It's been a wild ride for Famous Dave's BBQ, as well as for fans of their famous smoked meats.
The original Minnesota location of Dave's was housed in an old Linden Hills gas station, and by all accounts was the real deal. People came from great distances to get a true taste of true 'Q. When I spoke to Dave Anderson in 2015, he told me that fights would break out in the dining room over tables. He said the company was pulling in over $80,000 a week. In the '90s. For barbecue.
So the company went public, because it was the mid-'90s, and "everybody was going public," he said. Anderson lamented the move because his beloved recipes got corporatized, and there are few things worse than corporate barbecue. He called it the worst decision of his life.
In 2014, he left the company completely. But then in November 2015, quite unexpectedly, Anderson threw his name back behind the company, in hopes the move would buoy sales and improve product.
And he was simultaneously working on a new project, three Wisconsin-area locations of Jimmy's Old Southern Smokehouse, named after his father, who he credits with teaching him about barbecue. The new company harkens back to what real barbecue is supposed to be all about: "A lifestyle," he says, not a business.
It looks like Minnesotans are about to get a taste of that lifestyle this spring, when Anderson brings Jimmy's to none other than his original barbecue 'hood: Linden Hills.
Jimmy's will land in the old Chatterbox Cafe space on 44th and France, reports the Minneapolis/ St. Paul Business Journal, and is slated to open sometime in April.
The Jimmy's concept is counter-service, which should cut down on the possibility of fisticuffs.
Jimmy's Old Southern Smokehouse
4501 France Ave. S., Minneapolis