Granite City Food & Brewery
2620 S Louise Ave
Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Visited on April 7, 2007
Sometimes when driving out in the middle of nowhere, you have to settle for stopping in to a chain brewery when no other options present themselves. I was in such a situation when moving from Idaho to Michigan a few years ago. The only brewpub convenient to our lunch plans was Granite City Food and Brewery in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
It’s not the worst place I’ve ever been. It looked very corporate – much like any chain restaurant does. And the food was surprisingly decent. I had a giant sandwich that was very tasty. But the beer is a major letdown for any fan of craft brew. They create their wort at giant production facilities and then ship it to the local establishments for fermentation. The plus side is that you get a consistent beer at each and every Granite City. The down side is that there is zero room to experiment and you get the exact same bland beer at every single Granite City.
The name of this place says it all. The food comes before the brewery.
Granite City is a large chain located mainly through the breadbasket and into Illinois and Indiana. And it feels like one. A cavernous restaurant that looks like so many other megalith structures in the area holds an interior that could just as easily have been a BJ’s or a Rock Bottom. Sure it’s safe, nice, well lit and well funded, but it lacks any character.
As do their beers. I was very hopeful to find something I truly enjoyed, but all I can say of the 12 or so beers that I had was that they weren’t terrible. And the most not-terrible one among them was the IPA. It’s the only one I’d bother ordering again.
The one saving grace of this place is their food, which as far as I can tell, is far superior to most chain restaurants in the country. I ordered a Chicago Style Roast Beef sandwich, and since I don’t want to miss any details, here’s the text from the menu:
Prime rib sliced thin and topped with sautéed onions, red and green bell peppers, and mozzarella cheese. Served on grilled ciabatta with roasted garlic aioli and sliced tomatoes. Accompanied with beef au jus for dipping.
This might have been the best sandwich I’ve ever had. It was perfect. Moist, chewy, oozing cheese but not too messy. It was perfect.
And because the server convinced me to order this instead of a flatbread pizza, I’m going to give her high marks on service. Actually, the host was very receptive and the manager even stopped by, but this may be because it was late for lunch and we were almost the only people in the joint.