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If North Carolina had a state food, it’d be barbecue. Stanly County would pose no objections — the more barbecue joints the better.
At least that’s the conclusion of the Seegars family and their market study.
Randy Seegars and his son, Chance, opened a Dickey’s Barbecue Pit restaurant in Albemarle about two weeks ago. So far, the new family business is “exceeding expectations,” according to the elder Seegars.
“The community has definitely come out for us,” Randy said.
With more than 30 years in the restaurant industry, the Seegarses purchased a Dickey’s franchise for Albemarle. Their market study indicated patrons would support another barbecue restaurant with a slightly different take on barbecue.
“The Dickey’s family is thrilled to have Randy and Chance Seegars bring Dickey’s Texas-style barbecue to their hometown of Albemarle,” said Laura Rea Dickey, chief executive officer of Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc. “With experienced restauranteurs like the Seegars, the Dickey’s brand will continue to grow and serve communities across the world delicious, slow-smoked barbecue.”
Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc., the nation’s largest barbecue chain, was founded by Travis Dickey in 1941.
Two styles of barbecue typically rule the Tar Heel state, eastern versus western. The two stir about as much heated debate as which cole slaw is the better complement to barbecue: red or white. If the debate wasn’t spicy enough, the barbs over which cue is better will surely go hog wild after a new local establishment decided to open another brand in the fray.
Instead of western, this one hails from plain ol’ West, as in Texas.
“We’re meat specialists here. We’re not going to try something that’s not in our wheelhouse,” Randy said about barbecue joints that like to fry fish, too.
Barbecue enthusiasts in the Piedmont usually adhere to the western-style or the Lexington version of pulled pork, primarily defined by a variety of tomato-based sauces. Eastern style is steeped in vinegar and pepper.
Dickey’s, the apostrophe before the possessive “s” denotes a star for the Lonestar state, prepares Texas-style barbecue by smoking its meats for 14 hours in a pit, or technology’s modern steel version. The ambiance at Dickey’s is casual, though a tad more upscale than other barbecue joints.
Along with the traditional pulled pork, Dickey’s features beef brisket, chicken and pork ribs, too.
Sides include the more traditional fixin’s like barbecue beans, slaw, potato salad and green beans. More unique sides include a baked potato casserole, creamed spinach, jalapeno beans, chips and mac & cheese.
Price points are slightly higher at Dickey’s than most locals are accustomed to paying, which probably accounts for why their business is better during dinner hours instead of lunch.
“Our guests are more than willing to pay extra for quality,” Randy said.
They also serve beer, but only craft beer varieties from The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery. Like the food, the cost for beer at Dickey’s is higher than most.
Dickey’s is no stranger to North Carolina. The nearest franchise is in Southern Pines. Unlike the Seegars’ restaurant, the franchise farther east features a fryer and serves more foods.
While most things in Texas are promoted as bigger, Albemarle’s Dickey’s is among the smallest franchise units available, thus less room for a fryer, Randy said.
There’s enough space for 30 guests inside Dickey’s. In fact, the outside deck provides room for 35 guests. Expect heaters to be added to the patio so the colder months are more tolerable.
Dickey’s features an open-kitchen so customers can watch the preparation of their meals.
Dickey’s is at 720-20 N.C. Highway 24-27 Bypass East, Albemarle. It’s open daily 11 a.m.-9 p.m.