After years of ups and downs with his famous Famous Dave's barbecue brand, founder Dave Anderson finally threw up his hands and opened a new restaurant chain in his native Wisconsin two years ago.
Old Southern BBQ Smokehouse's aim was to get back to Anderson's roots as a true-blue pitmaster. When he first opened Famous Dave's in Hayward, Wisconsin, way back in 1994, the restaurant was considered a mecca for real-deal smoked meats. Devotees flocked to its tables.
But as lovers of smoked meat might have predicted, as Famous Dave's rapidly expanded, the brand became a laughingstock in the industry, producing food scarcely better than McDonald's. Indeed, a Mickey D's CEO was running the place for a time.
We haven't crossed state lines to sample Old Southern, which until now has had only three Wisconsin locations. But as of today, we won't have to and neither will you. The first Twin Cities outpost of Old Southern is now open in Linden Hills, in the old Chatterbox Pub space.
The fast-casual restaurant claims that it will be "staying true to the time-honored traditions of barbecue by slow smoking all of their meats in real pit smokers with no reheating."
Menu sneak peeks revealed Texas-style brisket, pulled pork, smoked chicken, a "custom" Texas hot link, signature St. Louis-style ribs, and sides including scratch macaroni & cheese, "Jimmie beans," barbecue rice, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, and honey butter-glazed cornbread muffin tops.
There are also the dubious additions of creamy broccoli salad and "BBQ tacos." But happily, sauces are free of corn syrups and the restaurant is touting vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Opens today at 11 a.m.
4501 France Ave. S., Minneapolis