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Nebraska, SD, ND, Iowa Trip

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My husband & I (we are from New Jersey) are visiting states #41-45 on our list, and we have always depended on Chowhound for good dinners. This is our next trip with where we are staying and what we have planned so far:
Omaha, Cornerstone Maniosn, Gorats; same next night, Bohemian Cafe;
North Platte, Knoll's Country Inn,??Rogers Fine Foods??
Custer,Sylvan Lake, Lakoda;
Rapid City, Audrie's, Alpine Inn; same next night, Corn Exchange;
Medora, Rough Riders, Rough Riders; same next night, Pitchfork Fondue;
Fargo, Hotel Donaldson, HoDo;
Sioux Falls,The Victorian, Minerva's;
Atlantic IA, Chestnut Charm, Redwood Steakhouse

So what do you think? Any suggestions? I promise to take & report notes.

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    1. Not sure if you got the referral to Rogers in North Platte from one of my posts, but I highly recommend them. Serious home cooking. Make sure you save room for pie.

      And I have to agree with Devotay about Iowa. I don't think you can get through the state without stopping somewhere else. I assume you're flying in and out of Omaha, driving in a big circle and coming back down I-29 through Iowa?

      Sioux City has a relatively large Vietnamese and Latin American population. You might be able to get some really excellent pho or chile rellenos if you ask around a little.

      Places I've liked include:

      The Daily Grind in downtown Sioux City -- excellent coffee

      Tastee Inn and Out in Sioux City -- a drive-in only restaurant with very good loose-meat sandwiches and onion chips (rather than rings)

      Bob's Drive-Inn in LeMars -- another great loose-meat sandwich with the advantage of being right across the street from the Blue-Bunny Ice Cream Factory attraction

      The Dutch Bakery and Woudstra Meat Market in Orange City -- both in cute little downtown Orange City (think windmills), with dutch letters and sweet rolls (bakery) and some scary-good coldcuts and cheese (don't go on Sunday, everything is closed)

      1. Redwood is a great choice. The Iowa chop is something else. I've also had the fried chicken which was also great, but the chop does surpass. When I had the chop, a friend at the table had a steak which looked impressive as well. Note that this is actually in (or just outside of) Anita, near Atlantic, but down the road.

        If you're staying there, for breakfast, there is a place downtown Atlantic called the Farmer's Pantry (I believe). The owner is a world champ chili maker, and he serves it on top of eggs and potatoes for breakfast. I'm sure the rest of the menu is good, too. Then, in Anita, there's a funky little coffee shop attached to an art gallery that serves breakfast as well. Forget the name, but the main strip is 3 blocks long so I think you'd find it easily.

        If you're still somewhere in that area near noon, you could go up 71 from 80 to Hamlin and try Darrell's place for the tenderloin sandwich. My mom said that Darrell's son bought it and may have changed the name to his own, but it's the only thing in Hamlin I think. Ask someone and they'll point the way.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Dennis S

          "The only thing in Hamlin, I think."
          Other than a few houses, but I still missed it. I had to ask someone. Hard to find someone.
          I went on Sunday, and found they are closed on Sunday. Word is the tenderloin at Darrell's Place is the same as Michael's in Des Moines. If true, it will be one of the best, at a much better price.

          1. re: Dennis S

            I would highly recommend Darrel's in Hamlin as well for DELICIOUS tenderloins. Or, if you are looking for good steaks, the only thing in Brayton is a really good steak and ribs place whose name I cannot remember--I just know that my mom always tells me its really good. THe Redwood is great for fried chicken, onion rings, and the GINORMOUS app plate--you get cut up veggies, cubed cheese, braunschweiger, olives, pickled herring, a delicious cheese spread, pineapple, etc. AND an ice cream drink called the Pink Squirrel that relies heavily on amaretto and is wonderful.

            1. re: Dennis S

              It's the Farmer's Kitchen. We ate lunch there last summer on a similar trip, but without all of these great suggestions. I had a terrible time finding information and as a result when we drive across the country this year will avoid "the heartland." I will save all of these recs, however, just in case. But I wanted to echo your praise for the Farmer's Kitchen. At lunch we had cups of chili (great flavors), his pork loin sandwich (which was a first for me and excellent), and wonderful pies made by the owner's mother. I have since posted a review on Roadfood forums. Have a nice trip AGH and do report back!

            2. HI AGH,

              In Sioux Falls, the Victorian is no longer open. Minerva's will be there until forever, it never goes away. Minerva's is always a safe bet in Sioux Falls, nice wholesome food with great service. Not always the most interesting though.

              I think there are more interesting places.

              Food and Fermantation - super wine selection, Good food in non-absurd proportions. A limited selection of choises but with high quality. Also, you can ask for a cheese tray for 3 people, or for a dollar amount, the staff will make really good choices for you. They are at a new location further north on Phillips avenue.

              La Libella - Ethiopian. Never busy, I don't know why, the food is really good.

              Taste of India - Very good food, rarely busy, crummy location. Worth the effort. Much better than the indain restaurants recieving hig kudos in Omaha.

              Try to avoid franchise heaven around the Empire Mall, and the interstate exits for 41st St. and 26th St.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Tubadave

                Thanks, Tubadave, for your all your good suggestions. the "Victorian" I mentioned is a B&B, not a restaurant. Were you talking about the restaurant or the B&B that closed?

                1. re: Tubadave

                  Tubadave:
                  I went to college in Sioux Falls many years ago and went back to Sioux Falls about 20 years ago .I did eat @ minerva's ..the food was Ok and the salad bar was the high lite ..question.. is the best a city the size of Sioux Falls has to offer ?

                2. Hi AGH,

                  I don't know how your palette runs, mine tends to be more on the international side, but here are some favorite spots in the region:
                  Omaha - Ahmad's Persian (Fessun Jun - a chicken dish with pomegranate is my favorite), V Merts has excellent steaks, wine, and midwestern fare in a classic brick lined environment.
                  Sioux City - The choices can be slim, but one of the best spots in town is actually a sushi restaurant, Fuji Bay downtown on 6th street, (712-277-3633), call first because sometimes they are open and sometimes they aren't. All of the fish is flown in fresh weekly, it's always been fresh, and I'm very picky about my fish. Another good spot is a newly opened restaurant, Diamond Thai on 7th street. The Thai basil fried rice and the fresh spring rolls are excellent. The owner recently moved to the area from Berkley, CA, and has his whole very nice family working in the restaurant.
                  Rapid City - You're right on track with the Corn Exchange. Fantastic food and a great wine list. Across the street there is a place called the Firehouse or something like that, and they have terrific hamburgers and salads.
                  Sioux Falls - Minerva's is quite reliable, but I agree that it is not very unique. I recently had a terrific meal at Sanna's (near 10th street) which is a Lebanese restaurant. They are open for dinner starting this month. A great lunch place in Sioux Falls is Rue 41 Bakery and Cafe. Charming french style cafe with made to order salads, soups, pannini, and a nice selection of wine by the glass.
                  Have a great trip and be sure to check out the badlands!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ExercisetoEat

                    Been years since I've been to the Firehouse. Remember decent food and good beer. I just took a look at them on Beer Advocate. They score an 88. That's pretty impressive.