Carter Weiland and fellow Icon Lounge + Event Hall partners wanted to “reopen right.”
“Obviously it’s a weird time to reopen something, which caused us to make sure we’re thinking through everything and adjust to how we wanted to see it,” he explained.
Closing last spring due to the pandemic, the Icon team began looking for inspiration for the downtown Sioux Falls business known for concerts and cocktails. The new concept stemmed from a reface of the lounge artwork by local artist Rory Cowger. His first project was the Mona Lisa, followed by over a dozen more inside.
“A lot of the influences came from people [in Icon]—conversations with fellow coworkers that we wanted to reflect to the community,” said Weiland.
That transformed the lounge portion of Icon rebranding into DaDa Gastropub (the event hall will remain unchanged) with a reopening in last October. As the company’s website explains, Dada, or Dadaism, was an art movement of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century. As the movement rebelled against conventional thought, Weiland says DaDa Gastropub hopes to do the same with its menu and performance art.
“It made sense for us because of where we want to be able to go moving forward,” he said. “We don’t want to be stuck into one little thing. We want to be able to continue to express ourselves in any of the paths we’re running down, whether it be beverages, cuisine, or entertainment, which we will hope to continue at a later date.”
The lounge has been reimagined with additions of greenery, vintage finds, and furniture built by team members. A stage remains in the space, but a wide range of seating and table options have been added. Though it appears to look more like a restaurant, Weiland says DaDa is “bar forward” with an elevated food menu.
“A gastropub is just a bar, which is something that we’re trying to still convey,” he said. “Some people think we’re only a restaurant.”
Icon Lounge was already known for having ramen at a limited capacity, but now patrons can enjoy it during regular hours. The Ramen includes a soft egg, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, green onions, and house “noods.”
DADA GASTROHUB IS AT 402 NORTH MAIN AVENUE AND IS
OPEN TUESDAY THROUGH SATURDAY FROM 4 P.M. TO MIDNIGHT.
“I looked, and the first time I made ramen at Icon was 2017,” said Weiland, who is also a chef and general manager of DaDa.
A new item is the Kimchi Pancake, which has sweet potato, buckwheat, egg, plum syrup, pork floss, and bonito.
“A lot of our food is based on experiences that we’ve had as cooks, where we’ve gone to other countries or other cities and we’ve had a food experience that left an impact on us,” said Weiland.
Other bite options include sandwiches, like the Spicy Fried Chicken with buttermilk brine, spicy mayo, pickles, and brioche.
The gastropub also has dessert, like the Tres Leches Cake with crème anglaise, caramel, and meringue.
Weiland noted that DaDa also has popular items from Parker’s Bistro, which is its sister company, like the Chislic and fries (with Dada Sauce).
Many of the lights are pieces by Sioux Falls artist Steve Bormes, including the larger chandeliers created using swiss cheese vats.
A lot of staff are also part of or have come from Parker’s, like lead bartender (and twin brother to DaDa artist Rory) Arnie Cowger.
“We’re really bringing both operations together and utilizing what talents we have,” said Weiland.
Arnie and crew have put together a drink menu that includes cocktails like a Flannel Man Old Fashioned with Bulleit Bourbon, pine and cranberry liqueur, and a dash of scotch. For those who want a cocktail tasting, there are options like the Boozy Flight with half pours of boozy beverages.
More On The Menu
DaDa Collins (Available To-Go)
White gin, lemon, cane syrup, and lavender kombucha.
White grapefruit juice, lime, cane syrup, cranberry juice, soda, and salt.
Green lentils, sweet potato tortillas, pickled cabbage, avocado, and cilantro.
Sushi rice, scallions, chili, and soy.
Marshmallow, chiles, and cinnamon.
personally i like making food. i really do, and that’s something that keeps me moving. -Carter weiland
For those who want to avoid imbibing and dining indoors, DaDa offers to-go cocktails, including garnishes and frills like drink umbrellas. Arnie says to-go cocktails have been a hit.
“Almost every to-go order has a to-go cocktail on it,” he said. “We thought we were going to have to sit here and try to explain to people what it was and try to sell them on it, and they’re like, ‘Wait a minute, I can have a like a restaurant-ready cocktail in my own home?’”
DaDa has also started selling liquor along with having an inventory of mixers and garnish supplies.
“Anything you see behind the bar here can be purchased off sale with competitive pricing,” said Arnie. “We have anything you would find at a liquor store and have the knowledge behind the bar in case you have any questions.”
He smiled, “We’ll give you any recipe.”