Tomorrow, Missoula will officially have something that it has needed for a while. After way too long of not having the option to visit this place, which is the most prevalent of its kind, doors will open tomorrow at 11 a.m. You know what is funny though? Even though it is the most prevalent of its kind, many Missoulians give me a blank stare and ask “what is that?” when I tell them that a Dickey’s is moving into the old Central Bar location in downtown Missoula. Let me explain.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to town Dickey’s (oh yes, you are asking what exactly Dickey’s is). Okay, let me say this again…ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to town Dickey’s Barbecue Pit. As with most things, it took some time for Dickey’s to make it to Montana but come tomorrow, there will be two locations in the state (one just opened up in Billings). Everyone out there who is not on a diet will love Dickey’s. Served cafeteria style, the restaurant serves the most popular BBQ staples: pulled pork, ribs, brisket, smoked sausage, ham, and much more. The place also serves LOTS of sides, including: macaroni and cheese, potato casserole, jalapeno beans, BBQ beans, fried okra, waffle fries, and more. Obviously, you get the idea that at Dickey’s you can get yourself a tasty and traditional BBQ meal.
Besides the “meat and potatoes” part of the Dickey’s operation, the franchise also has several little trademarks that make dining at one of their restaurants fun. First off, you got the Big Yellow Cup. At Dickey’s, you can purchase a cup that is, well, big and yellow. The cup is plastic and is meant for you to take home and then bring back to the restaurant for refills each time you return. The Big Yellow Cup even has its own fan club. Dickey’s also offers a few different kinds of BBQ sauce. Mix and match your entrees with any assortment you choose. Also, kids eat free on Sundays at Dickey’s. I don’t have kids, but if I did I would be at Dickey’s every Sabbath! Finally, and my favorite, you get FREE ICE CREAM! I am not kidding. At each Dickey’s location there is a vanilla soft serve ice cream machine with cones for you to help yourself. Come on, what other place offers that?!
To be completely honest though, the main reason why you should get down to Dickey’s in Missoula is not for all the awesome food, promotions, and free ice cream that the company offers nationwide. Rather, you need to check it out because of the uniqueness that separates the Missoula location from all the others.
The owner of the Missoula Dickey’s is James Gibson. He is my co-worker and good friend. For his day job, he serves as the Assistant Athletic Director for Business and Finance here at Grizzly Athletics. It takes a pretty driven person who is already immersed in a busy and important job to decide that he wants to take on an additional challenge, maybe the toughest challenge there is: The Restaurant Business. In the works for a long time now, I have watched Jimmy take his new business endeavor from just an idea to a grand opening. Although not even close to everything he had to deal with and work through, I got to see him jump over many of the hurdles to get to the point he will be at tomorrow. It is astounding. So know this: When you go to Dickey’s you will be supporting a true Missoulian who loves the town and is already working a job that serves the community.
One very unique thing about the Missoula Dickey’s that you won’t find at roughly 99% of the locations nationwide is that it will also feature a bar! Yes, a fast food restaurant with a bar! Quite the concept, huh? On the other side of the food line, you will find the bar. Serving both beer and liquor, you can have an adult beverage with your BBQ. How many of you have ever walked into a McDonald’s or Taco Bell and found a bar? That’s what I thought.
But it keeps getting better. From Thursday through Saturday, Dickey’s will stay open until 3 a.m.! Serving a limited menu starting at around midnight, Dickey’s will cater to the large bar crowd that takes over the streets of Missoula when night falls. To understand how significant of a development this is, you would have to know the city and know the prime location that Dickey’s sits at in the downtown district. To have the option of great tasting BBQ late on a weekend night might very well turn Dickey’s into not just one of the most popular restaurants in town but also one of the popular bars in town.
Finally, the Missoula Dickey’s will just have a genuine, community-type feel that you rarely find at such places. I have already mentioned the owner and his ties to The Zoo but it does not stop there. The Missoula location has committed to serving Griz Nation. Supporting that claim, Dickey’s has already partnered with a couple of the biggest and most prominent Montana Grizzlies entities in town. The restaurant has also expressed desire to have a large impact in the Missoula business community and help out as much as possible. How can you not want to support Dickey’s?
Previously I had the pleasure of eating at Dickey’s locations in Colorado and North Dakota. Both were awesome experiences with great food. Tonight I had the opportunity to eat at the Missoula Dickey’s as the restaurant staged its final dry run before the big opening day tomorrow…BEST EXPERIENCE YET! The food is simply top-notch quality. Please support the Missoula community while eating some great food at the same time…you won’t regret it. Best of luck Jimmy! Don’t Blink.