Famous Dave’s BBQ restaurant in Uptown, which closed in Calhoun Square in July, will reopen in a new location nearby in December.
The Minnetonka-based barbecue chain is taking over the New Bohemia craft beer and brats restaurant at 800 W. Lake St.
“This will be a new concept for Famous Dave’s and add a new energy,” said Jeff Crivello, Famous Dave’s chief executive. “It will be bar-centric, have counter service, and be a fun place to hang out.”
Famous Dave’s executives have been considering smaller spaces in new locations for years. Restaurants across the country have been forced to downsize dining rooms as digital ordering and pickup have become more common.
In June the company announced it was scaling back its Calhoun Square location by two-thirds. Just weeks later, the company said it would close the location after failing to come to terms with center owners Ackerberg Group of Minneapolis and JPMorgan Chase. They have had the retail center on the market since early this year.
The new Uptown site will be just the second small-format Famous Dave’s among its 136 locations in 33 states. The first one, in Tucson, Ariz., opened in April. A Provo, Utah, store will debut in November and an Atlanta one after that.
“The Uptown location will be more bar-centric because the demographics of the area demand that,” Crivello said. “We’ll keep about 30 beers on tap, maintain their trivia night and karaoke and add some ideas of our own.”
For the first time, a brat will be added to the menu, also a nod to New Bohemia. Famous Dave’s culinary department begins testing recipes for that next week. National beverage consultant Patrick Henry Creative Promotions will add additional drinks. The new location will also rely heavily on delivery services, which were popular at the former location.
Uptown was chosen as a prototype because residents of the area already know the brand, parking options are good and the delivery options are robust, Crivello said.
New Bohemia has gradually been closing its bars in Minnesota, including northeast Minneapolis, Mankato and now Uptown. It still operates in Golden Valley, St. Paul and Roseville. As recently as 2017, a New Bohemia executive said there were plans to expand to 14 Minnesota locations.