Looking for a mom-and-pop restaurant shop? Somewhere to relax and grab a bite?

South Dakota has plenty of cool places to offer. And many of them are tucked away in tiny towns that are known mostly by locals.

The Mitchell Republic this summer featured nine restaurants in South Dakota, all of which were nominated by our readers, to share their stories of quality food, unique history and the people who run the businesses. Here are the highlights from the Battle of the Eats series.

We've also provided maps and Facebook links to each restaurant we featured.

(This newspaper is planning to bring back this series in summer 2022. We've already received nominations for more restaurants to feature. If you have a suggestion, please email dailynews@mitchellrepublic.com with "Battle of the Eats" in the subject line.)

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The Mitchell Republic will be featuring readers' favorite small-town diners and restaurants in the ongoing feature Battle of the Eats.
The Mitchell Republic will be featuring readers' favorite small-town diners and restaurants in the ongoing feature Battle of the Eats.


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Schuver’s Cafe in Parkston: The cafe is known for its throwback interior, its friendly service and menu items that never seem to go out of style, such as the signature chicken salad and broasted chicken.

Tammy Wheeler is the co-owner of Schuver's Cafe in Parkston with her husband Shawn, not pictured. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Tammy Wheeler is the co-owner of Schuver's Cafe in Parkston with her husband Shawn, not pictured. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Read about the restaurant here -- Schuver’s Cafe in Parkston continues longtime tradition of quality food (and its great chicken)

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Just up Highway 37, south of Mitchell, is Ethan's Ammo Box. The name Ammo Box was chosen due to the military background of the family, which dates back to the American Civil War. One of the two owners, Brent Summers, currently has 14 years invested in both the South Dakota National Guard and the South Dakota Air National Guard.

Read about the eatery here: Ethan's Ammo Box is loaded with great food, family atmosphere

The Ammo Box Bar and Grill opened in 2020 in Ethan. (Matt Gade / Mitchell Republic)
The Ammo Box Bar and Grill opened in 2020 in Ethan. (Matt Gade / Mitchell Republic)

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Plankinton's Commerce Street Grille and Bar: It brings "a sense of community" for owners Brad and Julie Boisen. They said the restaurant was founded on the idea that it must be a family friendly place to grab dinner first and a drink second.

Commerce Street Grille and Bar sits on the corner of Main and Commerce Streets in Plankinton, just north of Interstate 90. (Hunter Dunteman / Republic)
Commerce Street Grille and Bar sits on the corner of Main and Commerce Streets in Plankinton, just north of Interstate 90. (Hunter Dunteman / Republic)

Read all about it here: Plankinton's Commerce Street Grille and Bar thriving on family friendly, community values

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Feather's Nest in Ward: Have you ever heard of Ward? It's a tiny South Dakota town about one-half mile west of the Minnesota border.

Its food, with massive servings and a wonderfully fresh salad bar, is delicious.

Charity Kuehl, manager of the Feather's Nest, has a laugh while discussing working at the Ward, S.D., restaurant. (Luke Hagen / Mitchell Republic)
Charity Kuehl, manager of the Feather's Nest, has a laugh while discussing working at the Ward, S.D., restaurant. (Luke Hagen / Mitchell Republic)

Read all about the people who regularly travel to the Feather's Nest here: Feather's Nest, with its 'big honking slabs of meat', puts Ward, South Dakota, on the map

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How does this food look? You can get it at Wermers' Lounge in Mount Vernon.

Top sirloin and ribeye are two of the most popular daily items at Wermers' Lounge in Mount Vernon. Prime rib is served on Saturday nights, if enough reservations are made. (Hunter Dunteman / Republic)
Top sirloin and ribeye are two of the most popular daily items at Wermers' Lounge in Mount Vernon. Prime rib is served on Saturday nights, if enough reservations are made. (Hunter Dunteman / Republic)

The menu at the lounge isn’t huge — it’s limited to a handful of sandwiches and burgers, a couple fish and steak options and a few others — and that’s for good reason. The ribeye is by far the most popular menu item at Wermers’, amassing rave reviews from guests.

Read all about Wermers' here: 'One big family' for Mount Vernon's Wermers' Lounge, which feels like home to guests

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If you're ever heading to Pierre, consider swinging out to Agar, South Dakota, located about 40 minutes northeast of the state's capital.

The Bunkhouse in Agar is located in a town where 76 people live. Much of the town has died, but The Bunkhouse — a windowless, wheat country tavern — has stayed. Now into its second generation of ownership, Laynee Brandt, who rises early to work as an aide at the school in Onida and stays up late tending bar, frying chislic, and serving drinks at her tiny town's tavern, sometime until 2 a.m.

Read all about it here: At this South Dakota bunkhouse, the grill is on 'til 11 p.m. during the harvest

Laynee Brandt's vehicle sits outside her bar and restaurant, The Bunkhouse, inside the tiny town (pop. 76) of Agar, South Dakota, on Wednesday, July 28 (Christopher Vondracek / Forum News Service).
Laynee Brandt's vehicle sits outside her bar and restaurant, The Bunkhouse, inside the tiny town (pop. 76) of Agar, South Dakota, on Wednesday, July 28 (Christopher Vondracek / Forum News Service).


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Wessington Springs has not one but two outstanding restaurants that were nominated by our readers.

The Springs Inn Cafe has roots dating back to the late 1960s, while a block away on the other side of Main, Sweet Grass has emphasized creativity in its menu, bakery, coffee variety and the building’s decor itself, which has brought to life a downtown building in a new way.

The interior dining area at Sweet Grass in Wessington Springs showcases local art and how 100-plus year-old building has been brought to life since the business opened in 2012. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)
The interior dining area at Sweet Grass in Wessington Springs showcases local art and how 100-plus year-old building has been brought to life since the business opened in 2012. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)

Read all about both places here: Springs Inn, Sweet Grass put Wessington Springs on small-town food map

Springs Inn owners Carla and Jon Niemeyer have operated the Wessington Springs cafe on Main Street since 1980. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)
Springs Inn owners Carla and Jon Niemeyer have operated the Wessington Springs cafe on Main Street since 1980. (Marcus Traxler / Republic)


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And, finally, Gregory has Sissy's serving of great food.

Like music, like cooking here at Sissy's Cafe in Gregory: it's a blend with the Barretos' own flavors.

Jill and Arturo Barreto, owners of Sissy's Cafe in Gregory, S.D., take a short break after a long day on Thursday, July 29, 2021. They opened the restaurant in 2013, serving both Mexican and American cuisine. (Christopher Vondracek / Forum News Service).
Jill and Arturo Barreto, owners of Sissy's Cafe in Gregory, S.D., take a short break after a long day on Thursday, July 29, 2021. They opened the restaurant in 2013, serving both Mexican and American cuisine. (Christopher Vondracek / Forum News Service).

Read all about Sissy's here:'We're restaurant people' — Gregory's cafe-on-the-corner a contemporary crossroads