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Published August 01, 2012, 12:09 AM

The EatBeat: Dining at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is like going to a picnic

GRAND FORKS - It was suppertime — six o’clock. And my first trip through the ordering line at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit was challenging.

By: Marilyn Hagerty, Forum Communications, INFORUM

GRAND FORKS - It was suppertime — six o’clock. And my first trip through the ordering line at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit was challenging.

I found myself looking up at the menu board, sizing up the line of people ahead of me, trying to decide what to order. With me were Mary Glessner (MG), her 10-year-old daughter, Jori (JG), and a neighbor, Carrie Wilson (CW).

When I reached the right point in the line, I could see employees bringing out ribs from the oven and taking orders for the drive-through window.

I asked for three ribs, along with coleslaw and beans. I drank water. My check was $10.14 with tax included.

We found our way to a table in the crowded dining room. At that point, I discovered I should have picked up a free dill pickle. So, I went back.

The ribs were excellent — lean, tender, almost falling off the bone. The coleslaw was some of the best I’ve eaten because it was finely cut with a minimal amount of vinegar-style dressing. The beans were beans. They were mildly flavored and not likely to upset your apple cart.

This is a meat place. Besides pork and beef offerings, there is ham, turkey breast, chicken breast and Polish sausage.

I was generally pleased with the food and so were my friends. JG decided to go back for the free “ice cream” cone that comes with a meal. It was an interesting, noncreamy treat that tastes very good. We asked and were told it comes in as a powder mix and is processed in house. It puts a nice finishing touch on the meal.

We agreed that the food generally is tasty and the portions are generous. Among the good tastes was the baked potato casserole, which is one of the sides.

All in all, it seemed as though we had been at a picnic — complete with the blue plaid vinyl cloths on the tables.

At Dickey’s, you get your food in disposable cups and saucers. Your tableware is throwaway plastic, but it is a nice grade. The best part is the roll of paper toweling on the tables. You need that when you are eating ribs!

The dining area was completely crowded and the staff too busy to wipe off tables after customers left during the height of the supper hour. They were around later.

Along with the main dining area with booths and tables, there is a meeting room with four tables and six chairs at each and a small plasma TV.

With a total of 4,800 square feet, Dickey’s on South Washington is the largest in the chain. And it is the 238th store, according to Shawn Motherway, general manager.