Bethany Clough

This Dickey’s Barbecue closed with an eviction notice posted. Now it plans to reopen

Inside the first Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Fresno

Dickey's Barbecue Pit opened its first restaurant in Fresno in November 2014. It continues to expand with more restaurants in Fresno and Clovis.
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Dickey's Barbecue Pit opened its first restaurant in Fresno in November 2014. It continues to expand with more restaurants in Fresno and Clovis.

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in central Fresno closed recently with an eviction noticed posted on the door.

Now the company says the restaurant will reopen with a new owner.

The franchised restaurant is a quick-service barbecue spot that opened in 2016 at 5776 N. Blackstone Ave., near Bullard Avenue in front of Target. Several other Dickey’s in the area also serve plates of meat such as pulled pork and ribs, with sides like macaroni and cheese, and free vanilla soft serve ice cream.

Fresno County Sheriff’s spokesman Tony Botti confirmed the restaurant was served eviction papers April 26 and the business was closed by May 7.

But the restaurant is reopening, according to a Dickey’s spokeswoman. The company did not give an exact date for the opening, saying on Thursday that it was expected to be open “by this weekend.”

The restaurant is changing owners.

The eviction was related to negotiations between the landlord and the company, and the landlord has been paid, the Dickey’s spokeswoman said. The landlord’s company did not immediately return calls for comment.

Dickey’s did not specifically say why the Blackstone restaurant closed and the previous owner could not be reached for comment.

Closures

It’s not the first time Dickey’s has closed restaurants in the Fresno area.

The Dickey’s at Friant Road near Fresno Street closed in 2017, barely a year after it opened. The Porterville Dickey’s, the first of the franchise to open in the area, also closed.

In the 2018 fiscal year ending in May 2018, 113 locations closed, according to the publication Restaurant Business.

The Blackstone restaurant and several others in Fresno were originally opened by Bryan Roche and a partner.

“We sold the restaurants quite some time ago,” said. “They were failing when we had them, so we sold them. … There’s a big story in how the franchisor treats its franchisee.”

Openings

Although Dickey’s executives declined to be interviewed, they emailed statements to The Fresno Bee.

Said Laura Rea Dickey, CEO Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc.: “We’ve opened 40 stores over the past year — the Dickey’s brand is strong because of our great food and atmosphere. In that same time, stores have closed for various reasons — sometimes that is because a franchisee gets older and retires, passes away, gets divorced, a lease ends. And, occasionally we will close a store that isn’t following brand standards and quality requirements. That’s how we keep our family brand strong and our barbecue exceptional.”

Dickey’s still has plenty of restaurants in the area, including two in Clovis, another in Fresno and one each in Visalia, Hanford, Merced and Delano.

The new owner of the Blackstone location, Marco Tawachi, could not be reached for comment, but Dickey’s emailed a statement from him.

“Dickey’s focus on quality barbecue in a family friendly environment and commitment to brand integrity confirmed my decision for Dickey’s Barbecue Pit to be my next franchise venture,” the statement said. “With more than 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry, I look forward to serving the fine folks of Fresno Dickey’s authentic, Texas pit-smoked barbecue.”

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