Tommy Hegerfeld started cooking in his early teenage years.
“All through high school, all through college, he’s been cooking,” said his wife, Krystal.
They worked together in the food industry for years, but soon enough was enough.
“We found ourselves working for a company with little control over what the staff was paid, and that’s why it was so important to do our own thing for the livelihood of our employees and ourselves,” said Krystal.
So when they had the opportunity to open their own restaurant in Custer in 2016, they jumped at the chance, opening The Custer Wolf.
“We’ve always just been focused on being a community-focused, family-friendly pub with good, homemade food,” explained Krystal.
They rented their space from 2016-2020 when they were able to move to the location they dreamed of.
“We’ve got a chill vibe, and we don’t just want to push you out the door.” -Krystal Hegerfeld
“Our staff lives here and is from here and has so many interests and works other places as well. We know if there’s a cool trail to hike or what you should do tomorrow. They’re kind of a wealth-of-information center in the Black Hills.” -Krystal Hegerfeld
“Our five-year plan from day one was to occupy this building on the corner,” she said. “We had an opportunity to purchase the building, and we were waiting for all of the things to fall in place to be able to do that.”
In their new building, their focus on the community hasn’t changed.
“Our goal is to provide really good, fresh food and local and regional beer in a really chill, laid-back atmosphere,” said Krystal. “People can hang out and get to know each other, and locals and tourists can become friends.”
At the Custer Wolf, they keep their menu limited to provide the best quality food possible.
“It’s pub-style food but we wanted to put a new twist on that,” Krystal described. “You’re going to get a burger and fries for lunch, but it’s going to be a really good burger and really good fries.”
Tommy and the people in the back of the house work to find the best ways to accomplish that.
“We’ve got a lot of really inventive people back there,” said Krystal. “We travel the world in the wintertime and find cool ideas and cool mixes of things and go from there.”
Beer On Tap
On the rotating beer taps at the Custer Wolf, Krystal says they carry many brews from local and regional breweries like these:
»Black Tooth Brewing Company
»Crow Peak Brewing Company
»Dakota Point Brewing
»Fernson Brewing Company
»Lost Cabin Beer Co.
»Mt. Rushmore Brewing Company
»Spearfish Brewing Company
On the Menu
Sweet Potato Flatbread
Topped with olives, roasted tomatoes, bacon, feta cheese, scallions, infused olive oil, and herbs.
Chicken House Salad
Mixed greens, tomato, carrot, onion, cucumber, shredded cheddar, and a watermelon radish topped with a choice of grilled chicken or tenders and a choice of homemade dressing.
Sandwiches and Burgers
Slow-cooked buffalo with slaw, cranberry vinaigrette, and horseradish on grainy bread.
Breaded local white fish with slaw, pickles, and tartar sauce on a corn hoagie roll.
Chorizo & Shrimp Pasta
Spicy chorizo sausage and shrimp sautéed with onion and garlic in a creamy, herbed tomato sauce with linguine and shaved parmesan.
Grilled walleye fillet topped with an herbaceous African chermoula sauce and served with beans and rice, and vegetable du jour.
One of their classic menu items is the Wolf’s twist on the Reuben. “Our Reuben has been on our menu since the day we opened and has never come off the menu,” Krystal explained, adding that it probably never will.
The sandwich is made on a rye roll with corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and housemade spicy Russian dressing.
Beating the Reuben in popularity so far in 2021 is the BCJ Burger, with fresh jalapeños, bacon, cheddar, and jalapeño cheese.
“Our Bacon Cheddar Jalapeño Burger is to die for,” said Krystal. “We patty all of our own burgers every day. It’s yummo.”
Other popular items are the Falafel Burger, Filet Mignon, and Fish ‘n’ Chips.
“We’ve got pastas, made from scratch in the pan at the time you order them.” -Krystal Hegerfeld
“My personal favorite is the Pub Sandwich because I like to think that I invented it,” said Krystal with a laugh.
They were aiming for a light lunch item.
“So instead of the club, we named it the Pub and changed it up a little bit with a potato bun and our slaw on it,” said Krystal. “It’s a little bit hot and a little bit cold, and it’s just tasty.”
Since opening the Custer Wolf, Krystal says that she and Tommy have felt as if they have succeeded.
Krystal added, “We’re doing our very best, and we try every year to do even better just for a better quality of life and to make a sense of community for everybody involved.”
For more information, visit CUSTERWOLF.COM.