comScore

Famous Dave's might actually be good again: Dave Anderson returns

Will Famous Dave's go back to its original sold out BBQ fame?

Will Famous Dave's go back to its original sold out BBQ fame?

It's a move we didn't see coming. When we interviewed Dave Anderson three months ago, he told us that going public with his company was "the worst decision he ever made." According to him, corporate muckety-mucks were cutting corners all over the place, including short-selling on racks of ribs, putting corn syrup in sauces, and other moves one might expect from a CEO formerly of McDonald's. Franchises were flailing all over the country. 

When we spoke, Anderson was reminiscing about the days when his business was the biggest BBQ game in town, with people literally fighting for seats in the old converted gas station space in Linden Hills. He said they were raking in over $80,000 a week. Compare that with steadily falling profits and universally anecdotal reports that, frankly, the food was crap. Very few BBQ enthusiasts think of Famous Dave's as serious Q anymore.  But, that all might be changing, because in one of the wisest moves the company has made since it went public in the mid-90's, it's bringing back its founder. As he stated in our August interview, "Barbecue isn't a business. It's a lifestyle." Perhaps together with corporate, they'll be able to turn Famous Dave's into both. According to Nation's Restaurant News, the company's current interim CEO (Ed Rensi, the McDonald's alum, stepped down last year) Adam Wright has stated, “Our company was founded on Dave’s passion to serve the best barbecue, and we are working hard to get Famous Dave’s back on track. Dave Anderson brings a wealth of current barbecue knowledge, experience and passion, and I know our guests are excited to see ‘Famous’ back, serving up his award-winning barbecue.” Anderson's BBQ roots go deep — his father was born and raised in Oklahoma and instilled BBQ tradition in his family at an early age. So, keep an eye on Famous Dave's, and if you don't want to wait the time it will inevitably take to transition, you can visit Jimmy's Old Southern BBQ, which Anderson has recently opened in Hayward, Wisconsin, at the site of his original restaurant.  Jimmy's Old Southern BBQ 15768 US-63, Hayward, Wisconsin 715-558-7488 oldsouthernbbq.com