Z’kota Grille: Burgers, beer and neon lights

Krista Tschetter

Krista Tschetter

The bittersweet adios of Brookings’ resident Hardee’s a few months ago sent rumors a’flying among fast food connoisseurs.

Thus began the reign of the Z’kota Grille.

Not straying far from its fast food predecessor, Z’kota offers the same basic sandwich and fries, fare and speedy service.

Prices are a little higher, but the food is also less processed and pre-made than at most typical burger franchises.

Sandwiches are served in a more sit-down restaurant style (in baskets with a pickle!).

For the healthly minded (or those of us still riding the wave of guilt that accompanies waning New Year’s resolutions) there are several fresh salads available.

I tried the grilled chicken salad, and was pleasantly surprised that the chicken was fairly freshly grilled and not pre-cooked, sliced and frozen.

The menu also offers soups and soft serve ice cream.

Basically, the Z’kota Grille serves up good ol’ fast food that’s a few notches above what most of us have come to expect from the old standbys.

Aside from the somewhat predictable fare, the dining ambiance is definitely interesting, if not a little bizarre.

The revamped (or should I say Z’vamped) interior of the dining room actually isn’t much different from how Hardee’s was.

There’s a round fireplace in the center of the room, the walls don giant historical photos in black and white, and the industrial plastic booths remain.

The fast food decor conflicts with the more upscale image being projected by the menu, but it’s not wholly unpleasant.

Probably because they serve beer.

Sitting in what is essentially a fast food joint and getting loaded (soundtracked by all Abba and other pop hits from the latter 1970s) should make the must-do list of every adventurous drinker in the tri-county area this year.

It’s fairly surreal.

#1.887635:1469857251.jpg:sarahzkota.jpg:Mike Adamson and Sarah Olson work the counter at the Z?kota Grille in uptown Brookings. The new restaurant dishes out burgers and fries along with a unique atmosphere of neon lights and an ever- burning fireplace. :Crystal Kewley