The smoke signals say that a new flavor is on the way for southwest Rochester.
Dickey's Barbecue Pit is slated to fill the remaining 2,000-square-feet of the new Aspen Dental building at 1300 Salem Road SW in front of the TJ Maxx Plaza, says franchise owner Josh Laber.
Dickey's is a quick casual chain known for its smoked meats and Texas-style barbecue. The Dallas, Texas-based restaurant firm has about 470 restaurants in U.S. with eight in Minnesota.
"We're hoping to be able to open the doors by mid-summer," said Laber.
He'll be ready to launch "his second career" as soon as he wraps up his current one with the Rochester Police Dept. Laber has served as a Rochester police officer for the past nine years. He's slated to work his last shift as an officer this week.
While Rochester does already have several barbecue choices with Roscoe's, John Hardy's and Famous Dave's, the Labers believe Dickey's brings something new to the mix.
"My wife and I (Natashya) have been looking for something for the past few years. We always thought something was missing," he said. "Dickey's serves up good slow cooked meat at a fast pace that's good for the lunch crowd and for dinner."
Now the Labers and their five children cooking up a new restaurant, which will have its own drive-through window. They estimate that they'll need about 20 employees to staff the new Dickey's.
Expect to see Josh Laber at Dickey's as the owner and operator. Natashya Laber will continue to teach at John Marshall High School. Laber said he knows he has a lot of work ahead of him, but at least it will now be for his own business.
The Aspen Dental building is owned by Rochester's Forsons Investments, which also owns the TJ Maxx Plaza.