Famous Dave is the most awarded Pitmaster in history — a true originator blessed with a great sense of taste and a passion to create only the best of the best. Even among BBQ champions, Dave is recognized as the authority on the art of cooking with smoke and flame.
Dave Anderson, founder of Famous Dave’s, lives for barbeque. Growing up in Chicago, Dave’s passion for ribs began as a young boy when his dad would bring ribs home — the best tasting slow-smoked spareribs from street corner vendors who used 55-gallon smokers filled with charcoal and smoldering green hickory wood. They were the legendary ribs just like the champion pitmasters used to smoke way down in the Deep South.
Dave spent more than 25 years of his adult life searching all over the country for the best barbeque and feasting on a variety of smoked meats available from every barbeque joint he could find — from the neighborhood storefront BBQ shacks in Memphis, Kansas City, and Chicago, to the backwoods smokehouses found in the southern foothills of Georgia, Tennessee, the Carolinas, and finally, to the huge mesquite pits of Texas.
Dave discovered that there is no other way to smoke good “que” than to first hand-rub each slab with a blend of southern spices, then slow smoke ’em in a pit of smoldering hickory. This is the time-honored way, the traditional way used by champion pitmasters down in the Deep South. These were the kind of ribs Dave had grown to love as a boy in Chicago — the kind he knew, along with his barbeque sauce, would someday make his barbeque famous.
In 1994 Dave’s dream became a reality when he purchased a small resort on Big Round Lake in Hayward, Wisconsin. The resort, with eight cabins, had a restaurant and bar that was rebuilt in the style of a magnificent Adirondack Lodge. From the beginning, the first restaurant, named “Famous Dave’s BBQ Shack,” was a tremendous success — serving as many as 1,000 in a night.
In November 1995, Famous Dave’s was named 1st place winner for its Rich & Sassy® barbeque sauce at the American Royal Barbecue Sauce Contest in Kansas City, Missouri — the largest and most prestigious barbeque contest in the world! Since then, Famous Dave’s has won one award after another including Greatest Ribs in America, Greatest Sauce in America, Best New Restaurant and Best Dessert.
A Famous Dave’s rib is better from the start. Dave understands you can’t wind up with the best-tasting barbequed ribs if you don’t start with the best quality raw product — the St. Louis sparerib. Dave insists on a slab of ribs of more than 2-1/2 pounds. This large slab of ribs has gained Famous Dave’s the national distinction of being the “Home of the Big Slab!” It costs a bit more for this level of quality, but take one look, and especially one bite, and you’ll taste the difference of a Famous Dave’s rib."We serve amazing BBQ to friends and fellow food lovers. You can grab a seat, get your order to go, or have us cater your event. A passion for authentic BBQ is behind everything we do. Our pitmasters get their hickory logs smoldering around 4 a.m. We start with top quality meats, hand-rub them with fresh spices, and slow-cook them to perfection. We’re honored to be consistently chosen as America’s favorite BBQ restaurant. We also like heading out to competitions and putting our BBQ up against what the other elite pitmasters are cooking. To date, we’ve won more than 700 awards!"