Restaurant choices go tropical


Brina Sturm, Assistant Lifestyles Editor (She/They)

The past year has been a rollercoaster for local and chain restaurants as well as their customers. Whether you’re an incoming student or an upperclassman who has yet to thoroughly explore Brookings, this is your off-campus cuisine guide.

New to town is Tropical Smoothie Cafe — a national chain restaurant that has just made its way to East River South Dakota with a new location on the corner of Sixth and Jackrabbit Avenue – nice and close to campus.

The location will feature both “sit down and drive thru-options, as well as a pickup station for online orders,” Ann Park, owner of the Brookings location, said. The menu consists of a wide variety of smoothies, flatbreads, sandwiches, wraps, bowls and breakfast items, as well as smoothie supplements like protein and energy or add-ins such as chia or flax seeds.

Park’s favorite items on the menu include the Sunrise Sunset Smoothie, which is a blend of strawberries, pineapple, mango and orange juice, and the Caprese Sandwich, which has chicken, mozzarella and a balsamic glaze.

While we wait in anticipation for the new cafe, there are several opportunities to get involved with the opening. To apply for positions at the restaurant, visit In the upcoming weeks, KCountry 102.3FM and The Hawk 107.1FM will be doing radio giveaways with Tropical Smoothie Cafe prizes.

All of this and more will be available during the grand opening, which is anticipated to happen in mid-September. Be sure to keep your eye on the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Brookings Facebook page for updates on the opening date.

But hey, Tropical Smoothie Cafe isn’t the only place in town. Here are some other places to get a great meal:

Cottonwood Bistro
and Coffee

Besides Tropical Smoothie, Brookings is home to many other modern munchies. Cottonwood Coffee on Main opened in 2006 in downtown Brookings during the summer arts festival. Later, in winter of 2008, Cottonwood Bistro opened off of Sixth Street. The bistro and coffee shop both offer “quite a few vegetarian and vegan options,” says Jacob Limmer, owner and founder of Cottonwood.

“Salads, bagels, paninis. . . baked oatmeal and quiche” are just a few of the vegetarian options at Cottonwood.

“Some of our salads and our black bean burger (without the bun) are vegan,” Limmer said. “My personal favorite item from the menu is the bacon breakfast sandwich on a Black Hills bagel.  Sometimes I get a little crazy and add an extra over easy egg and extra bacon. . . It will make you wonder why you would ever want a microwaved premade breakfast sandwich.”

Nick’s Hamburger Shop

If classics are more your taste, Nick’s Hamburger Shop, located on Main, has been a staple of Brookings students since Hobo Day of 1929 (when the burgers were only 5 cents apiece). Since its opening, the people and students of Brookings have lined the street waiting to get a bit of Nick’s burgers on Hobo Day. Nick’s sells not only hamburgers and shakes, but the classic diner experience. With an open grill setting in the middle of the restaurant, you are right in the center of the burger action.

George’s Pizza

George’s Pizza on Main offers a variety of dishes, from their namesake’s pizza to classic Greek bites, everyone is sure to find something to eat. Along with variety, George’s offers hospitality. Whether you are stopping in at 11 am or 8 pm, the staff caters to your pizza needs with friendly banter and energy.

Flavor Indian & Asian Fare

Whether you enjoy spice, meats, veggies or noodles, Flavor Indian & Asian Fare on Main is the place to be. With Indian vegetarian and vegan options, choice of spiciness level and many Thai and Indian curry selections, Flavor Indian & Asian Fare has dishes that are bursting with flavor for anyone.

Not only is this location a sit-down restaurant, but doubles as a market with Indian, Korean, Chinese, Middle Eastern and African groceries. Even if you’re away from home for the semester, Flavor Indian & Asian Fare will take care of your cravings.