MINNETONKA Minn. Famous Dave’s of America Inc. has hired Wilson Craft, executive vice president of operations for LongHorn Steakhouse, to join the barbecue chain parent as president and chief executive, effective April 21.
Craft, a one-time president of Chili’s Grill and Bar, succeeds David Goronkin, who resigned from Famous Dave’s earlier this year to become president and CEO of the four-unit Redstone American Grill casual chain in Wayzata, Minn., which is near Famous Dave’s headquarters here. Famous Dave’s director Lane Cardwell has been serving as interim CEO.
Craft, a 25-year veteran of the restaurant business, has been with LongHorn since 2005. The chain was acquired recently by Red Lobster parent Darden Restaurants Inc. through the buyout last year of Rare Hospitality International Inc., which also owned The Capital Grille steakhouse chain. Craft also has been president of Big Bowl, an Asian concept owned at the time by Chili’s parent Brinker International Inc.
Famous Dave’s operates or franchises 168 restaurants in 35 states.