Mitchell, Rapid City SD
Ok Hounds I need your help. The Aunt and I are major foodies and are roadtripping from MD to Yellowstone. We have planned tentative stops at these locations:
Columbus, Indiana (posted in another thread)
Galena, Illinois(posted in another thread)
Mitchell, South Dakota
Rapid City, South Dakota Area - for Badlands and Blackhills)
Go South into Nebraska near Alliance for Carhenge
North into Wyoming to Devil's Tower (posted in Elsewhere)
Then West to Cody Wyoming and maybe a Rodeo (posted in Elswhere)
Then into Yellowstone
Then I am flying from Bozeman back to DC while the Aunt works in Yellowstone for a while.
We don't mind veering off our course slightly for really good food and eclectic/scenic food experiences. We will eat pretty much anything except Chinese. Please give me some recommendations for any of the above stops or nearby locations for Breakfast/lunch dinner or B&B's (mmm breakfast). I heard the Corn Exchange was good for Rapid City any recent reviews? Thanks hounds.
Am just back from a 6 week, 9500 mile roadtrip that took us through some of the same territory as you are planning to visit. Nursing a major cold as a "Welcome Home" gift, so this will have to be brief.
The Corn Exchange gets press because it is the only game in town. I did a CH search and only found old info. In both press releases and on the menu, much is made of "local, sustainable" down to giving the names of the ranchers who provide the beef, etc, all the buzzwords of today ..... however, I was disappointed. First, the hostess described everything as "to die for" which gives no information whatsoever. The pear-??? soup was blah and disappointing after this description. Bread was a major letdown - one was so hippy-dense that it could have been leftover from the sixties, the second was fluffy white stuff and only available after repeated flags to the passing bread guy. Wines are priced in the big city range and offered a decent selection.
My husband had a steak that was pretty OK, my quail was delicious. What got me was after reading all the PR, the daily veg included zucchini & tomatoes. Neither could possibly have been in season in South Dakota in early June. When I pressed for an answer, I was told that "local means whatever chef finds at the market". Further questioning gave me the local supermarket as "the market". This was a major letdown and I felt swindled. Our cheque was over one hundred dollars and there is no bargain here nor any reason to return.
On the plus side, it was likely better than what the SYSCO truck delivers to the local Hilton.
Something else - and I hope the moderators do not delete the entire post for this piece of non-food related info - we absolutely loved driving through Custer State Park. The animals are amazing.
My suggestion would be to change your plans and stay in Sioux Falls, not Mitchell. There really is not anything in Mitchell. Certainly not anything worth dining at. Sioux Falls is only about 30 min to an hour east of Mitchell and will get you some much better options. I live in Sioux Falls so I have an idea of the options.
Ideas for dining in Sioux Falls:
If your looking for some South Dakota food try CJ Callaways. It is on the south side of town on a golf course but they have tended to try to honor the local foods. Though their current menu seems to have less of that.
A better option if your looking for more of a local flavor would be Minervas.
They have fewer entrees like Bison and Pheasant than they used to but they still local source at least some of their food.
Another local that does do some local food is Spezias.
They have tomato fest later in the summer - I think it starts in July. They source local produce and heirloom tomatoes for their Tomatofest menu. I know this because they get them from the organic farmer I buy produce from.
Another option might be Cafe334.
I have not been in there in a few years but they do lots of fresh ingredients and were very veggie friendly.
Some other non food things that might be of note and are on the same street as Minervas and Cafe334. Paramount piano bar. It is next door to Minervas. Very nice piano bar that recently opened. Stogeez is on that same street. Decent cigar, wine, beer, liquor selection. Outdoor seating, indoor really nice smoking lounge and sometimes music outside at night.
One other option that might be worth checking out is Touch of Europe. They are not really local but do eastern european. It is kind of a cool old place in a stone basement full of arches. The food is good but not big on presentation or fancy. They have jazz on Friday and Saturday nights.
As far as Rapid City, we generally don't stay there enough to recommend. I have heard the same things about the Corn Exchange as the previous posters. Out in Rapid sometimes the hippies are good sources of info on decent food.
re: The Dairy Queen
Actually, that Sioux Falls thread is more recent than that, it gets updated almost every time TCL and I head back there! (Although, the last few times have been quick visits, and Cafe 334 has been getting our breakfast visits!)
As for the Sioux Falls list blackpointyboots posted, there's some good stuff there, but I don't think you'll find any memorable experiences.
If the OP is willing to stop in Sioux Falls and is really looking for Local Color, I'd suggest the Tea Steakhouse in Tea, SD (just barely outside of Sioux Falls) I like what I wrote in the thread TDQ linked:
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.)
Tea Steak House
215 S Main Ave, Tea, SD 57064
I am going to do another thread in Midwest on SD foods. This might give you some idea of what might be at least in season or of interest when your traveling through.
We ate at a restaurant in Keystone the last night we were in the area, a couple of years ago. I believe the restaurant was called Creekside--it has a giant rocking chair out front. Despite the kitschy chair, the food was very good (after a week of meat, it was nice to have a SALAD--with real lettuce!). We sat outside and as night fell we could see Mt Rushmore lit up.
You do have to eat some buffalo while you're in SD, though. Visit Custer State Park and eat in one of their restaurants. It's worth it to visit that park, fabulous scenery and buffalo herds crossing the road in front of you!
Thanks all for your SD suggestions. We ended up at Sioux Falls per suggestions and ate at Minerva's, it was very good. I had the duck with lingenberries, and my Aunt had lamb, which she doesn't order out a lot she normally only makes it at home and we both really enjoyed it.
We also stopped in Wall, SD after a trip from the badlands. The Cactus Cafe, I think it was, had a good buffalo burger and buffalo meatballs. And Wall Drug has a good homemade doughnut.
We also stayed in Hot Springs, SD after a trip through the Black Hills and Custer at the Dakota Dream Bed and Breakfast, which had fantastic rooms and excellent breakfast we were very pleased. In Hot Springs we also got take out from Sneaky's which was great. The fried chicken was incredible, but I think I should have gotten buffalo meatloaf. (I like getting in the things I can't get at home, well I can get Bison at Ted's Montana Grill, but that's just not the same, wish I would have found a place serving Ostrich or llama that is hard to find here too).
If you're driving so far out of the way for Carhenge (wow is that desolate country), then I'd guess you might be game for some mountain oysters or lamb fries as "scenic/eclectic."
My best rec is not on your route but I've heard they are available in Cody at the Proud Cut Saloon serves them ... at least as an appetizer.
I'd also check the local papers along the way for local dining specials or even church or community functions, ala the (real) Oyster Roasts on your Eastern Shore.
In general, however, most restaurant fare in this region is fairly average.