By Denise DePaolo
Pulling into the Dog ‘n Suds parking lot, it was clear that this place was going to be a lot of fun.
The exterior is that of a classic fifties diner, with metal siding, rounded corners, and a cartoony logo with a happy dog holding a mug of root beer. Located off Interstate 90’s exit 59 at the east edge of Rapid City, it is surrounded by gas stations, chain restaurants, and hotels – sharing a parking lot with a Ramada.
The fifties vibe continued indoors. Near the front entrance stood a jukebox, while an oldies station played over the speakers. A Formica-topped tile lunch counter with swiveling vinyl stools was just beyond, creating a barricade between customer seating and the food window. A stripe of blue neon ran around the perimeter of the ceiling.
Open only a month, the restaurant was bright and clean with the type of art and decor one would expect from a fifties diner, except with its location just minutes from the actual monument, the print of Mount Rushmore bearing the faces of Marilyn Monroe, Humphrey Bogart, Elvis Presley, and James Dean felt especially appropriate.
We were greeted immediately by a friendly young fellow who showed us to a booth with a tabletop jukebox and the type of upright napkin holder and sugar dispenser favored by similarly old-school eateries.
We arrived at 10:45, which is 15 minutes before the lunch selections would be offered. However, our server told us that since it was pretty close, they’d make us anything from either side of the laminated menu.
Hot dogs and root beer appeared to be Dog ‘n Suds’ jam, so after much consideration, we ended up with a table full of coffee, root beer, a Coney Dog Basket with fries and potato salad, a “loaded” Frito Pie, and a Coney Skillet. When in Rome, after all.
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