- Real Estate
- Food & Drink
Aug. 24, 2020
Longtime downtown restaurant owner Laurel Lather is retiring, which means an end to The Market.
“We decided The Market was me, and it had to go with me,” Lather said of making the decision about the business’ future with her husband, Doug.
They’ll say goodbye to their customers with three days of dining starting Tuesday, followed by an inventory sale of wine, cheese, local artwork and more at their location in the historic Harvester Building on Sixth Street just east of Phillips Avenue.
“It’s kind of a bittersweet thing, that’s for sure,” Lather said. “But we’ve been going for a long time. COVID definitely kind of rushed the decision. It’s not the same when people are hiding behind masks; you don’t get to see their smiles, hear their laughter.
“We’ve had troubles with staffing, and going into fall, when you don’t have that big patio for people to be outside – this was kind of the perfect time to for us to do it.”
The Lathers started as Food & Fermentation in 2001, selling wine, cheese and other gourmet grocery items. Throughout the years, they expanded into a restaurant, scaled back to retail and then took on a restaurant again. They renamed the business The Market and changed locations several times – always staying downtown though.
“It is just in my heart,” Lather said of cooking. “I’ve done this as I grew up and have always been doing it. … I’ve always loved to cook and experiment with different dishes. It’s what I read in magazines, watching food channels. It’s not just being a chef, but meeting with winemakers, traveling, exploring. The customers have become family to us,” she said, breaking into tears.
The restaurant will be open from noon to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and then will close for about a week while they get ready for the inventory sale of “all the wine and all the cheeses and the gourmet goodies. I imagine we will run it for a week,” she said. “I bet you there’s over 1,000 bottles of wine in here.”
Lather is encouraging customers with gift cards to use them in the restaurant or at the sale.
As she talked about retiring, a truck arrived with ingredients, ensuring everyone’s favorites on the menu will be served this week, she said.
Popular items include the cranberry turkey sandwich – “we’ve had that on the menu since the beginning of Food & Fermentation” – and lemon chicken. The restaurant’s special burgers have been a draw for customers too – it’s a four-time winner of the annual Downtown Burger Battle.
Doug Lather’s Dakota gumbo will be available this week. The recipe comes from Laurel’s Louisiana roots and her great-grandmother, with Doug’s tweak of buffalo and pheasant sausage instead of Andouille.
“He has been at my side supporting my dream the whole time,” Lather said.
With retirement, she’s planning to get “caught up on life at home” and might start a blog reviewing restaurants and food products available across South Dakota.
“But you just never know where I’ll bounce to next.”
You’ve got three days for a final cranberry turkey sandwich or a bowl of Dakota gumbo at The Market, followed by an inventory sale of wine, cheese and more.