I met owner Lawrence West of the food truck Watecha Bowl during a Downtown Sioux Falls First Friday live stream when I was a guest co-host for 605 Day on June 5 (if you have four hours to watch magic unfold, it’s on the DTSF Facebook page).
After hearing his passion for his dishes and his culture, I knew I had to know more. And, you know, try all of the foods in the process.
As it was designer Yany Avelar’s last week working for 605, I couldn’t let her leave without doing one more Try It. Our new multimedia designer, Jordan Cushman, came along for his first experience, while 605 O.G. Taylor Hanson also joined since she had never had an Indian Taco. You read that right. South Dakota born and raised Taylor Hanson had never had an Indian Taco.
Well, we decided this was the right time for her to have her first. The crew pulled up to Studio 1491 on Madison Street in Sioux Falls, which is also owned by Lawrence and where you can typically find the food truck. Studio 1491 specializes in custom and urban apparel, blankets, and beadwork, and they also recently launched Urban Nerd, which sells items like ‘90s nostalgia, pop culture memorabilia, jerseys, sneakers, and more.
“I do a ton of things,” said Lawrence with a laugh as we sat at one of several seating options outside of the storefront. This particular section was a custom spray-painted table with vibrant colors with “Watecha Bowl” etched across it.
He talked about how the menu was inspired by traditional Lakota cuisine, including his fry bread.
“I’m hoping I can create a soft spot where [my culture and businesses] can all mesh by introducing people to the beadwork, the blankets, the music, the food, the fry bread,” said Lawrence. “Everybody likes [the fry bread]. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad review.”
The music he referenced was his previous role in the local hip-hop scene.
Here are a few items I’m excited to try next…
+BIG INDIAN DOG
+INSIDE-OUT INDIAN TACO
+FRIES WITH CHEESE
“My initial background was in music,” he said. “I was really immersed into the music culture. I was one of the first hip hop artists in Sioux Falls, and we did a big push with that movement.”
The (mobile) restaurant scene being his latest endeavor, Lawrence says it’s important that everything is made fresh daily.
His culinary résumé also includes food and drink pairings with Ben’s Brewing Company and catering other large events. Bur Oak carried several beers from the local brewery prepandemic and the Nooneys say they hope to again, when they get back to normal hours.
“We source locally, we don’t use dyes, we don’t use any frozen, pre-made food,” he said.
The 605 team got to see for ourselves with several menu options. As it’s a food truck, each dish is served in a foam to-go box, and we walked over with a pile of them to spread out onto our table to nosh.
To welcome Taylor to South Dakota officially after 25-plus years, we tried the Indian Taco first. Lawrence said the meat is a mix of ground beef and buffalo and has mixed garlic and seven dry seasonings. It’s then placed onto fresh fry bread and is topped with lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, salsa, sour cream, and cheese.
“This fry bread reminds me of funnel cake,” said Yany.
“My primary goal is to bring awareness to the culture.”
It did have that flavor and had a hint of sweetness. Also, he wasn’t kidding when he said it was fresh. Don’t dive in too fast, because it’s served hot and fresh out of the kitchen. And I mean that in the best way, because it shows just how each item is made the second you order it. Also, so fluffy.
THRASH & CRASH BIRTHDAY BASH
When: August 15 // 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Details: Fry bread eating contest, wrestling, and more.
Where: Studio 1491, Sioux Falls
Admission: $8 advance // $10 door
The Indian Taco was everything I imagined and more when I was daydreaming that Monday morning about our lunch outing. Watecha Bowl would be hard to stop by and get anything else if you’re an Indian Taco fan, because it’s fresh and delicious.
“You could definitely share this,” said Taylor.
And she was right. Maybe that’s why it’s called Watecha, which means “leftovers” in Lakota.
Next up was the Big Indian Burger. What I really liked about the eatery was that no two days were the same. Lawrence says the menu is always changing, whether it’s different dishes or a twist on dishes. For example, there is the Big Indian Burger, but some days it’s made with beef and some days it’s made with buffalo. That day was buffalo.
This had fry bread, chopped lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, and cheese. Jordan shared the same sentiment that the fry bread gave it that sweet twist.
“The cheese with the fry bread mixes perfectly,” he said. “It’s like a sweet burger.”
Speaking of fry bread, Lawrence also gave us a side of fry bread for us to dip in the Wojapi, which is a traditional Native American berry sauce.
“You can drink it, you can eat it with a spoon, you can dip your fry bread into it,” he said. “It’s a very traditional dish. It’s probably one of the oldest dishes we serve.”
Lawrence explained he mashes up berries, which vary every day depending on what he’s feeling like, and boils them with sugar until they get a thick consistency. That afternoon’s choice was blackberry.
We dipped the fry bread into the sauce. And then the Indian Taco. And then the Fry Bread Cheese Curds (with buffalo milk mozzarella cheese), which was our side. The special sauce is definitely a tie with fry bread for the star of the show.
Last, but not least, was the Powwow Lemonade. This also changes, but is a (large) lemonade with various fruits. We had traditional lemonade, which was killer. I walked up and told Lawrence that it’s like the lemonade you aim to have at a fair for an idyllic summer moment, and he nailed it.
I am definitely going back to try more. The Watecha Bowl Facebook page is actually kind of addicting because the menu is always different (i.e. he served breakfast the other day) and the location does mix up pretty frequently. But also, that Indian Taco will be a monthly meal.
This is quite different as it’s a food truck. I will say a big piece of feedback the group had was that we loved the people watching. If you eat at the primary location, you’re on a corner and there’s quite a bit happening. Since it was close to the Fourth of July, we actually had a firework go off while we ate, which surprised (and terrified) us.
So much great food for reasonable prices. Each item could definitely be finished later on or shared.
So fresh you have to give it a minute to cool down, which is ideal. I would rather wait in anticipation for a few moments than not know if it’s made to order. It’s also nice to hear details about the ingredients, like the locally sourced beef and the fresh fruit for lemonade and wojapi.