GARRETSON — The connect with came on a late Sunday night time. Of course, chef, you and your restaurant will be showcased on the Meals Network.
Not incredibly many cooks get this kind of a call. But there Omar Thornton observed himself past July, lining up his feature location on the cable channel’s hit present, “Diners, Generate-ins and Dives,” hosted by celeb chef Dude Fieri.
“I’m nevertheless in awe,” stated Thornton, chef and co-proprietor of O So Superior cafe in Garretson, South Dakota, a calendar year immediately after the fateful call.
It was a crowning accomplishment for Thornton who, along with spouse Renae, opened O So Fantastic in 2017.
The family members restaurant, situated in a corner brick developing in downtown Garretson (populace 1,127) has earned prevalent acclaim for serving seafood and ease and comfort meals with a Southern flair — daring flavors not commonly found in the South Dakota cafe scene.
Now, O So Very good stands at a crossroads. Its final working day in company, for now: Saturday, July 10. Irrespective of the restaurant’s attractiveness, the Thorntons obtain on their own driving on expenditures, they’re having difficulties to use workers and their lease on the Garretson site is up.
So they’re going their restaurant to downtown Sioux Falls. Thornton will reopen his restaurant in a subject of days as O So Excellent at Wiley’s, within a well known bar and nightclub with a big kitchen. He’ll be a organization in a company, cooking up the flavors he’s turn out to be well-known for regionally and nationally.
“I have to as soon as again go again to what I was explained to in the starting: ‘If you’re heading to be effective at this, Omar, you have obtained to be you and adhere with it.’ You know?” Thornton reported. “So which is the place we are now.”
O So Excellent was not long ago nominated by Mitchell Republic visitors for the newspaper’s Battle of the Eats series, showcasing preferred compact-town diners and eating places. Profiles of the preferred restaurants will be featured frequently in the pages of the Mitchell Republic amongst July and August.
The Mitchell Republic will be that includes readers’ favourite little-town diners and dining establishments in the ongoing characteristic Battle of the Eats.
Southern roots, assorted variations
Thornton grew up in the San Francisco Bay space and uncovered to cook by understanding from his mom, a Louisiana indigenous, but he was also surrounded by numerous food stuff influences, the two American and worldwide. Italian, in unique, was a revelation.
Far more not too long ago, he and his loved ones moved to South Dakota, in which he worked in a variety of Sioux Falls eating places. But he decided to strike off with his have spot in Garretson in 2017, focusing on the flavors and food items he loved to make, hoping to make O So Fantastic something of an open South Dakota magic formula.
The entrance entrance to O So Excellent cafe in Garretson, South Dakota, on June 25. Owners Omar and Renae Thornton are closing the locale and re-opening their cafe within Wiley’s, a bar and nightclub in downtown Sioux Falls this thirty day period. Jeremy Fugleberg / Forum Information Service
At to start with, the new-to-the place menu was an concern for some buyers, especially all those not acquainted with more robust flavors and spices — paprika, garlic, onion powder, coarse salt and pepper.
“I did have that pushback,” he mentioned. “I utilized to get continuously individuals coming in and, with no seeking at the menu, appear and talk to that issue that is actually insulting: ‘Do you have any regular food items?’ It is like, ‘Swallow your tongue, Omar.’”
He’d then perform to uncover those patrons some thing on the menu they could hook up with, foodstuff they could study to love.
— Omar Thornton, co-proprietor of O So Superior cafe in Garretson
O So Fantastic drew crowds who traveled from miles close to, keen to test menu merchandise new to the area or acquainted from elsewhere, together with fried catfish, blackened walleye and tacky grits and shrimp.
Thornton’s food items garnered rave evaluations online and that most coveted of honors — potent praise spread by way of phrase of mouth. “This is a hidden gem of a put,” wrote a person reviewer on Yelp.
Some of the food served at O So Excellent cafe in Garretson, South Dakota: On the remaining, the B.S.S.B. Bowl, showcasing bacon, shrimp, sausage and brussels sprouts. On the ideal, fried catfish with inexperienced beans. (Submitted)
But some reviewers were savage, and struck at O So Good’s weak spot: services problems and lengthy waits, normally because of to short staffing.
Thornton admits he’s experienced staffing shortfalls, and they have not all been mainly because there’s not a big workforce in Garretson or simply because of the pandemic, while all those components did participate in a part.
“I’m owning troubles appropriate now in keeping staff,” he said. “Some of it has a good deal to do with me…from time to time I can be a extremely hard manager. But the double-edged sword is, for the reason that I know I’m far too tough…I counter that by not stepping in, and that also will cause issues.”
The interior of O So Excellent cafe in Garretson, South Dakota, is festooned with the letter O, as in Omar Thornton, the restaurant’s co-proprietor and chef. Jeremy Fugleberg / Forum Information Service
Dude Fieri requires observe
Even now, the loud praise for Thornton’s food items caught the interest of the “Diners, Generate-ins and Dives” producers, and they extra O So Great to Fieri’s itinerary for the show’s very first stop by to South Dakota.
Thornton was psyched for the nationwide exposure, but he was apprehensive about Fieri’s visit. Would the celebrity chef really like his meals?
Thornton researched when admirers could explain to Fieri basically favored some thing: He’d really converse about liking the foods, in its place of just commenting on other areas of it, or declaring some thing about how this dish ought to be popular with the restaurant’s fans.
Viewers later viewed the South Dakota “Triple D” episode as Fieri experimented with Thornton’s foods, tasting his consider on jerk rooster with collard greens and his shrimp sizzling plate.
Thornton waited nervously for Fieri’s reaction. It wasn’t long in coming, both of those on digicam and off.
“Even when they said, ‘Cut,’ he took a pair two more pieces of the collard greens, and then he yells out to the employees, ‘That’s some great greens,’ and he walks off, and I’m sitting below like, ‘Thank you, thank you, Lord,’” Thornton said.
Celeb chef Man Fieri autographed this poster of himself when he frequented O So Good restaurant in Garretson, South Dakota, in July 2020 to aspect it on his Foods Network clearly show “Diners, Travel-ins and Dives.” Jeremy Fugleberg / Discussion board New Assistance
Fieri’s autographed poster now hangs on the wall just inside O So Superior in Garretson, and it’ll very likely choose a prominent location at the new place in Wiley’s.
The restaurant will have a delicate start in its new location for the Wiley’s Block Celebration on July 16, and be all set to roll serving supper Aug. 1, Thornton reported.
Thornton reported he’ll be unfortunate to go away the Garretson site, but he’s thrilled to spend down some costs, pare down his menu and hearth up his new site inside the downtown Sioux Falls bar and nightclub — a place not regarded for its food items.
A new experience, with a whole lot of promise. Who is familiar with what could be next.
(Really don’t be concerned — his jambalaya, collard greens and cornbread will usually have a place on the menu.)
“It’s a continuing tale, since we know we have one thing fantastic and we know we have other people today who are keen to devote in us to keep heading,” he claimed.
For more about O So Fantastic at Wiley’s, follow the restaurants’ web site on Fb: https://www.facebook.com/ChefOThatsGood