When we found out the owners of Café Brulé, Jim Waters (also the chef) and Monica Iverson, were opening a gastropub, we had to check it out. If you’ve never been to the American-French influenced restaurant, do it. But I digress…
I’m a former (or lifelong) Coyote, and knew of the downtown Vermillion building as Raziel’s, which was an Italian restaurant/bar that hosted music and was known for their adorable patio. Now it is home to Dakota Brick House.
As we waited for the doors to open (currently it’s open 5 p.m. – midnight, but that will change), a man approached us in shorts, a tie-dye shirt, a beanie hat, and no shoes on. “Are you guys here for psychology club, too?” he asked. Bless Vermillion – I was home.
We walked in, and it was apparent Waters and Iverson completely changed the atmosphere (minus the piano wall with a sheet music collage). They uncovered an amazing exposed-brick wall that still had an advertisement intact on it from who knows when, and they (pretty flawlessly) painted the finished ad message and faux brick on the men’s room wall.
The owners – especially Iverson – are so passionate about the history of the building that they have handouts explaining the building’s past and detailing the renovations. This is where we discovered that the wire light fixtures were actually made by the owners, taking light fixtures and placing items like wire spheres and trash cans around them. They lent a steampunk vibe, which was complemented with dark wood and copper details throughout the restaurant.
Our main server was Josh, the manager. His passion was obviously beer. Dakota Brick House has one of the largest (if not the largest) selections of craft beer in town. There are 16 featured beers a week, and this week had the Epic Blackout Stout. When we asked what we should drink, he said many tried the Brick House Bomb, which he compared to an Irish Car Bomb… except the Epic Blackout Stout it came with is 18 ABV.
Not planning on poisoning ourselves (sarcasm) since we had to drive home, we ordered a Margarita and a Brick House Shirley, which were wine-based since they don’t have liquor. Honestly, they were both tasty and satisfactory for what they were. I would go for the beer, though, as it’s their thing, but I appreciate other options for those who aren’t beer lovers.
We also sipped on a flight of beer: Black Tooth Saddle Brown, B. Nektar Zombie Killer, Shock Top Ruby Fresh, and Brau Brothers Bancreagie. They were delicious and were very generous pours. It was also notable that the B. Nektar Zombie Killer was gluten free and made with mead.
We were instructed that we could go to the app DigitalPour to see where a keg was sitting with beer, and which kegs were on deck for becoming available, which is cool. You can also view the beer menu on their flat screen TVs.
When it came to trying the food, my co-worker and I feasted.
Let’s get right to the Big A*!# Pretzel. I never get pretzels anywhere – I have no desire. Then this 24-ounce beauty came into my life. It was baked fresh and was so soft when you bit into it. Served with Brick House Relish, beer cheese sauce, and rosemary mustard, there was a wide variety of flavors to try. The other dips were dead to me after I tried the beer cheese sauce. If we didn’t have all the food on the table, I would have finished the pretzel with that unavoidable sauce temptress.
The Main Street Tacos were up next, and the first one I tried was my favorite. The Pork Taco was like the street taco you dream of getting when you’re at a taco truck, and you’re starving. The salsa verde sauce, cojita cheese, black bean relish, and pickled onion were also on the chicken option. The Chicken Taco was a close second, and the Beef Taco was okay with cojiita cheese, Asian slaw, fresh cilantro, and chili crema. My co-worker really enjoyed the Shrimp Taco with cojita cheese, apple-cider slaw, fresh cilantro, and topped with spicy sriracha-aioli cream sauce (she noted the creamy sauce was light, and the beer-battered shrimp was “just the right crispy”). Next time I’m ordering an entire basket of pork. I’m not ashamed.
Next on our pillage were Brick Sliders, served with Original Brick House Chips (so fresh and crunchy). My co-worker raved about the Chicken Littles, which was country-fried chicken with American cheese, sliced tomatoes, lettuce, and honey mustard.
My favorite was the Brick House Bites, which was a Brick House grind patty, sharp cheddar, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and cottage bacon, topped with special Brick Sauce. Did I mention it’s on a pretzel bun? The bacon on the hamburger was cooked to perfection. The third slider was Jack & the Bean, a house-pattied black bean patty with Monterey jack, roma tomato, pickled onion, avocado, and sriracha aioli. It was a good option for vegetarians, but it wasn’t my cup of tea.
It seems backwards, but I’ll end with the Chorizo Queso Skillet Dip. Let’s just say my co-worker blocked the queso with a wall with her glasses to make sure she would notice if the servers tried to take it away. The dip, served in a hot skillet, had cheese baked on top of a cheese/refried bean dip blend inside. Sliced avocado sat atop the cheese in the middle, and we were excited to find black olives in the bean dip (the small things in life, right?).
We left waddling out of the place, and I can’t wait to go back and try their full menu when they expand their hours. Towns need people like Waters and Iverson, who are bringing innovative and fresh ideas to their community.
It felt super fresh, and reminded me of a London pub with a steampunk feel. Definitely gets you in mood for brews and (classy) bar grub.
Everyone was super attentive and were very excited about the beer and menu items. You could probably talk beer with Josh all day.
I’ve never liked a pretzel like that. Ever. I still think about that beer cheese dip…
It's the Facts
Patrons can enjoy open piano night every Tuesday beginning at 6 p.m.
They have a custom 20-tap copper tap system, created by assistant contractor and manager Josh Scherrer, and offers a rotating selection of 20 craft beers.
Dakota Brick House is located in one of the oldest buildings in downtown Vermillion that didn’t burn in one of the fires. It was estimated that it was built between 1880-1894 and is a “mystery building,” as no one knows why it was built and who originally owned it.