Kitschy Al's Oasis has been a South Dakota landmark for six decades. Located where the Missouri River bisects the state and the scenery shifts from farmland to ranches, Al's proudly claims its Western identity with a facade built to resemble a frontier town. Customers stop to stretch their legs, browse Western gifts and apparel, and enjoy meals in a restaurant adorned in cowboy motifs. Adding even more flavor, several larger-than-life bison statues sit just across the highway.
Al's houses a grocery, shops, saloon, hotel, campground, cabins and a gas station, but it's best known for its restaurant. During the summer months, this casual eatery is usually packed with travelers (Al's benefits greatly from its isolated location in the center of the state). As far as road food goes, this is better than fast food but for the most part isn't anything you'll crave later. The crispy green bean appetizer served with a ranch dipping sauce was a nice change of pace, and the burger and turkey melt ($8.25) were fine. The highlight: hot apple pie with cinnamon ice cream for dessert ($5.25), washed down with a cup of coffee for a nickel, the same price it’s been for years.