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The Corn Exchange: Rapid City restaurant features local meat and produce

Ellen Dooley

Haven’t been to The Corn Exchange in Rapid City, SD? Perhaps you’ve only heard of it and never taken the time to enjoy some excellent “slow food.” Don’t be fooled by the word “slow.” The service is amazing, polished and polite, but the most noteworthy things on the menu are offerings featuring local beef, buffalo and herbs – and as much local produce as seasonally possible.

The Corn Exchange is located in a building that can trace its roots to 1886. When your evening’s fare arrives, patrons find themselves wondering if the flavors, richness and earthiness of 1886 foods aren’t also a guest on their plate.

Anyone who has eaten their own beef, caught their own fish, or harvested veggies and fruits from their own soil will especially respect and admire the mission of Chef MJ Adams, whose Corn Exchange Restaurant & Bistro have been tickling the taste buds of area diners since 1996. Its first incarnation was as a bakery, destroyed in 1997, by one of Rapid City’s largest fires.

Many business owners, let alone someone tackling the unique and challenge arena of fine dining, would have probably let the dream die. When visiting with Adams, she gives the impression that not only would she rise from the ashes, but she could find a new culinary use for smoke, or even cinders, in the process.

Inventive and brave, Adams spent time in Seattle as a youth, later living in Mitchell, SD, with her grandmother, who she says was an early inspiration. Later, she and her siblings moved to Newcastle, WY, and subsequently Casper. In 1983, she migrated to New York City, where she began to realize the depth of her food fascination. In Manhattan, she became a volunteer at the notable and prestigious James Beard Foundation. Her “meat and potatoes” job at that time came in the form of administrative assistant at Women’s Day Special editions, where she later rose to the position of business manager. Her volunteer efforts included coordinating foundation events where it’s easy to assume she honed her delightful manner and further appreciation for the culinary arts. Hands-on and creative in every sense of the word, Adams bravely quit her job and began studying at the French Culinary Institute.

Fast-forward through the next several years and Adams experiences a burgeoning list of roles – food stylist, pastry chef, line cook, sous chef and head chef, earning awards too numerous to mention. On paper, it all could be precious and snobby and not something the average person can relate to. On plate, however, no one needs a list of accolades; the food does all the talking.

Haven’t been to The Corn Exchange in Rapid City, SD? Perhaps you’ve only heard of it and never taken the time to enjoy some excellent “slow food.” Don’t be fooled by the word “slow.” The service is amazing, polished and polite, but the most noteworthy things on the menu are offerings featuring local beef, buffalo and herbs – and as much local produce as seasonally possible.

The Corn Exchange is located in a building that can trace its roots to 1886. When your evening’s fare arrives, patrons find themselves wondering if the flavors, richness and earthiness of 1886 foods aren’t also a guest on their plate.

Anyone who has eaten their own beef, caught their own fish, or harvested veggies and fruits from their own soil will especially respect and admire the mission of Chef MJ Adams, whose Corn Exchange Restaurant & Bistro have been tickling the taste buds of area diners since 1996. Its first incarnation was as a bakery, destroyed in 1997, by one of Rapid City’s largest fires.

Many business owners, let alone someone tackling the unique and challenge arena of fine dining, would have probably let the dream die. When visiting with Adams, she gives the impression that not only would she rise from the ashes, but she could find a new culinary use for smoke, or even cinders, in the process.

Inventive and brave, Adams spent time in Seattle as a youth, later living in Mitchell, SD, with her grandmother, who she says was an early inspiration. Later, she and her siblings moved to Newcastle, WY, and subsequently Casper. In 1983, she migrated to New York City, where she began to realize the depth of her food fascination. In Manhattan, she became a volunteer at the notable and prestigious James Beard Foundation. Her “meat and potatoes” job at that time came in the form of administrative assistant at Women’s Day Special editions, where she later rose to the position of business manager. Her volunteer efforts included coordinating foundation events where it’s easy to assume she honed her delightful manner and further appreciation for the culinary arts. Hands-on and creative in every sense of the word, Adams bravely quit her job and began studying at the French Culinary Institute.

Fast-forward through the next several years and Adams experiences a burgeoning list of roles – food stylist, pastry chef, line cook, sous chef and head chef, earning awards too numerous to mention. On paper, it all could be precious and snobby and not something the average person can relate to. On plate, however, no one needs a list of accolades; the food does all the talking.

Haven’t been to The Corn Exchange in Rapid City, SD? Perhaps you’ve only heard of it and never taken the time to enjoy some excellent “slow food.” Don’t be fooled by the word “slow.” The service is amazing, polished and polite, but the most noteworthy things on the menu are offerings featuring local beef, buffalo and herbs – and as much local produce as seasonally possible.

The Corn Exchange is located in a building that can trace its roots to 1886. When your evening’s fare arrives, patrons find themselves wondering if the flavors, richness and earthiness of 1886 foods aren’t also a guest on their plate.

Anyone who has eaten their own beef, caught their own fish, or harvested veggies and fruits from their own soil will especially respect and admire the mission of Chef MJ Adams, whose Corn Exchange Restaurant & Bistro have been tickling the taste buds of area diners since 1996. Its first incarnation was as a bakery, destroyed in 1997, by one of Rapid City’s largest fires.

Many business owners, let alone someone tackling the unique and challenge arena of fine dining, would have probably let the dream die. When visiting with Adams, she gives the impression that not only would she rise from the ashes, but she could find a new culinary use for smoke, or even cinders, in the process.

Inventive and brave, Adams spent time in Seattle as a youth, later living in Mitchell, SD, with her grandmother, who she says was an early inspiration. Later, she and her siblings moved to Newcastle, WY, and subsequently Casper. In 1983, she migrated to New York City, where she began to realize the depth of her food fascination. In Manhattan, she became a volunteer at the notable and prestigious James Beard Foundation. Her “meat and potatoes” job at that time came in the form of administrative assistant at Women’s Day Special editions, where she later rose to the position of business manager. Her volunteer efforts included coordinating foundation events where it’s easy to assume she honed her delightful manner and further appreciation for the culinary arts. Hands-on and creative in every sense of the word, Adams bravely quit her job and began studying at the French Culinary Institute.

Fast-forward through the next several years and Adams experiences a burgeoning list of roles – food stylist, pastry chef, line cook, sous chef and head chef, earning awards too numerous to mention. On paper, it all could be precious and snobby and not something the average person can relate to. On plate, however, no one needs a list of accolades; the food does all the talking.

Editor’s Note: An article was not planned when the writer visited this restaurant. No food or services were exchanged for this review, although the author says she could be bribed by a steak from anyone.

To learn more: The Corn Exchange Restaurant & Bistro, 727 Main Street, Rapid City, SD; one door off Mt. Rushmore Rd., diagonal from the Radisson Hotel; 605-343-5070; open Tuesday through Saturday.


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