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Famous Dave's of America Inc. (DAVE - Snapshot Report) recently opened its first Famous Dave's Legendary Pit Bar-B-Que restaurant in Casper, Wyoming. This is at par with the company’s goal of opening some 50 new units in the U.S. by 2014.

Casper, the second-largest city in Wyoming, is the county seat of Natrona County. It is also a regional center for banking and commerce in the state. The new Famous Dave's restaurant is strategically positioned at 5900 East 2nd street in the McMurry business Park to target working groups. The restaurant accesses views of Casper Mountain and provides spacious indoor and outdoor areas.

Wyoming is in the mountains of the Western United States. Famous Dave’s have noted the advantages to be gained from the emerging restaurant industry, in deciding to open its first unit in the state. As per the National Restaurant Association, the Wyoming restaurant industry will register around $0.8 billion in revenues in 2012.

One of Famous Dave’s peers, Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI - Analyst Report) has an extensive presence in the state, with two major brands occupying a large share of the Wyoming market, a fact Famous Dave’s needs to be wary of.

Famous Dave’s has been on an expansion mode lately. Last month, the company inked its largest deal of 2012 to add 21 restaurants in the U.S., with most of the openings targeted in California and the rest in Michigan, Missouri and Washington. Earlier in December, Famous Dave’s opened its second restaurant in Fort Myers in Florida. The company also expects to expand in Gillette with a unit in 2013.  

We remain impressed with the company’s decision to increase the number of units, despite the possible challenging environment for restaurant growth in the U.S.

Minnesota-based Famous Dave’s owned 53 locations and franchised 133 additional units in 33 states and one Canadian province.

We currently have a long-term Neutral recommendation on Famous Dave’s. However, it carries a short term Zacks #4 Rank (Sell).

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