Restaurant Roundup: Home-cooked Italian meals, broasted chicken love stories

Want a home-cooked Italian meal? Luca Papini, owner of Luca’s Boutique, shares his love for cooking Italian food by hiring out his services. “It’s not like catering,” he said. “It’s more like dinner with friends who want to get together and enjoy the meal.” Papini does all the shopping and cooks in the host’s kitchen. “I try to make things that are traditional to what I grew up with.” He also loves talking with people, and he’s willing to share stories about his homeland, which he left a decade ago. In addition to the grocery costs, Papini typically charges $35 per person for a meal with four or five courses.

The native of Grosetto, which is in the southern part of Tuscany, has been teaching cooking classes in the community and doing the home dinners for a few years, but is ramping up the dinners now that his Italian goods boutique is more established. He can be reached at the boutique at 212-2655 or

Do you have a great love story that revolves around broasted chicken? Doesn’t everyone? The Keg is asking people to share their love stories on the restaurant’s Facebook page — everything ranging from how couples went on first dates at The Keg and how families celebrate special events with the chicken to a person’s outright love for the broasted goodness. The first-place winner will receive a Grand Falls Casino & Resort package and a $50 Keg gift card. Second place will get a $100 gift card and third place, $50. The contest ends on Valentine’s Day.

If you had to close your restaurant for a week, January in South Dakota probably isn’t the worst time. MacKenzie River Pizza, Grill & Pub will be closed Jan. 8-14 while the deteriorating flooring in the kitchen is replaced. All of the kitchen equipment will be shoved into the dining room while the work is done, general manager Jesse Schanzenbach said. “Barring any complications, we’ll be opening the doors at 11 a.m. Monday the 15th.”

Coffea Roasterie, which has three coffee shops across the city, has started a rewards program. Earn one star for buying a drink. Get three stars for every bag of coffee beans you buy. Ten stars equals a free drink.

Lam’s Restaurant introduces new dishes Friday, Jan. 4, including three vegan options. “We might add more, but before that we’ll see how these pan out,” said H. Lam, who manages the Vietnamese restaurant for his parents. There’s a vegan pho, which also comes in a spicy version, a vegan bowl and “what we’re calling vegan No. 5,” he said. The dishes feature ingredients such as tofu, tofu skin, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, jicama and taro.

Other new items include pho made with chicken, and vegetarian and chicken soups made with egg noodles. Along with the revised menu, prices are going up slightly, Lam said. Most increases are a penny, but some are 5 cents to 50 cents, he said. The Lam family opened the restaurant at 1600 E. Rice St. almost seven years ago.

If you want to taste the creations of some of the best chefs in Sioux Falls, get a ticket for the Cleavers Chef Challenge. Catering by Cleavers is hosting the fourth annual event Jan. 13 at Meadow Barn at Country Orchards. At least 12 chefs will compete, and the competition is fierce because of $4,500 in prize money for the top three finishers and an additional $750 people’s choice award, said Tyler Honke of Cleavers. Tickets are $65, and can be purchased at A portion of the proceeds will go to the Children’s Home Society of South Dakota.

The new chicken tenders at McDonald’s are back after a few weeks’ disappearance. Customers loved the Buttermilk Crispy Tenders so much after they were introduced in late September that demand outstripped supply. In November, the restaurant was forced to pull them from the menu because it couldn’t keep up. The new item is made with 100 percent white meat chicken and has no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives. McDonald’s serves the tenders in four-, six-, and 10-piece offerings.

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Restaurant Roundup: Home-cooked Italian meals, broasted chicken love stories

The latest Restaurant Roundup includes news from Luca Papini, The Keg, MacKenzie River Pizza, Coffea Roasterie, Lam’s Vietnamese Restaurant, Catering by Cleavers and McDonald’s.

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