A local favorite, the Colonial House (2501 Mt. Rushmore Rd., 605/342-4640, summer daily 7 a.m.–9:30 p.m., winter Mon.–Sat. 7 a.m.–9 p.m., Sun. 7 a.m.–2 p.m., breakfast $8, lunch $9, dinner $12) is a good choice for dining out in Rapid City. Located near many of the motels along Mount Rushmore Road, the very bright canary yellow exterior is deceiving.
Inside you’ll find a large, spacious restaurant, with a lot of wood paneling, dark green carpet, wood booths and tables, and brass trim in the small bar. It’s casual and comfortable. The house specialties include chicken noodle soup and delicious hot caramel rolls. The menu includes a full range of sandwiches, burgers, and salads. Dinner specialties include buffalo rib eye and various cuts of steak.
The burger is king at Arnold’s Classic 50’s Diner (1940 N. LaCrosse St., 605/721-9452, daily 6 a.m.–10 p.m., $7–10). Located just off off I-90 near Rushmore Mall, the diner is named after the local hangout on the television show Happy Days. In a tribute to 1950s diners, the waitresses are attired in poodle skirts and there are jukeboxes on every table. Old-fashioned malts are served in silver canisters and the exterior looks like an Airstream. But it’s the burgers. Go for the burgers.
Also on the north end of town is the award-winning Minervas Restaurant & Bar (2111 N. LaCrosse St., 605/394-9505, Mon.–Sat. 6:30 a.m.–10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Sun. 6:30 a.m.–2 p.m. and 4:30–10 p.m., breakfast $8, lunch $9, dinner $15–22, Sun. brunch $9–12). Minervas is a large facility that manages to maintain an intimate feel with the well-planned use of room dividers and lighting. Rich greens and burgundy colors, and hardwood tables, chairs, and booths give the restaurant an elegant yet causual feel. The bar area, which is also used for dining, is warmed by a stone fireplace.
The Sunday brunch is a local favorite. A full range of hot breakfast dishes, including omelets made to order, complimented by lunch selections—such as ham, roast beef, hot potato dishes, and pasta—make for a casual but special Sunday morning out on the town. During the week, there are plenty of choices on both the breakfast and lunch menus. Lunch offerings include a wide array of soups, salads, and sandwiches. Dinner selections are standard American fare, including chicken, pasta, and steak.
The Pirate’s Table (3550 Sturgis Rd., 605/341-4842, summer Mon.–Thurs. 5–8:30 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 5–9 p.m., winter Mon.–Thurs. 5–8 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 5–8:30 p.m., closed Sun., $15–20) can be quite the surprise for the unknowing diner. Located on the west side of town off of Main Street, the building has a very plain exterior—but step through the door and you’ll find a restaurant completely decked out in pirate style. Even the waitstaff are dressed as pirates. It sounds gimmicky, but somehow they manage to pull it off with style. Booths have low lighting and high backs, which keeps the atmosphere intimate for diners. The restaurant offers an incredibly wide assortment of freshwater and saltwater fish and shellfish, including cod, catfish, mahi mahi, salmon, scallops, shrimp, trout, walleye, roughy, halibut, and snow crab. Frogs legs are also on the menu, as is prime rib, chicken, pasta, and several salad entrées. The food is delicious and there’s a full bar.
© Laural A. Bidwell from Moon Mount Rushmore & the Black Hills, 1st Edition