Archie’s Waeside

Review by: Michael Stern

We won’t beat around the bush. Archie’s Waeside serves splendid steak, some of the best in the Midwest, some of the best anywhere in America. The meat is choice and prime; it is hung and dry-aged in a back room of the restaurant. Steaks are grilled so they get a little crusty on the outside. They are overwhelmingly juicy and exude the full, resonating character of corn-fed beef. Even the filet mignon, usually a tender cut that is low on flavor, virtually sings with the authority of blue-ribbon protein. Bone-in ribeye is deliriously succulent. A few years back, at the suggestion of a tipster in the know, we ordered an off-the-menu item, the Benny Weiker, named for a good customer of years ago who used to be a cattle buyer in the Sioux City stockyards. It turned out to be an eighteen-ounce, center-cut, 21-day dry-aged filet mignon that was simply the most handsome piece of meat we have ever seen presented on a plate.

A steak-eaters’ destination since Archie Jackson started it in 1949, Archie’s is now co-owned by Bob Rand, an oenophile who regularly travels to Napa Valley to build the restaurant’s wine list; but if you really want to see his passions rise, get him talking about what exactly makes a great steak. He loves to describe the dry-aging process – how the meat sheds moisture but absorbs the flavors of the marbling – and he will tell you that he believes in cooking a steak at a fairly low temperature (450 degrees), which runs counter to conventional wisdom that says 1000 degrees is what you need to sear it and seal in its juices. All we know is that Archie’s steaks burst with juice when severed with a knife.

Archie’s is a big, happy restaurant with capacious booths and hordes of happy customers who come from miles around to enjoy what is a Siouxland prize.

What To Eat

Benny Weiker filet mignon


Archie’s Waeside Recipes


What do you think of Archie’s Waeside?

One Response to “Archie’s Waeside”

Mike Coan

September 10th, 2005

Since hearing about Archie’s a couple years ago on Splendid Table, I’ve wanted to get to this place. Today I left work early for a late summer drive from Sioux Falls down the Big Sioux River, 96 miles to Archie’s Waeside. Hostess and wait-persons were all cheerily friendly, and said they were glad to have me (a single >hungry< man) show up before the real crowds begin at 6PM.

No appetizer, beyond a bottle of iced Sam Adams, promply followed by a quart-sized bowl of very fresh salad (about 1/4 head of iceburg lettuce, with diced onion, sliced red cabbage, and julienned carrot), accompanied by a slice of corned beef (dutifully crumbled into the bowl), a separate side dish of crispy dill pickles, two cubes of mild cheddar cheese, two stalks of celery, at least one complete carrot cut in sticks, and a roll and cracker basket, with a separate dish of real butter.

Main course was a thick sirloin/shrimp combo: this turned out to be three lightly battered, skillfully fried, tempura-like butterfly-cut king prawns (much more than just another "deepfried" Iowa shrimp – each one made four mouthfuls!) with an ample amount of cocktail sauce. The sirloin was a good inch-and-a-quarter. I asked for it cooked medium and what I got was maybe medium-well to well. The meat had a lightly charred exterior and a delicious freshly grilled flavor, with absolutely no fat or gristle. No need for Heinz 57 or A-1. A large foil-wrapped baked potato came in a bowl. I put the butter left over from the fresh roll on the steaming potato, and went to work. Unpretentious, exceptionally tasty American food. I ate every bite…

Finished and paid by 6:00PM. Total was $30. By then the place was packed with groups of oldsters escorted to their favorite tables, young couples with kids, and apparently everybody else in town. The line started to head out the door and the parking lot was full. I'm not a small town type person, but this place almost made me wish I lived here.

Would I go again? Yes! I have to see how their T-bones compare to those at the Tea Steakhouse.


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