Saturday, July 16, 2011

"I Don't Always Eat Hamburgers,

but when I do, I prefer Lewie’s."

Is the Dos Equis ad campaign with “The Most Interesting Man in the World” one of the all time greats or what? For me, it ranks up there with Bud Light’s “Real Men of Genius” that salutes such underappreciated American heroes as Mr. Bowling Shoe Giver Outer, Mr. Department Store Mannequin Dresser Upper, Mr. Pro Wrestling Wardrobe Designer, and my favorite, Mr. Giant Foam Finger Maker.

But “The Most Interesting Man in the World” goes to new levels of satire with lines like “He is the life of parties he has never attended," "He once had an awkward moment, just to see how it feels," "At museums he is allowed to touch the art," "Sharks have a week dedicated to him," "Both sides of his pillow are cool," and the classic "His mother has a tattoo that reads ‘Son’.”

(What does it say about me that my two favorite ad campaigns are for beer products?)

We heard about Lewie’s Saloon & Eatery (aka Lewie’s Burgers & Brews) and their great burgers and onion rings and knew that a revisit to Lead, SD, was in order before leaving Sturgis and returning to Custer. And, when we walked through the doors and saw The Most Interesting Man in the World ensconced behind the bar and in front of a beer can display, we knew immediately that we were going to love this place.

How can you not love a place with a giant chain saw bear-holding-a-fish object d’art in the front yard?

That juxtaposes flower boxes and pink flamingoes with a “Harley Parking Only” sign?

That serves Hamm’s beer? (I didn’t know they still brewed it, although it is now produced by the Miller Brewing Co.)

That covers every wall surface with stuff--especially winter sports stuff?

That has a wall of neon Sturgis/Budweiser signs?

That serves beverages in Mason jars?

“…Located on Main Street outside of Lead, South Dakota, near the base of one of the Black Hills' greatest attractions, this family owned restaurant is nothing short of legendary. In its early years, it was just a small bar and grill…with good, handmade food and beer, and a delightful mix of locals and travelers of all kinds. A ‘must stop’ for motorcycle enthusiasts, fishermen and hunters in the spring and summer, the colder seasons bring skiers, snowboarders, snowmobilers, ice fishers, snowshoers, and a plethora of other outdoor enthusiasts.

The large deck is usually covered in at least six inches of snow all winter, but as the ice melts and the trees bloom, patrons can enjoy their meal overlooking a scenic highway…

Chainsaws line the walls, nodding to the area's past and photos of the local ski area hint at the strong future for this community, and this home-grown family owned restaurant” (examiner.com).

The menu is “All American Bar Food.” We gave it a cursory look but I frankly don’t remember what was on it other than some finger foods and a few sandwiches. We had been promised great burgers and we were looking for great burgers.

All the hamburgers are half-pound and the server/bartender told us that the never-frozen and hand-formed beef is from Iowa—IBE beef to be exact. What is IBE beef? Beats me. When I “googled” it, I got Iowa Beef Expo.

Chuck’s was the basic cheese-burger with onion only (I got all of his pickles) and fries.

I ordered the bacon cheese-burger with onion rings.

Both burgers were inch thick, came on buttered and toasted kaisers, (double points for both toasting and buttering), and were cooked medium, which left the meat moist and juicy. So juicy that my roll began to fall apart, so I finished with a knife and fork. And mine was topped with three—count them, three—slices of crisp bacon. These were fine burgers. In fact, we got the great burgers we had been promised.

The beer battered onion rings are made fresh daily and were good although a bit too thick. The fries were good, but not extraordinary.

This was a great place. So great that I forgive the thick onion rings and award 5.0 Addies to Lewie’s.

And, as the Most Interesting Man in the World would say: "Stay thirsty, my friends."