I've spent many vacations in South Dakota and had decent food in various restaurants around Hill City and Custer, but last year, a fantastic little diner opened up right on the main road into Custer from Hill City.
Skogen Kitchen is an adorable place with a young, hip chef and his hostess wife. Michael and I stopped in on our way to Wind Cave National Park. We found it when I searched for places that served Biscuits and Gravy, my favorite diner food. We happened to be at the gas station right next door to Skogen Kitchen. How convenient! ;)
We were greeted right away by the hostess, Eliza, who we found out later via Instagram was the co-owner and girlfriend (now wife) of the head chef. We sat at the counter where we could watch the chefs at work. Watching people cook is to us like watching an artist create a masterpiece. Chef Joseph is an artist with food.
We ordered black coffee first off (we keep it simple) and I, of course, ordered the Biscuits & Gravy, called "Grandma's Biscuits with Grandpa's Gravy." It includes homemade biscuits, chorizo gravy, and tabasco sauce to spice it up a bit. Michael ordered Custer's Last Meal, the aptly named for location and history meal with sausage patties, local eggs, homemade hash browns, pepper bacon, organic 9-grain toast, and roasted garlic potatoes.
When the food came I was either ravenous or the food was too good to wait to eat in order to take a photo, but I had all but licked my plate clean before I even thought about getting my phone out to document. Michael's breakfast was amazing as well--the best he ever had. Everything was homemade completely and you could taste the difference. From the spices in the breakfast sausage to the scrabbled eggs, everything was local or sourced from a trusted farmer.
What I loved most about Skogen Kitchen was that they were able to make diner food feel gourmet without letting it cross over into the haughty-hipster zone. Sure, Avocado toast is on the menu too, but sitting at the counter with a cup of black coffee, I still felt like I was in a regular old home-town diner.
With stuffed bellies, we continued on the road to Wind Cave where we saw bison and hiked in the Wind Cave Canyon.