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DeRusha Eats: Famous Dave’s BBQ Shack

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(credit: CBS) Jason DeRusha
Jason DeRusha filed his first report for WCCO-TV on April Fool's D...
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (WCCO) – It’s the same great barbecue, but with a casual and fast approach.

That’s what a new Famous Dave’s restaurant in the metro is serving up.

The outside of this Eden Prairie’s Famous Dave’s looks like any other — unless you look closely at Famous Dave’s BBQ Shack.

“What consumers are really interested in is really high-quality food, really fast,” said CEO John Gilbert.

Gilbert’s entering his second month as CEO of Famous Dave’s.

Headquartered in the Twin Cities, and founded by Dave Anderson, there are now 187 restaurants across the country — including the Eden Prairie Shack.

“We built this prototype, there are three in the country,” Gilbert said. “We built this prototype to answer that very strong consumer need.”

The food is almost identical to what you’d find in a regular Famous Dave’s, but with slightly lower prices, smaller portions, and more combos on the menu boards.

It lets the company re-use smaller closed businesses and restaurants. The Eden Prairie location used to be a Boston Market.

“It’s a dining situation that customers are comfortable with,” Gilbert said. “We can offer incredibly high quality food and still offer the type of service those restaurants offer.”

When some food concepts scale up in terms of size, they need to sacrifice quality.

“The preservation of quality is wired into DNA,” Gilbert said. “There are some advantages to barbecue in terms of quality. We take a long time, slow smoke it — it’s sort of what the restaurant is built around.”

The ribs smoke for three hours and are sauced, then finished on the grill.

The brisket spends six hours inside the smoker slow cooking.

The barbecue has won more than 650 awards, and the goals for the home-grown Famous Dave’s Shack concept are equally ambitious.

The shack is next to the Eden Prairie Mall. It’s open everyday starting at 11 a.m.

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