Famous Dave’s parent is buying Village Inn and Bakers Square

BBQ Holdings, which also owns Granite City Food and Brewery, said it plans to buy the two family-dining chains that emerged from bankruptcy last year for $13.5 million.
Village Inn sold to Famous Dave''s
Photograph: Shutterstock

Famous Dave’s parent company BBQ Holdings on Friday said it plans to acquire the family-dining chains Village Inn and Bakers Square for $13.5 million, less than a year after the latter chains emerged from federal bankruptcy protection.

BBQ and VIBSQ, LLC, Village Inn’s and Bakers Square’s parent company, said they expect the deal to close by the end of July.

The two chains filed for Chapter 11 in January last year, before the pandemic, amid consistent financial losses that a sister company ABRH said it would no longer fund. The company closed 33 locations at the time. Village Inn later sold 34 restaurants to franchisees before emerging from bankruptcy.

BBQ Holdings has become a vehicle for acquisitions. The company acquired casual-dining chain Granite City out of bankruptcy early last year.

The acquisition of the two family dining chains will nearly double the company’s overall footprint. It will also give the company six chains, including the single-unit concepts Real Urban BBQ and Clark Crew BBQ. 

Village Inn has been around since 1958 and operates 21 company restaurants and 114 franchised locations primarily in the Rocky Mountain region, Midwest, Arizona, Florida and other states. Bakers Square started as an independent restaurant in Des Moines in the early 1970s and operates 13 company restaurants primarily in the Midwest. The chain is primarily known for its pies.

“We believe the Village Inn and Bakers Square concepts are a great complement to our growing portfolio of restaurants,” BBQ Holdings CEO Jeff Crivello said in a statement. “Adding them to our family of brands will only strengthen our company as a whole.”

The deal adds to BBQ Holdings’ moves to broaden its company. The company has been testing co-branding with a Cowboy Jack’s steakhouse along with Johnny Carino’s and Texas T-Bone locations. The company has also embraced ghost kitchens.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Pricing has driven restaurant sales growth for the past 2 years

The Bottom Line: Restaurant sales have grown for most of the past two years. But they haven't kept pace with menu price inflation, suggesting the industry is saturated again.


Restaurants can learn some foodservice tricks from supermarkets

State of the Plate: Nancy Kruse, RB’s menu trends columnist, says grocers are stepping up their game, and restaurants need to keep up.


So you are opening a restaurant in a Walmart? Good luck with that

The Bottom Line: The retail giant is adding regional restaurant chains to its stores, giving them some key exposure. But there are some real drawbacks to pay attention to.


More from our partners