Entries Tagged 'Downtown Sioux Falls' ↓

Touch of Mexico decides that it is probably a good idea to get a beer and wine license

On the Sioux Falls City Council agenda for tonight;


Glad to see they woke up and realized they need to serve alcohol DTSF, but probably should have done that before opening the doors.

I also find the individual applicant to be an interesting choice, especially if you go look at Guillermo ‘Willy’ Pedro’s Facebook page (I will let you do that all on your own). Surprised that a person who is so proud of being Guatemalan would call his place an ‘Authentic Mexican’ restaurant. But like I have said all along in Sioux Falls, it’s all about marketing, not the quality of the product itself.

But the real kicker in this whole process is NOT about Willy, it’s about how the city can magically hand out building permits and alcohol licenses when they have never settled with previous restaurant owner for destroying the place and killing their business? Seems like another whitewash job by the city as usual.

Overheard conversation

P1: What are you doing tonight?
P2: Before I go to a concert at the Washington Pavilion, thought I would grab a brew at Woodgrain, stroll over to Bro’s for an appetizer and then have dinner at Sushi Masa, then after the show grab a glass of wine at Paramount then maybe finish the night playing a couple games of pool at Lucky’s. How about you?
P1: I’m going to head on over to the Entertainment District next to the Premier Center, grab some scratch tickets at Kum & Go then see if I am a winner while enjoying a piece of pie at Rolling Pin.
P2: You always out do me. Wish I could join you, but since I live downtown and don’t have a car, I guess I will just have to wait until those shuttle rides from Downtown to the Events Center come to fruition.

Will the new Touch of Mexico offer alcohol?


(Image KELO-TV) The new bar looks great, complete with a fountain pop machine. Have a coke and a burrito like you can at any Taco Bell or Taco Johns in the city.

When I helped clean out Touch of Europe the new owners of the Mexican restaurant were present. First I asked if they had flood insurance (just kidding), but I did ask if they were going to get a beer and wine license. One of the owners said to me “It’s against our religion.”

Yeah, head shaker. That’s like saying as a Czech/German it is against my religion to eat dumplings.

As of the past month I have seen no applications filed with the city for a beer or wine license. Not sure how they think business will be as a dry restaurant downtown in the former Touch of Europe space.

Good luck.

Parking Rate hikes just don’t add up

The more I think about this proposal, the more I question this increase;

“Our system is more than 90 percent full. It will be 100 percent full most likely in the next two years before we can open a new parking ramp,” said Darrin Smith, Sioux Falls Community Development Director.

Projects like the new ramp cost money. That’s why the city is proposing a rate change in Downtown Sioux Falls.

WOW! Where do we begin?

• We tear down a parking ramp that was useful and sell it for $1.

• We are going to be 100% full in two years yet the parking ramp the city is paying for is for a private hotel and apartments, with only about 3-5% useable by the public.

• The city will be leasing the parking ramp to these private entities. Shouldn’t that lease payment cover the bond payments? If not, why not? What is the benefit to the public to build a private parking ramp that the public can’t use most of the time and make us take care of the short fall on the bond payments?

This whole thing stinks to high Heaven, and I hope the council removes their heads from their asses and votes this increase down and demands the parking department adjust the lease payments to cover the bonds, or better yet, make the PRIVATE development build their own damn parking ramp. Let free enterprise work for itself, otherwise it’s just parking socialism. Maybe we should call it ‘Obama-park’?

Why does everything Downtown Sioux Falls have to be a restaurant/retail/condo?

These developers are starting to sound like broken records more and more everyday;

Scherschligt said he doesn’t think the plan is “the highest and best use for that land.”

“Sioux Falls has been successful because the businesspeople and leaders of this community did not always think about themselves, but they thought about what was better for everybody,” he said. “We have these master plans. We create these master plans. And we buy into it. It wasn’t just one person. It was task forces of people.”

Former city planning director Steve Metli, who worked closely with several city master plans for the riverfront, said he’s disappointed in the development plan for the Kilian property.

“It’s a two-block stretch of the river walk that connects the falls to downtown, so it would be excellent for housing or major office, commercial – retail, restaurant-type use, and I was hoping that’s what it could be,” he said. “As much as the community has supported and still supports Lutheran Social Services, I think they could have put more thought in their decision to go there on behalf of the community.”

Sure, it ‘could’ be used for that, but what is wrong with having higher education and immigration services downtown also? I commend Kilian for their partnership and keeping downtown diverse.

And BTW, I have been in some of these new ‘housing’ units built downtown by Steve’s buddy, talk about cheap slap together sloppy workmanship. I guess nobody takes pride in their work anymore, as long as they can get a tax break while charging high priced rents. These places will be ram shackle within the decade. I can’t believe we hand out TIF’s for these projects.

The Falls Park webcam is back. How about the Phillips Avenue cam?


One of my foot soldiers brought this to my attention;


Cool, great live video of the 13th dirtiest river in the country. Now let’s get a view of the progress of the Mexican restaurant on 12th and Phillips.

Property Tax relief in Sioux Falls only for the Rich & Connected

While Minnehaha County is bracing for a property tax opt-out and the SF city council recently increased property taxes to most properties in Sioux Falls, with the stroke of a few votes the city council gave a 12 year, $2.9 million dollar property tax rebate for some condos;

The $30-million, mixed-use Washington Square project planned for Main Avenue has been granted a TIF by the City of Sioux Falls.

The city council approved a $2.9-million tax increment financing district for the project. The property tax revenue will be used to pay the TIF over a 10 to 12 year period.

But hey, we get to use their parking for free, only on nights and weekends though (you know, when it is free in all other spots DT also). Once again, the ones with the biggest wallets get the biggest rewards in Sioux Falls, while the rest of us working stiff homeowners have to scrape up the crumbs that fall from the 4th floor condos.

The upgrades to the ‘NEW’ staging yards have begun


With a crisp, hot and messy $27 million dollar check in the clutches of the Railroad, they have already started on rail yard staging ground part II, except it is not on the edges of town, but more centralized then ever. While it has been used for probably as long as the 8th street location, it is not as glamorous or as close to a Hilton, in fact it is only a few feet away from a refugee church, a mediocre sandwich shop, Avera’s parking ramp and about two blocks from where I write this blog. New drainage and RR ties are going in. As we all suspected, freeing up the 10 acres for a parking lot downtown will only transfer the rail traffic to other parts of downtown (that no one cares about or has to see). Rail traffic will probably increase (next to a major hospital and main north/south traffic route).

The relocation project has accomplished NOTHING! All it has done is create more headaches for people when dealing with train traffic and bilked $27 million from federal taxpayers. If the mayor thinks this is one of his greatest accomplishments, he must be working in quality assurance for the Sioux Santee tribe growing facility.

Touchmark finally gets the green light from the city council to expand

YouTube Preview Image

We are treated to an unusual Sioux Falls City Council appeal process held on August 18, 2015. The meeting concluded the Touchmark at All Saints expansion plans rejected by the Board of Historic Preservation. Touchmark has gone back to the drawing board several times attempting to design a complimentary building addition only to be refused by the historic preservationists this year.

It took them almost 18 months of wrangling with the neighbors and the boards to get to this point. Ironically, only one neighbor came in opposition, and she just doesn’t like the color pink. This seems to be politically motivated.

While the current Phase 1 and Phase 2 pink stucco look is becoming a bit dated and tired, the latest designs may in the end be a welcome look. It appears Touchmark has taken the concerns of many of the neighbors and townspeople into consideration with the current plans.

The City Council had to become what’s called a quasi-judicial body to hear the appeal being presented. Items 48, 49 and 50 are the steps necessary to process the Board of Historic Preservation appeal.

Asst. City Attorney Danny Brown guides the Mayor and Council through the processes required to meet state law. The City Council became an appeals court chamber to hand down this type of judicial decision.

Item #48 is the hearing of the steps taken to this point, neighbor’s issues and filed plans. We were treated to some names and faces from Sioux Falls past bringing back some history to not forget. It was good to remember how bad the complex was before Waterford / Touchmark bought the place.

Item #49 is motion necessary to approve the project as stated in appeal.

Item #50 authorizes the City Attorney to file and post the Council’s decision.

Betty Best would be happy Touchmark has saved the complex and is expanding it’s footprint for the future.

Touch of Mexico?

IMG_1152Another Mexican restaurant in Sioux Falls? Yawn.

Over the weekend I helped the owner of Touch of Europe clean out her stuff from her restaurant that was flooded by a city fire hydrant (they still haven’t taken responsibility for the disaster caused by their broken pipe).

Many have speculated if the ‘TOE’ would ever reopen. Actually there was an attempt, but complications/disagreements with the city and the landlord left it out of the question. So we were very surprised when we got the call to haul all of the stuff out because a NEW restaurant was going in and they were in the process of remodeling and FULL approval from the city building services department.

Lots of great memories in that stinky old basement, not just the leaky roof, exploding toilets and faulty electrical, but all of the amazing musicians, friends and relationships made over the years.

It was never about the food at Touch of Europe, it was about so much more.

Fun Facts about the TOE.

• When the Nickel Plate closed (the original place upstairs) it was the oldest running restaurant in SD (75 years).

• The original owner of the TOE was Martin, he was an immigrant from Lithuania, he did all the brickwork himself.

• When the Washington Pavilion opened there was only really three staple restaurants downtown, Kristina’s, Minerva’s and TOE. They were jampacked every night there was a show. In fact, the Jazz popularity really got a boost after the Pavilion opened, because Tina’s and Minerva’s would close before the shows ended, so we would get a great crowd for desserts, apps and mostly jazz. In fact I often credit the TOE’s success from the opening of the Pavilion, and the many great local artists that played there. You have to realize, it was a transitional period for DTSF, the Pomp was closing, and people were getting into other generes of music, like jazz, TOE was the first Jazz Club in South Dakota. Many musicians earned there chops playing there.

• Natasha handmade (most) of the food served there. Her dolmas and cabbage rolls were to die for, though her seafood linguine, borscht and chicken prosciutto were fantastic.

• Worst menu item; Gravolox. Salmon Lox, pickled onions and cold scrambled eggs.

• Most popular menu item; Pierogies.

• Longest running house musicians; Jim Speirs and Jesse Christen

• We were called the most romantic restaurant in town (still makes me laugh) besides the often PDA in the booths (and other things) hundreds of people got engaged in the place and dozens got married or had their wedding receptions or rehearsal dinners there.

• Most interesting customers; George Hahn and “The Professor”

• Most controversial employee; Fucking all of us!