Edina resident Dave Anderson opened his fourth fast-fresh barbecue restaurant at 44th and France last spring.
Barbecue conjures up memories of backyard get-togethers. But there’s no need to wait for a special occasion to enjoy tasty barbecue, thanks to Dave Anderson. Every day is a celebration of food for this award-winning pit master. The Edina resident opened his fourth fast-fresh barbecue concept, a 65-seat restaurant, at 44th and France last spring. “Smokin’ good” food emerges from Jimmie’s Old Southern BBQ Smokehouse. Expertly prepared meats and fresh-made sides resemble what grandma probably made for family reunions and vacations at the lake. “Barbecue is really picnic food that travels well,” Anderson says.
Named after Anderson’s father, a life-long food enthusiast, Jimmie’s Old Southern is entrenched in family tradition and the quest for the perfect barbecue. It’s easy to be drawn into the place. Just follow the whiff of smoldering wood and succumb to the mouthwatering aroma of barbecue. “There’s something instinctually primal about eating smoky charred meat off a bone that sort of brings out everyone’s inner cave man,” Anderson says.
Growing up in Chicago, the possibilities for noteworthy barbecue places were many. Anderson’s father was very passionate about southern home cooking. Even Anderson’s mother, a northern Wisconsin native, became a southern style cook. Every other weekend, the family headed south until “she learned how to cook southern” fried chicken, collard greens, corn bread, fried pies and other home-style food.” This was the rich culinary heritage of his father’s native Oklahoma.“I always knew my family was different from all the other families on our block in Chicago because when they were going out to eat, they were going out for burgers and pizza, where my dad was loading us up into the family station wagon, and we were headed to the south side of Chicago where we were going out for rib tips.”
Guess who had the first barbecue grill on the block? Anderson’s father cooked meat outdoors before others discovered the trend. The family enthusiasm for southern food rubbed off. Today barbecue is a way of life for Anderson. “I don’t think I got into barbecue,” Anderson says. “I was born into barbecue.”
A passion for southern food, barbecue and hospitality progressed from a backyard hobby into a restaurant kingdom recognized nationwide and beyond. Anderson’s culinary and business accomplishments show a pattern of innovation, creativity and resilience. “Famous Dave’s was always my life’s dream. Jimmie’s Old Southern is a much different concept,” Anderson says. Both restaurants are barbecue focused, but with a smaller foot print, counter service and entirely new menu, Anderson’s new concept bears little resemblance to Famous Dave’s.
Food is made to order from a collection of all-new recipes Anderson created and tested in his Edina home kitchen as well as at his cabin. The menu has something for light eaters and heavy eaters alike. “Order what you like and how you want to eat it,” Anderson says.
In a slight deviation from the southern tradition, no food is fried. The change comes with no compromise on flavor. Anderson developed four new barbecue sauces that provide just the right amount of kick for any taste. “Seasonings are ground fresh which helps us achieve robust full flavors that makes our food so tasty,” Anderson says. “Sauces are made small batch and therefore really intense.”
The original Hayward Old Southern location (opened in 2015) proved popular and a loyal following of Twin Cities customers grew once they visited the restaurant during Wisconsin vacations. Requests for a Twin Cities location kept coming. “People came and almost demanded it,” Anderson says. “You’ve got to put one in Minneapolis.”
Customers asked and Anderson delivered with a fourth Old Southern located in Minneapolis. “Plus, the fact my family is from Edina, we’ve always had friends and family that all live in the area that loved going to my barbecue joints—barbecue restaurants being many a family favorite,” Anderson says. “Old Southern is really a great family place to go. It’s outdoor food that everyone loves.”
Patio seating gives customers a chance for an in-store picnic, but take out and catering options are also available. Most individual dishes cost around $6 to $12. “We’re affordable and fast,” says Claire Terrones COO says. After 12 years of working with Anderson, Terrones is an accomplished pit master in her own right and knows the making of good barbecue through and through. “Good hospitality and good food quality really go hand and hand for us,” she says. The top-grade ingredients served in a welcoming atmosphere make for a memorable barbecue.
Meats are served from the pit from small-batches prepared fresh throughout the day. Special smokers render authentic slow cooked meats that are hand-rubbed for heightened flavor. An inner juiciness is sealed by a tasty char. “Fresh from the smoker – you can’t get any better than that,” Terrones says.
Be sure to check out the bowls. The Dixie bowl is a top-seller with barbecue beans, rice, party corn, tangy coleslaw, pulled pork, Cheddar cheese and a jalapeno slice. “It’s just an all-around flavorful barbecue smorgasbord in a bowl — all the good stuff in one bowl,” Anderson says. “We call it comfort food that has soul in a bowl,” Terrones says. Crispy garlic crumbles, barbecue sour cream, shredded cheese and other touches enliven bowls into mouth-watering combinations. That same pleasing practicality goes into the corn bread muffin tops. A puffy cookie kind of corn bread is a step up from the ordinary. Honey butter glazed muffin tops have a sticky crumb and no wasted bottoms.
Anderson’s passion for food goes beyond barbecue. He loves Jewish and Italian cuisine. As a self-confessed “ninja pizza guru,” well-made New York, Neapolitan and Chicago style pizzas are all favorites. His award-winning mastery of pit fire food prep bodes well to artisan pizzas. Start with a good set of coals and a pizza stone. “It takes years and years of practice to make a great pizza,” Anderson says. “I am about as intense in making great pizzas as I am about barbecue, and I have traveled the country visiting the best pizza joints, and I have studied pizza making from some of the best!”
Good food is what Anderson is all about. His passion has transformed into a culinary journey always toward something new and delicious.