The Mud Hole of the Black Hills is the result of a compromise between a Rapid City couple. He wanted a restaurant; she wanted a thrift shop. You walk in past racks of vintage clothing and orphaned housewares to a service window in the corner of the space. The semi-open kitchen reveals tools familiar to a home cook. There is a four-burner electric stove, a toaster oven, and a plug-in crockpot. The crockpot is important because it keeps the sausage cream gravy pipping hot.
Husband and wife run the show, doing everything from taking orders to making the food to folding dry goods. Though they were busy, we never felt that they had forgotten any of our needs as shoppers or diners.
Chef Dave Roland got his start working his way through several chain diners, but he has a kooky, unique vision in his own kitchen. The result is unusual breakfasts made with heartfelt skill and precise execution of every plate.
The house special is the Mud Bog, which is basically biscuits and gravy, the split biscuits filled with a potato and cheese omelette. The soft, starchy textures of the layers of floury gravy, biscuit, and potato fold into the fluffy eggs and cheese as you eat. The resulting breakfast blur is comforting, satisfying, and impressively presented. We try another special, the Mud Pile, which is a similar mash up, but with tater tots and sausage patties tossed on the pile.
The biggest surprise of breakfast is the Sugar Crystal Waffle, basically a Liege-style waffle served with crispy bacon. The dense, bronze, vanilla-scented waffle contains occasional crunchy bits of sugar that stud the batter. It’s an unusual, delicious choice for a breakfast waffle, and it would make a great on-the-go choice for those moving on to the Black Hills after a morning fill-up.
The Mud Hole is a quirky, and delicious stop for breakfast. More than that, it offers a unique look at South Dakota’s culture of restaurants, so many of which feel more like eating at someone’s house than at a storefront. While you eat here, you will overhear local gossip from the every-morning regulars. We walk away with full bellies, warm hearts, and a couple of sweatshirts.