Famous Dave's

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Famous Dave's of America, Inc.
Founded(June 23, 1994; 28 years ago (1994-06-23)) in Hayward, Wisconsin, United States
FounderDave Anderson
United States
Number of locations
Key people
Jeff Crivello, CEO
ProductsBarbecue ribs, beef brisket, chicken, burgers, soups, salads, desserts
ParentBBQ Holdings NasdaqBBQ
Footnotes / references

Famous Dave's of America is a chain of barbecue restaurants primarily located in the Midwestern United States, serving pork ribs, chicken, beef brisket, and several flavors of barbecue sauce.[3] Dave Anderson, an Ojibwe-Choctaw who served as the head of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs from 2004 to 2005, started the first Famous Dave's restaurant near Hayward, Wisconsin in 1994.[4] The restaurant chain grew throughout the United States and Puerto Rico in 2014, though all of Famous Dave's Puerto Rico locations closed after Hurricane Maria.[5] It has 180 locations in 33 U.S. states as of 2021 and four international locations, in Winnipeg, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Dubai.[2]


Famous Dave's second location was in the Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis and was built in 1995 to look like a classic BBQ shack; it was demolished in 2016.
Exterior of a Famous Dave's in Frederick, Maryland (now closed)

The first restaurant of the chain was Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que in Hayward, Wisconsin. On the morning of November 3, 2014, it was destroyed by fire.[6] The second location opened in the Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1995 and was designed to be an old-fashioned "roadside BBQ Shack".[7] It closed in 2014.[8] The third location opened in 1996 in the Calhoun Square development in Uptown Minneapolis and was designed as a Blues club, Famous Dave's BBQ & Blues. It closed in 2019.[9] A "Lodge" format opened in Minnetonka, Minnesota and the first franchise-operated restaurant opened in Burnsville, Minnesota.[7]

Dave Anderson[edit]

Famous Dave's catering truck, Westland, Michigan

In 1986, Anderson earned a master's degree in Public Administration from Harvard University, without earning an undergraduate degree.[10]

In 1994, he was one of the first investors in Rainforest Café, a theme restaurant chain, and in October 1994, Dave Anderson opened the first Famous Dave's in Hayward, Wisconsin.[11] Two years after opening in Hayward, the company went public in 1996. Anderson stated on Facebook that the IPO was "the worst decision of his life". Anderson was Famous Dave's CEO until 1997, but remained chairman of the company's board until 2003.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "NASDAQ Opening Bell Ceremony | Famous Dave's". Famous Dave's of America. Archived from the original on 7 June 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Famous Dave's Locations". Famous Dave's of America. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  3. ^ Alden, S.; Stoga, S. (1999). Up North Wisconsin: A Region for All Seasons. Wisconsin Trails. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-915024-69-8. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  4. ^ Anderson, S. (2007). Killer Chili: Savory Recipes from North America's Favorite Chilli Restaurants. Chronicle Books. p. 32. ISBN 978-1-932855-60-9. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  5. ^ "Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria". HuffPost. 26 September 2017. Retrieved 18 November 2017.
  6. ^ Zufall, Frank. "Original Famous Dave's Restaurant Destroyed In Fire". minnesota.cbslocal.com. WCCO. Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Civil No. 07-1989 (DWF/RLE)" (PDF). United States District Court District of Minnesota. 17 February 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  8. ^ Hammerand, Jim (4 November 2014). "Famous Dave's first restaurant burns down". Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal. Retrieved 5 January 2020.
  9. ^ Boller, Jay (12 July 2019). "Famous Dave's in Uptown just closed". City Pages. Retrieved 12 July 2019.
  10. ^ "About Dave Anderson". Famous Dave Anderson. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  11. ^ "The Legend of Famous Dave's". Famous Dave's of America. Archived from the original on 16 May 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  12. ^ "Famous Dave's founder is opening a new barbecue restaurant". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2 April 2020.

External links[edit]

  • Official website
  • Business data for Famous Dave's of America, Inc.: