Entries Tagged 'Touch of Europe' ↓

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!

What Happened to the Touch of Europe Restaurant and Jazz Club?


If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me that question, I could re-build the place by now.

First, a brief history about the place. The ‘TOE’ as us regulars called it was open for almost 20 years. The original owner Martin, only owned the place for about a year before selling it to Razmik ‘RAZ’ Mktarian. Raz and his wife ran the place until his death about 8 years ago. She operated the business until its closure.

What I do know;

In February of 2014, a City of Sioux Falls fire Hydrant on the corner of 12th and Phillips in front of the restaurant exploded. It took the fire department over an hour (according to witnesses) to shut it off. The result was almost 2 feet of water in the basement restaurant and other properties, including Bechtold’s jewelry.

The result of the flooding destroyed all of the belongings in the restaurant. It also destroyed some plumbing and electrical and also damaged the foundation.

What I ‘kind of’ know;

Insurance helped pay for cleanup and gutting the restaurant.

What I am not sure of;

I think the property owner and restaurant owner were in negotiations with the city’s risk management department for compensation for damages, but I am not sure if anything was resolved. I think a request to fix the foundation and to make the place ADA compatible came from the city before it could reopen.

Even if the place will not reopen (the owner has moved on, and has no intention of reopening the TOE at that location or any other.) I still feel the city owes the building owner and restaurant owner for loss of business and damages. The damage was clearly caused by the city’s faulty pipes, and this is what the city has risk insurance for. Like I said, not sure if that compensation has occurred, but it is highly unlikely. Ever try to squeeze blood out of a turnip?

It’s unfortunate that the state’s first Jazz Club had to go out this way, it’s even more sad that our city can’t even own up to causing the damage.

Special Guest @ Touch of Europe this weekend (Sep 27-28)

This gentleman will be playing Touch of Europe next weekend. Dennis is an accomplished Jazz singer from Milwaukee and cousin to local jazz and blues bassist Dave Fermenich.

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HOT Gypsy Swing Jazz @ Touch of Europe Tonight & Saturday – 8:30 PM

TOUCH OF EUROPE presents from Indianapolis

Gypsy Swing Guitarist



Adam Yeager was born in Indianapolis, IN and started playing jazz guitar at the young age of 16. He immediately began playing gigs and finding other musicians to play any gigs they could get their hands on. After college he attended Jeff Berlin’s Players School of Music in Clearwater, FL., and later attended the University of North Carolina Asheville to receive bachelor’s degrees in jazz and classical performance. While in attendance at UNCA, Adam had been in several successful bands ranging from hip hop to classical chamber groups. His primary focus was in Gypsy Swing. A style of music made famous by Django Reinhardt. Adam is currently living in Indianapolis and employed as an acoustic engineer for the world’s #1 acoustic treatment/design company, Auralex Acoustics. He is also playing playing solo gigs throughout the Midwest and in his spare time is teaching at a small school in northern Indianapolis.

Tired of the heat?

No bugs. No heat. No street noise.

The Touch of Europe is a fantastic place to dine during the week if you want quiet fine dining in a cool joint. Of course they still feature live music on Friday and Saturday nights, BUT during the workweek (Tuesday – Thursday) you can have an intimate, quiet dinner with someone special. Same great food prepared by the owner, a master in Eastern European Cuisine.

South DaCola’s feature business

Absolute is one of the most affordable sandwich shops in downtown. They serve hot toasted subs at about half the price of their closest competitor. They are the sister restaurant of South Dakota’s first Jazz Club, Touch of Europe.

Roger Neumann @ Touch of Europe • SAT JUN 12

Roger Neumann, tenor saxophonist who has performed with the likes of Count Basie and Woody Herman bands, as well as Ray Charles, will join Chicago guitarist Scott Hesse for a one-night show on June 12. They will be performing with the C.J. Kocher Quartet, including C.J. on saxophone, Mike Andersen (bass) and Mike Benton on drums. Don’t miss this special night and Roger’s first appearance at Touch of Europe. Scott Hesse is one of our favorites and he will be performing two nights this month. On June 12 and again with Bobby Gripp and “Jazzed” on  Friday, June 18. Make your reservations now for some smokin’ summer jazz at Touch of Europe, South Dakota’s only jazz club. toejazz.com or 336.3066.


Become a Facebook friend of the Touch of Europe

And see some of the cool photos I took down there.

Just thought I would mention it, Touch of Europe Happy Hour