Dave Anderson founded Famous Dave's barbecue concept in Hayward, Wis. on Round Lake.

MINNEAPOLIS – Fire destroyed the original location of Famous Dave's in Hayward, Wis., early on Nov. 3. Founder Dave Anderson opened the restaurant in 1994.

Local news reports state that the general manager came to work and saw a piece of equipment on fire and called 911. Flames were rising 30 to 50 feet in the air by the time fire crews arrived at the scene.

“We are saddened by the loss of the original Famous Dave’s on Round Lake,” Ed Rensi, CEO of Famous Dave’s of America, said in a statement. “This was a special place for not only those of us here at Famous Dave’s but for so many BBQ fans in the Round Lake and Hayward area and beyond. Famous Dave’s founder Dave Anderson had the vision to create an exceptional BBQ experience 20 years ago and watched it take life at that location, literally building it from the ground up.”

Famous Dave's owns 54 locations and franchises 142 additional restaurants in 34 states, Puerto Rico and one Canadian province. Anderson retired from the company in 2014, but still owned the Hayward location as a franchise.

“Our hearts go out to Dave, his family and all of his employees and we are committed to doing all we can – beginning immediately – to help Dave get his business back up and running,” Rensi said. “We are committing our full support and the backing of the Famous Dave’s family to Dave, his wife Kathy and his employees so he can restore this restaurant and great memories can continue to be created there.”

The Wisconsin State Fire Marshal will conduct an investigation into the fire.