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Famous Dave's closes in Baxter

BAXTER — Lights still flicker inside Famous Dave’s restaurant in Baxter but no one was on hand for a meal Monday.

Famous Dave’s restaurant closed its doors in Baxter Sunday night. A typed note on the front door hangs next to the greeting “ya’ll get in here” and says the restaurant is closed and “Thank you Brainerd lakes area for your continued support over the years.”

Famous Dave’s addition to the area was part of phase one at Baxter Village, which opened along Highway 371 in October of 2005.

In 2002, Randy Jernberg, owner of Famous Dave’s in Crosslake first reported the interest in moving the restaurant from Crosslake to Baxter. Just last year, Chef Charlie Torgerson, Famous Dave’s owner in Baxter, was on the Food Network’s TV show “Best in Smoke” with Famous Dave founder Dave Anderson.

Famous Dave’s corporate office in Minnetonka reported the decision to close was made by the franchise owner, listed as Baxter BBQ.

Baxter BBQ originally filed as a Minnesota business in 2005. Its chief executive officer on file with the Secretary of State is Van Johnson. The taxpayer of record for the restaurant property is Border State Bank of Greenbush, Minn.

Famous Dave’s has 185 restaurants, with 53 of those as corporate restaurants and the remainder are franchise operations. Monday the Famous Dave chain announced a deal for 21 new restaurants and a newly launched “Shack” concept for “fast-casual, high-quality, quick-serve concept.”

“With this signing, we are getting a great head-start on our goal of adding 50 new locations over the next two years. With even more deals on the table, Famous Dave’s growth potential looks outstanding,” said John Gilbert, CEO of Famous Dave’s, in a news release.

The Famous Dave’s in Baxter made the Minnesota Department of Revenue’s posting of facilities tax delinquent for liquor, wine and beer sales. Taxpayers make the list after being delinquent in paying their taxes 10 days or more. Baxter BBQ Inc., doing business as Famous Dave’s on Edgewood Drive, first made the list on Sept. 12. While a business is on the list, no wholesaler, manufacturer or brewer is allowed to sell or deliver product to it.

Famous Dave’s corporate office couldn’t shed light on whether this chapter for the local franchise owner here marks the end of the restaurant’s presence in the lakes area.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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