Those in the mood for food and drink along Spearfish Creek can now opt for The Farmhouse Bistro & Bar.
“The town has really welcomed us,” owner and manager Merideth Pangburn-Walker said.
The restaurant, which offers cuisine, a full bar, and outdoor seating, is located at 2525 Yukon Place in The Village at Creekside, the development off of North Avenue on the former Meier Ranch.
“I probably started thinking about opening a restaurant the first day I got a restaurant job,” Pangburn-Walker, who grew up in Spearfish, said. “I loved it. I was 14, and I loved it. I loved everything about it.”
She explained that her parents ran the concession stand at the former Black Hills Passion Play, so when she and her brother, Chris, were young, they lived in that world in the summertime. Then, in her mid-20s, Pangburn-Walker managed bars and restaurants in Colorado, and she said it was in the last four years that the idea for The Farmhouse came to fruition. She had moved back to the Black Hills, working for Liv Hospitality in Deadwood, and she and Chris started thinking about going into the restaurant business for themselves. When the Meier Ranch became available, they knew it was the perfect place to try their hand at opening a restaurant.
Ground was broken in August 2018 for the new building, designed by Patri Acevedo of JLG Architects, out of Rapid City, with Ainsworth-Benning as the general contractor, and the soft opening took place June 14-15, with doors open to the public on June 18.
Pangburn-Walker said that she feels fortunate to have worked with the team who designed and built the building, as well as the staff of 37 currently employed, including executive chef Matt Herringer, who makes it all possible, she said.
“I couldn’t be more proud of them,” Pangburn-Walker said of the staff, who were able to get in the building only two days before the opening – so training was a bit of a whirlwind, she said.
When asked what the community response has been to The Farmhouse Bistro & Bar, Pangburn-Walker said, “Awesome. Incredibly busy.”
The space is about 4,000 square feet, with seating for 97 people inside and another 40 seats outside. The building overlooks Spearfish Creek, with a walking path winding along the creek through The Village at Creekside.
Pangburn-Walker described The Farmhouse Bistro & Bar as casual fine dining. The menu features “comfort food” with a little twist on every dish that makes it unique, which is the same approach taken with the building, she said.
“We wanted to pay homage to the Meier Ranch that was here and honor it that way, so on the exterior, it really looks like a building that was here many moons ago, and on the inside, I wanted you to feel like you were walking into my house,” she said.
Pangburn-Walker said that she’s heard several questions about the corncrib, or timber-frame structure attached to the main building. It is complete, she said, describing it like a pergola, providing a partially-covered patio with an upper deck with seating and eventual fire pits, currently on order.
“That’s the biggest misconception – we’re not still under construction,” she said.
The Farmhouse Bistro & Bar is open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.
Pangburn-Walker thanked her family for being so supporting and trusting in and helping her fulfill her dream of opening a restaurant.
“I grew up in a family that the main purpose of our lives was to make the community a better place and to give back and to give more than you took out of it,” she said. “My mom (Kay Jorgensen) and Joe (Jorgensen, my uncle) were perfect examples of that, and my dad (Michael Pangburn), too, and this was the way that I saw that I could give back to the community,” she said.