Squealer’s Smoke Shack opened May 26 in its new location.
Located at 840 Gateway Lane, Squealer’s opened its doors to the public May 26 for lunch. Construction began in August 2019 and was mostly complete by February or March. Then COVID-19 came and they delayed their opening.
Throughout the pandemic, they offered delivery service and curbside.
Now that they are open in their new location, co-owner Andrea Kuipers said the support of the community and surrounding area has been awesome.
“It has been incredible, but it hasn’t just been Tea people. There’s a lot of times where a lot of our regular customers and our Tea friends come in and they don’t recognize anybody because we’ve had so many new faces from Sioux Falls and the surrounding area,” she said.
Kuipers, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Dustin, in-laws, Shelley and Lowell Kuipers, and general manager Roxie Stanga, said the restaurant was a dream for a long time. Squealer’s started in 2014 with a food truck. Then in 2016 they opened in their old location.
They began looking at building by the hotel about four years ago. They discussed with the hotel how it would work and what building plans might look like. Then they started working with an architect about a year before they started building.
“That was a lengthy process, making sure that we had all the details in the building we wanted, making sure we had enough space for everything. We actually ended up adding parking, which is still kind of a struggle,” she said.
Since they have opened, patrons to the hotel have been good customers.
“That’s one of the things that they had talked to us four years ago, is their customers were coming in saying they wanted a restaurant and where to go. They wanted something within walking distance and they had long-term guests that come and stay for months at a time. They wanted something that was convenient and close,” she said. “They definitely have been good customers.”
The new restaurant has room for seating for 200 inside and another 200 on their upper and lower patio. Each outdoor patio has its own bar. The upstairs patio also includes couches and a natural gas fire pit.
With the additional space, Squealer’s went from 15-20 staff members to close to 80. Kuipers said they have been lucky to get some good applicants.
With the expansion of a new building, they were able to expand their kitchen space. The expanded kitchen space means they are able to expand their menu options.
“We didn’t have the space or ability to put in a hood and grills to make burgers and steaks. The menu has grown substantially because we added flatbread pizzas and burgers to the menu and some pastas and seafood options as well,” she said.
Squealer’s plans to start volleyball in July. They will also host a parking lot party this weekend with music Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
“That’s kind of our grand opening event so we’ll block off the south parking lot and have them outside. It will be busy. It will be fun,” she said.