If your dining needs are relatively low-maintenance and you truly just want to experience the back country communities of South Dakota, Horseshoe Bar is well worth a visit. Located 2 miles off of Badlands National Park, this small biker bar is one of the few food and beverage establishments in Interior, SD. With a population fluctuating between 65 and 70, it’s easy to see why–there were so few buildings that we nearly passed it on our way there!
Before entering, we could already tell by the large outdoor sign that this bar was simple and modest. Our options were clear: hamburger, buffalo burger, or steak sandwich. Before we finished reading the small menu, we were greeted by two curious chihuahuas and a very friendly pit bull that we assumed belonged to the owner. The already open door revealed a tiny dining area that likely seated 30 people at the bar and booths. There is a pool table and several arcade games for the cowboys and bikers that stop by frequently. Most notable: the walls are lined with numerous signed dollar bills from travelers all over the world. Somehow, though located off backroads and far out of the way of interstate highways, dedicated roadtrippers have found this local hole-in-the-wall. For a small restaurant that’s hard to find, has little advertisement, and a limited menu, it is initially puzzling why it attracts such a steady customer pool. But the answer is simple, Horseshoe is as local as local gets. The meals are prepared at a leisurely pace, the staff get to know the customers and make them feel welcome, stories are shared and memories are made. Before you know it you’ll be munching on bison meat while chatting up locals and no matter where you’re from, you’ll find something that you can relate to with the people of rural South Dakota.
We were practically starving by the time we reached Horseshoe and the bison and hamburgers, along with soft potato fries, were exactly what we were craving. Both patties were prepared well done as most meat is cooked in South Dakota and paired well with soft buns and a few table side seasonings. Even the few staff members and a local Interior citizen grabbed a basket of fries and sat with us to discuss our life on the road as we devoured our burgers.
Our bill was a pleasant surprise as our meal costed us only $15, so we tipped generously and added an extra dollar to join the hundreds on the wall as record of our short but quality time in the small town of Interior.
If you’re looking for low-key atmosphere, down-to-earth people, and backyard cooking, then the Horseshoe Bar meets all of those requirements. Make sure to stop by, say hello, share a story and leave a dollar on the wall!
Notes: Menu is VERY limited and heavily based on availability of local markets. Pizza is sometimes available. Owner is working on expanding the menu.