Next week the 2018 Sturgis rally goes full throttle and Hot Bike will be there for the trip. This isn’t our first time out to the Black Hills for the grand ol’ rally but if it’s yours you may want a quick guide to some places to grub on between bike shows, races, concerts, and just plain having a good time. Here’s our list of some of our favorite restaurants for chowing down in the Black Hills.
1325 North Elk Vale Road, Rapid City, SD 57703
Named “The Best Restaurant in South Dakota” by MSN and Business Insider, Dakotah Steakhouse is known for its 24-ounce bone-in cowboy rib-eye steak. It’s enough for two hungry bikers in and of itself. This place also offers excellent beef and bison steaks and burgers, but the appetizers and sides make Dakotah Steakhouse stand out. You may want to start off with the pheasant poppers, chislic (deep-fried seasoned sirloin bits), or the barbecue buffalo bone. At the end, finish your feast with salted caramel cheesecake, all by the joint’s massive fireplace.
The Knuckle Saloon
931 1st Street, Sturgis, SD 57785
If you want to be ground zero for the rally, you’ll want to eat at The Knuckle Saloon. Just follow the delicious smell of fried steak tips down 1st Street. You also need to try the in-house craft beer. The Knuckle Brewing Company of Sturgis competed in the third annual Beer Fest against 47 brewing companies and brought home gold-medal honors during the sampling event in Rapid City on Saturday, January 17. Everyone attending the event had the opportunity to sample glasses of more than 60 craft beers and 122 other beer varieties. The company’s Knucklehead Red claimed the gold, and its Rally Town Maple took third place honors to boot. That’s not too bad for a bar that had only been crafting beer for six months!
Jon Van Patten’s Nemo Road Barbecue, Normarke Farm Bed and Breakfast
12203 Nemo Road, Nemo, SD 57759
Nemo Road Barbecue may be the best-kept culinary secret in Sturgis. It’s not in a town; it’s not even a restaurant. Owner/operator Jon Van Patten only operates it during the Sturgis bike event. Located along a wooded stretch of Nemo Road well outside of town, his open-air operation only sees a couple of hundred people each rally. It’s a simple setup of a grill, smoker, supply area, and a table or two to take a break from the crowds.
Chubby Chipmunk Hand-Dipped Chocolates
420 Cliff Street, Deadwood, SD 57732
There are many things you expect to see at a bike event; a chocolatier that’s been featured in Grammy Award gift boxes isn’t one of them. Yet, that’s exactly what you’ll find at Chubby Chipmunk Hand-Dipped Chocolates in Deadwood. Mary “Chip” Tautkus is the nurse-turned-entrepreneur behind this place. When she started baking chocolate from a Betty Crocker cookbook at age five, I doubt she dreamed of using the stuff to pay her way through nursing school, let alone go full time with a chocolate shop run out of a converted 1930s gas station.
Lucky’s 13 Pub
305 North 27th Street, Spearfish, SD 57783
Lucky’s 13 gets busy during the rally but not to the point where you’re going to wait forever to grab a beer or order a meal. The pub has plenty of seating available. Regulars visit several times throughout their trip, not just once. When you have homemade tater tots that are essentially fried, loaded baked potatoes, in-house pizza rolls, and meat cooked on a wood-fired churrascaria grill, people will come. In 2009, the owners decided to do a complete remodel, and in 2010 Lucky’s 13 Pub was born. Nowadays, Lucky’s 13 Pub combines music, sports, and nightly promos with good food. The portions are huge too. If you and your sweet tooth find yourself there for breakfast, try the Frosted Flakes French toast.
Stadium Sports Grill
744 Main Street, Spearfish, SD 57783
Stadium marinates its chunks of tender beef in its secret sauce, breads them, and fries them to a perfect golden brown. You can even get them rare and light on the batter. They’re so good, in fact, that you should ride to one of its locations in Spearfish, Belle Fourche, or Madison just to try the tips. They’re unbelievable. Stadium also sells them in a variety of configurations. Try the small and dinner portions for one or the macho size with fries or kettle chips for up to four ravenous bikers.
The Loud American Roadhouse
1305 Main Street, Sturgis, SD 57785
Nearly 70 percent of Loud American’s tickets have at least some kind of steak tip order on them. The Loud American Roadhouse opened in the summer of 2001. Its concept is based around the local flavor of the area, the rich history of Sturgis, and motorcycle enthusiasts and live music. The only way the joint could be more biker-friendly is if it actually had an on-duty Harley mechanic. Steak tips are its tasty salute to the local cattle industry and its way to showcase a specialty that tourists don’t see all over the country.
The Midnight Star Diamond Lil’s Restaurant
677 Main Street, Deadwood, SD 57732
The Midnight Star Casino is a Kevin Costner fan’s Disneyland. He bought the place years ago and it’s coated in memorabilia from his movies. Diamond Lil’s is its bar and grill. Typical wait time during the rally is a half hour. Try early mornings or later evenings and you might get a shorter wait. Breakfast is good here, but my personal favorite is the Alex Marshall’s Reuben sandwich. Piled high with turkey pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss, and thousand island dressing, it goes great with a draft beer.
Colonial House Restaurant & Bar
2315 Mount Rushmore Road, Rapid City, SD 57701
Serving delicious American cuisine prepared fresh daily, this Rapid City restaurant brings a flair for exceptional dining that’s perfect for all occasions and ages. Serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the Colonial House also offers lighter-size portions. The place is known for its mouthwatering caramel rolls and a renowned bakery helmed by a certified pastry chef. Thirsty? Belly up to a full bar serving everything from tap beer to barrel wine to specialty drinks like mimosas and bloody Marys. From pastas, steaks, and salads to barbecue and bakery, these “cooks with fire” truly sizzle.
Deadwood Legends Steakhouse Silverado-Franklin Hotel
709 Main Street, Deadwood, SD 57732
Hit Legends for breakfast while you’re cruising the Black Hills and try the red velvet waffle. Topped with whipped cream cheese and chocolate chips, it’s sweet sin on a plate. The Rumchata French toast is pretty unreal too. Drizzled with Rumchata maple syrup, it’s also topped with a dollop of mascarpone cheese.