Famous Dave's opens new location in Grand Forks

The ownership group behind the Famous Dave’s location, consisting of Warren Ackley, Randy Thorson and Lance Thorson, owns the Vinyl Taco next door, as well as the strip mall in which both restaurants occupy space.

040622 FamousDaves.jpg
From left; Randy Thorson, Lance Thorson, Tiffany Grovum, Wilbur the mascot, Serena Richie, Ted Coulter and Warren Ackley are photographed on opening day of the new Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que restaurant in Grand Forks Monday, April 4, 2022.
Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald<br/>
We are part of The Trust Project.

GRAND FORKS — Famous Dave’s held the grand opening of its new Grand Forks location Monday. The restaurant will be open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

The ownership group behind the Famous Dave’s location, consisting of Warren Ackley, Randy Thorson and Lance Thorson, owns the Vinyl Taco next door, as well as the strip mall in which both restaurants occupy space.

“This is the last opening in the strip mall, so we’re pretty excited to have the mall entirely filled,” Ackley said. “It's kind of a little entertainment district out here now with the other tenants that we have, as well as Vinyl Taco and now famous Dave's. We think it can be a destination area, so we're pretty excited.”

The Crooked Pint Ale House, a First International Bank & Trust and a Jersey Mike’s Subs also occupy the strip mall, as well as a few other businesses.

The Grand Forks location, according to Ackley, is a bit smaller than most traditional Famous Dave’s locations due to the space available. Famous Dave himself paid a visit to the restaurant last week to see how it looked before it opened.


“He was super excited,” Ackley said. “He loved the place.”

Famous Dave’s also held a fundraiser for Northlands Rescue Mission Saturday night, where friends and family were invited. It also hired a band and provided food for the event. Ackley said the fundraiser collected about $600.

“We're happy to do that, and we'll also partner with them in the future,” Ackley said. “If we do catering and that type of thing where we have excess food, we will bring it over to the (Northlands Rescue Mission) as well. We're pretty excited about that, to be able to do that in the community.”

More than 600 students were eligible to receive degrees at the UND summer commencement ceremony on Friday, Aug. 5, though the total number who actually walked was smaller.

Famous Dave’s began hiring months ago, but pandemic-driven difficulties have seeped their way into 2022, as well. Ackley said the restaurant is still hiring, which has led to its reduced daily hours.

“It’s still difficult,” Ackley said. “We're still looking for people out there, so we do have openings in front of the house and the back of the house right now. ... We’d love to be open Sundays soon, and we have to be open for lunch, but for right now, we have (enough staffing) to open just the evening hours.”

Part of the strain is being alleviated by having team members from the Famous Dave’s location in Bismarck come to Grand Forks to train new hires. Over the next few weeks, troubleshooting some growing pains will become a factor.

“We have a corporate training crew here all this week, and then we have another famous Dave's in Bismarck, so some of those people will be here for the next month,” Ackley said. "I'll just be training for the next five or six weeks. They'll switch off, so a couple people will come one week then switch. Two more people will come.”

Jacob Holley joined the Grand Forks Herald as its business reporter in June 2021.

Holley's beat at the Grand Forks Herald is broad and includes a variety of topics, including small business, national trends and more.

Readers can reach Holley at him on Twitter @JakeHolleyMedia.
What to read next
Cases of fraud or alleged fraud have caused uncertainty and mistrust among some consumers in an industry that relies largely on the honesty of producers, processors and packagers to maintain the integrity of the industry.
Gary Tharaldson, North Dakota’s successful hotel developer and owner of Tharaldson Ethanol in Casselton, North Dakota, describes how his company will move forward after the death of chief operating officer Ryan Thorpe. Tharaldson urges people to check in on others but said there was no warning at work that would have predicted the tragedy of Thorpe's death by suicide.
Lida Farm grows for Community Support Agriculture customers, farmers markets and food stands, with a little going to a local food co-op. Since 2004, the west central Minnesota farm has changed how it operates to keep up with the times and what they can handle.
Availability of labor is becoming tighter and more competitive. Officials of the Farmers Cooperative Elevator at Rosholt, South Dakota, describe how in the spring of 2022 they offered $30 an hour for truck “tender” drivers, moving fertilizer and inputs to farms, but got no applicants. They were grateful for local trucking firms stepping up during the vital period, but understandably at a higher cost for the farmer-owned company.