By Le Bender – Follow on Twitter @LBenderJr
I recently sat down for lunch with Patrick Pope of the Sioux Empire Community Theatre to discuss their production of The Giver, showing now through March 20, 2016. If you’re not familiar with the novel or stage adaptation, check out Maxine Houlihan’s synopsis and review here on The Falls Theatre Blog. The Giver is part of SECT’s Stage Adventure series: theatre that is affordable and accessible for the whole family.
Pope is unapologetically passionate about the future of theatre in South Dakota. Stay tuned for a feature article about his vision of youth theatre education in Sioux Falls. As the Producing Artistic Director of SECT at The Historic Orpheum Theatre Center, he also has a special interest in the vibrancy of the budding urban landscape that is Downtown Sioux Falls.
We met up at A Taste of the Big Apple in Uptown. Where is “Uptown” you may ask? Good question. I’m still looking for an exact set of boundaries myself. But from my experience, its the area surrounding Main and Phillips Ave, north of 6th Street toward Falls Park.
In Uptown you will find the Uptown Exchange Lofts and Phillips Ave Lofts. You know those new gray, cerulean and maroon buildings along the parkway leading to the Falls. You also have older buildings that have been renovated into residential and commercial spaces, even a church.
Located in the Dakota-Moline Plow Co. & Dempster Mill Mfg building, A Taste of the Big Apple is just off N Main Ave on 4th Street. If you haven’t spent much time in this part of town lately, I encourage you to go for a stroll and see what’s changed.
Nearby you will find the Museum of Visual Materials and the Icon Lounge. I enjoy strolling through this part of town on my lunch hour and let me say, there have been some stunning views of the Old Courthouse Museum clock tower during the dead of winter with the low sun in the southern sky.
Entering the Big Apple, you are hit immediately with the smell of fresh pizza dough. Behind the counter sits a stack of boxes, reminding you that if the weather is too nice, you can always opt to take your pizza to Falls Park for an impromptu picnic. If you chose to stick around and enjoy the smells, the dining room seats around 50. There is also a covered patio running the entire length of the south side of the building.
On the menu are thin crust pizzas galore. In addition to pizza they have calzones, soup and salads, and appetizers. I’m going to try Grandma’s Knish on a future visit. Grandmothers have a special way in the kitchen.
Open for lunch and dinner daily, this is a perfect choice if you are taking a group of hungry kids out to eat before or after the show. Or, as was the case of my meeting with Mr. Pope, it’s a great place to get away for a quiet lunch on a weekday.
Not on the menu but available to order at a reasonable price is an individual 7-inch pizza ($7-$8). On our visit I had the Little Italy’s Garden in this single serving pizza. It was chock full of roasted tomato, chunky mushrooms, and artichoke: a satisfyingly light lunch option. At a previous visit my brother, 11-year-old nephew and I split the large (16-inch) New Yorker, a pie that was unctuously cheesy and meaty.
My recommendation: Get out and see The Giver at the Sioux Empire Community Theatre. Share the experience with a youngster; and afterward, hoof it over to A Taste of the Big Apple for some delicious pizza. The kid will thank you for it.
A Taste of the Big Apple
600 North Main Ave
Mon – Sat, 11am-2pm & 5pm-9pm
Patio Seating: Lots
Beer/Wine: Yes & Yes