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Dickey’s tries a bar add-on

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Dickey’s Barbecue Pit has retrofitted its original restaurant with a full-service bar, setting a model for the rest of the 500-plus-unit chain.

The bar carries its own identify, Central Bar, and will continue to operate after the restaurant part of the operation shuts down. During that late-night stretch, patrons can still get Dickey’s-branded barbecue, but the options will be limited, according to the chain.

Similarly, lunchtime patrons of the restaurant can get a drink, even though the Central Bar will not open until 5 p.m.

The bar was added to the Dickey’s that opened 78 years ago in Dallas. The restaurant served as a model for the chain’s early stores, and featured the food that the chain would market as a point of distinction. The unit is known as the Central Dickey’s, which inspired the Central Bar name.

A number of the older Dickey’s branches in Dallas feature a cafeteria style of service. The brand has more recently switched to a fast-casual format.

The Central unit isn’t the first in the Dickey’s system to sport a full-service bar, but only a couple currently feature the amenity, according to a spokesperson. 

“We plan to open more like this in the future and give existing stores the option to have one as well,” she said. 

Dickey’s had been one of the industry’s fastest-growing chains, but went through a contraction in 2018, according to franchising disclosure documents. About 113 locations were closed last year, for a net reduction of 41 stores, the documents indicate.

All but a handful of units are franchised. 

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