It’s been a long time since I’ve seen such excitement surrounding a new restaurant in Sioux Falls, but somehow this place has done it. MacKenzie River Pizza opened its doors on November 9, and when we stopped in the next day for lunch, the wait was 40 minutes. That was a little long for the middle of the workday, so we decided to eat elsewhere. When we came back late the next afternoon, there was no wait, but it was by no means empty. At 4:15, over half of the tables in the cavernous space were filled.
Our party of three was sat in a large booth, beneath what looked like a rustic dock suspended from the ceiling. Throughout the restaurant were woodsy bits of decor, like canoes and birch trees, which gave the space a laidback, outdoorsy vibe befitting a chain that started in Bozeman, Mont.
When our server arrived to take drink orders a few minutes later, we put in an order of Pork Belly Cups. My dining companions took advantage of the restaurant’s early happy hour (which runs from 2 to 5 p.m.), but as I’m five months pregnant, I chose to abstain from the impressive-looking cocktail list. Like the food menu, the bar offerings were quite extensive, heavy with signature concoctions like the Jalapeno Margarita and Smoked Old Fashioned – in addition to flights of whiskey and a beer list dotted with local selections, such as Hydra Brewing Company’s Death Breath IPA.
It was difficult to narrow down our dinner selections, when faced with columns of flatbreads, pizzas, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and dinner items, but we finally settled on the Mackenzie Meatloaf and the Thai Pie.
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