I often take a look at lists of “Best xxx” just for fun so naturally I looked at this list, even if it is a somewhat dubious source. Now the U.S. is a big place so top 10 anythings are not likely to be nearby so it’s very rare that I’ve visited any place appearing on such lists (last time was Big Sky Brewery in Missoula, MT, and PokPok in Portland, Hominy Grill in Charleston, SC). So I was very surprised that I recently ate at the top place on this list, Dakota Burgers and Buns.
So this gives me a chance for a little story. I was camping outside Custer, SD, and almost every day went into the town for ice and maybe dinner. One day, driving the full length of the main street of town I’d seen a place advertising ribs with the sweet smell of their smoker confirming the sign. But that day I didn’t want to eat at that time. But every time I drove through Custer I went back and never again, at least while I was there, did they have their ribs.
So, disappointed, I turned on my wireless WiFi and did a couple of searches for places in Custer. Dakota Burgers and Bun showed up on several lists with high ratings. Plus I’d actually seen the place (not on the main street) as it was next to the convenience store where I picked up ice. So my decision was made.
I arrived at the place with no immediate parking so I parked on an adjacent street and walked over. The place was jammed (it is small) and very busy. But the previous day while next door getting ice I’d noticed people eating on a deck outside so I ordered my burger (the Texas burger and sweet potato fries) to go. Of course, despite a clear sky it was sprinkling outside so I had the deck all to myself with one of the tables having an umbrella that I expanded. So I’m more or less dry and it’s otherwise completely pleasant outside. They actually brought my order out to me. The burger was very great although it didn’t instantly strike as the best I’ve ever had (a green chile burger in Santa Fe holds that honor). But what really impressed me was those fries, very tasty and amazingly crisp. I had this meal in between lunch and dinner and it just hit the spot.
I didn’t add any rating at any of the review sites (I think TripAdvisor was one I looked at) but I’m glad to see them get such a good rating. Custer has several rather good spots (a Mexican stationary food truck, don’t remember the name, and a brewpub (really tasty fish salad)) and some OK places and some tourist traps and some, but less than the usual number, of fast food. I was there at a time of year that was still pre-season so all these places were accessible, but I bet Dakota Burgers and Buns does a booming business in season.
So congrats to them being selected #1 and lucky me that I accidentally ended up there instead of my presumed choice.