Chef Dave Anderson of Famous Dave’s - Biography

New York, NY

August 2013

A name like Famous Dave’s tends to suggest the larger-than-life specter of a spokesman like, say, Ronald McDonald. But there is indeed a Dave behind the smoke and meaty glory of the more than 200 Famous Dave’s in North America, and his name is Dave Anderson.

Growing up in Chicago, Anderson remembers his father coming home from work with a lunch pail full of street vendor ribs. Those early flavors inspired a lifelong passion, one that’s taken Anderson from barbecue novice to one of the foremost authorities on the art and craft of meat, heat, and smoke.

Anderson spent 25 years exploring his passion in barbecue capitals of America, from Kansas City to the Carolinas. And his dream came to fruition when the first Famous Dave’s BBQ opened in Wisconsin in 1994. About 20 years and 20,000 jobs later, the rest is finger-licking history. Over the course of his career, Anderson has shared his smoky savvy everywhere from The Food Network, The Travel Channel, and CNBC to Washington, D.C., and a special Presidential appointment. And he’s devoted his talents not only to feeding a nation but to charitable causes, including leadership work with at-risk youth. And while not a strong student himself, Anderson eventually earned a master’s degree from Harvard, as well as an honorary doctorate for his life’s work. He’s also penned six books, including Famous Dave’s Barbecue Party Cookbook, Recipe for Success, and Getting Sauced: Famous Dave’s Story of Sobriety.