Best Places to Eat in Rapid City SD Beyond the Chain Restaurants

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Best Restaurants, Breweries & Wine Bars in Rapid City, South Dakota - Downtown Rapid City.
Downtown Rapid City. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

As the second largest city in South Dakota and the most popular tourist destination in the state with its location near Mount Rushmore, Rapid City has plenty of chain brand restaurant outlets. But, in downtown Rapid City, I also found an unexpected array of locally-owned Western-style steakhouses, whiskey bars, ice cream shops, and hearty breakfast eateries. And, surprisingly, there’s a ramen restaurant and a brew pub with “crazy” cocktails too.

As Independent Ale restaurant owner Justin Herichsen says, the Rapid City restaurant scene is meeting the challenge of innovative cuisine and diverse offerings that used to be associated with large cities such as Denver. “We have to be exceptional even if we are five hours from anywhere,” he says.

Best Restaurants, Breweries & Wine Bars in Rapid City, South Dakota - Reagan statue near entrance to Tally’s Silver Spoon.
Reagan statue near entrance to Tally’s Silver Spoon. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Eat Hearty at Tally’s Silver Spoon

A downtown institution and arguably the best breakfast in the area, Tally’s Silver Spoon, 6th and St. Joseph streets is famous for its hearty American meals with slabs of meat, comfort food, and large portions. Enjoy classic breakfast items such as pancakes, French toast, crepes, waffles, and eggs along with some surprising entrees such as Buffalo Hanging Tender Steak, chicken fried steak, breakfast burrito, duck, and even a lox plate with salmon and cream cheese on a Black Hills bagel.

The restaurant is open for lunch, happy hour (Sunday-Wednesday), and dinner starting at 5 p.m. It’s right across the street from the historic Alex Johnson Hotel.

Read More: Cambria Hotel Rapid City Review: Great Location Near Mount Rushmore

Best Restaurants, Breweries & Wine Bars in Rapid City, South Dakota - Independent Ale House.
Independent Ale House. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Ask for “Crazy” at Independent Ale House

With 15 to 20 locally crafted beers on tap, the Independent Ale House, 625 Joseph St., in the downtown area, stakes its claim as the place to beat for beer drinkers.  Craft beers are rotated regularly among 50 taps. Beyond beer, they offer creative cocktails, especially Old Fashioneds with seasonal flavors. Their menu is limited to salads and pizzas, but like their approach to cocktails, their handcrafted pizzas are unusual, including the 3 Little Pigs with a cheese blend, pepperoni, sausage, and bacon and Bob’s Popper with ranch sauce, jalapeno, bacon, and raspberry preserves.

SheBuysTravel Tip: For the adventurous drinker, owner Justin Henrichsen suggests people belly up to the bar and ask the bartender if “they are working on anything crazy.”

Best Restaurants, Breweries & Wine Bars in Rapid City, South Dakota - Windsor Block Bar.
Windsor Block Bar. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Sip the Latest Wine at Windsor Block Bar

Taking its name from the original early building in which it operates, the Windsor Block Bar, 627 Joseph St., specializes in craft cocktails using high-end spirits. With an extensive whiskey selection and a growing wine program, this restaurant is a great place to stop by before or after dining.  It’s open from 4–11 p.m. most days except Sunday.

Best Restaurants, Breweries & Wine Bars in Rapid City, South Dakota - Firehouse Brewing Co.
Firehouse Brewing Co. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Rediscover Firehouse Brewing Co

South Dakota’s oldest brewery, the Firehouse Brewing Co, 610 Main St, is on a mission to revive and expand its local beer image. Under the direction of head brewer Mike Beebe, Firehouse is expanding selection and production. At any given time, they offer at least 15 locally crafted beers, plus a root beer. They have a wide selection of sandwiches, burgers, entrees, and as well as a kid’s menu.

Best Restaurants, Breweries & Wine Bars in Rapid City, South Dakota - Firehouse Winery.
Firehouse Winery. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Choose from a Wide Selection at Firehouse Winery

Next door to Firehouse Brewing is Firehouse Wine Cellars, 620 Main St., which offers a variety of award-winning, traditional-style wines. Each selection has its own story with winemaker Adam Martinez having a hand in writing it from the start. He sources grapes with sustainability and quality in mind and from different regions of Washington and Oregon to produce a wide range of varietals and blends.

Best Restaurants, Breweries & Wine Bars in Rapid City, South Dakota - Bokujo.
Bokujo. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Taste South Dakota Ramen at Bokujo

The front of Bokujo, 518 Mt. Rushmore Rd., looks more like a crazed vintage store with an Asian influence than a restaurant. But inside it’s serious business under the guidance of Food Network stars Justin Warner and Brooke Sweeten. Bokujo means ranch or pasture in Japanese and is indicative of the owners’ interest in using local ingredients such as bison to bring the flavors of South Dakota to Japanese food. Sample the bison bone ramen which may be the only place in the world where food lovers can find it.

SheBuysTravel Tip: The menu is relatively small and very focused on ramen so don’t expect burgers and fries.

Best Restaurants, Breweries & Wine Bars in Rapid City, South Dakota - Delmonico Grill.
Delmonico Grill. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Dine in an Upscale Setting at Delmonico Grill

For fine dining downtown, Delmonico Grill, 609 Main St., locally sourced meat and filets prepared through in-house dry aging and a wood-fired grill. They offer a range of dining options including salads, burgers, seafood, and vegetarian dishes. Try the French onion soup.

Best Restaurants, Breweries & Wine Bars in Rapid City, South Dakota - Hotel Alex Johnson.
Hotel Alex Johnson. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

See the Sumptuous View at Juniper at Vertex Sky Bar

“Elevate” your dining experience at Juniper at Vertex Sky Bar, which re-opened in the fall of 2023 atop the iconic Hotel Alex Johnson, 523 6th St., downtown Rapid City. While enjoying panoramic views of the area, sip on craft cocktails and tasty appetizers, or stay for dinner at the most historic dining spot in Rapid City.

Best Restaurants, Breweries & Wine Bars in Rapid City, South Dakota - Murphy’s Pub and Grill.
Murphy’s Pub and Grill. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Chill Out at Murphy’s Pub & Grill

Murphy’s Pub and Grill, 510 9th St., has been a fixture in Rapid City since the repeal of prohibition in 1933. It was much smaller than the current location and had only 14 stools, six booths, and a bar. In 1984, there was a fire, but the renovation provided an opportunity to expand into its current location and establish a full-service restaurant that features local favorites such as buffalo meatloaf. Since then, a 4,000-square-foot patio was added for lounging in the shade at lunch or joining friends at happy hour for an order of fancy fried pickles – three deep-fried pickle spears stuffed with mozzarella and wrapped with prosciutto.

Best Restaurants, Breweries & Wine Bars in Rapid City, South Dakota - Dakotah Steakhouse.
Dakotah Steakhouse. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Order Game at Dakotah Steakhouse

An upscale dining experience with great food and delicious meals can be enjoyed at Dakotah Steakhouse, 1325 N Elk Vale Rd, in a large space with wooden beams crossing the ceiling over a three-sided fireplace made with local stones. A true Western steakhouse with traditional Dakota native cuisine that includes buffalo supplied by local ranchers, Western game such as elk, and popular walleye fish as an appetizer or an entree.

Best Restaurants, Breweries & Wine Bars in Rapid City, South Dakota - Que Pasa Cantina.
Que Pasa Cantina. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Find Tacos and More at ¿Que Pasa? Cantina

¿Que Pasa? Cantina, 502 Main St., offers freshly prepared Mexican tacos, nachos, and burritos, plus a vast tequila selection including margaritas made with pure blue agave tequila. Like the best Mexican restaurants, this eatery makes its own tortillas and mash guacamole to order.

Best Restaurants, Breweries & Wine Bars in Rapid City, South Dakota - Harriet & Oak.
Harriet & Oak. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Eat Healthy at Harriet & Oak

Looking for a healthy breakfast, brunch, or lunch?  Stop at Harriet & Oak, 329 Main St. for a wide selection of coffee and tea, breakfast bowls, breakfast sandwiches, salads, and acai bowls. This is one of the best vegetarian-friendly spots in town, including gluten-free options.

Best Restaurants, Breweries & Wine Bars in Rapid City, South Dakota - Black Hills Bagels.
Black Hills Bagels. Photo credit: R.C. Staab

Grab a Bagel for the Road at Black Hills Bagels

Heading out of town on the way to Mt. Rushmore? Make sure to stop at Black Hills Bagels, 913 Mt. Rushmore Rd., for coffee and a homemade bagel. Every day, there are more than a dozen different kinds, including white chocolate chip, vanilla nut, and strawberry. Open every day at 5:30 a.m.

More Top-Rated Restaurants In and Around Rapid City

R.C. Staab is a New York-based author, playwright, musical theater writer and lyricist. His latest book, New York City Scavenger: The Ultimate Search for New York City’s Hidden Treasures, was published in Spring 2023. His first book 100 Things to Do at the Jersey Shore Before You Die was published in 2020 and is now in its second printing. In 2021, he walked the entire 139-mile coastline of the Jersey Shore from Sandy Hook to Cape May the book, generating more than 200,000 views on social media. He frequently contributes to New Jersey Monthly magazine and online travel publications. He is long-time member of the Society of American Travel Writers having traveled to 49 of the 50 US States and more than 60 countries. He specializes in cultural tourism, adventure travel and historical sites. His off-Broadway musicals and plays have been produced in New York, San Francisco, England and the Midwest. He is a two-time nominee for England’s Best New Song competition. He lives in New York City with his wife, Valari, and his dog, Skye.
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