Navy veteran brings Dickey’s to Port Orchard

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit opened a new store in Port Orchard this week. - Dannie Oliveaux/Staff Photo
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit opened a new store in Port Orchard this week.
— image credit: Dannie Oliveaux/Staff Photo

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit opened its newest location in Port Orchard on July 17 under the leadership of a U.S. Navy veteran. The store is located at 1800 Mile Hill Drive, Suite 160 and 170, behind the 7-Eleven.

Thomas “Dr. D” Driver, a first-time franchise owner, opened his first restaurant.

Today, Dickey’s will offer all-day merchandise giveaways and the first 50 guests will receive gift cards worth up to $50.

The store held a special VIP and friends of family opening on July 16 and will conclude a three-day grand opening on July 19 with 94.1 KMPS on-site and customers can stop by for $2 pulled pork barbecue sandwiches from noon to 2 p.m.

Driver said Dickey’s is famous for their pulled pork, ribs and brisket. There is large menu board hanging over the cooking area and customers can watch as their meal is prepared.

“People are going to love the different concept of coming into a cafeteria dining-type setup, where you see your meat pulled out of a warmer that just came out of the smoker,” he said. “We’re pulling it out and cutting right in front of you.”

All meats are slow smoked on-site in each restaurant using hickory wood.

Driver said it takes between 13-14 hours to cook brisket. Prior to cooking the meat, it is marinaded and placed into a cooler for 24 hours.

“At 6 p.m. at night, I’m putting those meats into a smoker,” he said. “By the time I get here in the morning, I’m pulling it out.”

The store also will serve sausage, chicken, turkey and ham and complimentary soft ice cream will be available.

The store will have $8.99 specials each day.

The 3,000-square-foot restaurant features wooden floors and decor. It will seat 75 people and the banquet room can hold up to 35. The banquet room is equipped to handle computer setup for presentations.

While dining, Dickey’s will provide music — courtesy of their own Internet music site. There also are two television monitors on the wall — one for a news channel and the other for sports.

Dickey’s also will provide full catering and will deliver meals within a 10-mile radius. Customers also can order and pay for meals online.

The store will hire about 10-15 full- and part-time employees.

Driver, a Springfield, Mass., native, grew up in a military family.

“As a kid growing up we barbecued as a family and as I got older — being in the military myself — we used to have a lot of officer barbecues,” said Driver, a Port Orchard resident. “We used to have lots of fun cooking hamburgers, steak and ribs.”

Driver retired in 2010 after a 27-year Navy career as a senior officer and hospital administrator.

He also holds a law degree, doctorate in ministry and a Doctor of Philosophy in business, along with owning two businesses — Animal Intelligence Software and Panther Editing Service.

Dickey’s Barbecue was founded by Travis Dickey with the goal of authentic slow-smoked barbecue. More than 73 years later, the Dallas-based family run barbecue franchise still offers a quality selection of signature meats, homestyle sides and tangy barbecue sauce.

Children under age 12 eat free on Sunday.

The fast-casual family friendly concept has expanded to more than 400 locations in 40 states and holds the title of the world’s largest barbecue franchise. They have locations in Bonney Lake, Tacoma, Olympia, Puyallup and Auburn.

“There is nine restaurants in Washington,” said Driver. “Each owner is trying to open another one.”

Driver plans to open four more in five years on the Kitsap Peninsula.

For more information, visit

The store phone number is 360-602-0424 and is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

“If people are still coming in at 9 p.m., I’m not going to close the door,” Driver added.

Dickey’s will close on Thanksgiving and Christmas.


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