118 S. FRONT ST., CHAMBERLAIN // 605.234.1518 // FACEBOOK.COM
There we were, more than two hours into our road trip to Pierre to attend the South Dakota Governor’s Conference on Tourism. It was myself with 605 director of sales and marketing John Snyder, 605 account manager Taylor Hanson, and The 605 Show podcast co-host Vaney Hariri (also of Think 3D Solutions.)
We took exit 263 to Chamberlain, where we soon took a right to head up the road toward Taco John’s (that’s how I reference it because I’ve stopped there… a few times). Alas, we were trying Spanish cuisine at Mi Pueblo this lunch hour, which was a newer restaurant addition to the area.
This shook Taylor, because she currently works at Gateway Lounge in Sioux Falls part time, and Mi Pueblo is in the former Gateway West. It legit still has the Food & Lounge signage on the outside.
She walked around feeling surreal with the Gateway-style tables and booths, but the rest was definitely on brand with the new tenant. Colorful décor hung from the ceiling, and an adorable tiki bar was right in viewpoint when you enter. A wall of hats also made it festive, along with an array of artwork.
IT’S THE FACTS
+ The restaurant opened this past summer.
+ Mi Pueblo is open Sunday and Monday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.
+ An item it’s known for is the Burrito California, with chicken or beef, onions, tomatoes, and peppers wrapped in a large flour tortilla, served on a bed of rice and four shrimp covered with cheese sauce.
Our group was getting hangry, so we stretched out by the back of the restaurant, which was very private with great windows. It was right next to an indoor patio, which can have garage doors opened when the weather cooperates.
The Mi Pueblo team was the definition of friendly, and they worked with us on picking some of their favorite dishes. First up, chips and salsa with a side of their Cheese Dip and Guacamole. Taylor and I gushed about the presentation, as the salsa comes in a mini pitcher you can pour into as many little bowls as your heart desires.
+ Grilled Steak Salad
+ Taco Salad Fajita
+ Burritos Deluxe
+ Benji Fried
+ Tilapia Campechana
+ T-Bone Lupito
+ Fajitas Vegetarian
+ Chocolate Chimichanga
I was dipping into the cheese dip and then into the salsa (as I do) when the Molcajete Dinner arrived. This had beef chorizo, shrimp, chicken, bell peppers, tomatoes, queso, onions, pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole, and was served with flour tortillas.
This fajita dish came out steaming, full of goodness. Vaney dug in.
“It’s a good quantity, and it keeps it in a bowl that keeps it warm, so there’s nothing wrong with that,” he said.
He then dubbed it as the “meat bowl,” but it was so much more. All of the ingredients packed it with flavor, and they also brought out a lot of juices. Taylor cringed every time Vaney said it was juicy.
Next was the #9 Combination with two beef tacos, Mexican rice, and refried beans. I took a bite and it was fresh and crunchy, but it was even better when I added some of the salsa to kick it up a notch, and to moisten (Taylor also hated when I said this) it. The rice, though. This was the best side of rice I’ve ever had. No joke. A side of rice? More like it should be the star of the show.
Chiles Rellenos came out, which had two chiles stuffed with cheese and topped with ranchero sauce, served with Mexican rice, refried beans, and tortillas. This one was good, but nowhere near what the others had in store visually and taste-wise.
“This is a bold move on a road trip.” Vaney on Spanish Cuisine
We moved on to the Chimichanga Special. Mind you, when Vaney asked about this dish, he asked them if there was an error.
“Is there a comma error or something, because this says you can get ‘one beef, one chicken, and shrimp chimichanga’ served with salad, rice, and beans for $10.99. You choose between beef, chicken or shrimp, correct?”
“No, you get them all.”
He wasn’t lying. We all dug in, and I instantly went to the chicken, as did Vaney.
“The chicken chimichanga is really good, and usually I find chicken boring,” he said. “Beef is where it’s at a lot of times.”
The chimichangas were smothered in melted cheese, and there was a pile of lettuce, pico de gallo, and sour cream in the middle. We all were raving about this choice.
“I’d make a stop for the chimichangas,” said Taylor.
Last was the Pollo Lopez with two boneless chicken breasts specially seasoned with bell peppers, bacon, and cheese on top, served with tortillas, rice, and beans.
I looked over and Vaney played dead in his chair.
I asked, “Are you okay, what is it?”
“It’s cheese and bacon, that’s what it is,” he said with joy.
Mi Pueblo is an excellent stop for locals or for road trips/vacations. You could see the Missouri River out the window, and we talked about enjoying our Mango Margarita and Piña Coloda outside on a nice day. The restaurant’s menu has what seems like a million items, so I’m looking forward to stopping by again soon. You better believe I’m getting rice and a chicken chimichanga.
++ The location can be seen from I-90 and is festive inside. There are TVs for sports, and we watched an episode of Maury while we feasted. He was, in fact, “the father.”
$ The prices are beyond reasonable. It’s almost a steal, to be honest. I couldn’t find anything for $20 or more.
✓✓✓ I feel like it’s my duty to spread the word about this side of rice. While most places treat it was an afterthought, Mi Pueblo has created a masterpiece. Also, this place made Vaney like chicken. Need I say more? Oh yeah, and Taylor got so into the chips, salsa, cheese dip, and guacamole that she kept forgetting to try the entrées.