Famous Dave's is preparing to vault off the continent for the first time and will open four franchised restaurants in the United Arab Emirates, the Twin Cities-based company announced Tuesday.
"We are thrilled to bring our … 'All-American Legendary Pit Bar-B-Que' to the region," interim CEO Adam Wright said in a statement announcing the expansion.
Wright said the dining and beverage experience to be offered in the Persian Gulf nation will be "specifically customized for the United Arab Emirates." Company officials have yet to say what adjustments will be made, but the UAE has strict laws on who is allowed to drink alcohol.
The UAE's official religion is Islam, and about 75 percent of its population is Muslim, a faith that forbids the eating of pork. Not only does Famous Dave's have pork on its menu, but its logo includes a caricature of a pig roasting ribs over open flames.
But the UAE is also one of the most diverse places in the world, with its native citizenry far outnumbered by immigrants and expatriates, including 50,000 Americans.
The expansion is being carried out in a partnership between Famous Dave's and the Tablez Food Co., based in the UAE. The first Famous Dave's in the UAE is scheduled to open sometime next year in Abu Dhabi, the capital.
Currently, Famous Dave's has 180 restaurants — 44 company-owned and 136 franchise-operated — in 34 states, Puerto Rico and Canada.
Tablez, based in Abu Dhabi, operates 21 food and beverage outlets in the Middle East and other Asian nations, among them Peppermill, Bloomsbury's, London Dairy, Cold Stone Creamery and Galito's.