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South Dakota, and more specifically the Missouri River region, is known for its unique food scene.

Many people don’t think of food when they think of our area, but our region is famous for many delicious fares you won’t find anywhere else. From local favorites like fried walleye and catfish, to classics the whole family will love, there is something for everyone from the pickiest eaters to the real foodies.

Many small towns along the river are known for their local “specialties”. Ask the locals or restaurant staff for a recommendation and they’ll lead you to some of the best food you’ve ever tried. Fresh caught walleye. Chislic. Indian tacos with fry bread. When it comes to local cuisine, South Dakota has its own flavor, especially when it comes to our abundant wild game.

Here is a short list of some of the foods that are staples in South Dakota:

fry bread

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Lynn's Dakota Mart

McCarville Coffee Roaster

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Man standing in tap room of brewery
Bars, Brewery, & Pubs

Whether you’ve spent the afternoon fishing the Missouri, or exploring local shops and attractions, nothing is better than ending the day with a nice cold drink.

Take it from us, there is a beautiful nostalgia when you step into a small, hometown bar - and the Missouri River region has plenty! If you’re looking for something a little more upscale, check out the many local breweries and wineries throughout South Dakota. Check out Dakota Spirits Distillery in Pierre or Platte Creek Brewing Company in Geddes for some truly unique craft beers!

Al's Oasis in Chamberlain
Family Dining

One of the most memorable things about the Missouri River area is the plethora of local family-owned businesses, and the restaurant industry is no exception.

If you are looking for a dining experience that makes you feel like you’re having a home-cooked meal, look no further! From classics like Al’s Oasis in Chamberlain or Rick’s in Mobridge, to hidden gems along the beaten path, you’ll not only get a delicious meal, but hometown hospitality like no other!

The Donut Shop in Pierre
Coffee and Bakeries

There is no better duo than a family road trip and a fresh cup of coffee.

Especially if you’re rising early to catch those gorgeous South Dakota sunrises. The Missouri River Region is full of adorable coffee shops filled with charm. In addition, many of our small communities still have local bakers who wake up at the crack of dawn to make fresh pasties for locals and visitors alike. Check out McCarville Coffee Roster in Bonesteel and try a Mega Muffin, or visit the Branding Iron Bistro in Pierre for a local signature coffee. If youre traveling I-90 for the long hull be sure to stop by the Coffee Cantina in Kimball for a smoothie, cold brew, or a specialty choice of brain fuel! 

State dessert of South Dakota
Dakota Desserts

The state of South Dakota has an extremely rich history and is a melting pot of different cultures.

Due to this diversity, South Dakota has some amazing desserts you may not find anywhere else! Kuchen, the official dessert of South Dakota, is a pie-like German Pastry made with sweet dough and filled with custard. Kuchen is especially popular on the eastern side of the state. If you are looking to try something from the Lakota Sioux people, we recommend Wojapi. This is a thick dipping sauce prepared by mixing wild berries and is delicious with fry bread! Visit the South Dakota Popcorn Company in Pierre to try this incredible and unique dessert!

Valiant Vineyards in Vermillion South Dakota

If beer isn’t your thing, there’s no need to fear.

South Dakota has a plethora of local vineyards that are sure to impress even the most sophisticated sommeliers. On the Eastern side of the state check out Schade Vineyard and Winery near Volga or visit South Dakota’s oldest winery, Valiant Vineyards in Vermillion, looking over the Missouri River! On the Western side of the state Prairie Berry Winery is nestled in the ponderosa Pines in Black Hills National Forest.

Aerial view of Missouri River

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