as they mount their white steed and head off to Lead (pronounced “leed”), SD for lunch. (I am thinking of naming the big white truck “Silver.”)
I had found a menu on-line for a restaurant that had some intriguing offerings. Items like Thai chicken lettuce wraps, a Cuban Reuben, honey chipotle pulled pork, a Greek panini, and something called chislic. This is a local favorite of fried steak tips that come either “naked” or battered and are generally served with a BBQ dipping sauce. Unfortunately, as we pulled up to the restaurant, we noticed that it was dark and sported a “For Sale” sign on the window.
Lucky for us, at that moment, Bill, the owner of Dakota Gold Realty, came along and recom-mended the Roundhouse located, as the name suggests, in the old Black Hills Fort Pierre Roundhouse and he praised the magnificent restoration the owners had undertaken.
“The Black Hills Fort Pierre Roundhouse was built in 1901, providing six bays in which engines and other rolling stock could be repaired and maintained. The imposing structure, turntable and related servicing facilities adjacent to the depot and yard tracks on Poorman's Hill solidified train operations of the narrow gauge in Lead and the surrounding areas. The Roundhouse as a railway operation was closed in 1930.... Since that time the building…housed the City Shop, housed Cober Tire, and most recently, housed two of the City of Lead's fire trucks…” (www.blackhillsbadlands.com).
“…the structure was destined to be demolished in 1999, but that’s when it was bought by Stan Adelstein of Rapid City, who apparently hoped the structure could be renovated and preserved as an historical landmark. He eventually sold it to Dr. Duane and Phyllis Sander of Brookings. Phyllis was born and raised in Lead. Duane was one of the founders of Daktronics in Brookings” (www.blackhillshistory.com). The Sanders bought the property in 2007 and the Round-house opened on Thanksgiving weekend of 2008.
“Magnifi-cent” doesn’t begin to describe the restoration. The main dining room with its formal wooden tables and chairs is set for parties of four to eight.
Large crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling.
Just off the main lobby is a small cozy room that is used as a wine bar.
A mezzanine balcony set with booths and tables for two extends around three of the walls and affords a view of the dining room below.
Along the back wall of the dining room sits a beautifully restored dining car with
ten tables for two and
is furnished with stained glass light fixtures and
window panels. It was in the dining car that we sat for lunch.
While the dinner menu lists four five-course menus and perhaps a dozen a la carte entrees, the lunch menu is brief. There is a soup and salad bar, a kid’s menu, and perhaps six sandwich offerings which come with your choice of fries or onion rings.
Chuck started with a bowl of clam chowder which was a good—not great—rendering of this favorite of his. The chowder had plenty of potatoes, onions, and clams in a milk broth, but was in serious need of salt and pepper. It also needed some form of fatty dairy—either cream or butter.
His sandwich was a French Dip with a side of fries. This was an exemplary version of this classic sandwich. A good crusty “hoagie” roll was heaped with thin sliced beef that was both moist and tender. The roll wasn’t dense and heavy, but had enough heft to stay intact when dipped into the beefy, and not too salty, jus. The fries were lightly coated, crisp, and dusted with a seasoned salt.
I was about to order the grilled portabello on a bun but at the last minute changed my mind and instead chose the grilled salmon sandwich with a side of onion rings. The salmon was served on a warm toasted ciabatta roll and was dressed with mayo, sprouts, and a slightly spicy red dressing that may have contained chipotle pepper. The salmon was nicely seasoned, but was—to my taste, at least—slightly overcooked. Had it been taken off the grill about two minutes earlier it would have been perfect. My accompanying onion rings were much thicker than we (we shared the fries and onion rings) prefer, but were a good representation of standard restaurant onion rings.
As we were leaving, we spoke with Danny Winter, the general manager of the Roundhouse, about the beautiful restoration and our satisfaction with a fine meal. He talked about the history of the buuilding and directed our attention to the scale model of the original roundhouse (photo #2 above).
The setting certainly deserves a 5.0 Addie rating. The food had a few missteps, but still merits 4.0 Addies.