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Twist Cone in Aberdeen is a favorite stop for ice cream. Photo by Chad Coppess/S.D. Tourism
Twist Cone in Aberdeen is a favorite stop for ice cream. Photo by Chad Coppess/S.D. Tourism

Local Experts’ Dining Tips

Jan 22, 2019

Our readers seem to think that all of us at South Dakota Magazine are experts on every nook and cranny of our state. The truth is, we’re not. But we have friends and readers in every town and city, so we know who to ask about the best place to eat, hike, sightsee or learn about a place’s culture and history.

There’s nothing like a local’s perspective. That’s why we started a special department in every issue that we call “Seven Things I Love About South Dakota.” We ask South Dakotans to share some of their favorite haunts, and we’re always surprised at their suggestions. (See, I told you we aren’t experts!)

Our featured South Dakotans always have a favorite restaurant. Usually it is a little-known mom-and-pop place with a menu special that keeps people coming back. Here are a few favorites that I’m anxious to visit in our 2019 travels.

Veteran journalist Kevin Woster recalled good times at Al’s Oasis when he shared his favorite things about South Dakota. “Whatever leads up to the strawberry pie at Al’s Oasis in Oacoma is good. But it’s the faces and the memories that really fill me up. Al is gone, but I can see him at a table in his red cardigan, chatting with my now-departed mom as she adds half & half to make her coffee golden brown.” Woster grew up on a Lyman County farm and spent several years as a reporter for our state’s largest newspapers.

Architect Tom Hurlbert told us in 2017 about his favorite ice cream stop. “I worked for the Twist Cone in Aberdeen in eighth grade. I didn’t work at the main store, but instead they relegated me to Noah’s Ark, the old concessions building at Storybook Land. I put away about 6 feet of footlongs a week and ate my weight in ice cream. I still enjoy an Italian ice from the Twist Cone, but I lay off the footlongs now.” Hurlbert, co-owner and founder of CO-OP Architecture, lives in Sioux Falls now but he enjoys Twist Cone on summer visits back to Aberdeen.

Black Hills State University history instructor Kelly Kirk grew up in North Dakota, but fell in love with the Black Hills during family vacations. She likes to take friends to breakfast at Cheyenne Crossing in Spearfish Canyon. “The pancakes are fluffy, the skillets are filling and delicious, and the coffee continuously flows. And if you are going to truly enjoy the experience, a side of the frybread or wojapi is a must.”

Ashley Hanson grew up on a farm along Ponca Creek and returned home after attending technical school in Rapid City. She recommended a stop at Stella’s in Burke. “Stella’s has a great, juicy sirloin steak and delicious fried pickles with a little kick. There’s also a patio where live bands play throughout the summer.”

Darla Drew Lerdal, of the Black Hills Playhouse, thinks breakfast at Talley’s Silver Spoon in downtown Rapid City is the best — especially the eggs benedict with salmon.

Sean Dempsey of Dempsey’s Brewery in Watertown is an international pizza competitor, so you may be especially interested in his favorite dining spot. It’s Mama’s Ladas in Sioux Falls. “I love the beautiful simplicity,” he says, “a few choices of enchiladas, red or white sangria and seating for 15 to 25 people.”

We could go on forever, but this should be enough to tempt your palate and your sense of curiosity as you plan your road trips for the new year ahead.


02:24 pm - Mon, February 4 2019
Merv Tvinnereiom said:
Pickerel Lake Lodge Restaurant Grenville, SD has great food and spectacular scenery.

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