South Dakota is famous for its pugnacious Pheasant. It is the state bird, and it is the reason tens of thousands of visitors flock to the local communities every year. Paying homage to this elegant bird is The Pheasant Restaurant in Brookings. Starting out as a roadside gas station in 1949, the family-owned gem has been serving beloved Dakota dishes for over 60 years. It is one of the first roadside eateries to specialize in Dakota game, along with local favorites and good home desserts. Serving casual, unique dishes with a few dashes of farm fancy, it is a super grassland stop, Roadfood-style.
If you are looking to dig into downhome Dakota cooking, don’t miss the sweet and savory Pheasant Salad Sandwich. Loaded with apples, cranberries, and mounds of delicious pheasant, it is a perennial crowd pleaser. Served with a tasty and satisfying homemade beer cheese soup and local farm pickles, it is sure to make your belly happy.
Another prairie favorite is the South Dakota Bison burger. This grass fed grilled burger is delicious, juicy, and well seasoned. Along with fresh greens, sweet tomatoes, and a good baked bun, the burger is satisfying and incredibly messy. Make sure you tuck a napkin in your collar. You will not be the only one in the house with this fancy shirt protector.
Finish your experience with some old world, restlessly churned ice cream and locally roasted coffee. Brookings is home to South Dakota State University, which is famous for it’s Dairy Farming School. That means everyone in town competes to be the ultimate ice cream alchemist. We were fortunate to enjoy unique and scrumptious Dulce de Leche ice cream. Creamy, sweet, and a tad spicy, it’s so awesome you won’t be sharing this with anyone else. Pair it with Trio Roast coffee. Made with hand selected free trade organic beans roasted in a nearby town, it offers smooth taste to be savored the rest of the afternoon.
Note: The Pheasant curates & sells culinary delights like imported olive oils, rich balsamic vinegars, tasty baguettes and jam, and other treats.