If you haven’t been to where they make “memories on the Missouri [River],” then you’re missing out. Drifter’s Bar & Grille in Ft. Pierre is known for working with local farms for fresh ingredients, but most of all, the local and statewide buzz the eatery gets is for the [excellent] seafood.
Drifters creates fresh menu items from scratch and brings contemporary American cuisine with burgers, steaks, seafood, flatbreads, and their signature dish—Walleye Tacos.
“Our Walleye Tacos are definitely what we’re known for,” said owner and operator Emily Steber.
The tacos come beer-battered or grilled with pineapple pico de gallo, coleslaw, and jalapeño aioli.
Guests can overlook the river as they dine next to the floor-to-ceiling windows inside, or on the vast patio outside during warmer months.
A newer dish that has everyone talking is the Double Cut Pork Chop—a 16 oz. vanilla-brined chop with bourbon applesauce, local heirloom Lakota squash, and broccolini.
“That pork chop has been a huge seller, especially during hunting season,” said Steber.
Another featured dish that has landed on the menu is the Beet Salad with smoked goat cheese, arugula, citrus segments, candied pepitas, pickled mustard seeds, and rosemary vinaigrette.
Steber commented, “We use local beets when we can, weather permitting, of course.”
The restaurant partners with farmers for beef and bison as well, like one out of Ipswich for the Bison Poutine appetizer.
A recent partnership happened with Bell Bar Ranch on the western part of the state, and local angus beef cattle was used to create Tacos de Lengua—braised beef tongue tacos with salsa verde, radish, and cilantro.
“We can actually talk to the producers and we know what they’re feeding their animals and can actually go see the animals,” said Steber. “[Using local sources] also supports local businesses.”
In regard to beverages, Drifters has 16 beers on tap “in constant rotation.” Patrons can also participate in monthly tap takeovers hosted alongside the South Dakota brewing community.
While Drifters is known for seafood, they’re also known for an impressive and extensive cocktail list, that includes drinks like the new Cedar Creek Sour. This is a mix of Knob Creek Rye Whiskey, Cedar Simple Syrup, fresh lemon juice, cranberry juice, and rosemary.
“there are 78 different antioxicdants in cedar berries.”
“It’s a creation of mine that was a drink of the week earlier in the winter,” said bar manager Matt Sloan. “I was trying to get something to work with local cedar berries.”
Another menu item is the fancy Celebration Thyme, with Chambord, Campari, Angostura Bitters, Ginger Beer, Wyclif Brut, and thyme.
Planning a trip across the state or in the Pierre/Fort Pierre area? Another reason to go to Drifters is to enjoy live music on the patio every Thursday night, Memorial Day through Labor Day.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT DRIFTERSBARANDGRILLE.COM.
MORE OF WHAT'S ON THE MENU
WALLEYE CRAB CAKES
Wild Canadian walleye and lump crab with lemon herb aioli.
House-cut fries, truffle salt, and port wine ketchup.
Turkey breast, roasted squash, feta cheese, toasted bread, kale, and cranberry dressing.
SOUTH DAKOTA NIÇOISE
Walleye confit, olive croutons, hard boiled egg, mixed greens, fingerling potatoes, pickled red onion, green beans, artichokes, and diced tomato vinaigrette.
Grilled cauliflower patty, pear raisin chutney, red onion, arugula, and a potato bu. (Vegan.)
Battered walleye and house-made tartar.
BANGERS & MASH
Wild boar, apricot & cranberry sausages, parsnip mash, apple cider-glazed onions, with a demi glace.
Radiatore pasta, Gruyère, white cheddar and parmesan, braised beef short rib, and frizzled onions.
NUESKE’S BREAFAST BLT
Nancy’s Nest egg, Nueske’s thick cut bacon, tomato, arugula, berry wheat toast, spiced maple mayo, and house-cut fries.
Venner Farm white wheat-berry, millet, chickpeas, roasted squash, cranberries, blueberries, toasted pumpkin seeds, Lee’s Bees honey, and avocado dressing. (Vegetarian.)