The Brothers Dickey: Dining at a Fast-Food Fave

Funny names fans, it’s time once again for a trip to Foodville. Last month I blew the lid off the top-secret well-established origin of cookbook author Crescent Dragonwagon’s name. For my efforts, I now own her Cornbread Gospels and am genuinely honored to have it on my shelf. In that spirit, then, I have high hopes of scoring a truckload of barbecued meats—and some soft-serve ice cream—after hitting Publish on this post.

Let’s begin: I’ll go on record saying I’m not a fan of chain restaurants. My money is always better spent at a one-of-a-kind eatery where the owners are on site and truly care about what they put on my plate. That said, I’ve been known to dine at chains and it’s not always horrible. Need ice cream? Bring on the DQ (invented by J.F. McCullough and son, Alex–names not funny enough to feature here). Road trippin’ with the fam? A meal at Dickey’s is fine by me.

Show of hands: how many of you have a Dickey’s nearby? With a 70-year history, this Texas-based chain claims to be “the fastest-growing barbecue chain in the United States” and its website lists locations in all but seven American states. Dickey’s is a big deal. Their food gets a thumbs-up from me and I’m especially fond of the bottomless soft-serve ice cream. (Don’t even get me started on the awesomely huge pickle jar.) But we’re here to talk (funny) names, not food, so…

Smiling Roland Jr., Roland, Travis Jr. and Cullen--good job on the restaurant, guys!

Smiling Roland Jr., Roland, Travis Jr. and Cullen Dickey

Travis Dickey opened the first Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Dallas in 1941. When he died in 1967, Dickey’s sons, Roland Dickey and T.D. Dickey, Jr., took over the business. The brothers Dickey did well and their fast-food restaurant went on to be considered “a staple in North Texas culture.” Things went so well, in fact, that they started franchising in 1994. Roland Dickey took over the Presidential helm in ’06. As of 2011, when Travis “TD” died, the company board included Roland Dickey and directors Cullen Dickey and Travis Dickey III.

the red ribbon is proudly cut at the opening of another Dickey's BBQ

the red ribbon soon to be (proudly) cut at the opening of yet another Dickey’s BBQ

I was unable to ferret out the exact lineage of the Dickey clan as they kept using the same names, but you will find many nice things said about TD in his obituary and maybe you can sort it all out namewise.

I’d hoped to find funny names on the menu as well, but outside of the Giant Stuffed Baker, Giant Stuffed Baker with Meat, and Pork and Tangler Taters, the food is named with an eye toward description rather than creativity. (You order Tender Turkey Breast with a side of Barbecue Beans, you know what you’re getting.) Alas, the funny name story ends here. I urge you all to find the nearest Dickey’s and give it a whirl. (Except for the folks in the seven abstaining states. Though franchise opportunities are available, so you can hop on the Dickey Train and make it happen.) Good food, smiles all around, and fun to tell folks you ate at Dickey’s.

Courtesy of Dave, for Amb.

Courtesy of Dave, for Amb.

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About Liz

Owner of deLizious Food Communications. Projects include recipe development, editing, and formatting; food writing and editing; nutrition analysis; public speaking and cooking instruction. Past and present clients: General Mills, Green Giant Fresh, Hormel, Minnesota Beef Council, Minnesota Soybean, Minnesota Pork Producers, Norwood Promotional Products, Pillsbury, Tad Ware, and Weight Watchers Publishing. Mother of two young girls.
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21 Responses to The Brothers Dickey: Dining at a Fast-Food Fave

  1. amb says:

    I love our monthly trips to Foodville! I always learn something (and get ideas for dinner!)

    I’m thinking we should start putting together a delicious, decadent menu based on these trips, and then serve it at our first annual BoFN convention. Cornbread and BBQ are a perfect match, yes? Throw in some soft-serve (perhaps with some marshmallows 😉 ) and I promise I’ll do all the dishes!

    Great post as always!

    • Liz says:

      Thanks, amb. You know I’m in for food anytime anyplace:-)

      • Liz says:

        BoFN cookbook! Boys (Dave, Arto, Rob), what think you? 😉

        • Dave says:

          Well, as long as I don’t have to do any of the cooking, I’m in! 🙂 I’m all for a BoFN cookbook. Sounds like a great time! We’ll need to make sure to have a few funny named items in there so that it remains topical 🙂 Aebleskivers, snickerdoodles, schnitzel, lingonberries, and fettuccine are ideas 🙂

  2. I wonder how they compare with Dixie’s? http://www.seattledining.com/archive/restaurants/dixies.htm

    Thanks for the lesson in BBQ!

    • amb says:

      Dickey and Dixie – oh man, does that not sound like a vaudeville show where Ethel would star as the musical guest? (Guess what I’m watching on my lunchbreak right now …)

      • Liz says:

        I like Dickey and Dixie for character names. Could even get a black-and-white classic movie out of this one. Let the ideas fly!

    • Liz says:

      Dixie’s looks way better than Dickey’s. Look at that line out the door! My beef with chains is that they all follow the same formula, so no room for creativity and improvisation. Looks like Dixie’s has plenty of each! Thanks for the headsup. Please bring all restaurant news to me:-) Always glad when you stop by, FC.

      • It would be my pleasure. Have you ever tried Lambert’s in Missouri? “The home of the throwed roll”. http://www.throwedrolls.com/. I love their slogan. The really do throw them across the restaurant and the food is just as good if you enjoy southern cooking.

        • Liz says:

          they really throw rolls at this Lambert’s? like across the room? I want to go! I would like to hold the first annual BoFN convention at Lambert’s. Everyone who has anything to do with this blog (and that includes reading it) is invited. If Lambert’s cannot provide enough food we can order in from Dixie’s and Dickey’s. Awesome links, “Fannie”:-)

        • Dave says:

          That sounds pretty fantastic!

          • The wait staff also walks around the restaurant with big pots of second helpings like collard greens and okra. All the tables are picnic benches.

            It is something to be experienced at least once in a life time. Especially if you can catch.

  3. Dave says:

    I would love to eat there one of these days. I don’t think I’ve ever even seen a Dickey’s. It’s a shame.

    Liz, our Dick Dickey post may have come during the time when you had lost the link to our blog (an era we call “the dark ages” 🙂 ), but it was a historically relevant one that’s worth checking out briefly. It helped refine our policy on vulgar but funny names: https://funnynamesblog.com/2012/05/29/dick-dickey/

    • Liz says:

      Lol, Dave. I did see that post when looking back to see if the name Dickey had been done. I realize these brothers have names only half as funny as DD, but hoped the fact that there were multiple and that it was food-related were in my corner. (boxing reference, see?) 🙂

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