Come Visit: Tea

Minutes away from Sioux Falls, Tea is a wonderful destination with a small town feel. known for throwing a huge celebration the third week of June every year – Teapot Days – the population of 5,000 knows how to have fun. Here are a few options to check out if you’re spending a day or a few hours in the area.

Established 1906


It’s hard to miss the I-29 Antiques & Collectibles Mall. The 14,000-square-foot antique store with over 90 vendors is right off the Tea exit 73 west 1/4 mile. You’ll see a dinosaur, metal signs, and other random assortments that will grab your eye. “We’re probably the largest in the four-state area,” said owner Randy Maas. There is something for the die-hard collector to the simply curious shopper alike. Maas has noticed many in their 20s and 30s coming in to shop for their home décor. “A lot of people will buy new kitchen, bedroom, or living room set from a store and then purchase accent or conversation antiques here,” he said. His brother, Steve, was working the register, and says not everything is used or is necessarily an antique. “We have games, toys, furniture, and things like that,” he said. Though they have a website, Steve says the best way to see what’s new is by visiting their Facebook page.

Open Monday-Sunday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. // (605) 368-5810

First school in Tea had 11 students


“It all started because a father and son were b.s.-ing and barbecuing,” said general manager Roxie Stanga of Squealer’s Smoke Shack. That was in 2014. The restaurant, which is located in a strip mall in the Sunshine Foods parking lot, recently celebrated their one year anniversary. Their 100 percent smoked meats and homemade sides are incredible, as are their house-made sauces. They include their BBQ sauces: Squealer (signature), Mild (sriracha), and Hog Wild (habanera and jalapeños). Try their Flying Pigs (smoked wings), The Trump (signature smoked beef brisket & pork topped with bacon and nacho cheese), or their Loaded Mac ‘n’ Cheese (homemade mac ‘n’ cheese topped with your choice of meat). There are daily drink specials 4-6 p.m. (50 cents off drinks), and you can buy a Squealer’s plastic mug for $3 refills. There is a prime rib special on Saturdays. Try the Squeal of the Day, which is a special of the day. “Coming up with a special every day is something I strive for,” said Stanga. Catering is also available.

Open Monday-Thursday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Friday-Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. // (605) 679-7675

The first bank was located where O’Toole’s Bar is now.


Owner Laurie Karlson started her clothing business from her basement, having clients over via Facebook invites on evenings and Saturdays. Laurie Belle’s Boutique outgrew the basement and had to get a small storefront. Then it outgrew that. And now it’s about to outgrow it’s current (large) location at 615 E Brian St. With over 350,000 likes on Facebook and a finalist for the 2017 Boutique Awards, Laurie Belle’s keeps taking off. Manager Tammy Winter says the store attracts all ages. “We have girls who come in for senior pictures, we have teachers and women come in for family photos, and we have women come in for a casual top,” she said. Known for their affordable pricing and “fashion-forward” styles, Winter says you can leave with at least three items easily. The store also helps style complete outfits and shows examples on their social media. With over 20 new items in the store daily, and a special every month, it’s a must-stop. There is also free shipping online for orders over $50, and military and teachers receive discounts.

Open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday  10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Sunday 1-5 p.m. // (605) 498-0101

Airport opened in 1969


People drive from all over for the infamous Tea Steak House. In 1965 owners Lloyd and Rickie Ihnen discovered IHNEN Aging – for 14 days, 6 hours, and 37 minutes, loins are hung in 34-degree cooler. This is to intensify the flavor and soften the meat. Fast forward to 1986, and their son and daughter-in-law, Jim and Lisa, purchased it, and then purchased the historic Irish Bar connected, O’Toole’s Bar, from Paul and Colleen O’Toole (photos of the original owenrs hang in the bar). The couple runs it with son Jesse, and they serve “the best burger in town,” New York Strip, Filet Mignon, Prime Rib, Nachos, Jalapeño Poppers, Wings, Ham Chef Salad, Porterhouse T-Bone, Lobster Tail, Golden Fried Chicken, and more. O’Tooles has the “coldest beer in town,” and has daily happy hour 4-6 p.m. ($1 off everything), and late happy hour Saturday 10 p.m. – 2 a.m. Enjoy volleyball outside with a cabana. Inside, play some pool and listen to bands on special occasions.

The steak house is open Monday-Saturday 7 a.m. – 9 p.m., and the bar is open Monday-Saturday 10:30-2 a.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. – 12 a.m. // (605) 368-9667

5,032 Population

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