One of the coziest spots in Keystone, the Powder House Lodge (24125 U.S. 16A, 605/666-5214 or 800/321-0692, www.powderhouselodge.com, mid-May–mid-Oct. daily breakfast 7 a.m.–11 a.m. and dinner 4–9 p.m., lunch mid-June–Labor Day only daily 11 a.m.–4 p.m., closed in off-season, breakfast $7, lunch $13, dinner $18) serves up the best breakfast in the area. It’s a comfortable restaurant with wood-paneled walls, lots of booths, and lined with windows.
They serve all the breakfast standards, as well as some great skillets and omelets. Lunch and dinner offerings are delicious as well. Lunch selections range from burgers and chicken sandwiches to paninis, wraps, and salads. The dinner menu includes the sandwiches offered at lunch but also features some fish selections, including walleye and trout. Several varieties of beef cuts, including prime rib, buffalo, elk and pasta dishes round out the dinner offerings.
There is an excellent selection of wines available as well. The location of the restaurant is the inspiration for its name. It sits on the spot where one of the mining companies in town once stored explosives.
Caffeine addicts should seek out Iron Mountain Coffee (804 U.S. 16A, Keystone Mall, 605/666-4220, www.ironmountaincoffee.com, Memorial Day–Labor Day daily 7 a.m.–9 p.m., Labor Day–Oct. daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m., closed in off-season), a gourmet coffee shop with wooden floors and creamy walls. Expect to find a full range of coffee and espresso drinks, as well as smoothies, pastries, and ice cream. Complimentary wireless is provided.
Prices for food in Keystone, by South Dakota standards, are a bit high and most of it is standard American fare, but there are some places that provide a uniquely Western feel that make even a hamburger taste better. One such place is the Ruby House Restaurant & Red Garter Saloon (126 Winter St., 605/666-4404, www.historicrubyhouse.com, late Apr.–mid-Oct. daily 11 a.m.–9 p.m., closed in off-season, lunch $10, dinner $16), located on the strip in old Keystone. Dining is available in the restaurant or outside on the boardwalk deck, where people-watching is a favorite activity. Inside, the decor is classic Western red velvet saloon. Lunch features salads, wraps, burgers, chicken, and other sandwiches, and dinner features buffalo, prime rib, trout, walleye, and pasta dishes.
Dining outdoors is always a treat in the relatively bug-free environment of the Black Hills and the Arriba Mexican Grill (221 Swanzey St., 605/666-4733, www.blackhillsarriba.com, May–Oct. daily 11:30 a.m.–9:30 p.m., early May and Sept.–Oct. hours vary, closed in off-season, $12) has a nice outdoor patio. Inside, the decor is bright and bold and the atmosphere is decidedly casual and boisterous. A full menu of fajitas, burritos, and enchiladas is complimented by the addition of several vegetarian entrées. The restaurant also serves margaritas, beer, and wine.
There’s nothing like a great pizza, and Big Time Pizza (206 Cemetery Rd., 605/666-4443, Memorial Day–Labor Day daily noon–10:30 p.m., off-season hours vary but open weekends, $18) serves up a wide variety of delicious pizzas and subs. The restaurant is located on the lower level of the Roosevelt Inn but is not affiliated with the Inn. This family owned and operated place isn’t fancy, but the food is so good that I suspect you’ll dine here more than once. Old-fashioned soda fountain drinks are available, and for the adults there’s beer. The owner insists that their Russian beer is the best beer she’s ever tasted.
About five miles from town, a good place to relax and be hearty (in other words, not worry about making noise) is the Gaslight Restaurant & Lounge (13490 Main St., Rockerville, 605/343-9276, www.thegaslightrestaurant.com, year-round daily 11 a.m.–9 p.m., $16). Take U.S. 16A north to U.S. 16 and head east toward Rapid City. Look for the Rockerville exits. Thanks to some interesting highway planning, the town ended up being wedged between U.S. 16 east and U.S. 16 west, which means traffic zooms by at a minimum of 55 miles per hour. The town has always been a boom-or-bust gold community, but this highway configuration returned the town to near ghost town status, with just the restaurant open all year. Wood paneling and old movie posters adorn the restaurant walls. The adjacent full-service bar has added some 1950s touches, including a 1953 Chevy Bel Air hanging from the wall and the front grill of a 1955 Cadillac protruding from the reception desk. Dinner includes beef standards, fajitas, seafood, and pasta dishes. It’s a little on the noisy side, but for a casual night out, it works. There’s live music on weekends.
© Laural A. Bidwell from Moon Mount Rushmore & the Black Hills, 1st Edition