Som’s dishes up sweet and sour sustenance

Amy Eggert

Amy Eggert

On the west side of town across the street from Pioneer Park, sits a small, unassuming building. But the dishes created inside Som’s Diner are large and in charge. Freshly made and packed full of flavor, Som’s entrées have become a hit among those that frequent the restaurant.

The diner is owned and operated by Som and Paul Disse of Lake Preston, S.D. They previously operated The Back Door in Arlington until last January when it was destroyed in a fire. In May of 2008, Som’s Diner opened up at its current location at the west end of Sixth Street in Brookings.

One of the biggest challenges has been getting people, especially college students, to venture away from the heart of campus. Som Disse originally wanted a larger, more centrally located dining establishment but was unable to find any available locations.

“I had a lot of customers from here, from Brookings, drive to Arlington to eat. I thought I would come here and be closer to them, but we don’t have the place to sit and eat,” she said.

The small restaurant has limited the selection but not the quality. “She takes the meat and mixes it all up and takes the skin and rolls them all up by hand. Everything here is made by hand,” says Paul Disse.

In addition to fresh vegetables and meat, Som Disse also makes her own sauces and seasoning. Although she would one day like to offer a more diverse menu, she currently has some limitations. Making all the food fresh takes considerable time and money. It is simply too expensive to expand the menu at this time, she said.

Som’s Diner is open Monday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The current menu is gathering fans. “The food at Som’s is amazing,” said Thijs Hammink, a junior electrical engineering major and creator of a Facebook event encouraging people to check out the Diner.

The Chinese Express special changes daily and customers get a choice of two entrées (out of four), rice or lo mein noodles, an eggroll and crab rangoon. Pad Thai is available every day, and Indian tacos are featured on Friday and Saturday. Som Disse said sesame chicken and sweet and sour chicken are popular, with some people preferring the spicier fare.

“It’s a great deal for food; you get a ton of food for what you pay,” says Kandi Moulder, a sophomore advertising major.

To make a good deal even better, the first 600 students that sell their books back to the University Bookstore will get a coupon for $1 off at Som’s Diner.

According to Moulder, “It’s not your classic Chinese restaurant. It’s better.”

#1.882113:564451457.jpg:Soms.Diner.CMYK.AE.jpg:Som Disse, along with husband Paul, owns and operates Som’s Diner. The restaurant features Chinese cuisine, along with Thai food and Indian tacos.:#1.882112:2076442136.jpg:Soms.Diner.2.CMYK.AE.jpg:A standard Chinese Express meal from Som’s Diner.: