THE 605 TEAM PACKED UP THE CAR (TO THE BRIM) AND HEADED NORTH FROM SIOUX FALLS TO ABERDEEN. KNOWN FOR STORYBOOK LAND AND OUTDOOR RECREATION, WE WERE EXCITED TO CHECK OUT THE LOCAL FOOD AND ART SCENE.
FIRST STOP: DEMPSEY’S BREW PUB
605’s Kyle Determan was at the wheel as we headed on I-29 N. To break up our trip, we stopped at Dempsey’s Brew Pub in Watertown—a favorite of ours for some of the best pizza in South Dakota. Owner and certified pizzaiola Sean Dempsey was there to catch up with us as we munched on Spinach & Artichoke Dip and Buffalo Chicken Ranch Dip (handcrafted dips with house-made Naan Tandoori).
As The Portuguese pizza came out fresh from the kitchen, Dempsey told us he would also be in Aberdeen working on his newest location, Danger von Dempsey’s Pizza & Brewhäus, which opens this month.
BED & BREAKFAST: FOOTE CREEK
Already feeling bloated (great self-control to kick off the trip), we hopped back on the interstate. From there, we got on to US-12W, which took us all the way to Aberdeen.
Just six miles northwest of town was our bed and breakfast: Foote Creek. The location’s tagline is “rediscover tranquility,” and is on a remote piece of property. We were just in time for sunset. Hosts Ron and Carla Kaaz answered the door and took us on a tour of their home.
It was built with a bed and breakfast in mind in 2000, and the Kaazes’ first guests stayed in January 2001. The couple says they had stayed at bed-and-breakfast inns previously and wanted to try it themselves, especially after becoming “empty nesters.”
“WE’VE HAD PEOPLE FROM TEXAS AND WASHINGTON STATE SITTING ACROSS THE DINING TABLE FROM EACH OTHER WHOSE COUSINS WENT TO SCHOOL TOGETHER IN A SMALL TOWN IN SOUTH DAKOTA. THERE’S NO SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION… THERE’S THREE.” cARLA kAAZ
The first floor has a wheelchair-accessible room, and there are three other bedrooms upstairs (most have queen beds and a murphy bed, and one has two twin beds). Each has its own bathroom. There is access to the main living room and kitchen on the first floor, and there is also a small living room with its own porch and mini fridge on the second floor. (The all-star award goes to Ron, who helped us hook up an iPad to the upstairs television that night to watch the season premiere of
Game of Thrones.)
WATERING HOLE: SLACKERS
Before we settled in for dragons and potential surprise deaths, though, we headed into town for snacks and to stop by a local watering hole for a beverage. We ended up at Slackers downtown, which had vintage furniture and a vast beer selection. They state they have the widest selection of craft beer in town, with over 100 available.
Owner Lamar Marshall was behind the bar and helped us pick out the beer of our liking, and we found out he is originally from Georgia. Grabbing our brews, we headed over to the gaming area, where patrons can either belly up to the bar or sit in some comfy chairs to play the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) Classic or the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). We sat at the bar and watched each other fail at Super Mario Bros., and 605’s Taylor Hanson challenged Kyle to Mortal Kombat. Slackers also has darts, pool tables, and chess, and also supports the local music and comedy scene with open mic the last Sunday of the month.
COFFEE RUN: RED ROOSTER COFFEE HOUSE
The next morning the team was up bright and early (for us) to get ready and meet Ron and Carla downstairs at Foote Creek for a homemade breakfast. Carla was whipping up lemon pancakes with a blueberry sauce. She also was making a soufflé with asiago cheese and sausage from her hometown of Long Lake.
Foote Creek actually shares some recipes on their website, like the recipes for Sausage Wild Rice Quiche, Cranberry Oat Scones, Blueberry/ Rhubarb Freezer Jam, and the Beef Breakfast Burrito.
We then bid them adieu and headed back into downtown Aberdeen to the Red Rooster Coffee House, where we met up with Laura Ptacek of the Aberdeen Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. She would be acting as our guide for the trip, and we got right to ordering caffeine to get going for our busy day.
The community staple owned by brother and sister Dan Cleberg and Kileen (Cleberg) Limvere has been around for 20 years, and recently moved to a new location down the block. They’re known for great coffee, food and drink options, and an extensive bookstore that also hosts music and other events for creatives.
Tuesdays they have Old Time Jam from 2:30-5:30 p.m., Thursdays they have Art & Music Night from 5:30-8:30 p.m., and the second and fourth Thursdays they have Open Mic Night starting at 7 p.m.
A “hub for creativity,” the main purpose is to draw all walks of life and to help patrons “feel at home.”
For food options, there are sandwiches, salads, and nachos (Red Rooster loves hot sauce). The company also owns an antique shop next door, so we grabbed our coffee and wandered around, eventually making several purchases.
CANTEEN STOP: HISTORIC MILWAUKEE DEPOT
Laura gave us the sign that it was time to go, and we headed to her office building, which is also the Historic Milwaukee Depot that served as a World War II Red Cross/USO Canteen. The railroad still utilizes part of the depot, but much of the structure has been preserved to serve as a reminder of Aberdeen’s railroad roots and the generosity of its people during the war.
On August 19, 1943, the canteen was established to feed troops traveling on special trains through town. They had coffee, sandwiches, donuts, soda, and a special treat—the famous Pheasant Sandwich. Troops allegedly raved about it all over the world.
Visitors can stop by the building to check out the canteen displays and to learn more. We found out that, while the canteen was only open two and a half years, they served more than 586,000 service members.
PHEASANT SANDWICH RECIPE
> 3 C cooked pheasant, finely chopped
> 2 Hard cooked eggs, finely chopped
> 2 Carrots, grated
> 1/2 Medium onion, finely chopped
> 1/2 C celery, finely chopped
> 2 Tsp sweet pickle relish
> Salt and pepper to taste
> Mayonnaise or salad dressing to “blend nicely”
Mix all of the ingredients together. Add dressing to taste and chill. Spread on sandwich bread.
LUNCH BREAK: PALM GARDEN CAFÉ & CHOCOLATE SHOPPE
It was already time for lunch, so the group headed over to Palm Garden Café & Chocolate Shoppe. The yellow building gives just a preview that the entire inside is monochromatic with yellow walls, yellow seats, and yellow accents. Not only is it a café, but it’s also a bakery and chocolate shoppe.
Carla at Foote Creek had raved about their Potato Soup, so I ordered a cup of that (thank you, Carla). Kyle had the Bruschetta, Taylor had the Pesto Chicken panini, 605’s John Snyder had the Gyros, and I had the Roast Beast sandwich.
My favorite part, though, was that this adorable space also welcomes patrons to carve something into their booths (just refrain from carving on tables). So 605 left their mark.
Laura had a Palm Garden staff member take us where the building’s co-owner Carlyle Mardian has the entire upstairs covered in sports memorabilia. You can eat there by request, and the organization of all of the items is almost as impressive as the collection itself.
PALM GARDEN’S 1932 RULE
The Palm Garden House of Chicken was established in 1932, and if you were born in 1932 or before, you can come in to the restaurant and enjoy a chicken dinner for 1932 prices (1/4 Chicken Dinner with Show Strings for 45 cents).
PERUSING THE ARTS: PRESENTATION COLLEGE + NORTHERN STATE UNIVERSITY
Next up was a back-to-back art gallery tour. First we stopped by the Wein Gallery at Presentation College for their latest exhibit, which featured watercolors by South Dakota touring artist Judy Thompson entitled “Prairie Gleanings.”
Erin Giovannini, special assistant for project development & Wein Gallery coordinator, told us about Sister Anna Marie Weinreis, PBVM, whom the gallery is named after. She served as a French-language professor and an Academic Dean at Presentation College for many years, and celebrated 70 years as a Presentation Sister at the age of 90.
Her passion and love of art engaging with people of all ages resulted in the Mini Gallery, which eventually was renamed the Wein Gallery. The special case features artists throughout Aberdeen and the upper Midwest.
We then headed to Northern State University’s campus to check out three galleries: the President’s Gallery (semester-long exhibits of guest-artist works or pieces from the permanent collection), the Johnson Fine Arts Center (JFAC) Gallery (exhibiting nationally or internationally recognized contemporary artists and student artworks from the permanent collection), and the Student Center Gallery.
Each gallery was so unique, but probably the best part was when our guide, associate professor of art Greg Blair, asked if we wanted to see the students’ art studio. The space was formerly a gym and had transformed into a multi-level space of creativity.
COOLING OFF: TWIST CONE
After much walking, we decided to get a sweet fix and rest our feet at the Twist Cone, which is like a landmark in Aberdeen (and is always busy). They have a flavor of the week, so we gave that a try and “twisted it” with vanilla. This week was Purple Cow. Known for ice cream treats that come with edible eyes, they also have popcorn (rumor has it that it’s like “movie popcorn”) and BBQ.
While the others had ice cream cones, I indulged in the Donut Sundae, and we were all so involved in our desserts that we realized we needed to bolt over to our next stop: the Capitol Theatre.
END SCENE: CAPITOL THEATRE
Brian T. Schultz, associate artistic/managing director of the Aberdeen Community Theatre, met us in the lobby of the 1926 vaudeville/movie house, which acts as a movie theater (Capitol Cinema) and as the home for community theater (Aberdeen Community Theatre).
The historical building seats 450 and has a French/art deco design. It was the premier movie house until the late 1980s and now hosts movies like Apollo 11 (which was showing while we were visiting) and also hosts the annual South Dakota Film Festival.
Brian asked if we wanted to see the tunnels under the theater, and of course we said yes. We saw things like the orchestra pit and costume rooms, including a giant wig room.
DINNER BELL: MAVERICKS STEAK & COCKTAILS
We said our goodbyes and parted for a little relaxation before dinner at Mavericks Steak & Cocktails.
When we did arrive, we were ready and hungry. The Western-themed restaurant is known for Certified Black Angus Steak that is aged 30 days and is “perfectly marbled.” What is very unique to Mavericks, though, is the way you cook your steak–literally.
The Steak & Stone Sizzling Plate is brought to the table and patrons first
sizzle both sides of their cuts of meat and then slice them into pieces, and then continue to cook them until they’re done to their liking. The dry heat of the stone “sears in the natural juices and flavors of the steak.”
Before we got to that, though, we tried their award-winning Mavericks Wings, which are smoked, fried, and then grilled with Signature Mavericks Sauce.
Once our Garlic Tenderloin and Sirloin came out, it was like dinner and a show–a show you need to realize you’re part of and pay attention to, because the steaks cook fast. The best part? If anything cooled off, you could just plop it on the stone for a couple of seconds, and boom. Warm again.
When I’m back, though, I want to sit on their beautiful patio filled with plants. Even in the crummy weather we had, it was a gorgeous, outdoorsy space.
After a successful first day, we wrapped it up and got some rest.
BREAKFAST & BOOTS: SAMMY’S RESTAURANT & OMELETTE SHOP + HITCH’N POST
The following morning we met back up with Laura at Sammy’s Restaurant & Omelette Shop. The business is named after owners Len and Emma Scherr’s daughter, and features–you guessed it–omelettes and other breakfast and diner lunch offerings.
John ordered an omelette that had the restaurant’s Supreme Sauce. They make 20 gallons of this secret family recipe a week (mind you, they’re not even open Saturday and Sunday).
At this point of our glutenous trip, we were dying a little, but lingered on to Hitch’n Post. Boasting they’re “the Dacotah’s finest Western store,” they’re not wrong. The family business is full of high-quality cowboy boots, fashion, and local goods. In the back is an antique store as well, where I grabbed a thing or two.
Taylor and Kyle had way too much fun getting styled by the staff, and Taylor left with her dream hat (think cowgirl meets Beyoncé in the Formation music video).
HISTORICAL GOODBYE: DACOTAH PRAIRIE MUSEUM
We then left for our last stop: the Dacotah Prairie Museum.
The museum is there to “facilitate conversation of the prairie and its people, cultivate insight, and curate its collections as a catalyst for intergenerational exchanges to inspire children, connect families, and build community through education, programming, exhibits, and its collections.”
We checked out the 17 galleries, including the latest entitled “Brown County on the Gridiron,” which showcases the history of football in Brown County.
A showstopper, though, was the Hatterscheidt Wildlife Gallery. This exhibits businessman Fred W. Hatterscheidt’s love for big game hunting. “He delighted in foreign safaris and tours,” which led him to places like Africa, India, Japan, Canada, Alaska, and many others where he acquired most of the animals on display.
He traveled on a total of six safaris from 1948 through the 1950s. Among one of the “most prized animals” in his collection is the African Elephant.
As we said our last round of goodbyes to the kind locals showing us around and welcoming us into their establishments, we also thanked Laura for the unforgettable tour. We know this is just a glimpse into Aberdeen and are excited to come back for more.
WHEREVER THE SOUTH DAKOTA ROADS TAKE YOU, SHARE THIS SPRING AND SUMMER WITH #605ROADTRIP.
RECREATE 605’S ROAD TRIP
Check out all or some of the locations we stopped at yourself. (In order of story itinerary.)
DEMPSEY’S IN WATERTOWN
127 N. Broadway, Watertown
FOOTE CREEK BED AND BREAKFAST
12841 383rd Ave., Aberdeen
319 S. Main St., Aberdeen
RED ROOSTER COFFEE HOUSE
218 S. Main St., Aberdeen
ABERDEEN AREA CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU/THE ABERDEEN RAILWAY STATION CANTEEN
10 Railroad Ave. S.W., Aberdeen
PALM GARDEN CAFÉ & CHOCOLATE SHOPPE
602 S. 3rd St., Aberdeen
1500 North Main St., Aberdeen
NORTHERN STATE UNIVERSITY
1200 S. Jay St., Aberdeen
503 N. 3rd St., Aberdeen
capitolcinema.net + aberdeencommunitytheatre.com
415 S. Main St., Aberdeen
MAVERICKS STEAK & COCKTAILS
720 Lamont St. S., Aberdeen
SAMMY’S RESTAURANT & OMELETTE SHOP
212 S. Main St., Aberdeen
2601 6th Ave. S.E., Aberdeen
DACOTAH PRAIRIE MUSEUM
21 S. Main St., Aberdeen