fbpx
facebook app symbol  twitter  linkedin  instagram 1
 

Quebec-based MTY Food Group announced Tuesday that it is buying Minnetonka, Minn.-based BBQ Holdings Inc., the parent company of Famous Dave’s, for nearly $200 million. 

Indigenous entrepreneur Dave Anderson, an enrolled citizen of the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, started Famous Dave’s in 1994 with a single restaurant in Hayward, Wisconsin. 

Hayward, a town of 2,000, is the closest town to the Lac Courte Oreilles Indian Reservation in northern Wisconsin. By the end of its first summer of operations, Famous Dave’s was serving more than 6,000 people per week, according to Anderson. The restaurant grew into the largest barbecue chain restaurant in the country with more than 300 locations, in 37 states in the U.S., Canada and the United Arab Emirates.

“When Famous Dave’s was started, all I wanted to do was make the best ribs in the world and make people happy in the process,” Anderson told Native News Online. “The jobs it has created, (and) the lives it has touched throughout the years have been unbelievable.”

Talking about his early days, Anderson recalled the inspiration that helped him launch his company. 

“It all started from my mother’s frybread shack,” Anderson said of his dream’s beginnings. “There were many barriers and challenges in the beginning and along the way, but I never gave up on my dream to make people happy with my love for barbecue.”

Anderson often credits his love for barbecue from his father, a citizen of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Anderson left Famous Dave’s in 2002 when President George W. Bush appointed him assistant secretary at the Department of the Interior's Indian Affairs office.

Anderson will remain a consultant for the restaurant when MTY Food Group takes ownership, which is expected to be in the fourth quarter of 2022. BBQ Holdings employees in Minnetonka, including its CEO, will also remain within the company. 

Anderson’s award-winning recipes for his St. Louis-style spareribs and Texas beef brisket will remain unchanged, too. 

In the last several years, Dave launched another barbecue restaurant named after his father: Jimmie's Old Southern BBQ Smokehouse. The original Old Southern BBQ was opened in Hayward, but now the restaurant has locations in Minneapolis, Shakopee and Rice Lake, Wisconsin.

Anderson is currently launching a new concept he calls Tamarack Farms, which features homemade Chicago Tavern-style pizza and, of course, barbecue, at his home in Hayward. He’s partnering with Stephen Schusler, the founder of the Rainforest Cafe, to open a pizzeria in St. Louis Park, Minn. soon. Anderson’s next focus is to make the best pizza in America. 

Last year, Anderson was inducted last year into the Native American Hall of Fame.

More Stories Like This

Native News Weekly (April 21 2024): D.C. Briefs
Q+A: Journalist Connie Walker Reflects on Season 3 of 'Stolen' Podcast Investigating Navajo Nation MMIP Cases
Native Bidaské with Sarah Eagle Heart (Oglála Lakota) on the Indigenous Fashion Collective
Twelve Cherokee Nation Cyclists, 950 Miles: The 40th Annual Remember the Removal Bike Ride
Leona Carlyle-Kakar (Ak-Chin), Instrumental in Securing the 1st Water Rights Settlement in Indian Country, Walks On

Native Perspective.  Native Voices.  Native News. 

We launched Native News Online because the mainstream media often overlooks news that is important is Native people. We believe that everyone in Indian Country deserves equal access to news and commentary pertaining to them, their relatives and their communities. That's why the story you’ve just finished was free — and we want to keep it that way, for all readers.  We hope you'll consider making a donation to support our efforts so that we can continue publishing more stories that make a difference to Native people, whether they live on or off the reservation. Your donation will help us keep producing quality journalism and elevating Indigenous voices. Any contribution of any amount — big or small — gives us a better, stronger future and allows us to remain a force for change. Donate to Native News Online today and support independent Indigenous-centered journalism. Thank you.

 
About The Author
Author: Darren ThompsonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Darren Thompson (Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe) is a staff reporter for Native News Online who is based in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Thompson has reported on political unrest, tribal sovereignty, and Indigenous issues for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, Indian Country Today, Native News Online, Powwows.com and Unicorn Riot. He has contributed to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Voice of America on various Indigenous issues in international conversation. He has a bachelor’s degree in Criminology & Law Studies from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.