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October 5, 2010 at 8:36 AM

Burgers (Dick’s), Burgers (Pick-Quick), Burgers ($100,000)

Wading through all the news fit to “eat” and repeat during my month-long hiatus is one of the joys of getting back to blogging. In my absence came news of soft openings, loud openings, second comings, second goings, and “Ciao for now!”s, but the overriding theme has clearly been burgers, burgers and more burgers. As if I hadn’t had enough of those in the interim.

September rhapsody: The green chiles-fueled Laguna Burger enjoyed at 66 Pit Stop in Laguna Pueblo, N.M. (left), eaten on the Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail with a Kool-Aid pickle alongside (I kid you not). And the green chiles, bacon and cheese-sportin’ burger I devoured at Lunchbox Laboratory in Ballard upon my return.

First came the news that Dick’s Drive-In crowned a winner in their eater-driven geographical quest to open a sixth Dick’s. The North takes it: with Shoreline, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Edmonds and South Everett all in the game. Which will win the grand prize?

“We’ve looked at several sites and hope to nail it down shortly,” says Jim Spady, son of founding father Dick Spady and VP of the family biz. Describe “shortly,” I prodded him Monday. “Could be this week, or this month, but certainly by the end of the year.” So why did the iconic Seattle company wait so long to expand?

After opening six stores in 20 years (including a Bellevue location that debuted in the mid-60s and was shuttered in 1974) “the initial burst of entrepreneurial energy ended at that point,” Jim explains. But now that they’re raring to go, it’ll be a slow-go. Once a spot is chosen, there are permits to secure and site work to be done before construction of a Dick’s Drive-In built in the image of the Wallingford original. ETA on Dick’s number six? Late 2011, early 2012.

Dick Spady laughs it up at his namesake burger joint, the original on 45th in Wallingford, open since 1954. [2002 Seattle Times photo by Steve Ringman]

As if the advent of Dick’s No. 6 wasn’t enough, Fife’s picnic-bench pit-stop, Pick-Quick (among the best burger joints in the U.S. of A. according to USA Today) is preparing for a big-time expansion.

Pick-Quick’s got Dick’s beat in that it made its debut in 1949 — then waited more than 60 years to open another outlet. What’s more, they’ve already broken ground at the new location, slated to open this winter in Auburn. In doing so, the Burgi family business extended a hand to a new partner with deep pockets: Seattle entrepreneur Gerard Centioli of Icon LLC.

Sign o’ the times: Pick-Quick, in Fife, established in 1949 .

As CEO of Pick-Quick Development Company, Centioli’s no stranger to the fast-food industry. His late father founded Gil’s, a 19-cent-hamburger joint in Rainier Valley in the 1950s, and went on to open 40-plus Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets.

Gerard’s clearly got the franchise gene. As president and founding partner at Icon, his holdings include a dozen Krispy Kreme Doughnuts franchises. P.S. You may know his sister, Dorene Centioli-McTigue, founder of Seattle’s Pagliacci Pizza.

Unlike Fife’s tiny roadside attraction, Pick-Quick No. 2 will stay open year-round and offer indoor seating (plus a drive-thru window) on the corner of Auburn Way North and 12th Street N.E. And I’ll bet you a triple cheeseburger and a cold Green River this won’t be the last Pick-Quick groundbreaking we see:

At the September 27 ground-breaking ceremony in Auburn (from left): Pick-Quick co-owner Dan Nelson, Pioneer Queen Donnie Berry, co-owner Joe Burgi, Pick-Quick Fife Manager Carla Burleigh, Miss Auburn 2010 Hayley McJunkin, Pick-Quick partner Gerard Centioli, Pick-Quick Auburn GM Christi Sanchez, Pick-Quick Fife Manager Becky Olson and co-owner Greg Burgi. [Photo by Rod Mar]

But wait! There’s more! Did you hear about the Seattle hairstylist who bested 7000 burgermeisters to win $100,000 for building a better burger? If you were watching the Today Show last week, you might have seen Seattle native Jaeger Stoltz, winner of Sutter Home’s 2010 Build a Better Burger contest, cutting it up with Kathie Lee and Hoda while showing off his winning recipe for Strawberry BBQ Bacon Burgers.

Talk about bringing home the bacon: that’s Jaeger in the middle.

Congratulations, Jaeger! And I know just the pickle you should serve alongside your famous burger.

Strawberry-flavored, of course.

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