Downtown Sioux Falls is home to the 2021 Best Place to Patio, PAve, a true staple of Phillips Avenue.
“We just wanted to cater to those who wanted to enjoy the outside weather as well as the people who want to be indoors,” said general manager John Geiken. “And we wanted to have something that made sense for South Dakota, because obviously not all months of the year are outside months.”
On the top floor of PAve, large glass, garage-style doors remain open in warmer months to a welcoming patio where people can sip on drinks and socialize.
Out under the sky, there are high-top tables both with and without fire pits, plenty of red patio sofas, and other areas to hang out and have a good time with friends.
The cold weather changes things a bit. The glass doors close and keep the cold from seeping inside, but the patio is still open with a heated section available.
“When we were building PAve in the first place, we wanted to build something that’s not here, and I think we achieved that goal.” -John Geiken
String lights twinkle over top of the space, bringing in warm mood lighting.
Geiken says they were toying with the idea of putting up a light-up sign reading “PAve” on the side of the building, towering over the patio, but they realized they wanted a big bold statement instead.
“We ended up coming up with one of the most powerful and simplistic things you can say to another person, and that was ‘I love you,’” said Geiken.
From the street below, anyone can see the large red, lowercase letters broadcasting the statement to anyone who’ll look their way.
“Before you know it, everyone and their dog wanted a picture in front of the ‘I love you’ sign,” said Geiken.
Before 10 p.m., PAve has an extensive food menu and is a relaxed space ideal for conversation. The patio is open both afternoons and evenings in the summer, but during the winter only the first floor is open until 4 p.m.
The menu offers a variety from your standard “bar food” like the Boneless Wings to more out-of-the-box choices.
Geiken says one of the most well known appetizers is the Giant Pretzel, which comes with nacho cheese, Monterey jack cheese, and beer cheese.
“We do offer a full menu. I would say it’s surprising to most because it’s not generic bar food. It’s better quality. We have some strong people in our back of house, and we let them run the show back there.” -John Geiken
“It was a big, bold idea that we went with for our menu,” he said. “The pretzel is huge and can probably feed four to five people.”
Every Thursday night in the summer months, there’s live music on the patio.
Similarly oversized is the El Guapo Nacho, a mountain of ground beef, nacho cheese, Monterey jack cheese, pico de gallo, and black olives all drizzled with sour cream.
“We were adamant about having a good steak salad,” said Geiken. “We were toying around with the dressing. We requested a raspberry vinaigrette, and by accident we got an apple lime vinaigrette sent.”
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Shredded cheddar, bacon, pico de gallo, green onions, black garlic aioli, and sriracha.
Stensland Family Farms cheese curds with ranch.
Sriracha Bourbon Burger
Sriracha bourbon sauce, pepper jack cheese, bacon, pork, onion strings.
Ghost pepper cheese sauce, ghost pepper cheese, bacon, jalapeño.
Marinated chicken, jasmine rice, cucumber sesame relish, Thai peanut sauce, sriracha.
Chislic & Fries
Deep-fried sirloin served with fries and ranch or black garlic aioli.
All-beef hot dog, tomato, sport peppers, pickles, onions, relish, celery salt, mustard.
It wasn’t what they thought they wanted for the Steak Bruschetta Salad. After trying the apple lime vinaigrette, they were sure it was perfect to pair with the romaine and spring mix, tomato-onion relish, steak, bleu cheese crumbles, parmesan cheese, and bruschetta bread.
Other items to try with your friends range from sandwiches and wraps to burgers, hot dogs, and soup.
“We have some strong people in our back of house, and we let them run the show back there,” said Geiken. “When you put that together with good, fresh ingredients, there’s a good mixture of quality and big and bold.”