Located 12 miles east of Oelrichs, or 30 miles west of Pine Ridge, off of Highway 18, the Winds of Change Restaurant (Hwy. 18, 605/867-2683, www.prairiewindcasino.com, daily 7:30–10 p.m., breakfast $8, lunch $8, dinner $13) is located on the grounds of the Prairie Winds Casino & Hotel. The dining room is large but is warm, with wood floors and muted wall colors highlighted by original paintings of local artists. The breakfast buffet includes eggs, bacon, sausages, hash browns, and biscuits and gravy. The lunch and dinner buffets include soups, salads, and a variety of entrées (such as ham, beef, and chicken) that change daily. The restaurant also has a limited menu available all day, which includes basic sandwiches, hamburgers, and chicken and steak dishes.
Every community needs a great morning meeting place and Pine Ridge has Higher Ground Coffee Shop (Hwy. 18, Pine Ridge, 605/867-5685, www.pineridgegospel.org/higherground, Mon.–Fri. 7 a.m.–5 p.m., closed Sat.–Sun., breakfast $3, lunch $6). In downtown Pine Ridge, across the street from Pizza Hut on Highway 18, look for a rose-colored building with coffee beans stenciled on the walls just below the roofline. This is a warm, welcoming place with a fireplace and a wrap-around deck that serves pastries and breakfast burritos in the morning and creates a luncheon special every day. The daily special varies from sandwiches to casseroles or whatever the owner is in the mood to create. All the pastries are made from scratch and homemade pies are served seasonally. And, of course, there is a full menu of hot and cold coffee and other specialty drinks. Look for the friendly and furry store greeters out on the deck. Free wireless Internet is available.
Big Bat’s Super-Site Shell (junction of Hwys. 18 and 407, Pine Ridge, 605/867-5077, www.bigbats.biz, Mon.–Sat. 6 a.m.–8 p.m., breakfast $6, lunch and dinner $7) is part museum, part gift shop, part gas station, and part nice restaurant all rolled into one. The store is named after Baptiste Gene Pourier (Big Bat), a Frenchman born in 1834 who married a Lakota woman named Jean Richards. With his ability to speak French, English, and Lakota, Big Bat worked as an interpreter for the negotiation of the Fort Laramie Treaty in 1868. The current owners, Bat and Patty Pourier, are Big Bat’s great-great-grandchildren.
The restaurant serves a full breakfast menu, including egg dishes, waffles, and pancakes. Lunch and dinner include a variety of sandwiches including buffalo burgers, burritos, and subs, as well as a daily lunch special. The location is literally a work of art and culture. Don Montileaux, a Lakota artist, was hired to do all of the artwork for the building. Don created a 108-foot mural based on Lakota oral history, telling stories related by grandfather, including “Buffalo Calf Woman” and “The Horse Story.” There are historical photos on the wall, and many Lakota symbols and beliefs are displayed and explained throughout the store.
Not only will you get home cooking at Bette’s Kitchen (111 Black Elk Rd., Manderson, 605/867-1739, daily 11:30 a.m.–2 p.m., $6), you’ll be served in Bette’s home. The kitchen is located one mile south of Manderson, or seven miles north of the Wounded Knee Memorial, off of Highway 28. Look for the signs. The specialty of the house is soup made from scratch with homemade bread served daily. Bette is happy to accommodate vegetarians with veggie burgers or vegetarian soup. Relax and enjoy this little center of community activity.
The Lakota Prairie Ranch Restaurant (7958 Lakota Prairie Dr., 605/455-2555, www.lakotaprairie.com, daily 8 a.m.–9 p.m., breakfast $7, lunch $8, dinner $10) is located about six miles south of Kyle on Highway 2. It is affiliated with the motel of the same name. The restaurant is a nice, rustic, comfortable country-style place with lots of windows and booths. A full breakfast menu is served in the morning. Lunch includes sandwiches, buffalo burgers, salads, and soups; chicken-fried steak is the specialty of the house in the evening. Come here for good solid comfort food in a cozy and friendly environment.
© Laural A. Bidwell from Moon Mount Rushmore & the Black Hills, 1st Edition