Sioux Falls Overview Fall 2006 (from a local)
First off, I'm new here. Hello.
Second, I'm from Sioux Falls, SD. There hasn't been a lot of talk on this board about what there is to offer here in my hometown lately, so I thought I'd do my part to throw out some reviews so that three years from now, when you find yourself heading to Sioux Falls for some reason, you can at least have a shot at what options there are (from a local point of view).
Third, I travel to the Cities a lot (and elsewhere somewhat less often), so when you read these reviews, know that they weren't written in a complete vacuum. While I'm probably not the most experienced chowhound, I enjoy a truly great restaurant (probably more than the average person).
A little bit about Sioux Falls and the way the locals treat restaurants. I've heard (but never researched) that Sioux Falls has more restaurants per capita than any other city in the United States with a population over 100,000. If true, and I would believe that it is, it's because there isn't much to do here except eat. As a result, when a new restaurant comes to town (regardless of quality), it gets pummeled by the locals because it's something new. This goes for chain restaurants as well, and we've got a ton of them. Also, Sioux Falls isn't very big, so many people tend to drive to a new location if the wait is over 25 minutes. We're an impatient bunch as a whole, so it seems like the restaurants have reacted to this in our little gastrosphere and service is usually pretty timely.
Ok. On to the specific restaurants. I'll focus on the higher-end, bigger, more expensive places for now, or this post is going to be WAY too long. This means I'm going to miss my favorites for now, but I don't want to die keeping this information to myself.
There's been some talk about Minervas on this board in the past, but I'm going to put it out there. It's 'alright'. Good steaks, with an outdated interior sporting lots of brass. This restaurant is run by one of the more prominent restaurant families in the area and has launched several spinoffs due to it's success. Due to it's longstanding presence in Sioux Falls, it is frequented by an older crowd.
A more modern version of Minervas (although not affiliated). Similar offerings (steak, chops, pasta, seafood). Slightly above average on a national scale, but probably one of the better places in town if you're looking for an upscale meal. Nice upscale bar area. For food, my personal favorites are the bone-in ribeye, the french onion soup and the walleye cheeks appetizer. Very tasty stuff. The scene is younger than Minerva's, frequented by business people and has a bit of a see or be seen vibe, but in a town the size of Sioux Falls, it's hard not to be seen no matter where you go.
Used to be Theo's, and was much better when it was, in my opinion. When Foley's came on the scene and drew the 'ooooh, a new restaurant' crowd, Theo's shut down, redecorated in a bizarre artsy art deco kind of feel -- swapping out their menu and steakhouse attitude for a very high-end (and neon-infused?) approach. This didn't go over well and didn't lure back the locals. They've since combined their new menu with some favorites from the old, but the quality (and especially the service) just isn't there. In addition, they lost one of the partners (who was also the head chef), who started up his own catering business. I haven't been there since, so I can't vouch for how they're doing now.
The Country Clubs.
If you are ever visiting locals and get invited to one of the country club restaurants (The Minnehaha Country Club and the Westward Ho Country Club), avoid them at all costs. Really not good. Bad. Laughable even.
This one has been mentioned on this board a few times. Originally a Minervas spinoff, it split off entirely last summer on it's own. Very popular locally, Spezia is an American Italian restaurant that offers consistently good food. It won't blow your mind, but it's good. Look for the Giglio Pasta (with green pesto sauce), the pork roast, or the Arcadian Chicken Pasta (spicy brown sauce). Also immensly popular for their Sunday Brunch, I've never seen anything like it anywhere. It's truly immense and quite good, with a wide variety of unique breakfast pizzas, pastas, meats, breakfast items, pastries and salad items. In season, they offer special menus based around specific locally grown ingredients. Their heirloom tomato menu comes to mind. Worth checking out.
Started up by the Spezia crowd this spring, Bracco is a carribean inspired restarant (with a little mexican/sushi/other stuff thrown in for good measure) that gives me a big 'ho-hum' kind of feeling overall. They turned down experienced wait staff in favor of young, green servers with no clue what they are doing, so the service is awkward. There are good items on the menu (the appetizers and sandwiches are good stuff). Overall, it's a very popular spot, but the service, the food, and the mixed drinks just aren't there for me. That being said, the patio is a very nice place to catch an afternoon breeze, although it's open inconsistently for some reason. Overall, I guess I'm just surprised that the owners can't replicate the consistency of Spezia with Bracco.
That's probably enough Sioux Falls coverage for now. How am I doing so far? Should I go back to lurking, or was this helpful at all?
Good posts and site to stumble upon, although hopefully some more newbies like me will post some newer info. Two glaring omissions, both in Asian food. In general, the Chinese restaurants are pretty standard fare. In fact, the only one that stands out is Coco Palace, sort of Pan Asian: better than average Chinese, but go there for the Thai (my favorites are the Panang and Pad Thai). My Asian friends like it, and I can think of no higher recommendaton. And did I say Pan Asian? They also have excellent Sushi, so much so that my wife and I rarely even go to Sushi Masa anymore (although I still highly recommend it).
Pho Quynh has excellent Vietnamese. Do not go there for the ambience (no decor, TV showing Asian soaps every time I have been there, a little boy left free to run around the restaurant and tends to talk to tables with children), but the food is worth it. As we gather acquiantances that have been there, everything gets good reviews, but the #39 is universally loved.
423 S Phillips Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104
1100 W 12th St, Sioux Falls, SD 57104
2530 S Louise Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57106
This is a little late, but i wanna share what i know. These are my favorites:
Italian: not a lot of choice but Spezia is pretty good.
Sports Bar: This is a newer establishment at 57th and Cliff, called Stubbies. Best wings in Sioux Falls. Great beer selection.
Sushi: Sushi Masa!! but when that is full, Tokyo is a good fall back. Get the spicy tuna roll and/or cucumber roll at SM, you will die. In a good way though
Hamburgers: Fuddruckers. No Competition.
Sandwiches: There are a couple newer stores, one being Chedd's, which is a creative grilled cheese place, and whatever i had was phenomenol (it was something spicy). I haven't tried Erberts and Gerberts yet, but i look forward to it.
Ice cream: B&G, but Nucci's Gelato is great also. Gelato is Italian ice cream.
Steak: My favorite is Minervas, Hunters Ribeye. But i hear Tea Steakhouse is good too.
Chinese: Golden Bowl! It is a hidden building on the west side of the Juice stop on Minnesota Avenue. Great szezchuan duck. Sorry for any spelling errors.
Middle East: Sanaa's! No doubt, the best brunch in town.
Gyro's: Nick's Gyro's, no competition.
Diner: Phillips avenue diner, downtown. Great Chicken Fried Steak, and burgers. I was surprised to find jambalya on the menu too.
I hope i could help any visitors to Sioux Falls, or old residents, who haven't been back in a while!
1512 W 41st St, Sioux Falls, SD 57105
2600 S Spring Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57105
423 S Phillips Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57104
I'm stuck in Sioux Falls working on a never ending project and have a few observations.
Tea Steakhouse: OK this is billed as the best steak house in the state. The steaks are of mediocre quality and cooked one degree rarer than you order. all the appetizers are straight out of the Schwanns catalog and deep fried to perfection. We were not too satisfied with our dinners but it's worth one trip in your life if you're in town. I had the large filet mignon for $15.99. Total dinner with drinks and appetizers came to $32 and it was only that much because I paid for my friends drinks because I made her laugh so hard steak came out of her nose. The scene is totally worth the trip. It's like a time warp out of the '60s. Naugahyde faux saddle texture tableclothes, a salad dressing caddy, melba toast, Buck Owens playing on the overhead speakers, locals having a great time drinking and smoking, and a whole harem of Amish types looking scornfully at us. Don't come for the food, come for the experience. Maybe Friday or Saturday would be best.
Culvers Drive Inn:
In and Out burgers in SoCal used to be my favorite until now. Culvers is home to the Butterburger which is great. They missed the boat with the crinkle cut fries however. Score: Culvers 1 for the burger, In and Out 1 for the fries. Oh and Culvers has their version of the Blizzard called the concrete mixer. Score: Culvers 2, In and Out 1. Game over.
Seriously dissapointed to see my favorite sandwhich chain closed for good. I was so psyched to see they had one in town but I guess Sioux Falls failed to fall in love with their menu.
Ate there twice this week and had excellent food and service both times. We ordered a huge variety of food and drinks and were very satisfied. Clearly the best meals of the week and the service was very good. A big surprise for a franchise brew pub. One drawback, as a home brewer for 15 years, franchise brew pubs make beers that appeal to a wide range of people, but not so much to me. Don't let that discourage you, I may be a beer snob and they need to sell a lot of beer. Usually you go to a brewpub for great beer and mediocre food. It's the opposite here.
More later, I may be here awhile.
For anyone that wants to know food in Sioux Falls I feel like I have a good finger on the pulse of Sioux Falls. I am a VIP host from out east and have many clients that have functions or travel into Sioux Falls. I usually try to keep tabs on that area since I am the only one at my office that knows much about those smaller Midwest cities. I will just give you a brief run down of what my clients have feed back to me.
Minerva's - The "classic" since all of Sioux Falls goes there. Great service which is a plus. Food quality can sometimes be up and down but usually get a good dish may be over priced.
Foley's - Newer more modern feel. You lose that when you order with subpar fish and steaks are no better. You have an attractive staff and great wine list though.
Wild Sage - New to Sioux Falls and have only a little feedback on but the food is amazing dry aged local beef makes the restaurant run but don't over look fun options like wild game. Only sub note that I have heard you might be eating with a hundred people or 20.
Spezia - Is the king in town with great dishes and talented staff. With new location it has really helped since you could never find the original.
Minnehaha Country Club - If you get a shot eat the seafood pasta. Its half seafood and half pasta they way it was meant to be.
Minerva's - Falls in the list but not sure how great it is. Have had people eat there and say it was good but not rave about it. I think Johnny Carino's would be 3rd but I am kind of anti chains
Red Rosa: Great Pizza and great staff! Hard to find a real pizza restaurant in Sioux Falls but this one is hands above the rest
Pizza Man - Great delivery pizza. Probably the best in town. Can't beat wood burning ovens.
Boston's - East side of town staple. Good atmosphere with good food. It's right next to the Comedy Club.
Sub note: Boss's Pizza is the only place after 2am
Granite City: Microbrewery with good food. One of the first locations for this brewery but has a really good atmosphere.
Touch of Europe: Be brave, be hungry, and bring your wallet. Great food with unique feel and options. Can be pretty spendy for a quick bite.
The Keg: Great fried chicken. Well at least for the Midwest. Healthy portions of juicy tender chicken. Nothing to unique though.
Fuddruckers - Probably the best burger in town without having to go to a high end place to get it. You can even try to eat the Texas size burger which a full pound of fresh ground beef.
Hamburger Inn: Another staple of Sioux Falls. Fun place to try to get a seat and eat the famous egg burger. Should be on the show "Diner Drive-ins and Dives"
3rd Place is a tie between a think a place that switch their beef and one that might of picked up the former supplier.
Minerva’s/Wild Sage- never had anyone complain on their burgers at Minerva's till recently and just had someone come back raving about the dry age local all beef burgers at Wild Sage. Both have been known to serve a great burger though.
Taste of India - near the airport with a great unique beer selection.
Sushi Mashi - Sushi + Midwest = good. Might be the only place you can find it being served in Sioux Falls.
Inca's - Classic Mexican dishes. You know it's good because they are all Spanish speaking staff.
Hopefully this helps anyone that is looking for a bite to eat in Sioux Falls.
If you haven't checked out restaurant K I would definitely keep it in mind for your clients. I wrote a post about eating there here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/558528
I have absolutely no connection to the restaurant, and don't even live in the city, but it was one of the best meals I've had in the region, so I'm happy to pass the word on!
Hello all - I'm a law student at the University of South Dakota, lifelong SD resident, and Sioux Falls food scene junkie.
In the area of "higher-end" dining, I feel like I have hit up almost every establishment in Sioux Falls. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Tre Lounge - it currently occupies the space that was formerly 601 Arota, and Chef Tyler Honke is putting out some seriously high-quality food for a more than reasonable price. My buddy's dad owned Theo's/601 Arota, and it was my favorite place in Sioux Falls, hands-down; however, when the Exec. Chef left to start his own catering business, it did go downhill.
Tre Lounge is a great replacement - Chef Honke is one of the only chefs in the area willing to do a tasting menu; the gf and I went there about a month ago and had a great 7-course with two bottles of wine for under $200 total (before tax and tip). The menu is also good for just stopping in and having a quick bite, with numerous appetizers and small plates that are quite delicious. Chef Honke and the crew are very passionate about their food, and use higher-quality ingredients like truffles, pork belly, and foie - one of the only places in SD to do so...they also have a nice little bar with some great cocktails.
Anyway, great place in Sioux Falls that hadn't been mentioned yet, but deserves some props.
There are also some great sandwich shops in town that I often frequent for lunch; the two best that come to mind are the Pickle Barrel and Camille's Cafe.
Pickle Barrel is the quintessential deli (or as close as you can get to it in the Midwest lol) - lots of great meats and cheese, locally owned and operated, and a fun atmosphere. You also get to pick your own pickle out of a huge barrel (kind of cheesy, but hence the name).
Camille's is on 41st, right beside the above-mentioned Hutterite store, and is more of the "organic, fresh" place for lunch. This is kind of a hidden gem, as whenever I go there, it is almost empty - the soups and sandwiches are knockout, and the lunch specials can't be beat.
One word of warning: Don't Go To Texas Roadhouse - I had heard so many good things about this place, and was pumped when one came to Sioux Falls (I love steak), but was supremely disappointed with the entire experience. Subpar onion bloom, overpriced cocktails, lukewarm sides and a mediocre steak that was worth half the price. I sincerely hope that we simply caught them on a bad night, but the only thing that saved the evening was our wonderful server.
Hope this has helped on some of the Sioux Falls dining scene, and let me know if there are any other genres or specific place reviews I can help out with! Good to Sioux Falls getting some cred, but we still have a long way to go!
I wanted to reply to this to tell you that I really hope you caught Texas Roadhouse on a bad day, because every time I have gone there, I have had excellent service, an excellent atmosphere (not counting the one time my husband and I went there and the kid at the table next to us threw up), and quality food. As for service, when that not-so-fun incident with the kid throwing up happened, they quickly got it cleaned up, and our waiter apologized and took $5 off of our meal for the inconvenience. My favorite meal to get there is the Ribeye, and I have to say that every time I have gotten it there, it has been cooked absolutely perfectly how I want it. I have also experienced prompt service there too. I just wanted to say that I hope maybe you can go back there and have an experience like I am used to when I go there.
Thanks, shell -
I'll definitely go back...I don't think it's fair to judge a restaurant on one visit alone; it wasn't terrible, just didn't live up to the high expectations I had set based on the recommendations and reviews of others. I'll return for the ribeye and let you know how it goes this time! :-)
I posted a long time ago about Granite City. I was in Sioux Falls several years ago to go to the fair. We went to see the Guess Who. The Burton Cummings, Randy Bachman, Guess Who. Fantastic. Anyway, we stopped at Granite City for lunch. Because it was there. Never heard of it before. It was past the lunch hour so it was pretty empty. The waitress was great. Friendly, happy, and informed.
All the employees seemed to be having a good time.
I had the Bleu Peppercorn Burger. I've stated before, it might be the best burger I've ever had. I asked if they would cook it medium rare. She said, "No problem.Our beef is fresh daily from the packing plant down the street."
It makes a difference. Perfect medium rare, juicy and loaded with blue cheese, onion strings, bacon, cheddar, etc. But even with all the stuff on it, the beef was the star.
I was suprised to find out it was a chain. At the time a very small chain.
A year or two ago, we got one in Des Moines. It was the place to go for months. Crowded and long waits even on weeknights. Strange,because with the Jordan Creek mall's opening, we have about 20 new to Iowa chains around here.
I finally went to the Des Moines location. There was a noticable drop in the quality of the beer. The burger while good, was not of the "Oh my God" quality of Sioux Falls. I see now there are about 20 of them in the Midwest.
As they grow, you have to wonder if the downhill slide will occur.
I'm reviving this thread again because I had another Sioux Falls visit last week. For this visit, we went to Zandbroz Soda Falls for lunch and Cafe 334 for breakfast.
At Zandbroz I went there with my mom and my boyfriend. While there, we talked to the woman working and she said that Saturday afternoons, they prepare 5 "homemade" dishes for the day. When I was there, they had a cheese quiche, pasties, broccoli cheese soup, pizza, and a salad. I choose the cheese Quiche and broccoli cheese soup. I found both to be excellent! The quiche had the perfect blend of egg to cheese and the crust was light and flaky. The broccoli cheese soup was lovely too. It had just the right amount of cheese to not be just cheese soup and nice pieces of broccoli.
My boyfriend had the pasties. Apparently pasties are something common in Upper Peninsula Michigan. He described the pastie as fine, but tasted pre-made. While good, it would not be a reason to go there. Try the other options, they were quite good.
For desert, we split a banana split. Wow! This was the highlight! they use three scoops of ice cream, strawberry, vanilla, chocolate. Then they add the strawberry, chocolate and butterscotch toppings. On top of that they add the banana, whip cream and of course, the cherries! yummmmmy! Go for the banana split if nothing else but make sure to bring friends as it is HUGE!
At Cafe 334 I had the pumpkin pancakes and these were delightful! They had a hint of pumpkin spices, but were still clearly pancakes -- light and fluffy. As an added bonus, the pancakes come with cinnamon butter! wow. Thanks chows for recommending Cafe 334 it was soooooooo much better than Perkins in every way! I have found my new breakfast spot when in Sioux Falls!
I wanted to try Red Rossa, but we didn't get a chance to go there. Has anyone ever been there? Can somoene tell me more about it?
re: The Chowish Lurker
Yes, Zandbroz has an AWESOME soda fountain. It's just as good as Edgar's (down in Elk Point, SD), which has been around for a long time as well. I'm honestly surprised to hear that they had that many dishes available for your main course. They typically only have the pasties, so that's a surprise (but maybe I just wasn't paying attention). I'm excited to hear that.
Cafe 334 is very good. There is no question. It's one of my favorites in the area, however I've found that it can sometimes be hard to get people to go there because they're used to more variety from the chain restaurants. Nothing against the Cafe, it's just my excuse for not going more often, I guess. Cafe 334 typically has a very limited menu that changes often, but it's always delicious.
Red Rossa is a Napoli Pizza place where you get your own pizza made to order, roasted in a wood-burning oven. The pizza comes out blistered and charred and a bit floppy, but it's very good stuff, and the staff is very friendly, in our experience. The Chicken Pesto pizza is our absolute favorite. They also have a pretty solid selection of gelato (very natural-tasting with a delicate flavor). Red Rossa also has a selection of wine and beer, although I've never really paid much attention, I guess.
Hope that helps.
PIZZA PIZZA PIZZA... all this talk of pizza and no mention at all of Tomacellis... They have the best pizza in town with free city wide delivery. It takes a little while for them to deliver but it's totally worth it. They have all kinds of toppings from anchovies to fetta and just about anything else you could want along with the usual stuff. I find with them too that there is very little grease on their pizza in comparison to the chain pizza in town. Plus the prices are great. So if you're looking for a "pizza parlor" type place, tomacellis is it. Not to mention FREE golden tee in the dining room at the west 12th street store. I can't believe nobody has mentioned this. I've been eating there pizza and pasta for about a year now and go there more than anywhere else in town. I'd definately say one of sioux falls' best kept secrets.
I was in Sioux Falls over the weekend and ate at LaLaibela. As a comparison to the Ethiopian I have had in the Twin Cities, I would have to say it is very close. The main difference I have found is that my dishes were on the mild side. Usually, when I have Ethiopian in Minneapolis, it has a nice spicy kick to it. LaLaibella did not have much of a kick to it. Next time, I think I will try and ask for it spicy and see if that makes any difference.
I tried to order the lentils with berbere sauce. I saw that the lentils with berbere sauce was offered on the veggie combo, but I did not want the veggie combo, I just wanted the lentils. However, there seemed to have been a bit of a language barrier with the man serving us. He didn't quite understand what I meant. When the food came out, I ended up getting the veggie combo dish. Even though this was not what I originally intended to order, I was glad I got this instead. The combo had the lentils of course, some other bean dish, a potato stew, collard greens (I think that's what they were), and a salad. Besides the lentils I really enjoyed the collard greens and the potatoes. Both were nicely seasoned, albeit a bit mild for me. If there was a bit more heat, it would have been perfect.
The other interesting thing I had at LaLaibella was the Honey Wine. Wow. This was strong wine! I had never had honey wine before so I had no idea what to expect. It was slightly sweet, but with a kick! My friend bought a bottle of it from the owner after our meal and we found it has 12% alcohol, so I guess that explains the kick I got from the wine!
I was impressed at how cheap wine was at the restaurant. 3 dollars for a glass of wine??? That's unheard of! Sioux Falls has a great thing going if you can get a decent wine for 3 bucks!
I wanted to go to Food n Fermentation but they were having some sort of private party the night we wanted to go so alas, the macaroni and cheese will have to wait for another time.
Thanks for the FSD update! I'm up in Brookings, so any current info and opinions are really appreciated. Sushi Masa is probably our favorite restaurant, largely due to the incredible value and really really good food. I've noted Sanaa's--we'll have to try that next.
Taco Johns no longer has the Sierra Chicken Filet sandwiches. I'm a bit worried--how did they reinvented the Mexi Rolls?
Thank you, thank you for sharing your Sioux Falls favorites! Please keep them coming. I'm new in the general neighborhood of Sioux Falls (in Midwest terms, that's between Minneapolis and Chicago right?) and have been trying to find decent food for a while with little luck.
One thing I have found in Sioux Falls is a store called Hutterite Prarie Market located at 1220 West 41st Street. They sell various canned knick knacks, which aren't remarkable but they also sell fresh whole chickens (never frozen) that are raised by Hutterites in a free-range fashion. Cooked at home, they have the best flavor of any whole chicken I've ever come across hands down. Definitely worth checking out.
They also sell fresh chicken breasts but are often sold out by 10am, so I've only been lucky enough to get those once.
I have some recent opinions on Mexican food in town. Since Chi Chi's closed, it has been tough. Oh my, only kidding! Inca has been our favorite. However, over the last year, I have been disappointed. There has been turnover in wait staff and cook staff too. Most recently, one of the former chefs opened his own spot on north Minnesota, Los Tores. I may not have spelled it correctly. It serves original Inca food. Extensive menu. I had a hard time getting past the bright lights and orange though. It was clean and service was great....but, I have to say, I felt like I was eating in a bus station. We will be ordering takeout from now on. Interestingly, on the drive home, I noticed a sign for a mexican restaurant to open on Minnesota Ave between 18th and 14th.
PIZZA - a prior poster mentioned restaurants per capita and chains. What would it take to get a real pizza "parlor"? We had our chance with little Andolini's take out in the Gustaf's Flower Shop building, but they are long gone. How pathetic for me to suggest my favorite pizza in town is Papa Murphy's.
Chowish lurker and others, you must go to Sanaa's for their Saturday brunch. They serve a variety of middle eastern dishes nearly family style! It is a buffet, but you walk behind the counter and fill your plates. If middle eastern is your food, it is awesome! (They only serve weekday lunches from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. otherwise)
601 Arota is closed, for what it's worth.
Spezia is a good Sunday brunch option. I have never been disappointed at Spezia.
Having eaten sushi in many parts of the country and the pacific, Sushi Masa is our favorite. It ranks superb in my mind. It is tiny and has an atmosphere of its own. You truly go for the food......it won't disappoint!
Cafe 334 has very good food with an evolving menu. It is a good choice for weekend brunch, lurker. I think you would enjoy it. They have a nice wine selection and a limited, but interesting menu nightly. I like it because it "isn't a chain!"
Another suggestion would be Food 'n Fermentation in the downtown area. Extensive wine cellar in the basement and small gourmet food section and restaurant on the main level comprise this restaurant. The special for dinner is always unique and exquisite.....if you like what they are serving. The rest of the dinner menu is very limited. I'd suggest calling first to determine the "special".
CJ Callaway's gets my vote for atmosphere. If nothing else, pop by for a drink in the restaurant bar. It isn't "out of the ordinary", but for Sioux Falls, the bar is nice.
Late night dining for me? Not very often, but Taco John's gets my vote!
Yeah, Cafe 334 is solid. Good brunch, with interesting takes on standard menu items. For brunch-like menu items, the pumpkin pancakes are very good, but I always go for the egg and chorizo sausage skillet. It's very, very good. Pretty decent coffee here as well. This place reminds me a bit of Barbette in Minneapolis, with a unique american approach rather than french. It's worth a shot.
Food 'n Fermentation has (had?) the best handmade mac and cheese in town, and amazing sandwiches. The reason I say had is because we recently noticed at work that their space is avaiable for rent!?! I'll look around and see what is going on. The portion sizes are very small, so it gives you a nice opportunity to try a side of soup (or the mac and cheese, hint hint).
Your Taco John's listing is hilarious. I love that place. People who move away from our particular corner of the midwest come back craving that stuff. The drivethrough at the location on Louise never gets our order right (not once), but I just keep coming back for more. The food is worth it, but you don't want to go there very often or next time you might have a heart attack before you get to your cinnamon churro.
Honestly I can't really comment on whether there's a difference. When I'm in Minneapolis, I'm usually trying something new. If I eat something up there that I can get down here, I'm usually pretty crabby about it.
The Sierra Chicken Sandwich is an awesome guilty pleasure. The new Mexirolls (re-engineered!) are pretty fantastic for some reason as well.
The beans are actually very different. In the TJ's along I-169, the beans are heavily seasoned while in Sioux Falls, they're very plain and require buckets of hot sauce.
I'm a little embarrassed to admit my familiarity with the nuances of Taco John's beans.
As for other SF picks--Lalibela is very good. Cafe 334 is good. Spezia can be really good or really terrible. Dishes there are rarely the same twice.
Minerva's is always disappointing.
Rue 41 (which is not on Rue 41) has pretty decent pastries & sandwiches.
Generally, if you scale down expectations--especially of wine lists and quality of non-meat ingredients--the food is generally ok, sometimes even good (Keg chicken, for instance), though not usually very good for you.
Chinese food is generally acceptable, tasty, inappropriate for anyone who worries about the authenticity of their cuisine.
You will not find decent cheese.
I second the Rue 41 recommendation. I've enjoyed all of the sandwiches, salads, and pastas I've ordered from them. Surprisingly enough they also have a decent wine list (for a quick lunch spot). Apparently the owner's brother is a sommelier in Las Vegas and provides all of the wine buying/pairing advice.
I am another Sioux Falls native. However, like many of my peers, I moved away. Every time I go back, I always wonder where to get good chow. Sioux Falls does have many many restaurants, the problem is that most of them are of the chain variety.
Like Danny mentioned, I was pleasantly surprised with LaLaibela. It was about as good as the Ethiopian we get in the Twin Cities. This is a great addition to the Sioux Falls dining scene.
My other favorities are based on category:
Coffee: Heart of the Vine 1014 West 41st St.
http://www.heartofthevine.com/ -- They have the best lattes I have had. I also enjoy their snickerdoodle cookies. It’s a warm and inviting space.
Kaladi's on Minnesota is also good, but I have only been there twice I think.
Black Sheep – 11th and Grange
Bagels: Bagel Boy - I found that they are better than some of the bagels I get in Minneapolis. Even Danny likes them and he's persnickety about his bagels!
Sushi - Sushi Masa is ok. If I remember right, it had a decent selection, but I only like the veggie rolls, so I can't comment too much on their food. The veggie rolls are good.
Best late night hang out: Fryn Pan - the food is not great, but they don't care how long you sit with friend. The service is good, especially considering the bar crowd they get. I always seem to run into someone from back in the day here.
Ice Cream: B and G. The strawberry is fantastic. I have never had soft serve strawberry as good as B and G. Their wild berry shake ( I think that's what its called, it might have some other name though) is sooo good. They make it by taking their strawberry ice cream and mixing blue raspberry topping in the shake machine. YUM!
Best Italian: I guess Spezia would win this, but its not really much of an award. Good Italian is sorely lacking in SF. It's ok just don't have your hopes up too high.
Sports Bar: TC's Referee. One note here though - This place is only about a mile from where I grew up so it was a staple. I might just like this place for the nostalgia factor. I haven't been there in over a year so this information might not be accurate.
Theo's/whatever it's now called - I knew it was over once the fantastic pastry chef left about 3 years ago. She/he (I can't remember their name) used to make great baked Alaska. wow. That was the best. The last time I was there the deserts were so-so.
Does anyone have good Brunch rec's? The one at Spezia was ok, but I don't think I really wanna go back. I also don't want Perkins. There has got to be a better weekend brunch spot. Please, I'm dying here I know I'm gonna be subjected to yucky brunch over Thanksgiving so any help would be sooo appreciated.
re: The Chowish Lurker
Kaladi's is good for sure. The Hot Rhino sandwich is great, other than the fact that the rustic bread is so 'rustic' that it takes the skin off the top of my mouth.
Bagel Boy has the best 'everything' bagel you can get anywhere. It's fantastic. They are still bustling with business, even though Panera moved into town this summer. The coffee is horrible though, in my opinion. Another interesting angle are some of the hot bagel sandwiches that they make. My sons and I love the pizza bagel, but it might be a bit greasy for the uninitiated.
Sushi Masa is a great little place. The owner is very finnicky and particular and it shows. Make sure you have about 2 hours for lunch. Nothing against the staff, it's just a very, very small place. It really is worth it.
Fryn Pan - complete with the typo on the sign! Yeah! Anyway, they definitely don't care how long you sit there. In addition to the bar crowd, this is a college student study hangout, with all-nighters getting pulled all the time. Try ordering the BFR warmed up. It's a big caramel roll I won't elaborate here on what the 'F' stands for, but it's a huge roll. Very ooey gooey and great with black coffee.
B and G is absolutely the best ice cream stand you will find. I literally crave the footlong chili dogs (with everything on em, wouldn't you know it). The apple pie concrete shake must have an entire piece of apple pie in each one, I swear. It's absolutely chunky and amazing. The only place I've been that comes close is Ted Drewes, in St. Louis, MO. I just wish B&G stayed open for more of the year. It opens up in the late spring and it's about to close now. I better go get my last fix!
Oh! the BFR of course I know about the BFR!! That was my post-bar staple in college! The last time I was in Sioux Falls I HAD to have a BFR. It's funny that BFR has become synonymous with the Fryn Pan roll.
We'll have to try sushi masa again the next time I am in Sioux Falls. It has been several years since I have been there, so it will be nice to experience it again.
Thanks to everyone for posting on Sioux Falls. My hometown gets soo overlooked on the chowhound. It's great hearing what's good in Sioux Falls so I don't get too discouraged. :)
I, for one, can tell you that I'm glad to have the update. The Chowish Lurker is from Sioux Falls, and trips back make us wonder if she came from a chow wasteland. We can never get enough updates on the Sioux Falls situation.
We went to the Tea Steakhouse within the last year, and it was a fun time. The steak was very good (don't expect it to be like Manny's Steakhouse) and the atmosphere was the quintessential small town steakhouse/gathering place. I loved it, if for no other reason than you just don't find places like that any more. (Anyplace that has melba toast on the table is alright with me.)
Another favorite that isn't on the above list is Sanaa's. ( http://www.sanaasgourmet.com/ ) Very solid middle eastern food (and vegetarian friendly) for very reasonable prices. We went for the weekend "buffet" and found it to focus far more on quality than quantity, which is always a nice change of pace. Almost everything we had left us wanting more.
Also noteworthy was LaLibela. It wasn't the absolute best Ethiopian we've ever had, but it was certainly reliable, and a place we'd return to.
P.S. we were pleasently surprised by our heirloom tomato pizza at Spezia. I found the brunch service to be really, really spotty. There were a lot of trays that were empty most of the time, and others that looked like the food had been in there forever. That left us picking at bits and pieces, as we could get ahold of them. I don't know that I'd go back to their brunch, but maybe we caught them on a bad day.
That's a good way to describe the Tea Steakhouse, good steak, but not like a Manny's steak (or like Manny's in any way at all really).
Yeah, Sanaa's is fantastic. My office used to be in the same building. It was great for lunch. Excellent couscous, and we liked the breads and pastries so much we ordered them in for meetings from time to time. Great soup too. I'd include it in my favorite places list when I get around to putting that together.
As an interesting sidenote, Sanaa is married to James Abourezk, a former Senator for South Dakota, who also has an office in the building. He holds the honor of being the first Arab-American to serve in the U.S. Senate. Both very nice people, btw.
I've never had LaLibela! I'll check it out. Chowhound.com is awesome.
Ouch, that's a bad Spezia brunch review. I guess the pizzas sometimes look like they've been out for a bit, but otherwise I'm going to hope it was just a bad day. I've never really had one there though, so that's odd. I'll keep my eyes open the next time I end up out there for brunch.
pulpster, welcome and thank you. Please do us all a favor and continue to put up voluminous posts on Sioux Falls. People will be searching google or another search engine and will find Chowhound that way (how I found Chowhound). Eventually we might build up a healthy hound population in Sioux Falls.
Question, and this gets away from your "bigger, high-end" focus, but do you have any experience with the Tea Steak House? Is it as good as it sounds from old posts on Roadfood.com? I'm often tempted to go out of my way on trips to and from out west.
Also, please do post your smaller, low-end info when you have time. A friend moved to Sioux Falls and I'd like to clue her in -- she said a place called "Hamburger Inn" (or similar) looked intriguing but seems to have shut down.
Thanks MSPD... I skipped my favorites for this time, so I've definitely got more to cover.
I have eaten at the Tea Steakhouse. It was pretty good steak I guess, but it's been years and I haven't been back, so something must not have made me all that excited about it.
If you're going out of your way, it's probably not worth it in my opinion, but they definitely do have a reputation in the area. Again, it's been a while, so the memories are fuzzy at best.
Yeah, the Hamburger Inn was the greasy spoon to end all greasy spoons. It was kind of scary eating there actually, but hard to turn down. Eggburgers and individual cigarettes for 10 cents our of a rotating straw dispenser? How can you beat that for ambiance? Anyway, it came under new ownership relatively recently (sometime in the last year or two) and got a super high grade from the health inspector, which really surprised me. The last time I was there, it felt like the place could be condemned just because of the length of time since the grill was last scraped.
Alright I felt obligated to reply to this post. Hamburger Inn is under newer ownership (as of like, a year or two ago). I haven't been back to S.F. in a while, but was born and raised in this town. Hamburger Inn is back on its feet, eggburgers and all! You're lookin' at about $2-3 for most style burgers, and during lunch time, the line can still get long! I'm new to the board, so just lettin' people know that Hamburger Inn is still around.