MITCHELL, S.D. (KELO) — It is one of the longest surviving restaurants in South Dakota. Chef Louie’s in Mitchell, known for serving steak, is shutting down after almost 75 years in business.
The giant steer that sat out front of Chef Louie’s is already gone, and soon so will the building. Louie Russell or Chef Louie began serving prime rib on this corner in the 1940s.
Cary Fredrickson and his family have been keeping the tradition alive for the past two decades. Since word got out that they are closing after Saturday night, the phone has been ringing, a lot of people want to have one last meal at Chef Louie’s. Fredrickson says Chef Louie’s offers something unique because of its history.
“It’s that supper club feel, you come out, you relax, dine with loved ones. Eat and run? No, we sit, dine, enjoy the company you are with,” said Fredrickson.
Jeff Logan who came across old footage of Chef Louie’s at his movie theater and shared it with us says the loss of Chef Louie’s goes beyond Mitchell.
“It is a loss for the state. I know a lot of other restaurants when they would start up they would go to Chef Louie’s to get advice, how do you do this, what kind of meat do you get you’re aging, how long they would ask those questions so they’ve really been a South Dakota institution for all these years,” said Logan.
Anyone who’s been in the restaurant business, or knows someone who’s been in the restaurant business knows it’s a hard life. It will take up a lot of your time and a lot of your effort. Fredrickson says the long hours combined with the pandemic, a shortage of workers, and an offer that was too good to pass up convinced him it was time. But that doesn’t make it any easier.
“It’s going to be tough, I mean yeah I will probably sit across the street when they knock it down with a little frog in my throat. It’s just the way it is and things change and we are changing with it.
Chef Louie’s will serve its last prime rib Saturday night. Fredrickson says the steer is in storage, and would not rule out that it could possibly reappear in the right situation.
Fredrickson tells us Plains Commerce Bank purchased the lot and plans to build on the corner in the near future.