I had the great pleasure of having my undergraduate university (South Dakota State University) be so close to my parent’s home while I was attending but this also allows me to take time to visit there when I’m visiting SD for the holidays. Unfortunately, it’s also the time for many of my mentors to leave the city for the holidays, but I was able to meet up with my research advisor for lunch and catch up on the many changes in my life since I left SD just months ago. I also got to meet with one of my good friends that I did community work with. So I’ve changed since I’ve left the great town of Brookings, SD – but how much has it changed? Well, to start, there’s been a couple of new businesses that have opened (no word on the breweries yet). Obviously as someone who is interested in local community development (and food) I had to check out a couple of the new eateries.
For lunch, I was excited to visit the town’s new, Old Market Eatery (http://oldmarketeatery.com/). Located inside a historic bank, this complex contains a variety of businesses – the restaurant and bakery and then a salon, boutique, yoga studio, photography studio and a “honey-do” company. What’s great about this multi-plex is the businesses are mostly owned and managed by local ladies making both my local and feminist hearts happy.
Lunch was delicious and affordable. I got the walleye cake salad ($8) that came with a tasty dressing which made me overlook the fact that the “bed of mixed greens” was 90% iceberg lettuce (something I detest). The walleye cake was moist and flavorful, making it a successful rendition of the traditional crab cake. My coffee was the delicious Caribbean Queen roast from CherryBean, locally roasted in Parker, SD (http://cherrybean.net/). My lunch partner had the generously sized Market Burger and fries ($9). I didn’t personally taste the burger, but the fries were seasoned well, and clearly made in house. For dessert I enjoyed a soft and chewy mint-chocolate cookie and a piece of a uniquely flavor-paired cranberry-ginger “tart” (that was totally a scone).
The service was a little slow, and we ended up waiting a bit for the main course while the house remained less than full. Also, they stopped serving me coffee after we were finished eating, even though we stayed talking for a while longer. The atmosphere was great- modern but still rustic. We sat inside the indoor patio, which, along with our warm December, had me thinking of summer. And I’ve heard from a friend that the “mature” bar scene they were aiming for has been achieved, but I’ll look forward to checking that out some other time. Another complaint I have is that I know they aren’t locally sourcing as much food as they could be – but I understand that starting up a new business costs a lot, and I can only hope as they get more successful, they will continue to be more local.
Another local business I checked out while in town was the Buttercrust bakery (http://www.brookingsregister.com/v2_news_articles.php?heading=0&page=79&story_id=12988). As with traditional bakeries, they have a menu that changes by the day, so I’ll have to make a couple trips in order to try everything. On this trip though, I picked up a loaf of the Honey White bread as well as a cinnamon roll, pecan cinnamon roll and a strawberry danish. I don’t have much more to say than, delicious, but can you really go wrong with a baked good? Especially a fresh, local made one. Since Hagman’s closed, I think Brookings has needed a new bakery – although it now has a couple! (And Cider Hill might still be selling bread at Nature’s Paradise?)
There are a couple other new changes to my old town. The new visitor center at McCrory Gardens is finished, and looking beautiful complete with a new entrance and parking lot (http://www.keloland.com/NewsDetail6162.cfm?Id=122936 Seriously best picture I could find). I can’t wait to check that out the next time I’m in town too. Along with new entrance to McCrory, there is another new one into Brookings and the SDSU campus Medary, just south of the Hwy 14 bypass. I don’t like money being spent on such things, but man, it does look nice!
It was a great day catching up with my old town and the people in it. I’m so happy to see both the town and the university growing, and I hope that both continue to do so with much success!