It was late fall and everyone was talking about a new restaurant opening in Dell Rapids.
I asked one friend who posted about it on Facebook, “What’s the deal with Papa’s Pub & Eatery? Do you know?”
“Yeah, Alana, you probably know him. He’s at Gateway [Bar & Lounge] watching soccer with the American Outlaws most of the time.”
His name is David, and I wouldn’t be shocked if I have indeed sat right next to him at the soccer bar watching matches with the Sioux Falls chapter. The
only problem is, usually (for me) watching those involves a pitcher(s) of beer. So. A little foggy on that front sometimes.
But the good news is that he was the one opening a new American fare eatery in the historic opera house building that was previously El Tapatio.
605’s Kyle Determan and I arrived at the location that is in the heart of Dell Rapids. We walked into the new business that can seat up to 84 in the main dining room and around 20 in the bar and lounge.
Manager Nick Suridis greeted us and sat us in the large dining area. We noticed they didn’t have to do much to the décor since the building itself is
already ornate and charming.
As we got up and wandered to take photos, we also noticed there were two images of a man on the bar and in a retro television set.
“Oh my gosh, that’s Daniel [Ohayon],” yelped Kyle.
“He coached me in soccer and was the nicest person.”
Daniel was known as the first director of coaching and was a longtime association director for the Dakota Alliance Soccer Club, and sadly passed away three years ago. He’s also (more importantly) known for being David’s father.
Surdis noticed us looking at the portrait by the bar area.
“That is actually a painting that was gifted to the owners,” he said with a smile.
Choice of chicken, steak, or shrimp with three corn tortillas. With feta cheese, pico de gallo, and lime.
Hand-cut fried, cheese curds, and beef gravy.
STEAK & PORTABELLA
Spring mix, hand-cut sirloin, portabdlla mushroom, onion, red pepper, blue cheese, and caramelized onion vinaigrette.
Classic burger, two strips applewood smoked bacon with choice of American, Swiss, pepper jack, or provolone.
Roasted garlic alfredo. Add chicken or shrimp.
STEAK ALLA VODKA
Marinara, vodka, steak, onion, red pepper, mushrooms, cream, and basil.
Classic French beef strew and roasted potatoes. (Available Friday and Saturday night only.)
Cinnamon rolls, chocolate chips, custard, and vanilla ice cream.
Ladyfingers, sweet Italian custard, cocoa, amaretto, and coffee.
After feeling a mixture of sadness and happiness that there is an homage to his legacy (among events like local soccer tournaments), we finally sat down and were served what the restaurant is already famous for: the Spinach Artichoke Dip.
“This is a secret family recipe,” said Suridis.
The homemade, three-cheese blend included spinach, artichoke hearts, toasted baguettes, and tortilla chips.
“It’s very smooth,” said Kyle.
We were very excited about the amount of chips and bread.
“I like that there are so many of them that you don’t have to feel stupid asking for more after four bites,” I said.
I know, big problems in our lives.
I’ve heard nothing but good things about this dip, but it wasn’t for me. Why? I’m a huge baby when it comes to chunky things, like the artichoke, for example.
Kyle commented on how she enjoyed how creamy it was, and I do agree on that. Again, I am very specifically weird about large bites of spinach, artichoke, and the like, so this probably isn’t a fair judgement from my end.
The first entree was the Caprese burger. This ⅓ lb. seasoned patty with tomato, mozzarella, pesto, and balsamic glaze was served with hand-cut fries. I. Was. Obsessed. Pesto on a burger is my new favorite thing, and the mozzarella was fresh and a great combo with the patty.
“It’s like an elevated pizza burger,” noted Kyle.
I legit would make the drive just for this burger. And then, we ate the fries. The seasoning was excellent, and we almost consumed the whole plate before realizing it was the first of the main courses. Maybe I would drive just for those, too.
We both found it genius that they brand their burger buns with the logo. Hello, Instagram moment.
Next up, the Ribeye. The 12 oz. hand-cut ribeye had a choice of bourbon mushroom cream sauce or garlic herb butter (we had the latter). It was served with two sides—mashed potatoes and a vegetable medley.
The steak was very good, and I could swim in the garlic herb butter.
“This reminds me of a Sunday night dinner,” said Kyle. Well if that’s true, Kyle, invite me over anytime.
The mashed potatoes had potato skins in it, which is always the best to know they’re homemade.
Lastly, we tried the Creamy Pesto Shrimp with creamy pesto sauce, shrimp, tomato, and Parmesan cheese. I was still munching on vegetables (just kidding, it was more mashed potatoes) when Kyle took a couple of bites of the pasta dish.
“This makes me wish I could marry food, Alana. Stop what you’re doing and try this.”
Hot damn. Again, this was more pesto magic. The Parmesan cheese was sprinkled just the right amount, and all of the flavors were rich, but not too rich. Kyle still was losing it.
“It’s f&#$ing fantastic. It’s like it’s bathed in butter, but in a good way,” she said. “It’s like they treated the shrimp to a spa day.”
I think we can all guess what her favorite dish was.
This is a wonderful addition to Dell Rapids. There is a wide variety of different entrees, and so much more I want to go back and try. As it goes with new establishments, I’ve heard many start to ask each other, “Have you eaten there yet?” A lot have, and everyone says positive things. I’ll add to that as one of them, and will be back soon.
One thing we loved about the menu was that it had a section where it paired up premium cocktails with certain dishes, like the martini with the salads, shrimp, chicken, or steak.
Even though the building is lovely, I’ve seen it as the businesses that have been there previously. It hasn’t changed much, and I would like to see more of Papa’s personality in there. But, again, you don’t really need to do much in that space as it’s already lovely. So I can see why it is the way it is.
Prices are very reasonable. You’re paying around $10 for a burger and fries, and the steaks are less than $20. Dayum! I’d say that’s worth the drive right there.
My mouth just watered thinking of all the pesto. There are also a lot of other
flavors as well, and Papa’s really delivers with quality. That was honestly one of the best burgers I’ve had in a while. And don’t forget Kyle’s “shrimp spa day” dish (she also did sip several cocktails, including a Long Island Iced Tea, so that could explain her descriptions).
Rating Scale: Ambiance ++++ | Average Price Per Meal: $—$10 & under; $$—$20 & under; $$$—$30 & under; $$$$—over $30 | Taste ++++
It's the Facts
- Open Tuesday through Thursday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
- The owners are husband and wife David and Rebecca Ohayon.
- The restaurant is in The Grand Opera House building, and was most recently El Tapatio.