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April 2013 story: No barbecue joint for Cottage Grove as Famous Dave's plans scrapped

Famous Dave's franchise owner Dave Von Rueden announced this week that the Cottage Grove location will not be opening. Bulletin photo by Scott Wente

After nearly eight months of sporadic construction, plans to open a Famous Dave's barbecue restaurant in Cottage Grove have been put on hold indefinitely.

Dave Von Rueden, franchise owner and lease holder for the Cottage Grove location, quietly announced Monday via answering machine that the store at 8479 East Point Douglas Road "will not be opening anytime soon," if at all. Von Rueden apologized in the message and directed customers to visit other Famous Dave's locations in neighboring Woodbury and Apple Valley.

"Obviously we knew there was an issue with the timing because normally a restaurant doesn't take this long to build," said Cottage Grove Economic Development Director Danette Parr. "It wasn't a permitting issue."

According to the city's Facebook page, the franchisee told the city he was facing "project financing difficulties."

The franchise was given the green light back in August 2012 to gut the interior of the building, which was previously a Kentucky Fried Chicken, to allow for a 50- to 60-seat dining area. Other plans included utilizing the existing drive-thru and installing an outdoor smoker oven.

As recently as early March, construction workers were affixing metal décor to the building's exterior.

The private renovation project was part of a company-wide conversion program that purchases vacant, smaller restaurant buildings and turns them into Famous Dave's locations.

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