If you are wondering why I wanted to start food tours in Sioux Falls, Bread & Circus is the perfect example.
Sometimes, words don't do justice. Bread & Circus 'Sandwich' Kitchen.
After eating at Bread & Circus, calling their food a sandwich feels like calling Meryl Streep 'skilled' or Bill Watterson a 'doodler'. It's not untrue, just upsettingly inadequate.
Nonetheless, I'll get used to it: sandwiches, sandwiches, sandwiches. Ok, onwards:
Bread & Circus Sandwich Kitchen opened their doors just a few weeks ago in late May. Co-owners Jordan Taylor & Barry Putzke have been long time friends and originally Sioux Falls natives. They've been out in Portland up until recently when they both moved back and brought some serious food culture back with them. (Thank you for that.)
I'd heard about them a while ago and, like many others, anxiously awaited their status updates on Facebook. I've been out of town a lot lately, so missed their initial opening week, but my husband and I finally made it over.
If you haven't heard of them yet, A) You're welcome. B) They're located at 600 N. Main Ave. (If you're from Sioux Falls, this is where Taste of the Big Apple used to reside...RIP.) There is actually some free parking in the area, and it's conveniently located right off Phillips to the Falls if you're walking or biking (or trolleying).
We easily parked and walked up the large boardwalk steps towards the front door. Once inside, a small but well-stocked bar greeted us, including taps from Fernson Brewing Co., Boulevard, and other reputable breweries that instantly signaled that someone cares about flavor.
We hadn't officially met him yet, but co-owner Barry greeted us at the front counter and pointed our wandering eyes to the oversized chalkboard that filled the wall behind the bar.
What I first noticed was the myriad of ingredients I don't typically associate with 'sandwich' in South Dakota. Good ingredients. Local Dagger & Arrow hot sauce. Cured meats. Falafel. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love seeing creativity and quality align on a menu.
Before we go further, let's be clear: Everything looked incredible. But earlier that day, I had seen a photo of their Vietnamese Fried Sandwich and knew it was a must: Fried Chicken, Nuoc Cham, Bahn Mi Pickles, Cilantro Aioli, Potato Bun. Yes, you guys. Yes to all of that.
We also circled in on the Porkstrami: Pork Belly, Beer Braised Kraut, Fontina, Grainaise, Rye Bread. Pork belly on a sandwich? Sold.
I should note I've also heard about the Naughty Fries but we knew we'd be back. (But if you go, get some, I hear they're great.) We also ordered a farmhouse ale and an IPA, then took our number and headed out to the XXL sized patio. (There's plenty of seating inside too, but the gorgeous weather beckoned.)
Within 10 minutes or so, our food arrived. It's lucky we took pictures right away.
Here's the point of the post where I worry I can't properly describe the experience. I will attempt: The Vietnamese Fried Chicken was literally like nothing I'd ever tasted before. Crispy, beautiful fried chicken, soft bun, the tang and acid of the nuoc cham sauce and pickles balanced with the creaminess of the aioli. Incredible. Just incredible. I often find value in food that I would never think of - or know how - to make. This hit home on both of those.
Then the porkstrami. Oh, the porkstrami. I'd had some pretty lackluster pork sandwiches of late; this made up for all of them. There was a serious amount of pork belly (not too much, but plenty) well complemented with fontina. And the sauerkraut...I'm just a sucker for it and it didn't disappoint. This was an incredible sandwich (or whatever else we can think of to call it). So much thought and obvious attention to it.
...now I'm hungry again.
Ok, before we totally finished, Barry was kind enough to come out and chat with us (the benefit of going on a Monday). That's when we learned a bit more about their journey and what they're doing running a sandwich place together. Jordan had been killing it in the kitchen but also came out to say hi. (Speaking from some experience, it's exhausting starting a business, so to take time to personally connect with people always amazes me.)
I told them a bit about what I'm trying to do, which is exactly this: share with you all what incredibly passionate, talented people we have in our city. Because there are actors, and then there's Meryl Streep. There are comics, and then there's Calvin and Hobbes.
There are sandwich shops. And then there's Bread & Circus.