Whether you’re on University of South Dakota’s campus, taking the family swimming at Prentis Park, or having a cold brew at the infamous Carey’s Bar, Vermillion is a great place to be. Visiting for the day? Here are some ideas for your itinerary.
10,750 people in Vermillion and about 10,300 people at the University
Head chef and partner Jim Waters and partner Monica Iverson just celebrated Café Brule’s sixth anniversary. The American and European fusion restaurant has everyday items on the “country” side of the menu, and European-style, more upscale cuisine on the “city” side. “We are interested in doing something that hasn’t been around here before,” explained Iverson. “We made it so people like my husband, who likes meat and potatoes, and myself, who likes spices and different foods, can eat a meal together.” If you stop in, always try the dessert. Iverson also owns one of the top cake companies, Cakes by Monica. Another highlight? Breakfast. Along with normal options, there are gourmet benedicts, Crunchy French Toast, and beignets. Waters also recommends their steaks and sandwiches, especially the Monte Cristo and Reuben. He said, “People all over the state talk about our Reuben sandwich.”
Vermillion was named one of the best college towns to live in forever by College Ranker.
THE BEAN AND THE IRON ROOSTER
Sharing the same space, grab a cup of coffee or tea at The Bean or peruse The Iron Rooster for up-cycled furniture, home décor, and art. “You can come in, grab a coffee, sit, hang out, and shop,” said Leslie Gerrish, owner of the coffee bar. Gerrish serves coffee from Good Folks Coffee Company out of Kentucky and from Sioux Falls roasters, The Breaks Coffee Roasting Co. Not a coffee fan? They’re known for their Iced Mint Green Tea and their London Fog. “I’ve heard we have the best London Fog around,” she said. The Bean has a monthly drink feature, and also has Fund-It Friday, where the company donates five percent of sales to a non-profit organization. Feeling like a snack? Grab a treat from Red Wagon Bread.
4th highest growth rate in the state.
SILK ROAD CAFÉ
Stanley Donald’s family-owned business, Silk Road Café is not their first rodeo. One of their most popular restaurants named after his wife, Chae’s was a Vermillion staple for 16 years. The downtown restaurant is an Asian cuisine utopia, with Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Malaysian offerings. This is the place for kimchi lovers. Must-try items are the Crispy Noodles and the BiBimBop. The latter is a traditional Korean dish with a mixture of seasoned vegetables, topped with a fried egg, and rice in a sizzling rock bowl with tofu, chicken, or beef. No two meals are the same if you experiment with Chae’s 60 different sauces. “You never get tired of this food with all of the sauces, “ said Stanley. “I’ve been eating it for 35-40 years.” They also serve an incredible buffet every day (closed Mondays) from 11 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.
August 24, 1804, Lewis and Clark discovered Spirit Mound, just north of Vermillion.
NATIONAL MUSIC MUSEUM
The “mecca for music lovers” is right on USD’s campus. The National Music Museum (NMM) is one of the world’s finest music collections with over 15,000 historic instruments and 1,200 on display. This bucket-list destination has galleries upon galleries of masterpieces, including rare Adolphe Sax-made saxophones to the oldest known played harpsichord (c. 1530). NMM manager of communications Patricia Bornhofen says if you see one room in the museum, make it the Rawlins Gallery. “The Rawlin’s Gallery is one of the finest collections of Italian Renaissance string instruments in the world,” she said. This includes what they call the Mona Lisa of the museum, the Amati ‘King’ cello created by Andrea Amati, whom Bornhofen referred to as the “father of string instruments.” From instruments from different cultures (as old as A.D.) to Civil War drums to Bill Clinton’s saxophone, there are the familiar and the exotic displays of instruments. Walk at your own pace, or take the two-hour iPod tour.