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Canva/Facebook/Karla Brown
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Detour Dining: Off-the-Beaten-Path Restaurants You Must Try in South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa

Beyond the well-traveled tourist paths, there’s a whole different world of food exploration throughout South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota. From tiny restaurants in historic towns serving up generations-old recipes to small town dive bars that not only have cheap, cold beer, but unique and unexpected homemade dishes.

We’ve created an exploration of off-the-beaten path restaurants nestled in the charming landscapes of the tri-state area. Take a detour from the ordinary and discover the extraordinary flavors as you travel the roads not-so-often traveled. 



Gallery Credit: Karla Brown / Townsquare Media

Dives Worth a Drive in South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota

Almost every small South Dakota town has a watering hole. It’s where the locals go to kick back a few brews and engage in conversation.

Some of these establishments are located in buildings almost as old as the town itself. There might be a fresh coat of paint on the walls or new vinyl on the booth seats, but the ambiance is still reminiscent of a good ol’ dive.

If you think a "dive" is all about the sketchy clientele, the smell of the Devil’s lettuce, and stale Grain Belt, you’d be wrong. Not every dive has a bad reputation.

What makes a dive, a dive?

A dive has character. Neon beer signs and local memorabilia adorn the walls.

You might find a pool table, dart board, and a few video lottery machines.

The bartender knows the regulars by name and they know what you drink.

Some dives don't even serve food except for bags of chips and pickled eggs that sit in a jar of brine on the bar.

Dives aren't fancy. You might see 70's-style wood panels on the walls and wobbly tables leveled with a folded napkin.

Finally, the bathrooms. The bathrooms in dives are in a class by themselves and could be a whole topic on its own. 

There are several small-town dives in our area with friendly faces, cheap booze with a burn, and even really good food! We use the term "dive" in the most affectionate way.

Here are some of the best and why you should go there.

Gallery Credit: Karla Brown

 

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