Famous Dave’s Opens 1st Canada Location, Plans More

The Minnetonka-based restaurant chain opened its first Canadian location Monday in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as part of a plan to add more than 200 new restaurants in North America.

Famous Dave’s of America, Inc., on Monday opened its first restaurant in Canada and announced that the new location is just the first in the restaurant’s planned expansion into the country.

The move is part of Minnetonka-based Famous Dave’s plan to grow from 186 restaurants in 35 states to between 400 and 500 locations throughout North America, although the company didn’t disclose when it plans to reach that goal.

A Famous Dave’s spokeswoman, reached by phone Tuesday, said that its Winnipeg, Manitoba restaurant opening is part of a “multi-unit contract,” but she could not provide the number of planned locations or a time frame for the expansion.

Nation’s Business News reported Monday that Famous Dave’s also plans to expand into Mexico and Puerto Rico, where it will open its first location in December.

The grand opening of the 200-seat, 6,300-square-foot Winnipeg restaurant featured a “rib cutting” event attended by local dignitaries and Wilbur, the company’s pig mascot, Famous Dave’s said in a news release.

“This restaurant represents a significant growth opportunity for Famous Dave’s as we expand our North American footprint into Canada,” President and CEO Christopher O’Donnell said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Allan [McLeod, franchise owner of the new Winnipeg location] and his team as we build awareness of our brand in Winnipeg and the surrounding community.”

Famous Dave’s is one of the 60-largest public companies in Minnesota based on revenue, which totaled $154.8 million in 2011. It currently owns 53 restaurants and franchises 133 locations.