With over 2,800 acres of some of the best fishing and boating, canoeing, kayaking, and swimming, Lake Madison has plenty to do just in the lake itself. 605 took an afternoon exploring some of the options outside of the water.
MADISON EST. 1873
FOR COFFEE OR LUNCH
100 S. Egan Ave.
Stop by Madison’s only beer, wine, and coffee shop owned by husband and wife duo Rob Honomichl and Samantha Contrino.
The couple moved to town with friends Ethan Jones, manager, and Brandon Swords, assistant manager, hoping to create a place “for people to linger in.”
“The whole concept behind Sundog Coffee is we want to take a taste of the world, focusing on more Americana aspects of it, and give it to Madison, South Dakota,” said Jones. “This town is kind of a clash between the past and the future. We’ve got the cyber-tech school, we’ve got farmers. We’re trying to appeal to everybody. ”
As far as food, Sundog is best known for sandwiches.
“If you come in here, you want to try The LeRoy sandwich,” said Jones.
The LeRoy is a chicken salad sandwich with a secret recipe “passed down for generations.”
“It’s my dad’s recipe from Georgia,” said Swords. “It’s a little bit different than the chicken salad you can find around here.”
“We all moved here and had some good ideas and started from scratch. One thing we’ve locked down is that everyone loves The LeRoy sandwich.” — Brandon Swords
Other unique offerings include The Hawaiian with ham, swiss, pineapple, and bbq sauce on a King Hawaiian bun, or Rise & Shine with thick-cut bacon, ham, egg, and cheese on “the best bagel in South Dakota.”
One interesting item on the chalkboard menu is The Sundog. This hearty smoked sausage is served on a hoagie roll, and the menu instructs patrons to “ask a barista for the latest details.”
If you’re not too hungry, check out small bites like fruit salad, a parfait, muffins, donuts, bagels, cookies, and more.
Need a caffeine fix? The Sundog crew says they’re trying to push the envelope with “more rare coffee varietals.”
Drinks include standard coffee shop items, and there are fun options like coffee drip, the Bee’s Knees Latte, and the popular Quilted Latte.
The team recently launched brunch, which they hope to start serving every weekend.
If beer is more your taste, patrons can purchase craft beer to order in or to buy offsale. Two beers are always on tap and growlers are available.
Jones said, “We hope to be a place that could be found in any city in the world.”
Open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
LAKE MADISON WAS NAMED AFTER MADISON, WISCONSIN
FOR AN ATTRACTION
HISTORIC PRAIRIE VILLAGE
Two miles west of Madison is 120 acres of more than 40 antique-filled buildings, reliving the days of an active turn-of-the-century Main Street. Visit the Lawrence Welk Opera House, sod and log houses, a country school, churches, and one of the last remaining chapel railroad cars, the Emmanuel.
“We are a living history museum emulating a village on the prairie at about the early part of the 20th century,” said manager Faron Wahl.
All of the buildings are actual historical buildings that have been refurbished, including “Junius Bank,” which was built in 1906 on the land of John Wadden (the president of the bank). It was moved in 1967 to Prairie Village. Each location is filled with time-appropriate artifacts.
This includes a ull-sized railroad that Wahl says operates weekly on Saturdays during their regular season and special events. Events include school tours, the Prairie Village Pageant, Railroad Days, and the (giant) Annual Steam Threshing Jamboree.
“That’s where Lawrence Welk got his start in the 1920s.” – Faron Wahl of the Opera House
Also on site are agricultural displays, steam tractors, a sawmill, and much more. Snacks are available at the gift shop.
One of the biggest displays is the Hershell-Spillman Steam Carousel that is over 100 years old.
“It’s an original wood carousel still able to be powered by steam,” said Wahl. “It’s well over 100 years old and just went through a major restoration and just came back to us a few weeks ago.”
Grab a bite during your visit and stop by the gift shop. Staying the night? Camping is available on site. While it’s closed after Labor Day, check for events (see side bar) and plan a trip for next year!
Open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sundays through Labor Day.
Hobo Marlin’s Pumpkin Train
(Beware the ghost Hobo Marlin on the way to the pumpkin patch.)
11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Donation of $5 children 12 & under
Adults and Teens $2
LAKE MADISON IS APPROXIMATELY 16 FEET DEEP AT ITS DEEPEST POINT.
FOR A DRINK
6625 Wentworth Park Dr.
This establishment is a Lake Madison staple and is located on the Northeast side. It’s one of the only places to offer lakeside fuel service where patrons can let the “dock-boys” help as they go in to eat and relax.
“There are eight docks to pull up to,” said owner Kurt Smith.
Friends and families can look over the lake from the famous oversized beach chair (which is also a great photo opp) and can be served outside. During the summer, live music is played Fridays and Saturday on the outdoor stage, and karaoke is offered certain evenings.
“I think our biggest attraction is our patio and the outdoor bar,” said Smith.
Order appetizers like Mini Tacos, Fried Pickle Chips, Nachos, or the famous Broadwater Shrimp (lightly battered shrimp, tossed in a homemade creamy sriracha sauce).
Fan of the sauce? Order The Broadwater sandwich for your main course – grilled cajun chicken served on a ciabatta roll, topped with bacon, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, garlic aioli, and drizzled with ranch dressing.
Try other entrées like the Black Angus Sirloin, Canadian Walleye, or Salmon. Burgers are available, like the Uncle Don Burger, a bacon-cheddar burger topped with a fried egg. Are you a grilled cheese lover? Try the Build Your Own Grilled Cheese with a choice of bread, meat, cheese, and veggies.
“We really concentrate on items made from scratch and homemade sauces,” said Smith.
Happy hour is 4-6 p.m. Wednesday-Friday.
Smith added, “We also have prime rib every Saturday night with homemade au jus. It’s a totally different piece of meat than you’ve had anywhere else.”
Open Wednesday through Friday 3 p.m. to close and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to close.
MADISON IS HOME TO DAKOTA STATE UNIVERSITY, WHICH WAS ESTABLISHED ON MARCH 5, 1881
PRIME TIME TAVERN
204 Egan Ave. S.
Long day on the lake? Treat yourself to a nice dinner at Prime Time Tavern.
Best known for steak and prime rib, the cozy restaurant has warm wooden tones, and modern, exposed lighting.
“It’s more a ‘come as you are’ atmosphere we want,” said owner Todd Mosser. “Dress up if you’d like, or be casual.”
Mosser says Prime Time prides themselves on great food, service, and people.
Start the experience with appetizers like Chips and Homemade Salsa, 7 oz. Steak Tips, or Loaded Nachos.
“What I hear is that our steak tips are fantastic, and that’s definitely a go-to item for people who love comfort food,” he said.
Order a Filet Mignon Monday through Thursday for a 6 or 9 oz., or get Prime Rib Friday and Saturday. The 8, 12, 16, or 24 oz. prime rib comes with a baked potato, their signature wedge salad, french bread, and homemade au jus.
“We’re known for our prime rib and reasonably priced meals,” said Mosser.
Order a local craft beer with your meal, or try one of their Jumbo Margaritas (only $2 on Mondays all day). Enjoy happy hour 4-6 p.m. every day.
Still hungry? Try one of their desserts, like the cheesecake or bread pudding (ask for the flavor of the week).
Mosser said of their menu pricing, “It’s a community where we don’t want to you go out and spend a lot of money to have a good meal.”
Open Monday through Thursday 4-9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 4-10 p.m.