing we would spend time talking. I remember my father driving out to Dick's on a few occasions in the early morning hours to inform me it was time to go home. How ironic, Dick's celebrating their 50th year while Jim and I celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. Thanks for all the great memories Dick's Drive-In!

Kathy Hewitson – Age 42
Is That a Dentist's Office?

In 1968, I was stationed in Seattle with NOAA and would see billboards around the area that said "cavities filled at Dick's" and thought that was a really busy dentist's office to be able to put large billboards around the city! It took awhile before I figured that the Dick's referred to you guys!

Lance Leuthesser – Age 59
Let's Play Celebrity Look-a-Like

The great thing about Dick's Drive-In is that it appeals to all sorts of budgets and personalities. We have found that all your restaurants are great places to play our favorite game of Celebrity Look A Like, where we determine which of the patrons might in the slightest way resemble a well-known public figure. We will often purchase our meals and sit off to the side and spend quality time observing the celebrities.

One classic night at the Capitol Hill location within an hour we observed Tom Cruise, Singer Eddie Money, George Burns, Charo, Wilt Chamberlain, Richard Nixon and former child star Tina Yothers. We felt we were at the Red Carpet outside the Oscars. Thank you for providing an arena for our entertainment!

Andrew Casper – Age 42
True Love Survives the Car Fire

My husband and I were married in 1969. We still are. We started dating in 1965. He called me from work one day in 1965 and said, "I want to take you out to dinner and bowling tonight." This was the first time he asked me out to dinner. So, we both dressed in white Levi's and a blue shirt. He picked me up and I asked where we were going. He said were going to dinner at Dick's Drive-In and did I want 1 cheeseburger or 2! I was surprised as it was our first time he asked me out for dinner!

Well, we ate in the car and we had our burgers and fries and had chocolate shakes. I accidentally spilled my shake on his pants. He wasn't too happy as we had to leave so he could change. He drove a 1949 Chrysler. We took off and he was upset and forgot to release the emergency brake. We were going down Holman rode and turned left up a big hill when suddenly a car came along side us and said are car was on fire!

The guy in the other car went ahead and was at the top of the hill waiting with a garden hose to put the fire out. Needless to say the car wouldn't start so my husband (boyfriend then) told me to steer the car while he pushed it around the corner to coast to a gas station. I steered it right into a ditch! We had to call a tow truck.

Needless to say, it had to be TRUE LOVE or we wouldn't be together now. We still eat at Dick's and take our grandkids there too. They (and many others) have heard this story and laugh. I will never forget my first dinner date, at Dick's DRIVE-IN. But then again who could?

This to me is a story of romance, drama, intrigue, and humor all in one! I couldn't believe it when I found out about this contest. My friends and family say it fits perfectly! My daughters wanted me to enter so here it is!

Patty West – Age 52
Why Isn't the Car Moving?

Dick's in Lake City was THE hang-out spot for students at Ingraham High School in the mid- 1960's. It was especially known as a place where the football team went. One Friday or Saturday night my friends and I (probably 5 of us young women) rolled into Dick's in my family's 1953 blue Plymouth station wagon. I was carefully (I thought) negotiating my way to a parking spot through the big crowd of teenagers.

All of a sudden, the car was not moving at all! In fact, it was rocking - and not to music! I had managed to miss a parking spot and get the car high-centered on one of the cement parking spot stop-blocks. Were we embarrassed! Our attempt to be casual was toast!

Fortunately, all those football players helped us move the car off the block. After we recovered our poise, we all thought it was VERY funny!

Nancy Winder – Age 55
Dick's Burgers in Hawaii

I don't remember my first Dick's cheeseburger, but it would have been shortly after the Lake City Dick's opened for business. I was born the same year as the best cheeseburger in town. We lived by Northgate and in those days, a big event on Friday night was to take a drive down to the Lake City Dick's Drive-In and get cheeseburgers, fries and shakes for the family. I'm sure that's when my love affair with Dick's cheeseburgers began.

As I matured and broadened my horizons, I discovered the true greatness of the Dick's cheeseburger. My grandma lived in the University District, near the Wallingford Drive-In. In high school, my boyfriend worked at Winter's Men's Shop, near the Capitol Hill restaurant, and my last home in Seattle was on Phinney Ridge, right in between the Holman Road and 45th Dick's, so I could get to either one. I think it's safe to say the only Dick's I didn't spend much time at was the one on Queen Anne, my loss.

Anyway, in 1986 I moved to Ewa Beach on the island of Oahu. We have lots of good food here, but nothing that compares to Dick's. Before my father died, each time I returned to Seattle, he would drive me to the closest Dick's Drive-In and tell the person working behind the counter, "my daughter came all the way back from Hawaii to have a Dick's cheeseburger". He'd laugh boisterously and ask the employee how I could open my own Dick's Drive-In here. The employees always looked flustered. It was embarrassing because he was loud, but that's one of my fondest memories of my dad.

Well, this summer I visited Seattle again, this time with my own children who are 12 and 11. They also have become Dick's cheeseburger addicts. Lo and behold, when our friends picked us up at Sea-Tac at 10pm, they brought Dick's cheeseburgers for us to eat on the trip to their house. They even brought extras so we could microwave them the next morning. I know what you're thinking, but guess what? I've even brought them back to Hawaii and they microwave up pretty well.

On this last trip, the kids thought they could trick me. They picked up some Dick's cheeseburgers and brought them home. I had a big dinner that night, but I couldn't resist the temptation of picking the cheese off the wrapper (the signature of a good Dick's cheeseburger, you know). Well, anyway, as I was having trouble finishing it, they asked me how my burger was. For some reason, it just didn't taste as good as usual, but I didn't want to hurt their feelings, so I just said, "okay". I thought I was just too full. They started laughing. Turns out they had also gone to McDonald's and wrapped a McDonald's cheeseburger in a Dick's wrapper to see if I could tell the difference. Well, I passed the test. I truly am a Dick's connoisseur.

Happy 50th Anniversary Dick's and much Aloha from Hawaii!

Sue Flint – Age 49
You're Going to Seattle? Yummy!

My favorite memory of Dick's Drive-Ins happened just a few weeks ago. Though I live in San Antonio TX now, I have a chance to return to Seattle very occasionally for work. Every time I do, I carry back on the plane enough cheeseburgers and fries (and tarter sauce) to feed my family of five.

At times I get funny looks on the plane. Often people are sniffing trying to recognize where the aroma is coming from. It all is worth it when my seven-year old son states "You're going to Seattle? Are you going to bring home some of those yummy burgers? They are my favorite!" Mr. Spady, how about a franchise in Northwest San Antonio?!?

Michael Bingaman – Age 46
Every Wednesday and Saturday Were Dick's Night

I was raised on Dick's burgers! I had my first burger from Dick's when I was 8 years old. Growing up on 55th and 1st NE, it was a very easy ten-block trip to Dick's on 45th.

At our house, every Wed & Sat was Dick's night. My father would bring home a bag of burgers and a bag of fries (Saturday included shakes.) I've been eating these burgers since 1954.

When I got my drivers license at age 16, my first stop was Dick's. I worked at Dick's while attending Lincoln High School. Prom night it was Dick's before dinner, and Graduation, Dick's! Went into the Marine Corp in '66 to '70, on leave, Dick's! Out of service, Dick's! It was my home away from home, a lot of Fri & Sat nights.

Four years ago I moved to Port Ludlow on the Peninsula and I still get the craving for my usual 4 cheese, 2 fry and a chocolate shake. So about once a month it cost me $24.00 for a round trip ferry to get my "fix" on Dick's. I only wish you had a Dick's on this side of the water! There is nothing over here to match you!

Bill Lee – Age 56
40 Years of Marriage and Dick's

Many, many years ago my family moved to Seattle because there were jobs available. We were a large family, nine kids plus mom and dad, so growing up was not easy. A lot of times we had nothing to eat, but as we got older, things got a little better.

Just before I finished high school, I met a young man who showed me the world. Since I didn't eat out, our first date was at the Wallingford Dick's Drive-In. I didn't know what to do since this was new to me, and he said, "Let me order. They make the best fries and cheeseburgers, and their shakes are delicious too."

So I agreed, and I never thought french fries and cheeseburgers could be so good. After dating for three years and going to Dick's Drive- In on every date, we got married Oct. 6, 1963.

Of course after our children were born we still went, and the children loved the french fries and cheeseburgers too. Now they are grown and have gone their separate ways, but we still go, but now to the one in Lake City which is closer to home.

Dick's will be celebrating their 50th year in October and we will be celebrating our 40th Anniversary in October. We plan to go somewhere special for our 40th, but we will still stop and enjoy those delicious fries and cheeseburgers at Dick's!

Sidney and Helen Thompson – Ages 60