Just three miles north of I-90 sits Salem, previously known as Melas (Salem spelled backward). What was once a major railroad junction is now home to up-and-coming coffee shops, a treasure trove of collectibles, and unforgettable eateries.
SALEM WAS FOUNDED IN 1880.
While I waited, I showed myself around, admiring the multiple seating areas, the outdoor space (complete with bistro lights), and locally made products ranging from bath bombs to jewelry. “The original owner wanted to open a coffee shop in Salem. When he opened this place, everyone loved it. So, the new owners, DJ and Jackie Montreal, wanted to keep it exactly the same,” said Jimenez.
Swearing by their sandwiches, Jimenez whipped one up while I checked out the bags of locally-roasted coffee beans. “Our Turkey Provolone sandwich is probably our most popular sandwich, but we are also known for our coffee. Our drink of the month is the Tiramisu Cold Brew, but I made you the Caramel Macchiato, which might be our most popular drink,” said Jimenez.
IS THE COUNTY SEAT FOR MCCOOK COUNTY.
More than an average thrift store, this shop is divided into sections from home essentials to clothing. Owner Ace English was sitting beneath a giant Chewbacca head as he walked me through the history of ShopWise. “It was opened 11 years ago by a woman named Doris. She quickly outgrew the space. It switched buildings and then owners,” explained English. “When we moved here in 2017, I decided to buy the business. Shortly after, I bought this building and reopened ShopWise in its original building.”
He gave me a tour of the store, starting with the Collector’s Corner, home to a $5,000 Beanie Baby and depression radiation glass. Home goods were next, followed by books, clothing, and furniture. “It’s nice to have something like this in Salem. It allows people to come get something they’ve been looking for without having to drive to Sioux Falls or having to pay Sioux Falls prices,” said English.
> ACE’S HAS A BOOK EXCHANGE PROGRAM THAT ALLOWS PEOPLE TO BRING OR BUY A BOOK AND THEN EXCHANGE IT FOR ANOTHER ONE. “PAY FOR A BOOK ONCE, READ FOR LIFE.”
THE FIRST NEWSPAPER WAS THE PIONEER REGISTER.
In the midst of construction and cornhole season, owners Sheri and Ben Greenlee sat down with me to talk about the iconic Salem bar. “The Brewery actually started in 1963, and has been in continuous operation since then. The pizza oven and the pizza recipe has been here since then, too,” said Ben.
The Greenlees explained that they recently purchased the neighboring building and are planning a grand opening of their expansion in July. “We will double the space we currently have from 60 seats to 120. We are also making space for a stage so we can bring in live music,” said Sheri.
And while the space may be new, the idea of keeping things local and original is not, especially when it comes to the food. “We are known for our pizza and wings, and we make all of the sauces in house,” said Ben. “Our food, our beer, and the bar in general is a staple for Salem. When you come home, you have to stop by the Brewery. It’s a must.”