When 605 featured Mt. Rushmore Brewing Company in Custer last year, we heard the upstairs was going to eventually open as a restaurant called The Pounding Fathers. First off, get your head out of the gutter. And yes, I giggled like I was 8 when I first heard the name, too.
But the concept behind the name are the Founding Fathers of the United States “pounding” beverages and making merry.
By the time it was about ready to open in June, though, I couldn’t make the trip. Half of 605’s team went out to the Black Hills for 605 Day, and half stayed back in Sioux Falls for the statewide celebration.
Now, this is difficult, since I’m the writer of this column. So we improvised. John Snyder and Taylor Hanson from our office (and Taylor’s boyfriend, Levi Douglas) FaceTimed me as they experienced the new space above the taproom.
I got a tour via iPhone, and it appeared to be clean and modern, with barnwood and tin accents. Historical photographs of Mount Rushmore hung on the walls, and one of the team’s favorite features were the six-barrel kegs that were turned into pendant lights above the bar.
Rubbed with fine herbs, it was marinated with a creamy IPA beer sauce, and was served with rustic mashed potatoes and buttered vegetables. Let’s not forget the most important part. It (as in the chicken) was wearing a chef’s hat.
Taylor dug in and mentioned the sauce was thicker, like a beer cheese sauce that they drizzled onto the chicken.
“This is my first beer can chicken I’ve ever had,” said John.
Levi chimed in, “You can taste the beer. It’s really good.”
“Totally,” confirmed Levi.
What made the mashed potatoes “rustic” was having pieces of potato and skin in the mash.
“I love when it still has the chunks,” said Taylor, using her best Food Network terminology.
Next was the Soft-Shell Crab Slider, which is an appetizer. The breaded and deep-fried shell was served with a fresh salad, topped with pineapple jalapeño dressing.
It was visually appealing. The team on the other end of the phone looked a bit puzzled, and mentioned it was so cool to look at that is almost appeared like it could “get up and walk away.”
John was the first to grab a piece, which he admitted he didn’t feel totally confident he was eating correctly.
“It’s light and not super seafoody,” he said.
Taylor mentioned it was a bit confusing on how to take on this dish, and they regretted not asking the staff. But the consensus was that they enjoyed the nibbles they did get. And then the Sweet Pork Tenderloin arrived and Taylor’s world changed. The dish had two five-ounce pork tenderloins wrapped with bacon. It was glazed with sweet-scottish ale berry sauce, served with mashed sweet potatoes and buttered vegetables.
“The sauce is like a berry jelly,” said John.
This freshly made sauce is actually Wojapi, or a Native American berry sauce, said Chef Joseluis Dominguez as he walked by. “I would put this on my toast every morning,” Taylor said, pointing at the plate.
They continued to eat and chatted about the sweet potatoes and how much they loved the sauce. Another staff member walked by and Taylor said, “I would buy this. Do you guys sell it? I would legit use this every morning for breakfast.”
They chuckled, thinking she was joking, and walked away.
She muttered, “I was serious…”
After reminding them that I was watching them eat, they moved on to the finale: the Tatanka Tomahawk. This buffalo prime rib was 29 ounces and was gorgeous to look at. It’s clear that presentation is important to Pounding Fathers, and it really makes the experience.
You can choose from several sides, and the team had Chorizo Mac-n-Cheese, which Taylor said was almost a meal in itself with its richness.
“The mac-n-cheese is dynamite,” said John. There are normally two sauces to choose from, but the crew got both. One is the Criolla, with three peppers, onions, and garlic, and the second was the Chimichurri with parsley, garlic, and white vinegar.
They all agreed the sauces were a nice addition, but not necessary.
“This is the most tender buffalo I’ve ever had,” said John. “The steak is perfectly done. If you like yours more well done I can see the sauce adding flavor, but you don’t really need it.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT MTRUSHMOREBREWINGCOMPANY. COM.
› LARGER MUSSELS
Steamed mussels with tomato, onion, herbs in house lager.
› PALM SALAD
Romaine lettuce, green apples, cherry tomatoes, radishes, and a palm white wine vinaigrette dressing.
› KOREAN STIR-FRIED RICE
Sautéed jasmine rice in the wok pan with green bell peppers, carrots, portobello mushrooms, celery, and scrambled eggs.
› REUBEN SANDWICH
Classic Reuben sandwich with corned beef, provolone cheese, sauerkraut, and 1000 island dressing on rye bread.
› POUNDING BURGER
1/3 lb Beef patty, caramelized onion, provolone cheese, mushrooms, lettuce, and tomato.
Pomodoro sauce, pulled duck, mozzarella cheese, mushrooms, and red onions on a 14″ regular crust.
› ROTINI VONGOLE
Creamy red sauce with steamed mussels, over rotini noodles. Topped with romano cheese.
› BITTERSWEET HALIBUT
Peach and blonde beer sauce, red wine mushroom risotto, and buttered vegetables.
› BEEF TENDERLOIN
Side Options: Chorizo Mac-n-Cheese, Rustic Mashed Potatoes, Sweet Mashed Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, or Asparagus. Sauce Options: Criolla: Three peppers, onions, and garlic or Chimichurri: Parsley, garlic, and white vinegar.
› BERRY PANNA COTTA
Creamy panna cotta with a berry compote topping.
When you hear brewery, you imagine small bites or something more casual, like pizza. People will definitely be surprised at the quality of the food and the all-around experience. This isn’t just a “let’s stop and have a flight of beer and grab a reservation elsewhere.” It’s a one-stop shop for a night out.
140 Mount Rushmore Rd., Cuter // (605) 673-4200 // mtrushmorebrewingcompany.com.
Even calling it a modern pub wouldn’t be doing Pounding Fathers justice. The menu design, the menu itself, and the warm atmosphere above the brewery gets even better with an outdoor patio that wraps around the whole building. It also nods to Mount Rushmore without being too tourist-trappy/corny.
The prices have quite the range. You can get most meals for $19 or less, but if you’re looking for beef it’s more in the $20-plus range (the epic Tomahawk is $69.99).
The only struggle was the crab, which the crew just didn’t understand (self-admittedly). Taylor is probably still talking about the berry sauce to someone, and they said that was one of the best steaks they’ve ever had, which is high praise from South Dakotans.
Rating Scale: Ambiance ++++ | Price $$$$$ | Taste ++++
It's the Facts
THE POUNDING FATHERS IS OPEN MONDAY THROUGH SUNDAY FROM NOON TO 9 P.M.
CHECK THE MT. RUSHMORE BREWING COMPANY WEBSITE FOR EVENTS ON BOTH COMPANIES, LIKE THE SUMMER MUSIC SERIES.
MT. RUSHMORE BREWING COMPANY HAS ONE OF THREE FEMALE MASTER BREWERS IN THE STATE, HANJE EHRLICH.