is one way to avoid disappointment.
Here we are in the Black Hills in western South Dakota, and I know that the local Lynn’s Dakotamart isn’t going to stock fresh mozzarella. I know that the local pizzerias aren’t going to have fresh buffalo mozzarella, arugula, or prosciutto as toppings. As I said to Chuck: “We’re in cheese and sausage country.”
Then I saw a review entitled “Exceeded Expectations by aTravelingBlog on tripadvisor.com that read: “Prices may be high but you can get as many toppings as you want with NO additional charge! The toppings they do offer are all sliced FRESH daily, including broccoli and cauliflower (odd at first but heavenly on a pizza). The atmosphere was gorgeous for a small place. High ceilings, Fireplace and beautiful art work from a local artist. We chatted with the owner, who was beyond nice…Fantastic pizza! Quite presumably one of the best I've ever eaten! Keep up the good work.”
So, with that endorsement for Elm Street Pizza in Hill City stored in our mind, we exited the 1880 Train after our round trip to Keystone and headed for pizza. This small place with inside seating for twenty-four max is just across the street from the Depot. Décor is sparse, but the walls are hung with some interesting modern prints.
You place your order at the counter, find a seat, and wait for your meal—unless, like many customers, you come in and get a slice “to go.” One advantage to having pizzas on display is that you can see the toppings—especially the amount of cheese.
This is basically a “build your own” place, but they do offer the following specialty pies: the Elm Street Supreme with pepperoni, Italian sausage, ham, tomato, onion, black olives, green peppers, and fresh mushrooms; the Chicken Alfredo with chicken, black olives, onions, and fresh mushrooms on white sauce; and the Veggie Lovers Supreme with tomatoes, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, black olives, spinach, and broccoli.
We ordered a large cheese and sausage and asked for half the cheese as seen on the pie in the display case. It was a good thing that we asked for light cheese. Even half was almost too much. The crust was crisp, but a little thicker than I like. The tomato sauce was nice and tangy and was flavored with oregano and garlic. And the sausage came in small bits rather than slices—just as we prefer.
Now aTravelingBlog may have been exaggerating in saying that this was “one of the best I’ve ever eaten!” But we have certainly eaten worse and rate Elm St. Pizza as a 3.5 Addie stop.
Making the world taste better one pie at a time.
So reads the web site for The Purple Pie Place (aka Bobkat’s Old Fashion Ice Cream Shop). There is no way you can miss this building when driving down Mt. Rushmore Boulevard in Custer. Your eyes are dumbfounded by an explosion of purple. Multiple shades of purple. Purple both inside and out.
“The Purple Pie Place has new owners as of May 2010, Bob and Kat Yehle, who came to the area from California. He’s a former contractor, she has restaurant experience and is the pie baker—Kat’s daughter has lived in Custer for the past five years and operated Baker’s Bakery on Main Street. So food is kind of a family affair…The Yehle’s have expanded their Pie Place to also include a selection of homemade soups and sand-wiches…” (from the restaurant’s web site).
WittyB writing on tripadvisor.com said: “If you find yourself anywhere within drivable means to Custer, South Dakota, then the Purple Pie Place is the place to go! You’re immediately captivated upon arrival; with a cool and funky exterior, adorned with wood detailing, and of course, the color PURPLE! The owners, a married couple, are very friendly and personable with all their customers. The staff is also great.... Everyone is so happy to be there and ready to please! Now, on to the food... and the PIE! Your taste-buds will go into sensory overload! Everything is fresh, with quality ingredients…”
So having eating one form of pie in Hill City, we drove back to Custer to eat another form of pie. The Purple Pie Place makes over 100 pies a day with flavors including rhubarb, strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, apple, cherry, peach, and bumbleberry (a mix of rhubarb, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries) along with a cream pie of the day.
For Chuck it would be a slice of blueberry with a scoop of huckleberry ice cream.
For me, the bumbleberry also with a scoop of huckleberry. The ice cream, from Oregon’s Cascade Glacier, was good, but lacked the intensity of huckleberry flavor found in Wilcoxson’s in Montana.
The pie was the equal to that found at Rock Springs Café in Black Canyon, AZ. The filling was all fruit with only a bit of flour or cornstarch to thicken the fruits’ natural juices. And the crust was divine. Was it made with lard or shortening? I don’t know and unfortu-nately neither did any of the young staff members working behind the counter.
Wonderful pie. 5.0 Addie pie. Pie so good that a whole blueberry pie now resides in our refrigerator.