The former Clays Galaxy Drive In will be the site of a new pizza restaurant in Minneapolis.

Two Veteran Restaurant Chain Founders Set Sights on Pizza Business

Dave Anderson of Famous Dave's and Steven Schussler of Rainforest Cafe are creating a new restaurant offering Chicago tavern-style pizza.

  • The founders of Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que and Rainforest Cafe plan to turn a defunct drive-in burger place into a pizzeria serving Chicago tavern-style pizza.
  • Dave Anderson and Steven Schussler envision Dave and Steve’s Big Dreams Pizza, launching this year in Minneapolis, as their next major restaurant chain.

Related: Kid-friendly pizzeria seeks silent partner to save the business

The founders of Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que, a BBQ chain, and Rainforest Café, a themed restaurant chain, are muscling their way into the pizza business, according to the Star Tribune in Minneapolis.

.Dave Anderson and Steven Schussler plan to open Dave and Steve’s Big Dreams Pizza in a former burger space, called Clays Galaxy Drive In, in Minneapolis’ St. Louis Park this spring or summer. Their goal: to turn Dave and Steve’s Big Dreams into a national pizza franchise chain, of course.

“I’ve really been on this quest to make the best pizza in America,” Anderson told the Star Tribune. Schussler added, “When you try Dave’s pizza, you’ll never want anything else.”

The menu will feature rectangular Chicago tavern-style pizza with “a very crispy, crunchy, golden crust,” Anderson said. “It’s the perfect foundation for sauce and cheese and toppings.”

Anderson was an early investor in Rainforest Café, which opened in Bloomington, Minnesota, in 1994 and currently has about 15 locations—mostly tourist destinations—around the U.S. Its menu features pasta, chicken, seafood and burgers, all offered in a setting that evokes a tropical rainforest. Anderson opened his first Famous Dave’s location that same year in Hayward, Wisconsin. Famous Dave’s presently has about 180 locations in 33 states. Anderson served as Famous Dave’s CEO until 1997 and stepped down as chairman in 2003.

Neither restaurateur is actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the chains they founded and aren’t looking to retire, they told the Star Tribune. “Neither of us plays golf,” Schussler said. “Retirement is not the end game.”