As we headed west across southern Minnesota, I began to think about dinner.  I pulled out my phone and hit the Yelp application to check out some South Dakota restaurants.  Would it be better to eat in Sioux Falls or Mitchell, our final destination for the day?  As I read reviews of a Middle Eastern restaurant, a supposed gem in a land of chain restaurants in Sioux Falls, and  a steak place in Mitchell, a much smaller town, it hit me just how different a road trip can be today than even 10 years ago with immediate access to a wealth of information.

We decided on Chef Louie’s in Mitchell (4.5 stars on both Yelp and Tripadvisor), with more than one person noting it was a highlight of their cross-country trip.  It’s cow country so why not go for a steak, right?

Based on a range of reviews I was not sure what we were getting into.  I felt inappropriately dressed until I saw the massive cow statue in the parking lot with another sign reading, “Welcome as you are.”  We walked in and I froze.  It was dead quiet except for the muzak; the tables had white tablecloths; and there was not a child in sight.  Except for us, the clientele was comprised entirely of staid, childless locals and bikers, who we found out later were in South Dakota to attend the 71st annual Sturgis Bike Rally.  One biker was, uh, unusually dressed for a white-table-cloth steak dinner, wearing a Harley t-shirt with cut-off sleeves tucked into his stone-washed jeans.  Maybe his was the motorcycle parked in front with the wild animal skull strapped to the back with his stuff.

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