The BBQ Restaurant Famous Dave Story Part: I | Grilling with Rich The BBQ Restaurant Famous Dave Story Part: I

The BBQ restaurant Famous Dave Story : The Legend of “Famous Dave” Anderson~ America’s Rib King

Posted By: Richard Wachtel
Published: April 4, 2013

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Have you ever wondered how the Famous Dave’s Restaurant chain got started? Well, I was lucky enough to get the full story to share with you: The BBQ restaurant Famous Dave Story told from Famous Dave himself: Dave Anderson!

I have decided to split the story up into three amazing parts, so tune in each day over the upcoming week, as we get to know: The Legend of Famous Dave Anderson: America’s Rib King!

The story is told from Dave’s perceptive.  The article is edited only for clarity 


The Legend of “Famous Dave” Anderson~ America’s Rib King

“The only man alive that is barred from visiting Hog Farms because if just one pig gets a glimpse of this man…it will set off mass hysteria amongst all the pigs and they’ll never be the same! In fact, I’ve seen Famous Dave walk down an aisle of barbecue equipment and immediately, you can tell this man has achieved a special place in the world of barbecue, as the BBQ grills all bow down in complete reverence like sacrificial virgins, wishing that Dave would pick one of them to use for smoking his meat. This man has that aura of smokiness and self-confidence about him the same way The Most Interesting Man in The World drinks Dos Equis.”

                                                             ~Factual eye witness account by Hog Farmer, Jimmy Baird Uniontown, Kentucky

Most people know that Famous Dave’s got started because of my famous backyard barbecue parties where I would fix up the best tender, juicy, smokey ribs slathered in my own robust secret sauce and all this was served up with generous amounts of honey buttered cornbread, barbecue’d chicken, fresh picked sweet corn, watermelon, scratch-made peach cobbler, fresh squeezed lemonade, sweet tea, and plenty of cold beer… with the best butt rockin’ blues music blaring out of my speakers! Pretty soon my friends were begging me for my rib recipes and telling me…well, almost demanding that I open up my own barbecue joint.

From Humble Beginnings: Famous Dave Anderson Achieves The American Dream
by Overcoming Adversity and Failures To Turn The Impossible Into The Possible!

Every time I get up in the morning, I tell myself, “You can’t stop a man who won’t quit!” and at night before I go to bed I thank the good Lord and I fall asleep repeating, “With God all things are possible!” As I travel the country, I meet many raving loyal fans of Famous Dave’s slow-smoked ribs and they often ask me about the greatest challenge I faced starting out in building Famous Dave’s. I think I surprise them when I say it wasn’t lack of capital, training, or the absence of mentors but the biggest challenge I had to overcome in my life… was “ME.” The Famous Dave’s story would not be meaningful or relevant if I didn’t first share that I should have been dead three times, the fact that I have been bankrupt two times, and certainly there would be no Famous Dave’s today if my wife didn’t put me into treatment for alcohol and drug addiction. I am very open about the fact that if wasn’t for God changing my life that I would definitely not be alive today. Certainly I would not be alive if my wife Kathy didn’t have the guts to deal with angst of getting me into treatment. And I share these things openly because today, my story has given hope to many others who have turned their lives around and so today I continue to live my life in gratefulness. The Famous Dave story is about having unwavering hope in the face of the greatest adversities when all seems hopeless.  No…you can’t stop a man who won’t quit!

Bottom Half of The Class, Young Dave Never Believed He Could Succeed

Growing up I was in the bottom half of the class that made the top half possible! I always thought I must be one of the dumbest kids in class and I had deep concerns inside that I might never succeed at anything in life. I remembered how lost I used to feel when the teachers would questions and all my classmates would quickly raise their hands and I had no idea about what was going on. At home, my mom and dad were frustrated because they didn’t know what was wrong with me and my dad used to whip me because he thought I was just lazy. I can’t begin to tell you what its like as a kid to have your parents sit you at the kitchen table and I would agonizingly look at a blank piece of paper and not have a slightest clue of what the homework was all about. Like a lot of kids growing up, it was difficult for me to understand how I was going to fit in with others and I seriously wondered how I was going to make a living once I got out of school. Growing up with out hope for your future can be traumatizing as a kid.

Famous Dave Anderson as a Kid

Famous Dave Anderson as a Kid. Picture provided by Dave Anderson

Discovering His Disadvantages With ADD, Dave Determines “I will do what others will not do!”

It wasn’t until years later into adulthood, that I found out that I had Attention Deficit Disorder. To this day, I know I may not be the brightest light bulb in the room and I may not be the most talented but the one thing for sure… is that there will be few people in the room that will work harder than I work. My driving force is, “I do what others will not do!” I don’t mind working 18 hour days. I will work around the clock without sleep. 24/7/365… I love what I do. I think because I am so devoted to my love for barbecue, it is not work for me. Unfortunately many people in America are frustrated because they working at something they don’t love to do. I am blessed that barbecue is my passion.

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