By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 30, 2015 at 3:15 PM

More Tosa restaurant news has emerged today: The family-owned Dickey's Barbecue Pit will open its 500th restaurant on Thursday, April 2. The new eatery is located in the Lowe's outlot at 3180 N. 124th St., at Burleigh.

The Dallas-based franchise chain's chairman, Roland Dickey, Sr., will be at the restaurant on Friday to mark the opening and to give away copies of his book, "Mr. Dickey's Barbecue Cookbook."

"It's hard to believe the one-room barbecue joint my grandfather founded is now a national chain with 500 locations," said Dickey in a news release. "I'm so proud of what our team has accomplished in building our brand to where we are today."

Dickey's Barbecue Restaurants, Inc., was founded in 1941 by Travis Dickey, and today boasts locations in 43 states.

The chain, which offers free kids meals on Sundays, has been named "Top 10 Growth Chain" by Nation's Restaurant News three years in a row. Technomic called it the "Fastest-growing restaurant chain in the country."

"We're thrilled to be the 500th location and have Mr. Dickey at the celebration," said local franchise owner, Sherri Povolo in a statement. "My family loves being part of the Dickey's Barbecue brand and serving authentic barbecue throughout Wisconsin."

The first 50 dine-in guests on Thursday will get gift cards ranging from $5 to $50. On Friday there will be $2 pulled pork sandwiches and a range of giveaways. More giveaways follow on Saturday.

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Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.