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Aug 18, 2003 03:30 PM

I-90 Chicago to Mt. Rushmore--there's gotta be something...!

  • c

Driving to Mt. Rushmore in September. I-90 the whole way. Anyone know of any good stops? Once I hit South Dakota, I don't know a single good watering hole until I hit Wall Drug! Not that that's going to be good, but it's all that I know. I see that someone asked before about South Dakota and there doesn't seem to be much. But is there anything?


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  1. Sioux Falls has some decent food, which I discussed at some length in an earlier thread. But the food is better than Wall Drug or Al's Oasis in SF, although without the dinosaur statues or giant fiberglass buffalo.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Martin

      This will be of scant help, but I've heard that there's a decent Cajun restaurant in La Crosse, WI and that Sioux Falls, SD has good, hip restaurants.

      1. re: Mugs

        The Fat Duck Bistro is one of those 'hip' places in Sioux Falls -- great sandwiches and baked goods, cute atmosphere, very friendly, and a welcome respite from the highway. Right downtown on 11th? or 12th? or thereabouts.

    2. I have traveled the I-90 corridor a bunch and have some favorites mostly in Wisconsin but also in Minnesota.

      The Del-Bar in the Wisconsin Dels is a favorite. Great Steaks and Seafood

      I also like the German House in Target Bluff/Camp Douglas. Some decent German Food there.

      Bernstad's European Village in Tomah has some good food.

      A bunch in La Crosse WI, along the Interstate you can try River Jack's, great prime rib and steaks. Edwardo's Pizza Wagon, wood fired pizzas. And there are more.

      Rochester has a bunch of great places too. Most are in town and off the hiway a ways. Victoria's Italian, Zorba's Greek, India Garden's and a full line of chain places if your so inclined (I'd give them a pass)

      You can check out our website below for more ideas in the area.


      1 Reply
      1. re: Kraig

        Thanks to everyone for the replies! It all helps. I am going to mark good good spots to stop leaning heavily on Kraig's website. I've made it as far down I-90 as La Crescent and I like the area. We're thinking of renting a cabin for the weekend there later this year. Thanks again!

      2. Granite City Brewery in downtown Sioux Falls is really good. You can get a tasting of their brews in 4 small glasses brought out on a board. Some really tasty brews if you're an afficianado of all things grain. Their sandwiches and apps are good too. SF might be a nice midway overnight stop from Chicago when you're driving. A halfway point so to speak. I'd reccomend the Country Inn and Suites on the river as the place to stay near downtown. Nothing glamorous, but super clean and comfortable, typical hotel and a decent indoor pool and bar. It's on the Big Sioux River so the geese are floating by below (though maybe not in this drought) I get back there now and then as my parents live there.
        I guess the dining options downtown are pretty good, keep in mind I've been a way awhile, northern Europeon, decent Italian at Spazia's.
        Just for an authentic tourist experience you need to stop at Al's Oasis in Chamberlin, SD as you cross the Missouri River. The view is spectacular if you cross near sunrise. Their breakfasts and lunches are true truckstop fare and the pies are amazing. Next, is Wall Drug, Ughh! The kids love it so be prepared, if they're 4 or under beware the mechanical dinosaur.
        Veer off 90 and take the Badlands loop. In some places you'll feel like you have landed on the moon - it's that spectacular! There's a place run by Native Americans in the National Park (only restaurant I believe) that serves Indian Tacos. Hot, desolate, moonlike, the place is an oasis and you'll get your first taste of tacky gift shops.
        Mount Rushmore runs a fairly professional cafeteria. The basics of course, but at reasonable prices and the view is spectacular. Take the trek through after you've fortified yourself. Enjoy your vacation! From a former SoDaker.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Suzie

          I'll second the Granite City Brewery. The waitress told me they get the beef fresh daily right from the packing plant, so they have no problem cooking a burger medium rare. I have commented before on the burger I had there, blue cheese,cheddar,bacon,onion rings on top. A good reason by itself to go to Sioux Falls.

          1. re: Bobfrmia

            Oh, when I made the drive to the Black hills several years ago I stopped at the Corn palace and at Wall drug. Both stops were time I really wish I would have saved for the Black Hills. I left those places embarrassed that I was suckered in.

          2. re: Suzie

            Thanks, Suzie! It's great to have a...SoDaker(?) perspective! I am going to follow much of your advice. I'll let you all know how it goes.

            Curious, though, there isn't any regional specialty I should be sitting down to is there?

            1. re: chris

              South Dakota is cattle country so there are quite a few old-guard type steakhouses that dot the landscape. They generally serve good to great prime rib, filets, etc. They all tend to have kitschy salad bars with jello and macaroni salad though. Stick to the meat and potatoes and you'll be fine. A classic restaurant of this type is just east of Sioux Falls in Brandon. It's called (surprise) the Brandon Steakhouse. Not fine dining by any stretch but a piece of Americana and a great steak to boot.
              Most bar/restaurants serve chislic which I haven't seen elsewhere. It's like a mini beef kabob sans vegetables. They're a very tasty bar snack served alongside a red beer - beer and tomato juice - something I've also not heard of anywhere else. Order chislic and a red beer anywhere around Sioux Falls and they'll think you're a local! A number of places also feature buffalo or bison burgers. I've never tried one though I hear they're quite good, like a very lean hamburger. Enjoy your trip and let us know what you discover!

              1. re: Suzie


                Red Beer.

                I'm all over it!


                1. re: Suzie

                  I second the authenticity of the steakhouse experience, although personally I haven't stepped foot in one for 10 years. If you want the real I-90 experience from Magnolia, MN to Sioux Falls, that's the ticket. There's Magnolia, Brandon (Northwest of SF) and Tea (South of Sioux Falls), Theo's in Sioux Falls, which is more ambitious though still at heart a steakhouse. Their steaks are not the Chicago/New York butter steak version, although the meat may be better, and your dinner won't blow the mortgage
                  Red beer, though, is a vile excuse to make bad beer seem drinkable.

              2. re: Suzie

                I need to correct a mistake! The downtown brewery in Sioux Falls that I recommended is simply called the Sioux Falls Brewery. It is within easy walking distance of the Country Inn and Suites. Granite City Brewery is on the far west end of town. Sorry for any confusion.

              3. Stop in Luverne, MN just on the east side of the South Dakota border. Eat at Magnolia Steak House - it is right off the interstate. They cut all their meat on the premesis and get the onion rings. Best steak, even better than anything you will find in Sioux Falls.

                1. Hello! This is my first visit to Chowhound. I grew up in South Dakota and would love to share some of my favorite places! Sioux Falls has it share of "Chain" eateries, but we also have some hole in the wall favorites! For example Stoplight Lounge has the best burgers this side of of the Missouri River -- South Dakota is divided by the Missouri so that's sort of the dividing line. East River - the area I live in includes Sioux Falls. Steak houses, I would suggest Tea Steak House off of I-29 south of Sioux Falls, or Brandon Steakhouse on I-90 east. Both are great! South Dakota is also know for our buffalo meat. If you're on your way to Mt Rushmore, stop in at Al's Oasis and order a Buffalo Burger! Yummy! Back to Sioux Falls. There is a restrauant on almost every block. Locals like Coyote Canyon Buffet there is a variety of buffet items and alway meat on the grill. And yes, we have chislic! Can't tell you where to go to try that. I would suggest Marlins instead.... homestyle cooking that is some of the best in town and is off of I-90. Give us a try before trecking on to see the faces! We have lots to offer and plent of "local" flavor!