A plate full of beef stroganoff from Phillips Avenue Diner

Brew Bites - Short reads about our long adventures.

It should come as no surprise by now that we at Brewhoppin love diners.  

When forks and blue plates are kindly placed in front of us, we cannot refuse.  The diner is where one can enjoy any meal, any time of the day without the bells and whistles of fancy or upscale dining.  And while many of these establishments can be best described as “greasy spoons” (and lovingly so), their character is not only their appearance but also in the food they serve that has made diners the cornerstone of American cuisine.  

And rightfully so.  There are thousands of diners still in operation today, many of which are independently family owned and operated.  

But the diner has had an element that has consistently attracted not only locals but tourists alike for one visit after another: the blue plate special.  

PHOTO - Phillips Avenue Diner

So, you might be asking yourself, what is special about this blue plate?  Simply put, blue plate specials are dishes a diner serves at a reduced price that changes every day.  Among the most common blue plate specials are pot roast, turkey, meatloaf, airline-style chicken breast, and my personal favorite, beef stroganoff.  

So when I found out on my most recent visit to Sioux Falls that there exists a diner that regularly rotates these blue plates and is best known for their beef stroganoff, I had to check it out.

Situated in downtown Sioux Falls on Phillips Avenue, The Phillips Avenue Diner is what many would expect when thinking of a classic American diner.  

With the exterior resembling the dining cars of old and a carefully preserved interior to match, the Phillips Avenue Diner caters primarily to those on a budget but want a filling meal made with the freshest ingredients.  

On perusing the menu, I encountered all the classic diner fare that I mentioned earlier, but my journey was to indulge in the rich flavor of homemade beef stroganoff.  The dish itself is comprised of an egg noodle base with braised bits of beef tossed in a very rich cream-based sauce seasoned with black pepper and rosemary.  Texas toast is commonly served alongside and a dollop of sour cream is placed on top as a slightly acidic complement to an otherwise very rich cream dish. 

On the side was a salad that could have easily been a meal itself for those with smaller appetites and a homemade Caesar dressing that perfectly rounded everything off.  

A plate full of beef stroganoff from Phillips Avenue Diner
The delectable stroganoff. PHOTO - Billy Watson
Stools at the counter of Phillips Avenue Diner
PHOTO - Abigail Dollins / Argus Leader

So with a lot of hype surrounding the beef stroganoff, was my trip to Sioux Falls in vain?  

Absolutely not. 

I can say without a doubt hat The Phillips Avenue Diner serves hands down the best beef stroganoff you can get from any kitchen outside of your own home.  All of the flavors perfectly blended and while I wanted to bring some with me for the evening, I  cleaned my entire plate with no room for dessert.

For those without the same infectious admiration I have for beef stroganoff, do not fret!  Many locals in the area will tell you there is not a single bad dish on the menu!  With that type of reassurance, you can know that whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner, The Phillips Avenue Diner will cater to you every need.

Phillips Avenue Diner is open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and closes early on Sundays.  They serve everything from breakfast to milkshakes and of course, beef stroganoff.

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