Dining at the Original Famous Dave’s, Hayward Wisc.

Dining at the Original Famous Dave’s, Hayward Wisc.

ExteriorSitting on the back patio overlooking Round Lake in the Grand Pines resort sipping a margarita or a locally brewed beer, watching speedboats whiz by, you’d never guess you were at a Famous Dave’s restaurant if you didn’t know it—until you taste the food, of course. Unlike the cookie-cutter suburban franchises, the Hayward, Wisconsin, location has a personality of its own.

The Original Famous Dave’s BBQ Shack, celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2014, is the only restaurant that Dave Anderson, now retired, still owns, and he often offers new recipes that you won’t get at any of the franchise locations. My husband and I ate lunch at the Original Famous Dave’s on our trip to Wisconsin’s North Country, and between the smoky, tangy barbecue and the ambiance of dining lakeside on a beautiful sunny day, our experience couldn’t have been better.

View from outdoor seating

Like us, most patrons chose to skip the indoor seating, decorated like a cozy country cabin, in favor dining outdoors.


Outside seating

We each chose the lunch combo that included two meats, one side and a sweet corn bread muffin. We each chose different meats so that we could taste four meats altogether. Skip had the boneless wings and St. Louis-style spareribs, and I opted for the Texas beef brisket and hot link sausage.

Lunch 1

Lunch 2

We sampled all of the barbecue sauces, as we usually do, and both agreed we liked the Sweet & Zesty the best.


Even though the lunch special was less food than a full dinner, it was plenty for us, so much so that we had to pass on the Hot Fudge Kahlua Brownie.

To be honest, we’d never eaten at a Famous Dave’s before, so we can’t compare the original restaurant to the franchises. We’ll have to do that, but although the food may be just as good, it’s going to be hard to beat the setting of the Original Famous Dave’s BBQ Shack.

The Original Famous Dave’s BBQ Shack is located in the Grand Pines resort at 9971 N Grand Pines Road in Hayward, Wisconsin. Check the web site for further details.

Disclosure: Our visit to the Original Famous Dave’s BBQ Shack was hosted by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, but any opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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