Sioux Falls Food Tours was created to showcase the best local culinary establishments in the city.
“Sioux Falls Food Tours was started in 2017 by Jenna Chaplin, and she started this business after doing food tours in Italy,” said current owner and tour operator Dana Wohlwend. “She thought Sioux Falls had such a great culture that she wanted to bring them here.”
Chaplin primarily focused on hosting private tours to groups of friends or office parties, but by 2018 she introduced tours to the public. In August of the same year, Chaplin put out a help-wanted advertisement and Wohlwend answered.
“The main question she asked me was, ‘Do you like to eat and drink and talk to people?’ and I replied with, ‘Yes I do,’ and was hired to help her along her food tours,” reflected Wohlwend.
When February 2019 rolled around, Chaplin became too busy with her other business venture to run Sioux Falls Food Tours and asked Wohlwend if she would like to take over. The answer was simple, yes.
While Wohlwend had no prior culinary experience, she found her new role to fulfill a deep passion of hers.
“I enjoy cooking, I love different flavor profiles, and I’ve always been adventurous with my food. If there’s anything on the menu I haven’t tried, I want to try it,” said Wohlwend.
It’s her goal to nudge people outside of their culinary comfort zone.
“Most people aren’t that adventurous, they don’t want to spend money on something they won’t like, but I enjoy pushing people past what they know to try different food,” she explained.
While Chaplin’s customer and vendor base stemmed from her network of connections, Wohlwend had to devise a business plan to continue growing that network.
“I had to build a reputation with the businesses that I’m consistent with. It took a while to figure out what kind of schedule I needed and what I should be offering,” said Wohlwend.
Sioux Falls Food Tours features and supports small local businesses through a walking tour downtown. Those who attend will experience the restaurants and bars that make Sioux Falls a hidden gem, as well as learn the history of the city along the way.
Attendees can experience one of four food tours downtown: the North Tour, the South Tour, the Center Tour, and the East Bank Tour. Each excursion features five various establishments like breweries, sit-down dining, and dessert bars, including Woodgrain Brewing Co., CH Patisserie, Roots of Brasil, R Wine Bar & Kitchen, and more.
Restaurant Week Tours
On April 7 and 14, Wohlwend will be hosting specialty tours during Downtown Restaurant Week in Sioux Falls. Restaurants featured are:
» Bread & Circus Sandwich Kitchen
» Brosia Bowl
» Chef Lance on Phillips
» CH Patisserie
» CRAVE American Kitchen & Sushi Bar
» DaDa Gastropub
» Harvester Kitchen
» Josiah’s Coffeehouse & Café
» Maribella Ristorante
» M.B. Haskett Delicatessen
» Minervas Restaurant
» Monk’s Ale House
» Parker’s Bistro
» Pizza Cheeks
» R Wine Bar & Kitchen
» Sub Zero Desserts
For those unable to make the popular tours and want to experience them, Wohlwend created the Savor Sioux Falls – Food Tour in a Box to accommodate those customers.
“You’re going to receive historic talking points that you’ll walk by, a map of the restaurants, where they’re located, and their history. You’re going to get my order suggestions as well as a gift card, to order whatever you’d like,” said Wohlwend.
Those who purchase the box will be able to enjoy dishes from Severance Brewing Company, Swamp Daddy’s Cajun Kitchen, Intoxibakes, Bread & Circus Sandwich Kitchen, and Papa Woody’s Wood-Fired Pizza.
“You don’t have to do the whole tour in one night. You can certainly use the gift cards at separate times,” said Wohlwend. ”You can split up the boxes and share it with friends and family.”
“I love to eat, drink, and talk to new people, so I get to try new things as well as introduce people to new things.” -Dana Wohlwend
Another way to enjoy a food tour with friends and family is through private tour options. Wohlwend works to find the perfect tour for her guests.
“We work together, so if they want to go somewhere specific, we’ll work it in and I’ll make suggestions based on what they’re looking for,” she said.
Sioux Falls Food Tours is the perfect outing for locals and visitors alike. Wohlwend shares that she has had travelers from across the country like Alaska, New York, Washington, and California.
“It’s a great way to learn about Sioux Falls,” she smiled. “It’s a great way for those visitors, but it’s also great for locals. Many times I have people say, ‘I have never heard of this place’ or ‘I never knew this existed.’”
“Some people go to the same place and eat the same thing every time they go. I’m not one of those people.” -Dana Wohlwend
It’s an afternoon full of friends, fun, and food, according to Wohlwend.
“Many people just come for an afternoon, who want to learn more about Sioux Falls and try different things,” she stated.
As Sioux Falls Food Tours continues to flourish, Wohlwend shared her hopes for expansion beyond her home state.
I-90 Food Tour in a Box
With an anticipated launch date in May, the I-90 Food Tour in a Box is suited for trips from Sioux Falls to Rapid City and vice versa. You will eat your way out to the Black Hills and explore local restaurants in passing cities along the way.
“I would love to venture out to Denver, Omaha, or Paris, and just find places to put together experiences for people and they can go out and do the same thing on their own,” expressed Wohlwend.
For now, she shares that her expansion is going beyond her typical Saturday afternoon tours and into a Best Bar Food Tour on Thursday nights ( 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.) and Cocktail Showdown on Friday afternoons (1 p.m. – 4 p.m.), where one cocktail will be featured each month.
“We’ll try Old Fashioneds in April, there will be three each week, and participants will be able to vote on their favorite and we’ll crown a winner for the month,” shared Wohlwend. “We’ll be featuring margaritas in May.”