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South Salt Lake Journal

South Salt Lake home to new Famous Dave’s Quick ‘Que

Aug 07, 2022 08:23PM ● By Bill Hardesty

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

What do Coon Rapids, Minnesota, Las Vegas and South Salt Lake City have in common?

Each has a Famous Dave’s “Line-service model” restaurant called “Quick ‘Que,” as in quick barbeque. However, the SSL location is the first drive-thru. The drive-thru is on the corner of Morris Avenue and State Street. It is just south of I-80 in a building that was once a KFC. The drive-thru is open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. on Sundays.

“I’ve lived in Utah my entire life and have been with Famous Dave’s for over two years,” Rob Mitchell, general manager, said. “So, to say I was excited to be part of the first drive-thru model is an understatement. Our team is equally excited to offer our classic ‘que in this unique format to the people of South Salt Lake and the area. We invite everyone to drive on over and taste our famous barbecue themselves.”

Quick ‘Que model

“The Quick ‘Que model has been in the works at Famous Dave’s of America for a few years now and really is a version of the original counter-serve shack model launched by Famous Dave Anderson himself in the late ’90s. For us, the twist is we are redefining fast-casual and finding new ways to evolve and serve our famous ‘que in a convenient manner, especially during the height of the pandemic,” Elaina M. Morris, CEO and president of Ascend Hospitality Group, said.

After studying the concept this year, Famous Dave’s plans to open 10 or 15 more. The local franchisee, Ascend Hospitality Group, is onboard.

“We have two full-service Famous Dave’s locations in the greater Salt Lake City area —in Layton and West Jordan—and leaped at the opportunity to purchase and convert

this KFC drive-thru. We are invested in this area and community, and believe quick,

convenient and delicious barbecue is a niche that needed to be filled,” Morris said.

A Quick ‘Que counter or drive-thru is about half the size of a typical sit-down Famous Dave’s restaurant. The advantage to the company is lower labor cost. A Quick ‘Que needs about seven workers during busy times compared to double the number in a regular Famous Dave’s restaurant.

“Our menu is slightly modified from the menu that we offer in our full-service Famous Dave’s locations aimed at keeping the offerings quick and convenient for guests to enjoy on the go,” Morris said.

SSL Quick ‘Que serves some of the Famous Dave’s favorites like Georgia chopped pork sandwich and St. Louis spareribs. In addition, they have added items such as BBQ bowls, meat platters, and brisket french dip.

Ascend Hospitality Group plans to open additional Quick ‘Que restaurants—counter service and drive-thru—in Utah and Washington. They currently operate restaurants in both states.

Line-service model

The line service model, also known as the counter service model, is how fast-food restaurants work. Customers walk up to a counter and give their order or order from a vehicle. Their food is prepared in a line and delivered to the customer at the counter, where they are sitting, or through a drive-thru window.

“The counter service model was exclusively used by fast-food establishments but is now used in more restaurant types to minimize labor costs. Employees are cross-trained to work the front and back of the house as food runners and cashiers. The menus are also typically much smaller, reducing the labor necessary to track and order inventory,” Chole Henderson wrote on

Famous Dave’s

Famous Dave’s is owned by Minnetonka, Minnesota BBQ Holdings Inc., which has nine brands, including Village Inn, Bakers Square, Champps, and Famous Dave’s.

Dave Anderson, a Chicago native, developed a passion for barbeque. He spent more than 25 years of his adult life searching the country for the best barbeque. Finally, he learned the only way to get great “que” is to hand-rub each slab with a blend of Southern spices and smoke them slowly over a pit of smoldering hickory.

With that knowledge, Anderson opened his first restaurant, “Famous Dave’s BBQ Shack,” in Hayward, Wisconsin, in 1995. The business had few starts and stops until becoming Famous Dave’s BBQ. As of 2021, there are 180 Famous Dave’s in 33 states and four international locations – Winnipeg, Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, and Dubai.

Anderson won over 700 barbeque awards. As a Native American of Ojibwe and Choctaw tribe descent, he was elected to the Native American Hall of Fame. He was always proud of his heritage and worked to give back. He served as Assistant Secretary–Indian Affairs in the George W. Bush administration.