by Doria Maselli
The Family Recipe for Pizza, Pasta, Sandwiches and Salads in Thurston County for Almost 50 Years
“I remember when I was a kid, and I used to tell people Dave of Dirty Dave’s Pizza Parlor was my grandfather, I felt kind of like I was related to a celebrity,” jokes Stephanie Hemphill. Stephanie is the Director of Marketing at Dirty Dave’s and granddaughter of Dave Wilson, founder of the restaurant which will celebrate its 50th Anniversary next year. When Wilson passed away in 2013, Stephanie’s father, Greg became the General Manager, and the restaurant remains family owned and operated.
And to this day, almost everything on the menu is made from scratch. “Staff are here from 7:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. for food prep, and at about 1:30 p.m., we start rolling out the dough for pizza,” says Hemphill. A customer favorite, Dirty Dave’s French Caesar dressing, is a recipe created by Dave Wilson himself. I remember him carrying that recipe around on a piece of paper in his wallet,” says Hemphill.
Known for its pizzas, pasta, sandwiches and salads, Dirty Dave’s also provides a very relaxed and family-friendly dining experience. “I have two young kids, and I know it can be stressful taking young kids out to eat and hoping for the best behavior, but things here are laid back and welcoming,” says Hemphill. There’s an arcade for enjoyment with some of the same games that have been there for decades and posters and decor certain to keep young minds occupied.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and closures, Dirty Dave’s was lucky to utilize their already existing Pick-up Window. “We were so lucky to have had our To-Go ordering system already in place,” says Hemphill. “This was the first time our staff and customers had experienced anything like this, and we were all learning as we went. We are so thankful to our staff and customers who were so patient and accommodating as we figured out the steps to navigate through.”
Founder Dave Wilson felt passionate about community causes, and Dirty Dave’s is a proud P.I.E. Partner (North Thurston Public Schools Partners in Education) to Lacey Elementary. The P.I.E. program is designed as a partnership between a school and business to cultivate positive relationships that benefit education and student learning. All Kids Win, formerly Homeless Backpacks, is a non-profit committed to ending homelessness by giving teens the help they need so they can focus on school, go on to graduate and become contributing citizens. All Kids Win provides food for the weekend to homeless teens in Thurston County, and Dirty Dave’s Pizza Parlor is proud to be a partner in their mission through donations, volunteer support and food drives.
Dirty Dave’s also sells unique merchandise, available to purchase in the restaurant. T-shirts and hats are available with fun and seasonal options. “My grandfather was so community minded and generous, and it’s great to hear from customers and friends how similar their current experiences in the restaurant feel to the ones they had 20 or more years ago,” says Hemphill.
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