Famous Dave's closed its Calhoun Square restaurant after all and is looking for a new spot to do business in Uptown.
The barbecue restaurant company about a month ago halted dining-room service at the restaurant in the mall at Hennepin and Lake streets in Minneapolis, where it has operated since 1996.
Executives at the time said they were planning to redesign it, with more room for counter service and delivery operations. They planned to drop dining seating to 90 from 250. Takeout, delivery and patio service remained available until early this week, when executives decided to close the restaurant for good and look at other options.
"Our thoughts are to reopen that location somewhere else in the Uptown area," Al Hank, senior director of operations, said Friday.
He said the restaurant's employees have been offered jobs at 13 other Famous Dave's locations in the metro area while new space is found and built out in Uptown.
The decision came as the future ownership of Calhoun Square, a two-story, 171,000-square-foot mall at one of the busiest intersections in Uptown, remains up in the air. Its owner, Ackerberg Group of Minneapolis and JPMorgan Chase, have had the property on the market since early this year.
Minnetonka-based Famous Dave's has about 140 outlets around the country, but most are owned and operated by franchisees. The company owns all of its restaurants in the Twin Cities, which allows it to test more menu items and design concepts than franchisees may be willing to do.
Last year, for instance, the company tested a new look and menu items from founder Dave Anderson in its Coon Rapids location.
But the company in April opened its first small-format location in Tucson, Ariz.
It has 2,500 square feet of space and 75 seats, about one-third the size of its usual restaurant. Smaller locations represent a new trend in chain restaurants, which are responding to demographic changes and the rise of digital gadget-aided delivery services.
"We remain committed to evolving the concept and are still planning to explore options related to counter service and delivery as previously stated," Hank said.