Wednesday, April 2, 2008

For hungry photographers

As I was looking for the next great shot on the road last week, it occurred to me that "people's gotta eat." (Sorry, that's an inside joke that a few people that know me will get.)

So I thought regardless of their photographic potential, I would throw out some of my favorite places to pick up a decent meal in South Dakota. I will continue this as we go along, but here are the first two that popped into my head.

In the southeast corner of the state, Charlie's Pizza is at 804 Summit Street in Yankton and has been around for as long as I can remember. This is my favorite pizza anywhere. The crusts are thin and extra salty, which gives them a very distinct and unique flavor. Decor leans toward old movies at Charlie's, and the menu titles reflect that as well. I highly recommend the shrimp, crab, black and green olives known as "Marilyn's Mermaid Heaven."

For the photographer on the go, gas station food isn't out of the norm. When you got up later than you wanted to get to that perfect location before sunrise, or are grabbing a quick bite in the middle of a productive day of shooting, even "fast food" sometimes isn't fast enough.

So if you are shooting in the Deadwood-Lead area of the northern Black Hills, stop by Fresh Start Convenience Store on Highway 14 in Central City. This is as far as I know the only place you can get the local delicacy known as King's Pasties. (That's "pass-tees," not "paste-ies.")

King's Grocery used to serve the miners who spent their working hours deep underground in the Homestake Gold Mine in Lead. Pasties were what the miners packed in their lunch pails as they descended into the tunnels. After the mine closed in 2002, so did the grocery store. However, the pasties were so popular that a continuing outlet for them was found at the Fresh Start.

So what's a pasty? It's like a meat pot pie without the pot, or a pie crust with some kind of filling rolled up inside and baked. My favorite is beef, potatoes and onions, but you can also get a pizza pasty, a sausage and sauerkraut pasty, or a breakfast pasty with eggs, cheese, etc.

Pasties were apparently imported from tin mines in Cornwall, England to the copper mines of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where they have become an even bigger deal than in South Dakota. Somewhere along the line, I'm guessing miners from Michigan came to Lead to work the gold mines, and the rest is culinary history. If you are really interested, check out:


Winter is coming said...

Thanks for the food suggestions. I'd love to see a more updated post on suggested places to eat in SD. I'll be headed that way next month, driving from Lincoln, NE north and then along I-90 all the way across to the Black Hills. My friends and I love little road side diners and local favorites. If you have any other suggestions I'd love to hear them.

Special thanks for the tip on where to get pasties. I'm from Michigan originally, and grew up on meat pies and pasties that my mother made (learned from her mother, learned from her mother...) that actually come from our French-Canadian heritage, where meat pies and things are a big deal.

Chad Coppess said...

King's Pasties are now available at several convenience stores throughout the Black Hills. I picked one up yesterday at the Flying J Travel Plaza in Hermosa.

Other foods stops across I-90 - Al's Oasis in Oacoma on the west side of the Missouri River, The Nibble Nook Cafe in Kadoka, Wall Drug and/or Dairy Queen in Wall.

In the Black Hills - the Monumental Breakfast at Mount Rushmore is a great deal, the Alpine Inn in Hill City has steak on the menu (large or small) and almost always a waiting line for a dinner table, the Deadwood Social Club on Historic Main Street in Deadwood has great cheesecake. There are lots of others, but those three come to mind immediately.