It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it. The 605 team travels all around South Dakota finding hidden gems and statewide staples. The 605 Best awards are given to people and businesses who we feel deserve some recognition, whether it’s for an appetizer we can’t stop ordering, to a business owner who didn’t give up during 2020. And let’s be real; a lot of us would have.
This isn’t “pay to play,” and includes a few 605 Best People’s Choice Awards, thanks to our readers and followers. Here are the winners of 2020.
FOOD & DRINK
BEST INTIMATE DINING EXPERIENCE
This chef-inspired restaurant inside of the Tin Lizzie Gaming Resort in Deadwood is a culinary journey provided by chef Tucker Walton. Walton uses local and seasonal ingredients for dishes like the Pappardelle (slow-braised Iowa rabbit, Parmigiano Reggiano, and parsley), and patrons can order item by item or choose the gastronomy dining (pending on COVID-19 changes). The flapper-era vibes round out the experience in the intimate space, and the private dining room is an even bigger surprise. Don’t leave without having a craft cocktail and/or the Pistachio Cake (pistachio, olive oil, goat cheese, coriander, and blood orange). 555 Main St., Deadwood.
BEST RESTAURANT FOR DATE NIGHT
THE FARMHOUSE BISTRO & BAR
New in 2019, The Farmhouse Bistro & Bar is “rooted in the history and culture of Spearfish and the surrounding Black Hills.” The farm-to-table eatery is located on the former Meier Ranch property and gives nods to it in its design and inviting atmosphere. Some must-try items from the bistro, which serves lunch and dinner, are Twyla’s Fried Chicken (fried chicken, honey glaze, gouda mashed potatoes, and farmhouse gravy) and Sea Scallops (pan-seared sea scallops served with a mushroom five-grain risotto drizzled with white truffle oil). Also grab brunch with a specialty drink like the PB&J Old Fashioned (whiskey, cherry, and orange). 2525 Yukon Pl., Spearfish.
BEST PLACE FOR A STEAK
Inside the Silverado-Franklin Hotel & Gaming Complex is Legends Steakhouse, where you can have “legendary dining in a legendary place.” Since 1903, the Franklin Hotel has hosted legendary politicians, businesspeople, sports figures, and entertainers, and it’s said that Theodore Roosevelt stayed there while visiting Seth Bullock. Down the steps in the lower level is the steakhouse that serves breakfast and dinner, and a prime rib the size of your head. 709 Main St., Deadwood.
BEST COMFORT FOOD
Jambalaya. Shrimp Etouffee. Fried Catfish. Get fresh Cajun food from couple Zachary Fournet and Leah Nelams at Café Louisiana in Yankton. Fournet first wrote down the name for the restaurant concept on a napkin in 2001 and made it a reality. And we’re glad he did. The menu changes daily with whatever they feel like cooking (and have available). 605 was lucky enough to be there on a day when he made Benyays (a beignet) and we still daydream about them. 2007 Broadway Ave., Ste. M, Yankton.
BEST MUST-STOP FOR BREAKFAST
STAGE STOP CAFÉ AT CHEYENNE CROSSING
Located eight miles southwest of Lead at the upper entrance to Spearfish Canyon is Cheyenne Crossing. The quaint establishment makes you feel at home as you enter through the general store full of unique gifts and knick-knacks to make your way to the Stage Stop Café. While the Food Network has raved about the Indian Taco, the 605 team drives out of our way to get the campfire-style pancakes. 21415 U.S. Hwy. 14-A, Lead.
FACT: Cheyenne Crossing was a stage stop in 1878 known as the Ice Box Canyon Valley Station.
Geng Tanawong was a teenager when his family moved from northeast Thailand to the Rapid City area. After noticing the lack of Thai restaurants, in 2014 he opened up his own with some friends. After his partners sold their shares to his parents, Baan Thai soon became a downlow hot spot. Items like Pad Kee Mao (“Drunken Noodles” with wild rice noodles, bell peppers, onions, and basil stir fried in sweet basil sauce) and Thai Beef Salad (stir fried beef in special sauce mixed with fresh tomatoes, green onions, white onions, and cucumber over shredded lettuce with a side of sticky rice) keep the people coming. 114 Box Elder Rd. W, Box Elder.
BEST SOUTH DAKOTA MUST-TRY
TIGER MEAT AT KESSLER’S
When people hear “tiger meat,” they would assume they’re eating tiger. They would probably assume it’s not a South Dakota thing. Both are wrong. Tiger Meat is raw hamburger meat seasoned and cured and is eaten like a dip, most often with crackers. The closest thing it has been compared to is steak tartare. Where is one of the best places to find this dish? Kessler’s in Aberdeen. Order it for a special occasion, for an appetizer, or for a night of binge watching. 621 6th Ave. Se, Aberdeen.
BEST COFFEE SHOP
RED ROOSTER COFFEE HOUSE
Open since 1996, Red Rooster Coffee House is the place to go in Aberdeen for coffee, a bite, and as a hub for creativity and community. Brother and sister duo Dan Cleberg and Kileen (Cleberg) Limvere also have an attached gift shop with a humanitarian mission, along with an expansive used bookstore. When there’s not a pandemic, you can find events like live music, film, an art gallery, DJs, karaoke, and more in the back space. The eclectic coffee shop has drinks like a Chai Latte or a Steamer, or grab a baked item or sandwich (like the Hummus Sandwich with black olive, cucumber, and sprouts on whole wheat). 218 S. Main St., Aberdeen.
BUSINESS & EXPERIENCE
BEST WORKOUT CLASS
BURLESQUE CLASSES AT STUDIO DISCO
Entertaining and inspiring audiences in the Black Hills since 2016, Black Veil Burlesque is a classic burlesque and performance art menagerie based in the heart of Rapid City. The group’s performances and mission are to promote confidence and body positivity, and anyone can give it a whirl with Studio Disco’s Burlesque 101 or Burlesque 102. Each series is a handful of weeks perfecting shimmying, bumping and grinding, and glove peeling, and also comes with a set of tassels. 605 Kansas City, St., #2, Rapid City.
BEST PLACE FOR A RETREAT OR REUNION
CIRCLE VIEW RANCH
Owners Amy and Phil Kruse welcome guests to Circle View Ranch—a remote bed and breakfast in Interior. The name explains exactly what to expect, with views all around the ranch that are bucket-list-beautiful. Along with breakfast in the mornings, say hello to the ranch’s array of animals with donkeys, chickens, cattle, and more. Nighttime is just as breathtaking with some of the brightest stars in South Dakota. 20055 E. Highway 44, Interior.
BEST PLACE TO WORK REMOTELY
by Dawn Geertsema
“It’s a place for everyone,” said Queen City Bakery co-owner Mitch Jackson. “We wanted to curate that community so that everybody felt welcome.”
Queen City Bakery, located in downtown Sioux Falls, started bustling with students, CEOs, artists, and politicians in 2008.
“It’s not a coffee shop vibe. It’s not a fancy, sit-down restaurant vibe. It’s a mixture of both,” said Jackson. “You’ve got students in the corner studying, and you’ve got people making multimillion-dollar deals.”
With Jackson running the front of the house, and recipes flowing from his wife and partner, Kristine, the bakery offers the friendly and calm ambiance needed for meetings, interviews, or just a relaxing afternoon with friends.
But when the pandemic started in March, they made the difficult decision to cut down to only to-go options, closing tables.
“We’ve got to keep our staff safe, and we’ve got to keep our customers safe,” explained Jackson. “That’s our first priority.”
Though they hope to open their seating again, Jackson says he doesn’t expect it to happen soon.
“For me to not have people here is difficult,” he said. “It’s difficult to talk to them for the couple of minutes they’re in line and then send them packing.”
But as soon as they see the light at the end of the pandemic, the Jacksons are excited to welcome guests back again and to give them the escape they need from their everyday lives.
“We wanted to have a place that didn’t feel like it was in the Midwest,” said Jackson. “People need to be able to go to a different place.” 324 E. 8th St., Ste. 101, Sioux Falls.
BEST PLACE TO LEAVE YOUR NAME
WAGON WHEEL BAR & GRILL
Jerry Johnston runs Wagon Wheel Bar & Grill on Main Street in Interior. Feel like a regular the moment you enter the western-style building with dollars up strewn about the walls, ceiling, and banisters with signatures, drawings, and inside jokes in permanent marker. “People come in and put a dollar up and come back years later and find their dollar,” he said. “If I ever take any down—I’ve taken about $500 down—it goes to Make-a-Wish South Dakota.” After you leave your mark, have a whiskey or order some grub. 115 Main St. Interior.
BEST ANNUAL EVENT
SIOUXLAND RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL
Huzzah! Play in the past at the annual Siouxland Renaissance Festival in Sioux Falls. Enter “Shrewsbury,” where you can attend a jousting, eat a turkey leg, and even see Queen Elizabeth walking about. Shop for items like chalices, swords, and gifts for yourself or the family. Watch performances all over the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds, and listen to live music and comedy acts. And don’t forget to stop by the beer and mead tent to cool off during the June event. Keep up with the latest by signing up for The Court Herald newsletter for 2021. 100 N. Lyon Blvd., Sioux Falls.
BEST ROAD TRIP STOP
Step into the Wild West at 1880 Town. Grab a sarsaparilla and watch live entertainment, get your own sheriff’s badge, rent a costume for the day and get into your own western getup, do rope tricks and wagon rides with Wild Bill, and visit set pieces from Dances with Wolves. Don’t forget to also stop by the Casey Tibbs Museum, and grab a bite at the ‘50s diner when you’re finished. But let’s not forget one of the biggest highlights: Otis the Camel. 24280 SD Highway 63, Midland.
BEST SUMMERTIME STOP
NICK’S HAMBURGER SHOP
It all began with a little stove burning “white gas” for South Dakota State University’s Hobo Day in 1929. Harold and Gladys Nikalson made what are now some of the most famous burgers in the state and is currently Nick’s Hamburger Shop. The quaint, casual restaurant has “grab a seat at the counter” vibes. It’s not irregular to grab a couple of the smaller burgers, but save room for a malt, homemade pie, or a float. 427 Main Ave., Brookings.
BEST ENTREPRENEURIAL COUPLE
by Dawn Geertsema
“It’s really great being married to someone who gets it,” said Chelsea’s Boutique owner Chelsea Giedd about her husband, Thad. “He’s always so understanding, supportive and loving, and I appreciate it so much.”
Thad is the brand manager and strategist at PINstudios and the license holder and lead organizer of TEDxSiouxFalls.
“Chelsea is the real deal,” said Thad. “She knows how to create value, build a brand others can be a part of, and empower clients, customers, and staff. I have no shame in admitting she is the doer and achiever between the two of us.”
Along with Chelsea’s Boutique, Chelsea is a business and life guide through her second business, My Purposeful Life, where she utilizes neuro-linguistic programming, reiki, and hypnotherapy to help women connect with themselves.
Together, they support each other’s entrepreneurial goals from Chelsea’s podcast, My Purposeful Life, to Thad’s work at TEDxSiouxFalls.
“Thad is like the silent assassin,” explained Chelsea. “He’s humble and kind and makes it seem like he isn’t involved in most things, but the truth is he does a lot behind the scenes.”
And while he’s working on his own projects, Thad is always there to support her.
“He’s my biggest cheerleader and supporter and is always reminding me that I can do the tough things even when I’m on the edge of giving up,” said Chelsea.
In the midst of their busy schedules, they always manage to find time for each other.
“We do set intentions on having at least one workday a week home together by 6 p.m. with no distractions, Friday night date nights, and Sunday lazy time together,” explained Thad.
Chelsea added, “And when we aren’t navigating a pandemic, we really enjoy traveling to new places together and just being present in those moments and leaving work behind.”
They say that for them, there’s nothing more important than each other.
“The dynamic is certainly a partnership,” said Thad. “Just sometimes Chelsea is a few steps ahead as I catch up.”
Chelsea said, “He’s literally my person, and there are a lot of days I feel strongly that I wouldn’t have made it through without him by my side.” 220 S. Phillips Ave., Sioux Falls.
by Dawn Geertsema. images by Phusuda Sheehan.
Self-employed photographer Corey Gross is inspired by various musicians and strangers he sees wandering the streets of Sioux Falls.
Living in the Midwest, layering is a must for Gross, making it to the top of favorite outfit styles.
“Anytime I can put a denim jacket over top of a shirt or button down with Chucks [Taylor] I’m a happy camper,” said Gross.
Every day, he says he just goes with the flow of his emotions. From outfit to outfit, he aims to spice them up, opting to accessorize with a pair of glasses.
“I have various glasses, and they all kind of evoke a different part of me,” he explained. “So whatever I’m feeling that day I will wear those and throw something together.”
As trends cycle, Gross is excited for the comeback of ‘80s “Dad Jeans.”
Whether he’s spending time with family, getting lost in music, or traveling, he wants to spread positivity and simultaneously embrace the darker parts of people. One of the ways he’s found to remain positive is through his clothing.
Gross explained, “I think all that matters is wearing what you feel good in.”
by Dawn Geertsema
“I want people to embrace the idea of hearing themselves,” said civic leader and entrepreneur Vaney Hariri. “We don’t have to import everything. We can export our opinions and our voices out to the world.”
Hariri is also the co-founder of Think 3D Solutions and Thinker Networks, a member of the Sioux Falls Police Department (SFPD) Community Ambassadors, sits on several boards, and is a downtown Rotarian.
“In the Midwest, we’ve oftentimes resigned to the idea that we’re not worth listening to,” he explained. “We’re always looking outwardly for content. I wanted to change that.”
He dedicates much of his time to using his voice to promote productive conversations in the community and developing solutions to better the area.
And Hariri works through various podcasts and media appearances to help work toward that goal.
Listen to him on podcasts like The 605 Show, Thinking Out Loud, Let’s Talk, Disagree to a Degree, and various other platforms. He’s also released multiple music albums as V the Noble One since starting in the mid ‘90s.
“It’s less that I chose to do it, and it’s more of a necessity,” said Hariri. “Media is so important, and I don’t like other people speaking for me. For me, especially with my work in social justice, you’ve got to have a voice, and I want people to learn how to use theirs.”
Earlier this year, Hariri set up conversations with the SFPD about race, community policing, and justice reforms. These talks were some of the most viewed programs on air through the Sioux Falls Downtown Rotary and can still be found on its Facebook page.
“I’m always working toward the goal of having an amazing community, one that is inclusive and compassionate, one that is intellectual and curious,” said Hariri. “A community that doesn’t allow other people to determine its limitations, one that isn’t afraid of doing something special, something big.” 401 E. 8th St. #207, Sioux Falls.
Entrepreneur Aaron Neiman is behind some of 605’s favorite stops in South Dakota. Harriet & Oak in Rapid City and Blackbird Espresso in Spearfish both are both some of the first places we go to grab a pour-over coffee or a tea (an Iced London Fog is to die), or to grab a scratch-made baked item. Green Bean Coffeehouse in Spearfish is also a wonderful spot in other ways, like a Vanilla Chai and a Reuben. Love the baked items in all three locations? 8th Avenue Bakery in Belle Fourche is an artisanal bakery carrying those items and more. 304 N. Main St., Spearfish. // 503 N. Main St., Spearfish. // 704 8th Ave., Belle Fourche. // 329 Main St., Rapid City.
BEST LOCAL PERFORMERS
MADISON ELLIOTT & MADELEINE SCOTT
Madison Elliott and Madeleine Scott created the Park & Art Collective to continue bringing the energy of live performances to people during the pandemic. The Headlights Theater is a pop-up production in parking lots featuring local musicians accompanied by dancers. People typically don’t know where they’re going for the venue until an hour prior to showtime.
by Dawn Geertsema
Jen Kolb, founder of The Kitchen, is “refusing to accept the status quo” as she joins forces with Jada Dobesh to combine The Kitchen with Selah Space.
“I couldn’t accept that I had to choose between succeeding in my career or being present as a mother,” said Kolb. “I’m so proud of the version of The Kitchen that exists today. We’re really making a difference for people who refuse to hear ‘that’s just how it is’ without doing something about it.”
In February 2020, Kolb opened the doors to The Kitchen—a place where women can come together to work, focus on their well-being, and “pour” themselves into their homes and communities.
The doors closed again in March despite the goal-breaking interest from the community.
“We attempted to get back to work with our remaining members in June but became acutely aware that it was no longer possible to gather in large numbers safely,” said Kolb. “I decided to close the doors permanently in August.”
But Kolb was determined.
Become a Member
Work Membership // $200 per month
- Access to a coworking space.
- Cooperative play time for children while at work.
- Five hours a month of private conference room time.
- 15% off all other wellness services and classes.
Heal Membership // $150 per month
- One individual service a month.
- Four group classes a month.
- Cooperative play time for children while healing.
- One quarterly consultation with a team of providers.
- 15% off all add-ons and products.
“The need for a place like The Kitchen didn’t go away because of COVID-19,” said Kolb. “I think in some sense, it’s opened our eyes to the idea that we don’t have to accept the status quo when it comes to our workplaces and our work/life rhythms.”
Working at The Kitchen, Kolb met Dobesh.
“It became clear to us that our missions were one in the same,” recalled Kolb. “We both have a passion for enabling people to feel good about their lives in a holistic way.”
So, Kolb moved The Kitchen into Dobesh’s cooperative wellness center, Selah Space, with the doors set to open once again in November 2020.
“The relationships that have been built through The Kitchen are incredibly inspiring, and I hope that community feeling finds its way to a new generation of business and community leaders,” said Kolb.
While The Kitchen survived the pandemic’s obstacles, Kolb has some advice for other struggling businesses: Have patience.
“I hope that people within the business community are giving themselves grace right now—these are not normal times and there are no playbooks for how to get through something like this,” stressed Kolb. “Taking care of yourself in a loving and healthy way is an investment that will always be worth it.” 117 W 39th St., Sioux Falls.
BEST LOCAL ARTIST
Elisabeth Hunstad has been known for her “small stature, huge sound.” One minute she’s singing Lady Gaga, and the next she’s belting Aretha Franklin’s Respect. On top of that, her upbeat attitude is also a reason why she’s a local favorite, playing anything from festivals to wine dinners. She’s worn Christmas hats for parties, sang the chorus to Iggy Azalea’s Fancy for rap karaoke for 605 publisher Alana Snyder, and recently brought her keyboard onto the Sip-N-Cycle to play for riders.
BEST BAND TO SEE LIVE
With sounds of a funk that brings vibes of Sublime, Rapid City’s Camp Comfort draws large crowds whether they play on a small patio or on a stage at a festival. The group has appeared on the local program The White Wall Sessions, and they have their newest album, Day One Dream, with original music. But the group isn’t too good for a solid cover song list, and keeps the people jamming (sometimes until they feel like stopping at 2 a.m.).
Fact: Frequently a friend will join them and do live paintings during performances.
BEST SOCIAL MEDIA
SOUTH DAKOTA TOURISM
The group that helps people worldwide explore South Dakota and “find your great place,” South Dakota Tourism works hard to promote why people should explore the 605 and where to go while you’re at it. Creating #HiFromSD and starting celebrations like 605 Day (June 5), South Dakota Tourism is constantly hustling for our state, collecting data and marketing interesting and fun things internationally every day. And just one way is through social media. Influencers, fan photos, takeovers, and business features are just some reasons why followers love @southdakota on Instagram and Twitter and southdakotatourism on Facebook.
An institution in Sioux Falls since 1883, Look’s Market has had a long run as a family business. Now Look’s Marketplace, the brand includes a bakery, brewery, restaurant, grill, deli, and more. The large establishment also is a grocer, which includes homemade items like Look’s ranch dressing. It’s hard to compete in a state known for its love of the dip, but the people have spoken. 500 E. 69th St., Sioux Falls.
BEST BUSINESS PROFESSIONAL
Chris Hintz is all about “elevating your event.” Co-owner and co-founder of Pinnacle Productions and PINStudios, Hintz started in the DJ industry solo and has grown his company into over 1,500 events annually with around 32 team members busy working on weddings, production, DJing, films, photo booths, and more. The crew has done the 2020 “pivot” booking a large amount of livestream events, along with regular bookings. In addition to with working on Pinnacle, Hintz is known for networking with other business professionals and chatting through strategy and tips with fellow entrepreneurs. 121 S. Williams Ave., Sioux Falls.