A sunrise hot air balloon flight over the Black Hills is a magical experience. It’s a stunning way to start the day. The wildlife is active, the lighting is beautiful, and once the flight is over and the world is waking up, all you can think about is breakfast. We know. It happens to us too.
A flight with Black Hills Balloons starts at sunrise, but the whole experience lasts close to three hours. With drive time to and from launch and landing sites, the inflation, flight, pack up, and champagne toast (yes! Complimentary and traditional champagne, and light snacks are served after the flight), it’s not surprising that people are hungry for a full meal when we return to the Hangar.
We always tell people ballooning chose us, not the other way around. We aren’t actually morning people, we’re just balloon people. And so over time, we’ve become skilled in the act of finding a great breakfast. Lucky for us (and you!), the city of Custer has some amazing breakfast options.
Located in the southern Black Hills of South Dakota, smack-dab in the middle of Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Devils Tower National Monument, Wind Cave National Monument, Jewel Cave National Monument, Crazy Horse Memorial, Badlands National Park, and more, we’re not just a place to hike, bike, swim, and snowshoe. We love to eat too and have some amazing restaurants here in Custer. Below are a few of our favorite spots to grab breakfast before you spend your day adventuring in the hills.
SIT DOWN OPTIONS
If you’re looking for the traditional small-town diner, full of locals that make up our great community, then Our Place is it. Not, “our place”, although, we’d be happy to cook for you if you don’t mind a crazy Labrador retriever running amok. I’m talking about Our Place, located directly across the street from our meeting place. It’s so convenient, you can leave your vehicle where you parked pre-flight, and walk across the street for yummy traditional pancakes, eggs, and bacon, or whatever your heart desires. They even have an endless variety of hot sauces for you to jazz up your meal.
HJEM AM is our newest (and most unique) option, and might easily end up being the most memorable meal of your trip. Originally based on an earlier breakfast concept of Skogen Kitchen (which is now only open for dinner. Reservations are highly recommended! Read “48 hours in the Black Hills for the foodie” for our favorite things about Skogen Kitchen), HJEM AM is what breakfast dreams are made of. Pronounced “hem” (the “J” is silent), it means “home” and it certainly feels that way when you’re greeted by owners Cami and Erik. Where else can you get a Breakfast Caesar, Salmon Deviled Eggs, Fresh Oysters, Walleye (with bacon, buttermilk sauce, sugar snap peas, and roasted mushrooms), or Pancakes covered with fried chicken, franks hot sauce, and maple syrup for breakfast? Check out their menu and make your reservations asap.
GRAB AND GO OPTIONS
If you desire more than drip coffee, try Miners Cup. Just down the street, Miners Cup is a grab-and-go option with a huge menu full of yummy breakfast sandwiches and a coffee menu that will satisfy anyone. They offer Gluten Free bread, and you can order off the lunch menu any time, making Miners Cup a favorite of ours. The Drive-thru is super handy when you’re heading to Iron Mountain Road for a scenic drive to Mount Rushmore.
Maria’s Mexican Food Truck is just a few doors down and offers fantastic breakfast burritos perfect for anyone looking to grab something quick before they continue their Black Hills adventures. You’ll find the Black Hills Balloons crew here almost daily after the flight, spending their tips on bacon egg and cheese or sausage egg and cheese burritos. The salsa is homemade and delicious. It’s a great option if you’re grabbing something and heading into Custer State Park. Just make sure you finish your burrito before you come across the famous Begging Burros.
Feel Good Café is a casual order-at-the-counter café with lots of cozy indoor and outdoor seating. Located next door to the famous Bavarian Inn, Feel Good Café has a Zen European vibe with crustless quiche, build-your-own breakfast bowls, tropical overnight oats, and even a breakfast banana sundae featuring a split banana covered in vanilla yogurt, granola, fresh fruit, and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
No matter where you go when you’re visiting us here in Custer, stick to the local recommendations to find some of the best food in the Black Hills. You know what they say. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Choose wisely.