The top three.
The entire team at Mad Mary’s Steakhouse in Flandreau is waiting patiently this week to learn whether they’ve been selected by Celebrity Chef Justin Warner and selected ranchers, as the top steakhouse in South Dakota in a competition deemed the Sturgis Beef Throwdown.
They know, however, that they made the top three. That’s worth celebrating in and of itself.
Here’s the scoop: The South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC), back in June, offered consumers the chance to nominate their favorite steakhouses and restaurants. More than 30 locations were nominated. The top three are now in a final round competition with the winner to be announced live at a rally in Sturgis this coming weekend.
Warner and two ranchers visited the legacy Flandreau establishment, currently co-owned by Christina Schmidt and her ex-husband Danny Schmidt, earlier this month. Christina, who oversees the day-to-day operations, along with her head cook, Kyle Cummiskey, hosted the team. Three separate signature steaks had to be prepared by each competing establishment. The team was videotaped and interviewed throughout the process. The materials will then be used by the SDBIC in Sturgis and elsewhere across to promote the Flandreau location.
“It was fun,” said Schmidt. “We tried to make sure that everything was perfect and give the best impression that we could. But we try and do that every day for all of our customers, so we hope that it went well.”
Schmidt went on to praise Cummiskey and her entire staff, saying that they truly are behind the success of the decades-old business. Schmidt herself started out as a server at the restaurant, working there for years before taking it over from the previous owners, Randy and Diane Tiedemann. She works hard at it all, and it hasn’t been easy, but she’s committed to the Steakhouse’s future success.
“I just want to make the previous owners proud of the legacy they’ve left and our customers happy at the end of the day,” said Schmidt.
She’s hopeful she and her team did just that with the SDBIC judges, as one of the ranchers came back the next night to dine with his entire family.
Watch next week’s Moody County Enterprise for the results of the competition. Mad Mary’s is squaring off against the Cattlemen’s Club Steakhouse in Pierre and Alpine Inn and Restaurant in Hill City. In the meantime, there’s still time for people to vote for a People’s Choice Award. For more on both competitions, head to sdbeef.org.