Eating Out: Dickey's Barbecue Pit, Great 96-er at Ducey's, award for Erna's

January 20, 2014 

A sandwich from Dickey's Barbecue Pit, which plans to open several locations in the Fresno area.

SPECIAL TO THE BEE

Valley barbecue lovers will soon have more restaurant choices as Dickey's Barbecue Pit plans to open at least eight locations in the Fresno area.

Dickey's is a Dallas-based franchise that has restaurants in Porterville, Hanford and Visalia. The restaurants slow smoke their beef brisket, pulled pork and other dishes on site. They serve free dill pickles and ice cream, and kids eat free on Sundays.

Exactly where these restaurants will open isn't clear yet. Some leases already are being negotiated at sites on or near Blackstone and Herndon avenues, and the company is looking at four or five more sites in Fresno and Madera, said a Dickey's public relationship representative.

The eight restaurants are part of a massive 100-restaurant deal in Central and Southern California. Three partners — who also own the Hanford location — plan to open the restaurants over the next 10 years.

Ducey's and the 96er

Here's a bit of trivia for your next cocktail party: 1988's "The Great Outdoors" with John Candy and Dan Aykroyd was filmed at The Pines Resort at Bass Lake.

The movie includes a stomach-churning scene in which John Candy takes on the fictional restaurant's "Ol '96er" challenge of eating a 96-ounce slab steak (see below).

Anyway, the folks at Ducey's Bar & Grill at The Pines are paying homage to that scene with their own challenge called the Great 96-er Saturday. Instead of steak, participants will get a hamburger with nine, one-third pound Angus beef patties, six slices of cheddar cheese and all the fixings, along with a pound of french fries topped with their signature "blazing saddles sauce."

Participants have 30 minutes to finish it all. The winner gets a T-shirt (just like Candy did), a cash prize, a one-night stay at The Pines Resort with dinner for two and "eternal glory on the Wall of Fame." Second- and third-place winners get $100 and $50 gift cards, respectively.

Sign up is between noon and 1 p.m. Saturday. The challenge starts at 1:30 p.m. and costs $35 to participate.

Details: (559) 642-3121.

Erna's Elderberry House

Erna's Elderberry House and its Chateâu Du Sureau hotel have once again been awarded AAA of Northern California's five-diamond award.

Erna's is the only restaurant and hotel in the central San Joaquin Valley to make the list, which also includes Gary Danko and The Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco and The French Laundry in Napa Valley.

Erna's spent its January break working on the dining room, including adding new carpet and reupholstering its chairs.

The columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6431, bclough@fresnobee.com or @BethanyClough on Twitter. Read her blog on fresnobeehive.com.

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