With football comes food (Part 1): Your guide to Brookings


Sure, three exclamation points might be excessive, but I really do love football. Almost as much as I do food.


And with college football kicking off this weekend for both state universities, I wanted to do an eaters guide to Brookings and Vermillion. Unfortunately, trips to both weren’t going to be possible in time for kickoff, so I enlisted the help of two college students to give us the skinny on where to eat when we’re up (or down) rooting for the Jackrabbits or Coyotes.

Today’s guide is for SDSU and comes from Collegian editor Marcus Traxler. We’ll visit Vermillion with USD’s Kayla Prasek.



Brookings has a lot going for it. For starters, SDSU, and one of its better features, is the food scene. I’ll do my best to provide a guide to the best Brookings has to offer, as far as the food goes.

Best barbeque: Backyard Grill: I’m a huge fan of Backyard Grill, on the fringe of the SDSU campus. Their sandwiches, both the beef brisket (pictured) and the pulled pork, are terrific. The ribs are slow-cooked right outside and the aroma alone is enough to pull you inside. And from the delicious baked beans to the cornbread, their sides are pretty great too. Hours are short (11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. everyday), so plan ahead.

Most historic restaurant: Nick’s Hamburgers: A Brookings staple since 1929, the Main Street burger joint is revered by alumni who get nostalgic just thinking about the red and white building. History aside, they make a pretty mean hamburger, which are sliders and are usually sold by the bag.

Best sports bar: Cubby’s: This is Brookings’ best location to follow the Jackrabbits. If SDSU is on the road, you can rest assured the game will be on at Cubby’s and it’s usually packed before, during and after a Saturday football game. In addition, their menu and beer list is pretty complete. Wraps and wings are pretty strong, and I’m a big fan of their nachos, especially the BBQ pork variation, and the Southwest nachos (pictured).

Best pizza: George’s Pizza: Right down the street from Cubby’s, George’s has a wide and diverse lineup of pizza options. George’s sells pizza out of its front window Thursday-Saturday nights, a favorite with students while out and about downtown. I would be short-selling them if I didn’t also mention their Greek food, which is very good. It’s special when George’s combines the pizza and Greek greatness to make gyro pizza.

Best hamburger: The Pheasant: A quiet location away from the hustle and bustle of campus, The Pheasant’s burgers are superb. Their Bacon, Cheddar and Bleu burger is terrific and Grecian Lamb burger is highly recommended. Their steaks, salmon and walleye are pretty good too but are a little steep in price. Definitely worth a stop.

Best chain: Buffalo Wild Wings: After opening in last fall, Buffalo Wild Wings has fit pretty well in the Village Square development off the southeast corner of campus. Their menu is no different from any other BWW but it’s another location with big screen TVs for pre and postgame. Best on-campus option: Panda Express: When it opened a few years ago, the Weary Wil’s Sports Grill had the potential to be a great on-campus option to hang out before the game, especially given the amount of SDSU memorabilia it has. So, instead, I’ll recommend one of the newest options at SDSU. Open for less than a week, Panda Express is already a wildly popular Chinese food stop, with lines stringing into the rest of The Union at peak hours. The same food court also has a Chick-fil-A, bringing the South’s chicken sandwich dominance to South Dakota State.


Thanks to Marcus for the rundown. What do you all think? Agree with his picks? Have others to add? Don’t some people swear by Pizza King over George’s? Hit me up.