Spring Creek restaurant set to reopen this year

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — An eating spot along the Missouri River in central South Dakota could be opening its doors again with a new operator.

Frost Enterprises of Onida wants to sign a one-year lease with the state Department of Game, Fish and Parks to run the restaurant at Spring Creek Recreation Area, north of Pierre and Fort Pierre.

That’s according to Scott Simpson, director for the state Parks and Recreation Division.

He received approval to proceed Thursday from the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission on a 8-0 vote.

Simpson has been seeking new operators for the restaurant and convenience store since the previous Omaha-based concessionaire dropped out after 10 years, unable to get better terms.

The Outpost Lodge operates on the north side of the peninsula at Cow Creek Recreation Area.

Katie Ceroll, who was parks director prior to Simpson, originally tried to find a new operator for the entire Spring Creek complex in 2018.

But after getting no takers, the commission decided last year to seek separate offers for the restaurant and store.

Commissioner Mary Ann Boyd of Yankton welcomed the news that the restaurant might re-open. She thanked Simpson for “hanging in there.”

“Glad this has happened and hope it works out real well,” Boyd said.

Simpson told the commission it was “obviously great news” and said getting the restaurant running could potentially tie the peninsula together along Oahe Reservoir.

The sides met last week to talk about a deal.

“They’re not sure what this is going to look like. They’re going to take baby steps to get it open,” Simpson said, adding there needs to be flexibility on days and hours of operation.

The department will get a $2,000 deposit, allow the restaurant’s personal property to be used, and pay electricity, water and sewer costs, Simpson said.

He noted that Frost Enterprises had experience in the restaurant business, most recently in Sioux Falls, and ran several businesses in nearby Onida.

“We just think this is going to be a good fit,” he said.

The Oahe Marina concession that Game, Fish and Parks owned along the Missouri River just downstream from Oahe Dam was closed in 2018, when a new concessionaire couldn’t be found to replace Steve Rounds, a brother of U.S. Senator Mike Rounds.

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